Thanks to the help of Chicago-area parents, here's Chicago
Parent's list of can't-miss water playgrounds in and out of the
- Kristy MacKaben
The first time my kids laid eyes on a splashpark or
sprayground or splashpad or water playground or whatever you want
to call it, they were amazed. Was it a playground? Was it a
waterpark? Whatever it was, they found it completely
It was mid-August, probably one of the hottest days of the
year and we had just moved from Pennsylvania. While Chicago and the
suburbs are overrun with these water playgrounds, we had never seen
such an awesome phenomenon.
We happened upon this simple splashpad in a neighborhood
in Hoffman Estates. Our kids ran and twirled through the mist and
delighted in sitting directly over the spouting fountains. They
easily could have spent the entire day frolicking in this
After that day, we were on a mission to try out as many
spraygrounds as we could before the summer ended.
This summer, we will continue our mission. Thanks to the
help of Chicago-area parents, here's Chicago Parent's list of
can't-miss water playgrounds in and out of the city. (Of course
there are hundreds more in the city and suburbs, but we couldn't
list every one. We narrowed our list to the spraygrounds local
parents thought deserved a shout-out.)
Lincoln Park families know all about this obscure little
water haven. The soft surface splashpark is simple, with slides,
sprinklers, water spouts and dump buckets. "I love the neighborhood
and we love the park because of its visibility," says
Alissa Wiedelman of Lincoln Park, mom of two children (ages 4 and
Because of the park's size and simplicity, parents say
this park is geared to younger children.
Enjoy a day at the beach on the shore of Lake Michigan
with the spraypark as a bonus.
"It's kind of a unique play area. You don't have a lot of
spraygrounds right on the beach," says
Steve Nagle, director of operations for Glencoe Beach.
Built into the sand and rebuilt last summer, this
spraypark features a tug boat, shower mushroom, sprinkling posts,
swings, slides and the popular sunken dinghy.
"It shoots out water and kids love to play with
it," says Nagle.
This park with a wading pool works for families with kids
of varying ages. A shallow portion (about 1.5 feet deep) has a tire
swing and slides, along with spraypark features. Adjacent to the
wading pool is a larger pool with depths of 3 to 5 feet.
Lori Benvenuto of Chicago frequents Pulaski Park with her
four kids (ages 6-12).
"Pulaski Park is the best of both worlds for our family,"
says Benvenuto. "It's clean and parking is easy."
There's no staying dry at this splashpark. Kids will love
shooting their friends with the water cannons, running through the
spray rings, whale tale or mushroom fountains.
This spraypark is big and elaborate enough for everyone to
enjoy from toddlers to tweens.
"It's designed for kids ages 1 to about 9, but kids older
than 10 still enjoy it," says Steve Golembiewski, assistant
superintendent for recreation for the Westmont Park
The coolest part of this sprayground is the manmade rock formation with waterfall, which kids can run underneath.
"You can walk right through it. Kids love it," says aquatics supervisor Dave Putziger.
Water guns and a 500-gallon dump bucket are also sure to entertain for hours.