City Kids is written by Takoma, DC resident Caroline. Caroline previously wrote about Brunch at Jake’s American Grill.
If there had been such thing as a spray park—a small, neighborhood cooling play spot—when I was a kid, I would have died and gone to heaven. But parks were a dry-land affair, and pools were pools, ne’er the twain shall meet.
Luckily for today’s kids in DC, they have some great spray park options. The spray parks typically cater to kids 10 and under; ones who would otherwise be playing on the jungle gym. Depending on the facility, though, older kids might not be all that interested. On a hot day, however, even the parents and caregivers will be in the water.
If you’re looking for a way to wear out some little ones on a hot day, check out your closest spray park. We checked out quite a few in the area and summed up the pros and cons below.
14th and Park Road Spray Park – 14th Street and Park Road, NW. This fountain has a mosaic tile surface with multiple jets of water. There is seating along the low perimeter wall.
Pros: Easily accessible via public transportation and parking, close to shopping and restaurants
Cons: Very crowded at all times, no shade
Chevy Chase Spray Park (aka Livingston Park) – 5500 41st Street, NW. The spray area has a concrete surface and is within the same fenced area as the playground.
Pros: Large park with a nice playground, shaded
Cons: Can be crowded
Friendship Spray Park (aka Turtle Park) – 4500 Van Ness Street, NW. There are several ground-level fountains that wet most of the 20’ x 20’ enclosed area. There are a couple of benches that are not guaranteed to be out of the spray zone.
Pros: Large park with nice playground and sandbox, shaded, communal toys and tricycles
Cons: Small and basic spray area, tile surface broken, not convenient to public transportation
Palisades Spray Park – 5200 Sherier Place, NW. Ground-level jets, dumping buckets, and a small water slide are on a rubberized surface. There are shaded picnic tables nearby.
Pros: Brand new facility with adjacent playground, shaded, dedicated parking
Cons: Crowded, mixed ages in the same play area can result in roughhousing and little ones not being able to use some features
Petworth Spray Park – 801 Taylor Street, NW. The spray area is enclosed but separate from the playground. The spray area features ground-level jets, dumping buckets, and carwash-style run-throughs. There are several benches.
Pros: Elaborate and large spray area, adjacent playground
Cons: Not shaded
Downtown Silver Spring fountain – 916 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, MD. There are many ground-level jets on a mosaic surface about 20’ across. There is shaded makeshift seating along the perimeter wall.
Pros: Easily accessible by public transportation and parking, nearby shops and restaurants
Cons: Unenclosed area with many passersby
Westminster Park – 911 Westminster Street NW. Ground-level jets shoot across the area at the center of the park. The water area is in the same fenced area as the playground.
Pros: Shaded, communal toys and tricycles, rubber surface
Cons: Small park
Georgetown Waterfront – 3000 K Street, NW. The waterfront fountain is both pretty and fun. The water on the rubberized surface gets gradually deeper to about 8”.
Pros: Large water area where kids can wade and splash, duck feeding nearby
Cons: Can be difficult or expensive to park
National Zoo American Trail Exhibit – 3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Ground-level jets spray at alternating intervals, and a periodic “high tide” washes over the entire area.
Pros: Kids can splash along side the sea lions
Cons: Small area can get congested, no seating
Yards Park – 355 Water Street, SE. A new waterfront facility. The spray/water play area includes a shallow pool, waterfall, and ground-level jets.
Pros: Large pool doesn’t get too crowded, shaded areas with tables and chairs available
Cons: Driving and parking can be a hassle.