Park Hoppin’

mcarthur-park-20130721-7Park hopping on a Sunday is a nice thing to do.

We’re listening to the Laurie Berkner Band as we tackle three splash pads that we haven’t been to yet: Owl Park, McCarthy Park, and Citiplace Park.

The splash pad at Owl Park is old school, but still cool. It’s a giant shallow circle painted blue with rocks and bushes planted around the edges.

“It looks like ice,” says our three year old as she and I run across the splash pad. This time, there’s no dragging involved, so we won’t be needing any Dora band aids.

“Oh, it’s a wooden post,” says Mommy. “But, where are the sprays?”

Our little girl presses the button on the side of the wooden post and three pairs of powerful water fountains come blasting from the shrubbery.

owl-park-20130721-1It really is impressive, as far as the old-style water parks go. Points for creativity – it doesn’t look like a splashpad because of all the rocks and bushes. The Owl Park splash pad is good for getting wet, and it’s one of a kind so far, but who knows. We have another 40 splashpads to go before we’ve seen them all.

Our little family trio settle down for some snacks in the sun and get down to some serious splashpaddin’ conversations (in between the mouthfuls of home grown peas and store bought cantaloupe.)

What makes a good splash pad? Is it the novelty and creativity of the water park? High water pressure? Variety of splash pad play structures? Overall ambiance?

“I find it’s not just a splash pad, it’s location.” Mommy goes on. “Developed area, basic splash pad but points for novelty. This is a destination: hills, facilities, mature trees, picnic tables…”

I’m not sold.

I think it’s all about the play structure and total amount of water that flows through the place. The water jets at Owl Park shoot pretty high, but I’m still not sure this place is in the same category as a Brewer Park splash pad (complete with water slide) or the splash pad at Chapman Mills Main Street Park (which has a water squirting dragon.)

Two more splash pads to write about…

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