Forget the $20 admission water parks. And there's only so much splashing kids can do in a wading pool. Babies, toddlers and kindergartners can be entertained for much longer at a splash pad, a space with sprinklers and spraying water to run through and play in.
I took two toddlers to the splash pad at Kelley Park in Apple Valley today to bounce around in the water and climb all over the playground. You know that kids have played to exhaustion when one of them falls asleep the moment you drive off, and the other is silent for the whole half-hour ride home. A fun-filled morning and a peaceful car ride home - splash pads are a hit for me!
Here's where to find free splash pads around the Twin Cities.
In St. Louis Park, the Oak Hill Splash Pad has a rainbow of sprinklers, bubblers and water jets. This is the closest splash pad to Minneapolis.
Nicollet Commons Park in Burnsville has a plaza with collection of spraying fountains.
Kelley Park in Apple Valley has a cool collection of water sprayers, sprinklers and fountains, and a large dry play area right next to the water for double the fun. The layout also makes it easier for parents to keep an eye on their kids.
edit to add: St. Paul installed their first splash pad this summer at Lewis Park, in Midway St. Paul.