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Seattle’s Best Spraygrounds, Wading Pools & Beaches

Seattle summers are fickle, but Seattle kids will take their water play all day, any day. Whether it’s an overcast cool day or a scorcher, grab your suits and head out to one of our city’s many water play areas to splash around. The best part? They’re free!

June 2010 Tukwila Spray Park 001

Splash Pads & Spray Parks

With longer hours than wading pools and the perk of being open rain or shine (spray parks only close in the case of thunder and lightning), your summer fun with the kids doesn’t have to wait. All Seattle spray parks and splash pads are open from 11 a.m.–8 p.m. through September 1, 2014.

Ballard Commons Park
For an urban splash experience, try out the not-too-big splash pad at the Ballard Commons Park, complete with enormous spraying shells. It’s also right across from the library so you can have retreat to a cool book-filled corner if it gets a little too hot.

5701 22nd Ave. N.W.
Seattle, Wa 98107
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail

Beacon Mountain Spray Park – Jefferson Park
If you need a park with a view, hit up the splash park at Jefferson Park. Only two years old, this jewel of Beacon Hill is perfect for smaller tots and has lots of space for parents to soak up some rays and catch vistas of downtown and the Olympic Mountains.

3801 Beacon Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98108
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail

Highland Park
After closing its wading pool in 2008, this lovely park reopened last year with a new and vastly improved spray park in lieu of its old wading pool. If your kids stop hopping through the water spouts long enough, they’ll note the fun (and scientifically accurate) planetary theme.

1100 S.W. Cloverdale St.
Seattle, Wa 98106
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail

Filtration Station

Tukwila Spray Park 
Located just a few miles outside of the city at the Tukwila Community Center, the Tukwila Spray Park is a popular place for many West Seattle and south Seattle families. Little ones will love the water dome and gentle sprayers and big kids will love the water cannons and bucket that dumps water on splashers below. The park has plenty of grassy space to throw down a blanket and enjoy a picnic, and starting in August, you can catch the Peanut Butter & Jam Concert Series. This popular noontime concert series will feature fave kindie rockers including Recess Monkey, Johnny Bregar, The Not-Its!, and Eric Ode. Splash, dance and relax!

12424 42nd Ave. S.
Tukwila, WA 98168
206-768-2822
Online: tukwilawa.gov/recreation/rectcc.html

International Foundation at Seattle Center 
Perhaps the most famous, and certainly the largest, fountain in Seattle, the International Fountain in the heart of Seattle Center (right next to Key Arena) is a show stopper for sure. Built in 1961 for the World’s Fair, the fountain has choreographed musical numbers with jumping jets of water that surprise even the most nimble of water-lovers. Maybe this will be the summer when your kiddos (and you?) finally touch the silver dome in the center of the fountain without getting a face-full of water? For a quieter fountain experience nearby, also try out the Fountain of Creation just northeast of the International Fountain in Seattle Center.

305 Harrison St.
Seattle, Wa 98109
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail
Open: 10 a.m.–9 p.m. through September 2, 2014

International Fountain Seattle

Georgetown Spray Park
As one of the four sparkling new splash pads in Seattle, this is an oasis of fun in the middle of south Seattle. The fountain-filled water area is located near playground at the north end of the park, so if the kids get tired of splashing, they can always hit the swings for a change of pace.

750 S. Homer St.
Seattle, Wa 98108
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail

Lake Union Spray Park
Right on the water in the heart of South Lake Union is a lovely little splash pad that is the perfect refresher after a stroll downtown or lunch at one of the many new restaurants in this revitalized part of town. You can also cruise the nearby Museum of History and Industry or take an introductory sail at the Center for Wooden Boats. Or, just splash around, enjoy the fountains, the views of the Space Needle and the sea planes flying over head.

860 Terry Ave. N.
Seattle, Wa 98109
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail

Pratt Park
Take a trip to the Central District for your best bet on a park that isn’t too crowded but still tons of fun. Pratt Park has a spray area with whimsical animal-shaped sprayers, lots of sun, and play equipment nearby.

1800 S. Main St.
Seattle, Wa 98108
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail

splash pad

Miller Park
Miller Playfield hosts a cozy fountain with high spouts for brave kids and ground level sprayers for the more cautious.

330 19th Ave. E.
Seattle, Wa 98112
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail

North Acres Park
If you’re looking for a full day of summer fun, try out the North Acres Park between I-5 and Haller Lake. The playground was fully renovated in 2012 and the wooded area has gentle walking paths (perhaps the perfect spot for a game of water balloon tag?). And if Fido needs some exercise as well, bring him along; there’s an off-leash dog park. The spray park is a labyrinth, which adds new meaning to getting lost in the lazy days of summer.

12718 1st Ave. N.E.
Seattle, Wa 98125
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail

Wading Pools

Once the mercury hits 70 degrees, the floodgates open and wading pools in almost every Seattle neighborhood are open for business. If you want to see your kiddos wade and wallow around like lazy hippos (or, more likely… hyperactive hippos), check out these favorite wading pools.

Note: A few old standbys are closed this season, so be sure to check the Seattle Parks and Recreation website for a complete list and to find the wading pool closest to you. If the weather is questionable, call the Wading Pool Hotline (206-684-7796); the hotline is updated at 9:30 a.m. daily with open and closure information.

greenlake wading pool

Green Lake Wading Pool
Located on the north side of Green Lake, this is the largest of Seattle’s wading pools, and probably the most popular. Cool your heels here after a spin around the lake, and you’ll be an instant part of the very large fan club for this summer time hot spot.

7201 E. Greenlake Dr. N.
Seattle, Wa 98115
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail
Open: Daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. through September 2, 2014

Lincoln Park Wading Pool
Although it’s the smallest of the “Big Three” wading pools, the prime location of Lincoln Park along the lovely beaches of West Seattle make it a one of the most beautiful spots around for a quick dip. If you’re looking for an late afternoon/evening wade, this is your wading pool as it catches lots of late afternoon sunshine. And if you need total immersion, Colman Pool is right down the hill.

8011 Fauntleroy Way S.W.
Seattle, Wa 98136
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail
Open: Daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. through September 2, 2014

Lincoln Park wading pool

Magnuson Park Wading Pool
Technically not one of the “Big Three” wading pools, it is one of the few other wading pools to be open daily throughout the summer. Magnuson is in the second largest park in Seattle and therefore boasts tons of other stuff to do (beaches, playground, butterfly garden, off-leash dog park) in addition to having a super-sweet wading pool.

7400 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, Wa 98115
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail
Open: Daily, 12 p.m.-6:30 p.m. through September 2, 2014

Volunteer Park Wading Pool
This historic grassy park in Capital Hill is a bastion of green space in the city. In fact, if it weren’t for the amazing views of downtown and the Space Needle, this pastoral spot might have you forgetting you were in the city at all. So bring a picnic and plan on staying a while, even after you’ve had your fill with sploshing through the nice big wading pool.

1247 15th Ave. E.
Seattle, Wa 98112
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail
Open: Daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. through September 2, 2014

Volunteer Park

Wallingford Park
Super centrally located (just blocks from Molly Moons ice cream and Fainting Goat Gelato if you need a sweet summer treat), Wallingford’s wading pool is that “just right” size for a mid-week romp in the water. The pool is right next to the playground which has both a sandbox and “easy” slide area for tiny tots and a great climbing area and bigger slides for more advanced adventurers.

4219 Wallingford Ave. N.
Seattle, Wa 98103
Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools_detail
Open: Daily, 12 p.m.-7 p.m. through September 2, 2014

Beaches

One of the best parts of living in Seattle is that there is no shortage of family-friendly beaches. Some are great for sand castles, while others have interesting critters galore awaiting you under every rock. So grab your buckets and shovels and get to the beach!

Note: The City of Seattle has nine life-guarded beaches during the summer and offers free swim lessons from 12:15 p.m.–12:45 p.m. daily for kids ages 6-16.

When the day is done

Discovery Park
At Discovery Park, the largest park in the city, you have to hoof it to get to the beach if you park at the Visitor’s Center or other lots up on the bluff (you can get a beach parking permit at the Environmental Learning Center if you have kids under 8 or seniors in your crew), but the wooded walk (not stroller-friendly) is lovely and drops you off in a whole new world of beach-y wonder. Lots of driftwood for fort-making and the perfect spot for kite flying.

3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
Seattle, Wa 98199
Online: seattle.gov/parks/environment/discovery.htm

Alki Beach
Head to Alki if you’re looking for a beach walk that just keeps going and going and going (for example, if a certain small someone needs to take a stroller nap and you’d like your walk to last more than 10 minutes). With 2.5 miles of paved sidewalks right along the beach, you’re all set. And, if you’re up for some beach volleyball, you can usually find that too!

1702 Alki Ave. S.W.
Seattle, Wa 98116
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail

Group of kids at Alki Beach

Madrona Park Beach
If you like to dig in the sand while splashing, head down to Madrona Beach, just south of Leschi, where kids can turn on a spigot to fill a tile-lined river bed running through the beach into Lake Washington. Build dams, reservoirs, or a moat for your sand castle and then take a dip in the lake.

853 Lake Washington Blvd.
Seattle, Wa 98114
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail

Golden Gardens Park
On a sunny day in Seattle, everyone seems to have the same idea: Get to Golden Gardens. Immediately. This park has a fabulous newly updated kids play area behind the community building, but even more alluring is the sandy beaches with gently lapping waves and fire pits for epic beach fires. Get here early to reserve a picnic spot. It is truly packed on sunny days, and with good reason.

8498 Seaview Pl. N.W.
Seattle, Wa 98117
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail

golden gardens

Mount Baker Beach
Although small in comparison to some of the other parks and beaches listed here, this spot in south Seattle is perfect for your little sun-bunnies. There’s a diving board for those who just have to cannon ball, and calmer waters for ones who want to wade. All this, and easy parking right next to the beach as well as a playground for more serious running around.

2521 Lake Park Dr. S.
Seattle, WA 98144
Online: seattle.gov/parks/beach_detail

Seward Park
Though a bit of a drive from the city center, Seward Park offers some of the best (and warmest) swimming in Seattle. Also, in case you stay longer than planned and your littles are in need of a nosh, there’s a snack bar close by for ice cream and hot dogs.

5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S.
Seattle, Wa 98114
Online: seattle.gov/parks/beach_detail

Seward Park

A few notes in case your little ones happen to think the pools and splash pads are their very own drinking fountains:

Spray parks: Are chemically treated and filtered much like a swimming pool (water is re-circulated, which makes them a “greener” choice than wading pools), and will automatically shut off and rebalance themselves back public health standards. Bill Dougherty of Seattle Parks and Recreation would like remind us all, “not to wear your street clothes in the spray park, and to please not use it as a shower.” ‘Nuf said, Bill!

Wading pools: Are filled and drained daily; they are chemically treated, but not filtered throughout the day. They are hand-checked hourly to make sure the water meets health code, but there’s a whole lotta bodies in those pools, so best not to drink the water there either.

What’s your favorite outdoor spot to splish and splash around on summer days? Let us know in the comments section below.

–Katie Gruver

Photo credit: Kalyn Gustafson, Kristina Moy, Allison Sutcliffe, Eric Peacock via Flickr, Jeffrey Tripp via Flickr, Seth Stoll via Flickr, Seattle Municipal ArchivesWilliam Clifford via Flickr, Pfly, & Michelle Riggen-Ransom via Flickr

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