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Orange County Splash Parks and Water Play
One of Fun Orange County Parks’ regular readers asked about local “spray parks” for water play – and even gave some suggestions herself. I keep hearing that Southern California, especially OC, lacks spray parks. My only explanation is our proximity to the beach and the good weather which allows us to make our own splash parks at home with sprinklers. Here are links to a few splash pad options if you are looking to get wet this summer:
FREE SPLASH FOUNTAINS
- Heritage Park in Irvine is one of my personal favorites (see photo above).
- Harry M. Dotson Park in Stanton has a “Wet Saloon” themed water play area – this one gets mixed reviews from readers, especially since the parking situation can be tough.
- Stanton Central Park Splash Pad opened in June 2016 with a water play area and railroad themed playground.
- Frontier Park in Tustin spray ground “features a state of the art recirculation system and special water conserving spray nozzles that ensures no wasteful water consumption.” It’s open 11am to 4pm M-F (although one reader tells me she went often last year and the water features were never on).
- Pioneer Road Park in Tustin has a little splash park during the summer.
- The Splash Pad in Westminster’s Sigler Park is at the corner of a large rectangular park area right off the main boulevard.
- Lemon Park Spray Pool in Fullerton used to be a sparse playground with old equipment, although the water play area (below) hasn’t changed much the surrounding playground has new equipment.
List continues past this photo of Lemon Park . . .
- Adlena Park in Fullerton is listed as having a summer spray pool, but I have never been yet.
- The District in Tustin Legacy shopping area has pop-up fountains.
- Irvine Spectrum children’s play fountain outside Target near the carousel and playground.
- Brenner Park wading pool in Buena Park – free for 6 and under, M-F 1pm-4pm.
- Crown Valley Park in Laguna Niguel (CLOSED DURING SUMMER 2019) and splash pad or “sprayground” across from the YMCA in Laguna Niguel.
- Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove opened for the season on June 4th.
- Walnut Grove Park in Anaheim
- Ponderosa Park in Anaheim (OC Register story from June 2018)
Always check the city or original source to make sure the parks are open. Sometimes they turn off the water without notice.
PAY FOR WATER PLAY
- Boomer’s Buccaneer Bay, Irvine (comparatively small – opened in Summer 2013). For 2019 – open on weekends starting May 26th, open daily starting June 11th.
- Newport Dunes Inflatable Water Playground & Water Sport Rentals – 4 new inflatables for 2019. Opened Memorial Day weekend.
- The Wave Water Park, Vista (San Diego area)
Other Southern California Water Theme Parks:
As I was updating this post, I noticed many of these parks offer spring discounts on annual passes. So if you’re ready to commit to one park, you could probably get your money’s worth.
I’ve never been, but the City of La Mirada Buccaneer Bay (Splash!) gets the best reader comments:
“We visited Splash in La Mirada on Saturday and “OH MY GOODNESS” it was sooo much fun!” (See the rest of Lisa’s experience in the comments section below.)
“We visited La Mirada (all the way from Lake Forest) today – there’s nowhere we won’t drive! It was definitely worth it. The ‘common pool’ area in the middle is free, parking is free, my 2 year old son was free. That’s a bargain in exchange for the cost of gas. I like that locker rental only cost 50 cents and that you can swim for free or enter Buccaneer Bay for a fee. I thought that cost of the Bay was reasonable for all they had to offer. Can’t wait to go again sometime.” (-Heather)
- Knott’s Berry Farm Soak City, Buena Park – open select days from May 18th to September 2nd for 2019.
- Sea World’s Aquatica in Chula Vista (San Diego area) – season opens May 24th.
- Legoland Water Park in Carlsbad (San Diego area) – already open on weekends in May. More hours as the summer progresses.
- Hurricane Harbor, Valencia (LA area) – season opens May 19th.
- Raging Waters, San Dimas (LA area) – open weekends in May and daily starting in June.
- Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area (LA area)
- Wet ‘n Wild, Palm Springs was sold to new owners in Jan 2019 and will be closed for Summer 2019. However, it’s scheduled to re-open in Summer 2020.
SMALLER SCALE WATER PLAY FOR LOCALS
- Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center and Pool
- San Clemente Aquatics and Vista Hermosa Sports Park (pictured with green slide above)
- Go to different cities for recreational swim (click here for my Ultimate Guide to City Recreation Programs and Calendars)
- Join the YMCA to take part in swim lessons or rec swim
Southern California Hotels with Water Play
It basically has this list, but it’s organized so it’s a little easier to read. It’s useful to remember that this list is ONLY waterslides or water parks AT hotels — meaning (in most cases) you must be a registered guest and staying at the hotel to enjoy the amenities.
- Slyder’s Water Playground at Hyatt Huntington Beach (OC)
- Splash Landing Pools and Family Sandy Beach at La Costa Resort (North San Diego County)
- Waterslides at Hyatt Mission Bay Spa & Marina (San Diego)
- Family Pool at the Grand Pacific Palisades in Carlsbad (North San Diego County)
- Splashtopia at Rancho Las Palmas Resort (Palm Springs)
- Children’s Pool at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa (Palm Springs Area)
- Chuckwalla Slide and Family Pool at Marriott’s Shadow Ridge I – The Villages (Palm Springs Area)
- Mirage Pool at The Westin Desert Willow Villas (Palm Springs Area)
- Monorail Pool at the Disneyland Hotel (OC)
- Redwood Pool at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort (OC)
- Kids Splash & Play at Renaissance Club Sport Hotel in Aliso Viejo (OC)
- Children’s Splash Zone at Laguna Cliffs Marriott (OC)
- Surfside Waterpark at Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance (OC)
- Castaway Cove at Howard Johnson by Wyndham Hotel Anaheim (OC)
- Splash Zone water playground at Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim (OC)
- Pool with kids activity area at Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel (OC)
- Great Wolf Lodge, Garden Grove indoor water park (OC)
- Resort Pool and Splash Zone at Terranea Resort (LA area)
What did I miss? Please help me keep this list up-to-date. I’ve been maintaining it every summer for the past ELEVEN years.
Don’t forget the BEACH! Kids can splash in the surf without going all the way in the water. Hold their hands and cool your toes, too. I have a ton of suggestions with details under my Beach category. And I wrote about the Best Toddler Beaches with no waves.
Originally published in Summer 2008.