The heat and humidity in Central Ohio during the summer months is just plain brutal. Seriously, it seems as if some days the air can be cut with a spoon. Luckily, a few splash parks have sprung up around town that help take the edge off cranky hot kiddies! Splash parks are free, fun, and less hassle than the pool. Water squirts out of the ground or from water poles at various levels and the kids basically just splash, play, run, roll, and get wet. Bathing suits are required for littles because they will get soaking wet, but mamas or papas can just wear shorts and dodge the water.
Ballantrae in Dublin: 6350 Woerner Temple Rd. Dublin, OH 43016
- A total blast. You walk up and there is a big hill with a huge sculpture of dancing hares at the top. On the other side of the hill is the splash park with waterfalls and tons of in ground water squirters. The kids love it.
- There are a few covered picnic tables, but bring a blanket and claim a spot so you can hang out for a snack or to dry off.
- You are in full sun, so bring plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and your shades.
Village Green Park in Powell: 47 Hall Street Powell, OH 43065
- Fun in the sun. This park has water poles that fill buckets with water and dump out at random times to drench your little ones. They also have water-free jungle gyms and play areas.
- Some spots are a bit shaded and there are a few picnic tables. Bring a blanket or some lawn chairs if you plan to hang out for a few hours.
- Rita’s Ice-Custard Happiness is at 50 S. Liberty Street, which is around the corner of the splash park in Old Powell…it could be a nice treat after hanging out on a hot day.
- BTW – a train track runs along the backside of the park and can be loud when it passes by. This is a forewarning to be prepared for those of you who have children scared of loud noises.
Homestead Park in Hilliard: 4675 Cosgray Rd. Hilliard, OH 43026
- There really aren’t fountains that spray water, rather water-type fun. They have squirt gun-type things for the bigger kids, a “panning for gold” water bench that gives the children the ability to play in the water or add more water to the trough, and a large water-friendly play area. The farm theme is just darn cute, and there is even a cow to “milk.”
- Lots of areas to picnic, including covered picnic bench areas and soft shaded-grassy areas.
- If it is crowded parking can be a bit scarce and you may have a bit of a hike. Bathrooms are at the main building, which isn’t too far from the splash area.
- Lots of other jungle gyms and play areas, pathways for a stroll, and a pond if the kids like to go creeking (just be sure to put the wildlife back in the water).
Easton Town Center splash areas: 160 Easton Town Center Columbus, OH 43219
- The two splash areas I have experienced are: 1.) In front of California Pizza Kitchen; 2.) in the square in front of Cheesecake Factory…like how my references are the food joints….
- Not as conducive to just hanging out as a park, but they are just as enjoyable for the little ones. There are benches adults can hang out on while they watch their littles splash around.
Polaris Fashion Center small splash area beside the Barnes and Noble: 1560 Polaris Parkway Columbus, OH 43240
- Small splash area similar to the circular fountains at Easton.
- Benches, some shade, and bathrooms nearby.
Scioto Mile splash park at Bicentennial Park is awesome! 233 Civic Center Drive Columbus, OH 43215
- Rows of shooting water at various levels so bigs and littles are satisfied.
- Times geyser and fog rolls in – very cool!
- Full sun, concrete and lawn areas to sit, metered parking, bathroom nearby.
If you plan to go splash around, please remember a few things:
- Parking is reasonably close, but not when you have bags full of towels, food, and extra diapers and dry clothes. If your child cannot walk alone, plan to put him/her in an umbrella stroller so you have free arms to haul your stuff.
- Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen if they are playing for a while in the water. Even though they aren’t submerged, the sun is just as brutal as at the pool.
- Bring a snack or plan to picnic lunch. Water is exhausting for littles.
- I’ve seen kids playing with water toys in the water – even plain old empty water bottles.
- If you want to put your child in shoes, make sure they don’t slip on a wet surface. Water shoes, river sandals, or bare feet. Let’s prevent slipping and falling on our faces, shall we? Babies can just sit in the water, but watch closely because bigger kids sometimes run and act crazy.
- Many of them offer little shade.
- Bathrooms are nearby.