The summer heat is upon us and there’s no better way to beat it than to grab the kids and head for one of Charlotte’s amazing splash pads! Kids can get their wiggles out, cool off and be entertained long enough for parents to kick up their heels for a bit (and maybe splash around too!) Pack a picnic lunch and make it an afternoon! Smarty Pants is here to help you pick which splash pad you might want to try – or is most convenient – or how you might plot to hit them all! Here are 10 of our favorite splash pads in and around the city of Charlotte, in no particular order. All of those listed are free or open for a minimal fee.
Clark’s Creek Community Park
5435 Hucks Road
The Clark’s Creek Spray Ground (and park) is one of my top two splash pads in town! It is new and clean and nice – it’s only been open for three years. And it has covered picnic tables around it – which are perfect for dropping your stuff, eating after, and hanging out with other mom friends while your kids play. There’s a fantastic playground built in to the side of a hill in the area adjacent to the splash pad. So if the water is a little cold at first, your kids can work up a sweat at the playground. Bathrooms are super easy and convenient in the red barn area!
Blakeney Shopping Center
5933 Blakeney Park Dr.
Blakeney is our splash pad of choice for one-stop shopping! The splash pad at Blakeney is back open this summer (from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weather permitting.) It’s not as big as some splash pads but it comes with a playground close by, a newly-opened Noah’s Art, plus easy eating close by like Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, Shake Shack and TCBY! There’s also a free family-friendly summer concert series that runs every Saturday night from 7-9 p.m. through Sept. 3 on the Blakeney Plaza.
First Ward Park
309 E. Seventh Street
You can’t beat the uptown location, which allows you to take advantage of the nearby Lynx Train Station and ImaginOn library – make a full day of activities! The spray ground is a great way to cool off after say a picnic on the nearby green space. Granite seating on the edge of the fountain deck gives caregivers an easy place to relax. There’s not a ton in the way of shade though, so pack the sunscreen, swim shirt and hat, or keep the stay on the short side.
601 East Park Avenue
This is an old standby for Charlotte moms when it comes to Splash pad fun. Nestled into the edge of Latta Park – it’s hard to see from E. Park Ave. even as you drive by, but it’s there! – this can’t-miss splash pad is perfectly located for cooling off after a hot session of Soccer Shots at Latta Park (speaking from personal experience!) It’s fenced in, has lots of water to play in (there are enough spouts to keep a lot of kids soaked!) and there are bathrooms located right up the hill. The adjacent park and green space give ample opportunity to throw down a picnic for a chance to dry off afterward. Again, you’ll want to pack the sunblock on this one.
Veterans Memorial Park
2136 Central Ave.
The splash pad at Veteran’s Park is convenient to both Plaza Midwood and Elizabeth. It’s a regular stop for my son’s bike camp, so I know it’s ready-made fun. It’s large and covered by a canopy – shade is key! – and it’s also fenced in. All of that plus having benches located along the edges make it easy for keeping an eye on your splashers. It can get crowded, especially on weekends, so it might be better suited to older kids during popular times.
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
This isn’t your traditional splash pad but with the splash waterfalls (pictured above) and a misting cool zone, a visit to Romare Bearden Park uptown is a great way to cool off while also taking in some uptown sights and attractions. Going to a Charlotte Knights or Charlotte FC game? Romare Bearden is right next door and an easy way to cool off on the way to or from the game. And with a grassy flat field right there, it’s a great frisbee, football, or soccer plus picnic spot. There is plenty of parallel parking on the adjacent streets.
5900 Oakwood Lane
Worth the drive out Highway 74 because this is another of my top two spray grounds in Charlotte! The creative and colorful splash pads, where water not only shoots out of spouts in the concrete but from frog and flower statues, is fenced in and has a covered picnic areas right next to it. That means parents can relax in the shade while keeping a watchful eye on the kiddos. The park right next door is worth the trip all by itself, and features a zipline for the older kids. The Splash pad is closed on Tuesdays for maintenance. Check their Facebook page for latest info.
2100 North Davidson St.
Cordelia Park in NoDa features both a public swimming pool (admission is $1 per person) and an adjacent sprayground, which is great for younger kids who aren’t strong swimmers yet or for parents looking for a little lower pressure setting! The sprayground is spacious, fenced in and shaded – all three a bonus for parents – plus there are nearby walking trails and a community garden.
Stallings Municipal Park
340 Stallings Road
The Splash pad at Stallings is closed after a recent upgrade, but park officials are hopeful it will open soon. Follow them on Facebook for the latest info! Judging by the parents clamoring for it to open, its clearly a great choice when up and operational! The park also has three playgrounds plus three tennis courts so you can hit some balls with older kids, then cool off in the splash pad! When it’s open, hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except Thursdays when it’s closed for maintenance.
700 West C. Street
Village Park packs a whole day of fun between its splash pad, carousel, Rotary Express Train rides, and oh yeah, a summer concert and movie series at its outdoor amphitheater. The splash pad, train and carousel do have admissions but it’s only $1.50 each. The splash pad is open from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday – Saturday and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. through August 14 when it goes back to weekend-only hours. Seating is limited but parents are invited to bring their own chairs.
For your information: The Waverly Splash pad is supposed to be reopening soon after it was closed for terrace renovation. As of three days ago it wasn’t open yet. Follow them on Facebook to get the latest. Also the splash pad at Birkdale Village in Huntersville is currently closed for renovation.