Cool down at these Northwest suburban splash pads when temps soar

Summer is here and temperatures are climbing into the 90’s this week. It’s a safe bet that you and your little ones are searching for ways to stay cool without just sitting at home in the air conditioning or in that plastic baby pool you bought at Target.

Splash pad essentials

I’ve been known for pulling up to a local splash pad and unleashing a tornado toddler in her regular clothes; which is fun and spontaneous, however, I questioned my sanity afterward when I thought, “What the heck will I put on her in until we get home?”


Here is a list of summer splash pad essentials that you’ll want in tow for any visits (spontaneous or planned).


Bathing suit (With rash guard, if possible)


Sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat (Like Gilligan)


Reusable or disposable swim diapers


Flip-flops or water shoes




Beach towel


An extra set of clothes for after water play


Band-Aids (Just in case they take a spill)


Enter the splash pad. Some local pads are free (if you’re a resident) and offer optimal areas for fun and getting soaked.

I’ve created a list of my favorite splash pads in the Northwest suburbs to serve up some summertime fun.

Des Plaines Splash Pad

9229 Emerson St., Des Plaines

This is our go-to splash pad for last-minute fun near our home. It features dump buckets, water cannons (to catch Mommy off guard), a tot mister and aqua dome, and several geysers and jets.

There is a daily drop-in rate of $2 (resident) and $4 (non-resident). Children under one are free. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday: 1-7 p.m.; Saturday: 12-7 p.m.; and Sunday:12-5 p.m.

Little Bear Park

Located at Patriot Boulevard & Chestnut Ave., Glenview

Situated in a picturesque park in The Glen just steps away from Kohl Children’s Museum, this free splash pad is a great last minute option that serves up more than just water. In addition to a castle-themed playground, maze and porch-style swings to sit back and read a book (Parents, here’s looking at you.), you’ll find a cool interactive splash pad with shooting water jets and sprinklers. Kids are thrilled by the anticipation of where the water will shoot out next after pressing mysterious buttons.

Tip: Bring some water shoes to this one as the ground tends to get a little slick.

Barry Recreation Center

6140 N. Scott, Rosemont

Rainbow sprinklers, shooting geysers, water “guns,” buckets; you name it, this water park has it. Sit back and relax on the deck chairs while your littles romp, or take them just outside the gates to the two large outdoor playgrounds with a blue rubber surface for safety.

Free for Rosemont residents, $4 for non-residents. Children under two are free and parents accompanying a child under six will not be charged (if just supervising).

Tip: It is a concrete surface so bare feet or water shoes are recommended.

Prospect Park Splash Pad

733 N. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge

This new splash pad, located at Prospect Park in Park Ridge, features a large, pirate-themed water play area perfect for young kiddos. It features a large colorful boat with interactive water features, a tot slide, arched rain “showers” with shark fins, barrels of water and so much more. Bring squirt guns, cups, water balls and a picnic lunch, and it’s sure to be a perfect day!

Admission for kids is $4 (resident) and $6 (non-resident). Kids under one year are free. There is a resident discount for admission, but is not listed on their site. The splash pad is open every day from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Skokie Water Playground

4701 Oakton St., Skokie

Not technically a water park, this water playground boasts a refilling giant bucket that empties on you every few minutes (Whoooooosh!), five slides, a fully-accessible sprayground and an interactive multi-level play area.

It’s also one of the biggest splash grounds to boot and will make for a cool summer afternoon. The park district offers locker rooms with showers available to hose down your sweat and sunscreen. And you can even enjoy a little lunch with its convenient on-site café. Residents can enjoy discounted admission of $7.50 for adults and $6.50 for kids. Non-residents will pay $14.

With so many local options, you don’t have to travel to the Dells for water play! Stay cool out there!

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