Here in Central Florida, we contend with unpleasant heat and humidity from May through September, but there's plenty of warm weather through the rest of spring and fall, too. An Orlando splash pad is a fun way to beat the heat while letting the kiddos get fresh air and exercise and burn off some of that excess energy.
Public splash pads are located all around Orlando, so there's probably one within a 15-minute drive of your home. Some are more elaborate than others, but they're all free or very cheap, and all are guaranteed to be a good time for the little (and even not-so-little) ones. Most also have accompanying playgrounds, park grounds, picnic areas, or other amenities to help make a day of it.
Here's just a small sampling of some of the best Orlando-area splash pads:
Located just off Apopka-Vineland Rd., the Dr. Phillips splash pad features spray jets at various heights, water rings and interactive spray streamers. The cost is only $1 per person. The nearby playground is uniquely designed and loads of fun, and there's also a basketball court and large volleyball court. Like everything else in Dr. Phillips, the splash pad gets crowded during the summer and might not be the best choice for toddlers.
If you're on the west side of town, check out the splash pad at Barnett Park. Multiple fountains of water shoot up from beneath the ground in different directions, and the play area is open to kids of all ages. Lounge chairs and tables with umbrellas surround the pad so you can relax while your little ones burn off their excess energy. The splash pad is free, and there is a golf practice facility, gym and playground on site.
This simple splash pad is located in the Lake Underhill area and is free for all ages. Kids will enjoy running around inside the fenced-in area while trying to dodge water spouts that shoot up from the ground. There's also two large playgrounds, a walking trail and a clubhouse. If the weather's windy, bring a kite; the park boasts a large open green space that is ideal for playing Frisbee or flying kites.
After playing in the Downey Park splash pad, which includes large water rings and a sand beach, kids can skateboard at the skate park or have fun on the park's playground. There's also a dog park and basketball court. This splash pad is located in East Orlando, at the intersection of SR 50 and Dean Rd. May is free, but there's a $1 per person fee during the summer months.
Oviedo Splash Park
While not technically in Orlando, this splash park puts all others to shame and deserves to be listed. In addition to a zero depth entry pool, there's a large slide and play area that rivals some full water parks. Little ones will love the water spouts, toddler-sized tube slide and underwater jets. There's also a small concession stand inside in case the kids get hungry. Admission is $4 to $9 dollars, depending on residency.