Make us your home page

Tarpon Springs splash park offers free, safe family fun

TARPON SPRINGS — Getting soaked, squirted or squealed upon was all part of a day's fun at the new splash park in Tarpon Springs.

"I'm dumping buckets of water all over my sister," chortled Delaney Williams, 9.

The new spray ground opened at the northeast corner of Live Oak Street and Safford Avenue, next to the city's dog park, on June 28.

The city plans to spend about $600,000 for the splash park and new restrooms.

But it's all free at the door.

On opening day, little mermaids and sea captains ran under waterfalls, sat on bubbling fountains, and enjoyed the massage of jet sprays, all while keeping the moms, dads or grandparents abreast of the day's developments.

"I went down the slide on my belly," said Koltin Savage, 5.

"A stingray sprayed water out of its mouth at me," said his little brother, Trygg Savage, 3.

Dunedin and Oldsmar have similar splash parks, and Largo has a splash area in its Highland Family Aquatic Center.

Tarpon Springs has packed its park with Greek- and maritime-themed structures, including a manatee, tarpon, pelican, sponge diver and the centerpiece, a lighthouse (to mimic the Anclote Key lighthouse). The park is best suited for toddlers and elementary school-age students, but many parents get in on the fun, too. Four shade canopies with benches underneath help onlookers keep cool.

"We've been thinking about this for four or five years, and it's everything we envisioned and more," City Manager Mark LeCouris said.

A Strike Guard lightning protection system monitors the skies and shuts down the water in the park when lightning is within five miles. LeCouris said people have called in to report the system isn't working.

"I tell them: If it shuts down, look at the sky," he said.

The park is open daily, year-round from 10 a.m. until dusk.

"I just love this place!" said Abigail Allen, 9, of New Port Richey. "You get to play outdoors in the sun with your whole family."

Her mother, Lisa Bahr, who donned a bathing suit and sat beneath a gushing geyser, seemed to enjoy the refreshing cascade of water as much as her daughter. And she liked that the spray ground seemed safer and more sanitary than a traditional swimming pool.

"You can relax a little more this way," she said.

"Yeah, there's no urine in the water," Abigail added.

Leah Blaisdell, 48, said she'd like to see more free splash parks around the area.

"It's our first time being here and I think it's absolutely fabulous. This has brought the community together in a cool and safe environment."

Nancy Rhoads, 71, sat in the shade and watched her grandson Noah play.

"He's having such a good time, it's going to be hard to get him out of here."

>>if you go

Tarpon Springs Splash Park

Where: The northeast corner of Safford Avenue and Live Oak Street, next to the city's dog park.

Open year-round: Daily, 10 a.m. until dusk.

Cost: Free


Tarpon Springs splash park offers free, safe family fun 07/23/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 5:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Broaden your world, and think like a travel writer

    Life Times

    With summer travel options on the horizon, seniors are looking to expand their travel experiences, often on an inflexible budget. One way to do that is to travel like a travel writer, experiencing wherever and however you travel with fresh eyes and fresh insight.

    Nancy Mueller is a Seattle-based travel writer.
  2. Five ideas for party foods to bring to your potluck


    What's in a name? That which we call a casserole by any other name is still, well, a casserole. Generally a go-to for potlucks, casseroles are quick and easy to transfer, and they can feed a lot of people. But take a look at your next potluck table and count how many casseroles there are. You can change the game …

  3. A new study says french fries could kill you, but is that accurate?


    Hey, you, reading this story over a pile of french fries: Back slowly away from the crispy spuds. They're out to get you.

  4. Pasco libraries offer relief from the heat with reading programs, activities


    HOLIDAY — Angelina Ponzo has a goal this summer: to read as many books as possible.

    Alexis Ponzo, left, uses watercolor crayons to draw a heart tattoo on her daughter Angelina's arm during a recent summer reading program event at Centennial Park Library in Holiday. Local libraries are hosting reading programs and a variety of educational, entertaining and family friendly events throughout the summer months.
  5. Want to feel old? It's been 20 years since the first 'Harry Potter' was published


    He was so cute: Blond hair, blue eyes and a killer smile. He was dressed in a black robe with a fake scar on his forehead and regaling our fifth-grade class with his book report on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. As a 10-year-old with only the most sophisticated of tastes (give me a Baby-Sitters Club any day), …

    An auctioneer holds a first edition copy of the first Harry Potter book "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" containing annotations and illustrations by author J.K. Rowling. The tale has turned 20,  published in Britain on June 26, 1997. Since then, it has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 79 languages. (Associated Press [2013])