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Summer Splash: Kid-Friendly Water Parks

If it weren’t for pruney fingers and the occasional snack break, we’re pretty sure our kids would never get out of the water. As the Bay Area heats up for summer and you’re in need of ways to entertain your little water babies, a romp at one your local water park is just the trick for a surefire afternoon of fun. Of course, you can hit up one of the mammoth water parks, like WaterWorld in Concord, or Raging Waters in San Jose or Sacramento, but for those looking to get wet without the whole theme park side bit, these local picks are hard to top. Grab your swim trucks and goggles and get ready for a splash-tastic good time this summer.

water park

South Bay

John D. Morgan Park
The city’s largest park is located along San Tomas Expressway. Morgan Park includes 2 playgrounds on the park’s opposite ends. While the tall, 2-story play structure lies on the Budd Avenue side of the park, the water fun area is located on the Rincon Avenue side. The water flows down a long ramp, leading to small pools for children to enjoy puddle jumping fun. The fountain’s summer hours (April-October) are 10:00 am – 6:00 pm daily.

540 W. Rincon Avenue
Campbell, Ca

Cali Mill Plaza & Fountains
Adjacent to the Cypress Hotel, this park features a giant stainless steel sculpture that appears to shift as one walks around it. There are two interactive fountains designed with lights and jets in a grid pattern emitting spurts of 4 foot high water. While your kids take part in some summer water fun, you can enjoy the park’s sunny weather and artistic architecture.

Corner of Stevens Creek Boulevard and De Anza Boulevard
Cupertino, Ca

water park 2

Lakewood Park
In addition to a swimming pool, this 11-acre park has a water entertainment area perfect for young children. Lakewood Park is also home to a skate area, a basketball court, bike paths, horseshoe pits, and an area for bonfires. This regularly maintained park is enjoyed by locals, young and old alike.

834 Lakechime Drive
Sunnyvale, Ca

Lincoln Glen Park
This modest little park boasts a children’s interactive fountain and a play structure. There’s also a gazebo and a big grassy area. The park also has various public art installations on display.

Radio and Curtner Avenues
San Jose, Ca



Frontierland Playground
Designed by the families of Pacifica and hand built by the community, Frontierland Playground is one of the bay area’s hidden gems. The large, enclosed play area makes it easy for parents to keep an eye on kids running loose. The playground includes a small climbing wall, musical areas made out of metal pipes, and a well/dungeon made out of tires perfect for climbing. There are slides, swings, and a tot area with a train depot for pretend play. When temperatures soar, the water misting area helps little ones cool down. Adjacent to the play area, picnic tables and a large grassy area are perfect for picnicking, kicking a ball or flying a kite.

Yosemite Dr and Humboldt Ct
Pacifica, Ca

Ryder Court Park
When the coastal fog rolls in thick, head on over to sunny San Mateo. The water fountains spring unpredictably from the ground, keeping you on your toes. The park’s well manicured lawn is perfect for picnicking and the playground is not too far from the BBQ area. While reveling in some water fun, the kids can work up an appetite as dad grills up some burgers and hotdogs. The park also has a paved bike path, which takes you on a fantastic ride along the shoreline. For the airplane enthusiast, there’s also a good view of planes landing at SFO.

1801 J. Hart Clinton Drive
San Mateo, Ca


Rinconada Park Pool
Recently remodeled, the Palo Alto facility’s kiddie pool appears in the shape of a five-petal flower. Each petal has its own swimming, water fun area, including “lemon drop” geysers, a circular waterfall, and water bicycles. For older swimmers, there’s two diving boards and 14 lap lanes. Admission is $5 for adults (ages 18 – 59), $3 for seniors (60+), $4 for youth (ages 3 – 17), and $2 for infants (2 and younger). Recreation swim membership is also available for Palo Alto residents and non-residents. Street parking only.

777 Embarcadero Road
Palo Alto, Ca

East Bay

Hap McGee Ranch Park
Hap McGee Ranch Park features a kid-friendly water park made of metal tubes forming a tunnel with water spraying inside. As youngsters run through the structure, a motion sensor activates and water sprays up from the ground, raising squeals of joy. This 17-acre park also has walking trails, separate play areas for younger and older children, picnic areas, and a dog park. The fountain operates from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekends.

1025 La Gonda Way
Danville, Ca

Silliman Family Aquatic Center
With a 32,000 square foot facility, Sillman is packed to the gills with activities and wet fun for your little swimmers. The water is a warm 83 degrees, so its delightfully pleasant no matter what time of the year you want to take a dip. With a combination of large slides, a lazy river, spa, open lap pool and a children’s activity pool, your kids will be entertained until their fingers wrinkle.

6800 Mowry Avenue
Newark, Ca


Fremont Central Park
This picturesque park has it all: a lake, a wading stream, and a full-fledged water park. Lake Elizabeth is great for free range swimming or taking your boat out for a spin. Fremont Central Park also has a shallow stream where kids can wade barefoot while digging up rocks, sailing little toy boats and throwing rocks off a little bridge. For some watery fun, head over to Aqua Adventure. This small water park (which replaced the old lagoon) comes complete with water slides, a lazy river, and an aqua jungle gym. Outside food and drinks are not allowed. Picnic areas are outside the water park, but you can obtain a wristband for re-entry.

40000 Paseo Padre Parkway
Fremont, Ca

Emerald Glen Park
One of Dublin’s brightest gems, this park was newly renovated and now is jam-packed with BBQ areas, bathrooms, play area, a water park, and a large sandbox. With little shade, this park can stay pretty warm during the sunny summer days, so wearing a hat and sunscreen is a must. Open every day from dawn until dusk.

4201 Central Parkway
Dublin, Ca

kid in pool goggles

Robert Livermore Community Center Pool 
This amazing facility is certainly the most elaborate of public pools within the San Francisco Bay Area. As a sense of excitement pervades the pool’s atmosphere, the main attraction is a 22-foot high single-chute yellow spiral slide. Although the slide is probably not for the 6 and under crowd, it can be some fun for mom and dad. There are two pool areas that include a toddler friendly beach-entry pool hosting an interactive play structure, water-spouting cannons, a water slide and a lap pool available for recreational and lap swimming. Hours are 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm Monday-Friday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm Saturday, and 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm Sunday. $5 for children taller than 48 inches, $3 for under 48 inches, and $4 for spectators. Free admission for kids under 2.

4444 East Avenue
Livermore, Ca

Marin & North Bay

Maria B. Freitas Park
Swings and slides are not the main attraction at this park. Instead, this unique playground uses water as its entertainment. Press the hand on the red pipe, and a slow trickle of water emerges from a row of three giant rings. Thereafter, a small, gentle geyser, resembling Old Faithful, sprouts up from the ground. It later disappears and pops across on the other side. As the water performance slowly continues, children get less and less intimidated. The water show evenutally builds to a crescendo blasting from all the rings at once.  While giggling and getting soaked, kids can run through, under and around the crescendo. Do not drink the water since it is reclaimed.

Montecillo Road (at Trellis Drive)
San Rafael, Ca

girl in pool

Terra Linda Community Pool
Marin County’s newest outdoor public cement pond features a zero-depth design kiddie pool complete with three fountains. The children’s pool and the adjacent lap pool are always heated to a relaxing 80 degrees. Check the schedule for more detailed information.

670 Del Ganado Road
San Rafael, Ca

What are your family’s choice water park and pool picks in the  Bay Area? Let us know below!

photos courtesy of Yatmandu, Terra Linda Pool facebook page, Lotzman Katzmand mackey,


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