We’re not sure who’s more excited about Seattle’s spray parks, splash pads and wading pools re-opening this year—parents or kids. But we’re so glad they are! After a year off, wading in and splashing around is back on for Seattle families. Here’s what you need to know about Seattle’s free water play areas, including what’s open (and what’s not), so you can plan your best summer ever. Now we just need to sun to cooperate too!

photo: Lindsay Engler

Seattle 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), spray parks are a summer must. This year, the city has plans to open six spray parks from June 26, 2021 through Labor Day (read on for details); there's a possible seventh opening (at Pratt Playground) in the works. Bring the kids any time between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. to get their splash on. Check here to view the Seattle spray park and wading pool map and get updates. And remember...some spay parks are activated by a push button!

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Beacon Mountain Spray Park at Jefferson Park
If you need a park with a view and plenty of other things to do, hit up the splash park at Jefferson Park. 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. Plus, there's two zippy tube slides next to the spray park for even added fun.

3801 Beacon Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98108
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/jefferson-park

Highland Park Playground
After closing its wading pool in 2008, this lovely park reopened in 2013 with a new and vastly improved spray park in lieu of its old wading pool and received a face lift in 2017. 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/find/parks/highland-park-playground

 

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

International Fountain at Seattle Center 
Perhaps the most famous, and certainly the largest, fountain in Seattle, the International Fountain in the heart of Seattle Center is a showstopper 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.

Good to know: The International Fountain is currently closed for major improvements with plans to re-open July 1, 2021. 

305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109
Online: seattlecenter.com

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 the nearby playground is an added perk.

Good to know: This spray park will be open starting July 3, 2021, daily 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Free lunches served Tuesdays and Thursdays, from noon-1 p.m.

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

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

South Lake Union 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, rent a free Peapod boat (Weds.-Sun.) at The Center for Wooden Boats or board the Queen Anne Revenge pirate ship parked at the dock next to MOHAI. 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: atlakeunionpark.org

Georgetown Playfield 
As one of the four sparkling new-ish splash pads in Seattle, this is an oasis of fun in the middle of South Seattle. The fountain-filled water area is located near the updated airplane-themed playground at the north end of the park, so if your 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/find/parks/georgetown-playfield

Northacres 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/find/parks/northacres-park

Yesler Terrace Park
Another splash pad option that offers an outstanding playground is Yesler Terrace Park. Recently renovated, families will find fantastic views alongside plenty of play spots here. It's pretty much a spend the day kind of place when the sun is out.

917 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/yesler-terrace-park

Note: The city may open the Pratt Playground splash pad later in the summer. Although there are spray parks at Judkins Park and Playfield and John C. Little, Sr. Park, as of publication, they are not included in the opening plans for 2021.

photo: Kalyn Gustafson

Seattle Wading Pools

Editor's note: Due to a regional chlorine shortage, Seattle Parks & Recreation has had to make last-minute adjustments to the wading pool hours and schedule. Find current and updated hours and information here.

Once the mercury hits 70 degrees, the floodgates open and the city's wading pools get filled. This year, the city has plans to open 11 of its wading pools for families. If you want to see your kids wallow around like lazy hippos (or more likely…hyperactive hippos), check out our favorite wading pools around the Emerald City.

Note: Starting June 26, 2021, the wading pools included in this article will be open from noon to 7 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) when the conditions are right (no rain the forecast and a prediction of 70 degree temps or higher). Please note the Green Lake wading pool will open on July 2 and the Delridge Community Center wading pool will be on limited hours, from noon to 5:30 p.m. To find the wading pool closest to you, check the Seattle Parks and Recreation website. 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. You can also check the city's wading pool Facebook page.

Green Lake Park Wading Pool
Located on the north side of Green Lake, this is the largest of Seattle’s "Big Three" 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. Psst! After you splash, hit the Ben & Jerry's scoop shop across the street.

Open: Daily, Jul. 2-Sep. 6

7201 E. Greenlake Dr. N.
Seattle, WA 98115
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/green-lake-park

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 a 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. Note: the wading pool is located next to the updated north play area.

Open: Daily, Jun. 26-Sep. 6, 2021

8011 Fauntleroy Way S.W.
Seattle, WA 98136
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/lincoln-park

photo: Seattle Parks & Recreation

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. Bring a picnic and plan on staying a while, even after you’ve had your fill with splashing through the nice big wading pool. Psst...this wading pool is one of the city's "Big Three."

Open: Daily, Jun. 26-Sep. 6, 2021

1247 15th Ave. E.
Seattle, WA 98112
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/volunteer-park

Bitter Lake Wading Pool
Located on the north end of the city, this wading pool doesn't disappoint, and neither do the park amenities that come along with it. In addition to a spot for kids to play hippo or Jaws, you'll find a playground and lighted tennis courts (sounds like a great after swim activity to us!) all right next to the large community center. Picnic, swim and play is the trifecta play at Bitter Lake.

Open: Daily, Jun. 26-Sep. 6, 2021

13035 Linden Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98133
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/centers/bitter-lake-community-center

Dahl Playfield Wading Pool
Located between the Ravenna and Wedgewood neighborhoods you'll find this picturesque park and wading pool. We love the funky rock sculptures that are as intriguing to kids as they are as parents, as much as we love the park's clean playground. Our suggestion? Grab your favorite donut from nearby Top Pot for a after-swim treat the kids will thank you for.

Open: Daily, Jun. 26-Sep. 6, 2021

7700 25th Ave. N.E.
Seattle, WA 98115
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/dahl-playfield

Delridge Wading Pool
With so many ways to play at Delridge, the shady wading pool might be a second thought. The park's highlight has got to be the skatepark that boasts both easy runs for beginners and huge bowls for seasoned skaters and hard core BMX bikers. Watch them land sweet tricks from your grassy spot by the "watering hole." There's also a playground for after swim activity and a grassy field that practically screams "kite!" on a sunny summer day.

Open: Daily, Jun. 26-Sep. 6, 2021

4501 Delridge Way S.W.
Seattle, WA 98106
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/centers/delridge-community-center

Good to know: In addition to these wading pools, the city will also open East Queen Anne, Powell Barnett Park, South Park Playground, Van Asselt Community Center and Soundview Playfield on June 26, 2021, from noon-7 p.m. As of publication, the city doesn’t have plans to open other wading pools this summer.

Seattle 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. When you play at a beach this summer, remember to bring your buckets!

Note: The City of Seattle plans to post lifeguards at eight Seattle beaches this year (see below), and like the spray parks and wading pools, they will open June 26, 2021. As of publication lifeguard hours are yet to be determined, and the free mid-day swim lessons and evening lessons, usually offered to kids ages 6-16, are on hold. Stay up to date with beach openings and find other area beaches here. They city encourages families to swim only when and where lifeguards are present so everyone can have a safe summer. 

Discovery Park
Being the largest park in the city means you'll 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 for strollers) is lovely and drops you off in a whole new world of beach-y wonder. The beach is jam-packed with lots of driftwood for fort-making and the perfect spot for kite flying and beach combing. Psst! Don't forget to plan a stop at the newly improved playground near the Visitor's Center.

No lifeguard on duty.

3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
Seattle, WA 98199
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/discovery-park

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 updated kids play area behind the community building, but even more alluring is the sandy beach with gently lapping waves and fire pits for epic beach fires. Get here early to reserve a picnic spot. It's truly packed on sunny days and for good reason.

No lifeguard on duty. 

8498 Seaview Pl. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98117
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/golden-gardens-park

Alki Beach Park
Head to Alki if you’re looking for a beach walk that just keeps going and going and going. (Hint: If a certain small someone needs to take a stroller nap and you’d like your walk to last more than 10 minutes, head to Alki.) 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! Psst...if you don't want to pack a lunch, there are plenty of kid-friendly eateries along Alki Avenue.

No lifeguard on duty.

1702 Alki Ave. S.W.
Seattle, WA 98116
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/alki-beach-park

Mount Baker Park 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 beach bums. 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.

Lifeguard planned for 2021.

2521 Lake Park Dr. S.
Seattle, WA 98144
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/mount-baker-park

Madrona Park Beach
If your tots 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.

Lifeguard planned for 2021.

853 Lake Washington Blvd.
Seattle, WA 98114
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/madrona-park

Seward Park Beach
Though a bit of a drive from the city center, Seward Park offers some of the best (and warmest) swimming in Seattle. Beach amenities include a swimming raft, a play area for children and lifeguards on duty in the summer. In case you stay longer than planned and the Littles are in need of a pick-me-up, there’s a snack bar close by for ice cream and hot dogs. And if you still need to burn off the crazies, hit the awesome playground and zippy zip line.

Lifeguard planned for 2021.

5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S.
Seattle, WA 98114
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/seward-park

photo: Kristina Moy

Good to Know:
1. 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 to public health standards. Seattle Parks and Recreation would like to remind us all, "not to wear our street clothes in the spray park, and please do not use it as a shower.” ‘Nuf said!

2. 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.

3. Remember to call the wading pool hotline at 206-684-7796 to find out what's open and what's not throughout the summer. Things can change quickly during the pandemic.

4. Please follow all state and local health and safety guidelines when visiting these spray parks and wading pools so everyone can play safely this summer.

—Allison Sutcliffe, Kristina Moy & Katie Gruver

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