Cool Off at These Splash-tastic Water Playgrounds

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As the temperature continues to creep up this summer, there are number of ways to beat the heat—kayaking with kids in Portland is one option, escape town and hang out in Sauvie Island, or you can find your way to one of Portland’s popular natural swimming holes nearby. But if your looking for a quick way to beat the heat, head to one of these local splash pads where little and bigs can cool down for free! Fortunately, Portland Parks have loads of interactive fountains and splash pads throughout the city that are just begging to be splashed around in—and guaranteed, no matter what quadrant you’re in, one is bound to be nearby.

The Best Splash Pads in Northwest Portland

Jamison Square Fountain: The cascading waterfalls of the Jamison Square Fountain are mesmerizing, and a much-needed respite on a hot day. The water pools into a shallow area before receding again and recirculating. Kiddos love climbing the rocks and sitting in the water streams. Once the kids have had their fill of cooling off in the fountain, head across the street to Cool Moon Ice Cream—one of our favorite ice cream shops for a home-made ice cream cone or sorbet.

Fun fact: the 30-foot-tall sculptures along the park, which cover streetcar poles, are called Tikitotemoniki Totems.

810 NW 11th Ave.
Portland
Online: portland.gov/parks/jamison-square

Essex Park: This cute hidden park near Holgate Library has a splash pad, playground, picnic tables and a basketball court. For a great day, first stop by the library to browse a large selection of children’s books at the Multnomah County Library, then enjoy a picnic at the park while your little adventurers splash away.

SE 79th Ave. & Center St.
Online: portlandoregon.gov

Earl Boyles Park: Here, you’ll find a splash pad at this outer southeast park, as well as a playground with a colorful climbing structure, picnic tables, walking paths and a horseshoe pit. There’s even a volley ball court for the more competitive members of your family. 

SE 107th Ave. & Francis St.
Portland
Online: portlandoregon.gov

The Best Splash Pads in Northeast Portland

Irving Park: This spacious park has it all, from shady trees and a baseball field to basketball courts and a popular playground. Adjacent to the playground your water lovers can wet their tiny toes in the refreshing sprayground, with a splashing fire hydrant and other fun water structures.

NE 7th Ave. & Fremont St.
Portland
Online: portlandoregon.gov

Grant Park: Fans of Beverly Cleary books will love seeing their favorite characters come to life at this Ramona-inspired fountain. While splashing their feet in the water, kids can check out the sculptures of Ramona, Henry Huggins and Ribsy the Dog. The park also has an adjacent playground and tennis courts, so it’s the perfect spot to spend a full afternoon enjoying the summertime sunshine.

NE 33rd Ave & US Grant Pl.
Portland
Online: portlandoregon.gov 

Khunamokwst Park: This fun little park in the Cully neighborhood features a nature-based stream, complete with interactive hand pump and river rocks to wade along, leading to a shallow pooled area. This is perfect for a young child who loves to explore. After wading, be sure to check out the pinecone sculpture near the playground, which represents the Native American story of the Douglas Fir and the Mouse. Kʰunamokwst Park is the first Portland Parks and Rec park to have an indigenous name, respecting the history of this land.

5200 NE Alberta St.
Portland
Online: portland.gov/parks/kkunamokwst-park                                               

The Best Splash Pads in North Portland

Peninsula Park: On a hot day, enjoy the respite of the 16-acre shady, tree-lined Peninsula Park. The splash pad is located in the heart of the park, near the two playgrounds (one for younger children, one for older), and adjacent to the public restrooms. The water-spouting “flowers” are a kid-favorite.

Fun fact: Peninsula Park was Portland’s first public rose garden.

700 N Rosa Parks Way
Portland
Online: portland.gov/parks/peninsula-park

Columbia Park: The gigantic flower fountains and movable jet sprays make the sprayground at this beautiful tree-shaded park a Portland favorite. With water play, plenty of picnic tables and a playground that kids love, Columbia Park will quickly become your summer play date meetup spot.

N Lombard St. & Woolsey Ave.
Portland
Online: portlandoregon.gov

Farragut Park: Kiddie “car wash” structures, bubbling fountains and water sprays are some of the fun splash pad fixtures at this 14-acre park. You’ll also find basketball courts, walking paths, picnic tables and a play structure that will keep the kids busy until they tire out on those perfect summer days.

N Kerby Ave. & N Farragut St.
Portland
Online: portlandoregon.gov

McCoy Park:The interactive fountain at McCoy Park is a family fave! Children of all ages will love chasing the dancing fountains, which shoot upwards of 12-feet high, in spurts of unpredictable aquatic excitement. While drying off, take a stroll toward the playground on a quest to find the squirrel and salmon sculpture benches, and walk the circular pathway showcasing different phases of the moon. There is also important Black History in Portland here: McCoy Park is named after Bill and Gladys McCoy, local African-American political leaders. In 1970, Gladys McCoy was the first African-American to serve on the Portland School Board.

N Trenton St. and Newman Ave.
Portland
Online: portland.gov/parks/mccoy-park

The Best Splash Pads in Southwest Portland

Elizabeth Caruthers Park: For tiny tots just getting ready to test the waters, this simple yet delightful round stepping stone splash pad is a treat. For those who are tired of the water, there’s a bocce court and unpaved paths to explore.

3508 SW Moody Ave.
Portland
Online: portlandoregon.gov

Salmon Street Springs at Waterfront Park: If you want to hear shrieks of summer happiness, head down to the waterfront and let your kids catch the spray at Salmon Street Springs. A computer controls the three changing patterns of water, named “misters,” “bollards,” and “wedding cake.” Kids will have a great time trying to guess which is which. With an impressive 185 jets of water and riverfront views, this is one spot that you’ll want to add to your summer bucket list.

Naito Parkway at SW Salmon
Portland
Online: portlandoregon.gov

Teachers Fountain at Director Park: Located in the heart of downtown Portland, this cheery plaza offers shady seating, a giant chess board, and a fun interactive fountain area. Kiddos will love chasing the arcing jets that splash into a shallow pool area. Adults will enjoy sitting along the wall to soak tired feet in the refreshing water. If you get hungry or thirsty, Flying Elephants Deli is located across the street, which is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

815 SW Park Ave.
Portland
Online: portland.gov/parks/director-park

Spring Garden Park: Located in this picturesque Multnomah Village park, the interactive water feature at Spring Garden Park provides hours of fun. Also onsite are musical instrument installations, a large lookout tower play structure, and the intriguing “nest” sculpture by Hannes Wingate. The playground meets all current ADA requirements.

3332 SW Spring Garden St.
Portland
Online: portland.gov/parks/spring-garden-park

The Best Splash Pads in Southeast Portland

Earl Boyles Park: Bring along some horseshoes to work up a sweat in the horseshoe pit before hitting up the splash pad at Earl Boyles Park. Located in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, the park also features an accessible spray feature, a volleyball court, and has an accessible Portland Loo onsite for potty breaks. Fun fact: Earl Boyles was a well-loved janitor at the former Powellhurst Elementary School for nearly 20 years in the 1930s and 40s. The park was named after him.

SE 107th Ave. and Francis St.
Portland
Online: portland.gov/parks/earl-boyles-park

Colonel Summers Park: One of the newer splash pad installations in the Portland Parks system is at Colonel Summers Park, which features small climbing rocks and sitting areas. The park also hosts a playground, basketball court and tennis courts, so there’s something for everyone! Grab some picnic fixings at Market of Choice on your way over to make a day of it.

SE 17th Ave. and Taylor St.
Portland
Online: portland.gov/parks/colonel-summers-park

 

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