Spraygrounds and splash pads opening up for the season
It’s starting to warm up and that means the area’s many spraygrounds, public pools and splash zones will be opening up for the height of heat season. Best of all, most of them are free or nearly so.
The Highlander Pool in Dunedin is open already and having a Splash Bash and Picnic next Saturday (May 12) to kick off spring with a celebration including inflatables, games, races, music and lunch. The adjacent Kiwanis Sprayground is open yearround at 1937 Ed Eckert Drive. It has water cannons, floor jets, a slide and a big yellow bucket that fills up, tips over, and drenches those who stand under it from 9 a.m. to sunset every day. The picnic Saturday is free and starts at 11 a.m.
The terrific spray ground at Del Holmes Park in St. Petersburg already opened up for the season on May 1 and will remain open until Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Note that the spayers are motion activated so don’t thing it’s not open if you don’t see water going.
All the city of St. Petersburg’s pools, except North Shore Pool which is open year round, will open for the season beginning Memorial Day weekend, May 26.
Other water play areas around Tampa Bay include:
• Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center in Largo is celebrating its season opening May 19-20 with a weekend long party with free hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, door prizes and giveaways at 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. This is a mini-waterpark for all ages. In addition to a pool, amenities include a 214-foot corkscrew water slide, a three-story speed slide, a zero-depth sprayground with play structure and water sprays, and a double slide suitable for all ages. Water basketball and volleyball is also available.
• Cypress Forest Park in Oldsmar has a 1,500-square-foot sprayground with all manner of shooting and cascading water that is open daily now from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The park, 650 Pine Ave. N, also has basketball courts, playgrounds and picnic shelters. It costs $5 for non-resident parking; $2.50 decal per year for residents.
• Kate Jackson Park, 821 S Rome Ave. in Tampa, is a beautiful park nestled in the heart of historic Hyde Park, with lots of playground equipment, picnic benches and shade trees. Kids especially enjoy running through the fountain, right, which shoots up water from the ground. It’s open year-round and the fountain runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park has two interactive fountains, one on the east side of the park along Ashley Drive and the Mist Fountain on the west side the park along the Riverwalk.
• WaterPlay at Zephyr Park, 38116 Fifth Ave. in Zephyrhills, has fountain jets, soaker cannons, falling buckets of water and arches shooting water. The 34-acre sprayground is in downtown Zephyrhills and is the site of the Alice Hall Community Center. The water play area is open 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Here's a roundup of all the spraygrounds and splash zones in the Tampa Bay area. Now go get wet!
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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