I hadn’t ever heard of a “sprayground” before. But in a moment of brilliance, Sarah C. found out about these on the Internet. So on a hot day Sarah C., Stacey (“S’Rich”), and I decided to take our boys to a sprayground.
It turns out there isn’t a ton of information out there about specifics for the different spraygrounds. So picking blindly, we chose Forest Hills park.
We were expecting the sprayground area to be bigger. Instead we found a very large playground with a small area (3 rings) dedicated as the sprayground. But since it was hot, and our kids were all ready to go in their swimsuits, we went for it. Turns out, this is a lot of fun for kids, regardless of our adult expectations.
The water starts when someone places their hand on the post in the proper spot (very Harry Potter -esque). When the water goes, it works in a random pattern, shooting up in the air through sprinklers and shooting out of the rings.
There are some problems with water parks anywhere you go, and on whatever scale. For example, even though this sprayground is only a couple of years old, there is mold around. The ground is covered with a special waterproof material, but it looks like there are drainage issues. So the kids managed to find areas of standing water where mold was growing. My husband, the environmental engineer, was also worried about the water conservancy issue when I told him about our day, which makes me wonder too.
And since this is a very popular and free feature, there can be a lot of kids there. We had good luck since we went during a weekday afternoon, but I imagine that weekends can get crazy. And no shade over the sprayground.
But honestly, for a hot day, this was great. It was especially good for our toddlers. They can do their thing and walk around exploring the water, without the stress of a big pool and flotation device. Of course, some toddlers might be a little put off by the water spurting suddenly, such as C, but you never know til you go! Beyond the toddler age, as we were leaving a group of older boys showed up and they seemed to have just as much fun. So it seems to work for all ages.
We didn’t find or use any indoor changing facilities or restrooms. We came ready to play and left a little wet.
Outside of this sprayground, the Forest Hills park was good. There is a pool there, not large, but we didn’t check it out. The playground itself is large with some good equipment. No shade, and the ground cover is a combination of mulch and synthetic material. They do have bucket swings for toddlers.
1639 University Drive
2) Forest Hills Park, 1639 University Drive
3) Hillside Park, 1301 S. Roxboro St
4) E. Johnson Rec Center, 600 W. Murray Ave
5) Millbrook Exchange Park, 1905 Spring Forest Rd
6) Chavis Park, 720 Chavis Way
7) Lake Johnson, 1416 Athens Drive
8) Ridge Road, 1709 Ridge Road