Spray parks have long been the neighborhood haunts for the suburban realm. Urban areas like our fair city just didn’t have a cool spot to beat the summer heat, until now. In the last few years the nations’ capitol has upped its game and brought the best (and free), super-soaking fountains to dip your toes in or even go knee-deep. We’ve rounded up the cream of the crop in D.C.-proper just for you.

georgetown-waterfront-park

Georgetown Waterfront Park
If you lived here in the late 90’s you might recall an overpriced parking lot right by the water that was perfect for a last resort late night spot. Gone now and much revived, this parking lot is currently the go-to hot spot for Washingtonians of all ages to soak up the sun, cool off by the Potomac and let the tiny tots run loose in a safe, clean spray of fountain water and small sprinklers. After your little one spots the 50-foot arc from the fountain and dashes through they will want to come back again and again. Benches, waterfront views and a nearby grassy area to sit and stay awhile are welcome sights for the whole family.

Open: dawn to dusk, daily (summer)

Water St., NW (Georgetown)
Online: georgetownwaterfrontpark.org

tivoli-fountainTivoli Park
What’s old is new again, am I right? Formerly known at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza Fountain or Resonance Fountain, the newly renovated Tivoli Fountain boasts colorful tiled patterns to entice the kids to run, jump, splash and play. Circular seats for tired feet and tots surround this small spot located on the corner of Park and 14th Streets. Shopping, kid-friendly eateries and even the Museum of Unnatural History (a quirky, must-visit spot) are all just steps away, making this fountain the perfect place to cool off on an otherwise hot and routine summer’s day.

Open: dawn to dusk, daily (summer)

Corner of Park Rd. and 14th St., NW (Columbia Heights)

yards-park

Yards Park
Next time the kiddos start acting up during a Nats game just tell them to go out and play in the yard. The Yards Park, that is. Built in 2010 this fountain lies in the shadow of the Nationals baseball diamond. Kids can run around, splash and play while the adult folks sigh with relief and contentment as they soak up a breathtaking view of the Anacostia River. Yes, really. There is an 11-inch shin-deep section, called the Canal, for the elementary school set to jump in while the wee ones wade around the spraying fountain. A waterfall is also on hand for those who want to get soaked in a flash.

Open: 7 am-10 pm (summer)

355 Water St., SE (Navy Yards)
202-465-7080
Online: yardspark.org

Are there any other secret fountains we should know about? Tell us in the comments section below. 

—Victoria Mason

Photos courtesy of anokarina via Creative CommonsVictoria Pickering via Creative Commons, littlelights via Creative Commons