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Harry M. Dotson Park in Stanton: Where an X Really Does Mark the Spot

Harry M. Dotson Park in Stanton: Where an X Really Does Mark the Spot

Harry M. Dotson Park in Stanton is a definite “find.” A reader recommended it ages ago – but I was never in the area to take photos until recently. It’s beautiful, enclosed, and fun for pirate pretend.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR 2023: This has been a favorite splash pad in the past, but was the site of a tragic shooting on a busy Saturday afternoon in April 2023. A local father was killed right outside the park. I always trust the advice of families who live in the neighborhood. I’m hearing them warn to avoid this park for now.

How to Get to Dotson Park in Stanton: The location was a little tricky. The maps I consulted didn’t take me to the right place. The address is 10350 Fern in Stanton.  Apparently there are two sections of Fern. The park is on the section north of Katella.  We took Katella from Disneyland and turned right onto Beach Blvd, right onto Cerritos, and a left onto Fern (park is on the right).  A more direct way, would be to take the 22 Garden Grove Freeway and exit at Beach Blvd.  Then you can just travel towards Adventure City and take the right onto Cerritos and left onto Fern. (Address: 10350 Fern Avenue, Stanton) MAP TO HARRY M. DOTSON PARK IN STANTON

Recommended by: Tracy (her comments in italics)


  • Pirate Ship Playground equipment!! SO NEAT!!
  • Water Park Area
  • Newer park in great shape, kept clean, and brand new play and picnic areas
  • They have a pirate ship playground, a water park type area, a treasure chest, bathrooms, picnic area. Small park with great amenities.
  • The pirate ship is mainly accessible for wheelchairs. There are a few steps at the very end of the ship, but the rest seems navigable.
  • The “Wet Saloon” is the water park component. It wasn’t running when we were there. It’s located next to shaded concrete picnic tables.
  • The main play equipment is the pirate ship, but there’s also a smaller “fort” near the picnic tables. The little ones that were there on our visit would bounce between the fort and the ship.  It was pretty easy to keep an eye on the kids here.
  • There are two large boulders to climb with hand holds.
  • The treasure chest doesn’t open, but the kids will try.
  • Lots of interpretive learning boards on the structures and a chess board under the ship.
  • All the slides got high ratings from my kids.
  • I loved the little peaceful spot in the back with the lawn area and pathway.
  • Read the signs about Mr. Dotson and how, for him, “It’s for the kids.”  I loved that quote and enjoyed reading about his community spirit.

Be Aware:

  • It’s in a little crowded neighborhood. Not the nicest area but the park itself is really great and really worth it in the day time.
  • There aren’t any swings in this playground but everything else is great!
  • Just pay attention to the map and directions before you go. I have the marker set directly on the park so you can find it.
  • Water park hours 12pm-5pm Memorial Day through Labor Day


Originally posted in June 2011.


Monday 25th of May 2015

We have been by twice today and the water isn't on. In the past few years I have been it has always started on Memorial day.


Tuesday 24th of March 2015


I understand that the water park is open during summer but does anyone happen to know th e exact dates?

Michele Whiteaker

Tuesday 24th of March 2015

This is what it says on their website - you can always call to confirm. I believe it's for the 2015 summer season?

Harry M. Dotson Park 10350 Fern Ave. (714) 379-9222 ext. 270

The "Water Feature" is open for the summer season: May 25 - September 2 Monday - Sunday (seven days a week) 12-5 p.m.


Saturday 19th of July 2014

Thank you for all of that information that you had contain for us. Yes it is a beautiful place you in deed. Love the water park.


Saturday 21st of June 2014

The parking to the park on the weekend is not that hard to find because you can park anywhere outside the park if all the parking lot are full,around where the apartment are. Try not to park all the way to the houses because you might need to have a stanton pass or eles they will tow or leave a ticket on your car. Learn that the hard way. Does anyone know when will they be serving free lunch? I want to know because my littles one say that it taste really good and I want to try it.


Friday 20th of June 2014

I was never actually been there before but what I has heard from your guys it seem kind of fun.My kids had actually been there before with their aunt and cousin and was kind of getting bully by the other bigger kids because they were only three and four and they want to play in the water area but otherwise it was really fun for them.I would recommend you guys to go in the morning at 7, 8,9 or 10 am because it doesn't get too much crowed if you guy want to sit and relax without other kids running and screaming,don't want it to be too hot,and don't want your kids to get wet. If you go to work or don't want to go in the morning and just want to spend the rest of the peaceful day with your kid and don't want to get wet then you should go after 5 pm because that when the water area stop and people starting to pack up and go home. And if you guys and the kids want to go cool off in the summer and like having people around then I would recommend you guys between 11am and 5pm because that when a lot of people started to show up and they begin to turn on the water system. I not sure if you can rent the park for parties for free because some people say that if you want to rent all the park and tables then it cost $30 if you are a resident and if not then it cost $60 for non-residence. The capacity is 5o people. And if you want a bigger and quieter park for older people then you should go to Stanton Park. The park has 5 picnic shelters, 4 tables in each shelter and the capacity are 40 people per shelter. The price is pretty much the same but instead you would need to pay $100 for refundable deposit in case you would litter or break something. If you are planning to throw a pirate party or any kid party then you should go with Dotson park because the park has awesome playground and water play. Stanton Park in the other hand is bigger and it doesn't has any playground equipment, only grass if you are planning a nice picnic watching the sky. On Christmas, the mayor of Stanton are going to give away free toys to children at Harry M. Dotson Park. On special holiday ,Stanton Park are going to have special festival even through I have never actually been to any of them. The free meals that Dotson Park are giving out is pretty health, balance and yummy for kids under 18 year old.I did some of the research and most of these information came from my sister and kids. Hope these answer most of your questions and if not then ask any time you want so that I can do the research so that you don't have to. I am planning to go during this week with my kids, hope to see you guys there.:)

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