The latest update for this article was written by Lindsay Podolak.
When the hot weather hits, there’s no shortage of ways to cool off in the Garden State. While beaches and pools are family favorites, perhaps the best destination for families with small children is a water playground. These “spraygrounds” offer plenty of fun and safe water features, including sprinklers, water guns and dumping buckets.
Many of these splash pads are located in local parks, making them the perfect outing for a hot day. And best of all, most of these spraygrounds are free!
Newport Green Park
Location: 14th Street & Washington Boulevard, Jersey City
Details: Don’t miss this amazing park, located right on the waterfront in Jersey City. Newport Green features a great sprayground, complete with spraying misters and dumping buckets. There is even a little sandy beach for kids to play in, with umbrellas to escape the sun. In addition to the sprayground, you’ll find a large playground with attractions for all ages.
Why I like it: You can’t beat the views of Manhattan from this gem. Plus, in the winter it transforms into an ice rink!
More info: www.newportnj.com or call 201-626-5000
Pirate’s Cove Splash Pad
Location: Turkey Brook Park, 30 Flanders Road, Budd Lake
Details: Pirate’s Cove is a 3000-square foot splash pad featuring more than 20 motion-activated water features. The sprayground has three play areas, each appropriate for different age groups. There’s also a huge splash bucket in the middle that dumps water every few minutes. Turkey Brook Park is also home to Mount Playmore, a 12,500-square foot playground that contains slides, climbing nets, rock walls, tunnels and a pirate ship complete with a steering wheel and a treehouse tower.
Why I like it: Admission is free to the splash pad, and if you’re interested in hosting a party, the gazebo is available to rent.
More info: www.rec.mountolivetownship.com or call 973-426-7263
Van Saun County Park
Location: 216 Forest Avenue, Paramus
Details: Van Saun Park is the perfect place to spend the whole day. The park’s pond-themed sprayground features whimsical water creatures, gigantic lily pads and cattail misters. The park is also home to several playgrounds, hiking trails, a miniature train ride and picnic areas, as well as the popular Bergen County Zoo.
Why I like it: Harmony Park’s splash pad is ADA accessible, so children of all abilities are able to enjoy it.
More info: www.co.bergen.nj.us or call 201-336-6000
Lyndhurst Town Park
Location: 367 Valley Brook Avenue, Lyndhurst
Details: The sprayground at this Bergen County park offers plenty of fun for the little ones. The fenced-in water area boasts a large snake-shaped sprayer and a tunnel of colorful sprinkler rings. Lyndhurst Park also features 3 separate playgrounds and a concession stand. The spray park is open 7 days a week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in mid-June through Labor Day. Note: There is a $1 admission fee per person.
Why I like it: The spray park is fenced in, so you can relax knowing your kids can’t easily escape.
More info: www.lyndhurstnj.org or call 201-804-2457
Asbury Splash Park
Location: Asbury Boardwalk, 950 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park
Details: Spend a summer day at the popular shore town of Asbury Park. Located right on the boardwalk, the Asbury Splash Park is a safe and fun alternative to a dip in the ocean. Kids love the garden hose-shaped spray features and giant tipping teacup. Open 7 days a week, the sprayground charges $9 for children and $5 for adults or $20 for a family pass. In addition to the sprayground, there is also a miniature golf course.
Why I like it: It’s a great place to throw a summer birthday party! Party fee includes full staff service, plastic cutlery, refrigerator space, three picnic tables and three umbrellas.
More info: www.asburyparkamusements.com or call 732-897-6538
Location: Saint George Avenue, Roselle
Details: Warinanco Park recently opened a new children’s area that includes a sprayground and a playground. The large splash pad features a tree-shaped fountain in the center and more than 100 different water sprayers. In addition to the play area, there are pedal boats, hiking trails, sports fields and a snack bar.
Why I like it: The splash pad at Warinanco is one of several Union County-managed spraygrounds, including ones at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield, Mattano Park in Elizabeth and Rizzuto Park in Union.
More info: www.ucnj.org/parks-recreation or call 908-527-4000
Dorbrook Recreation Area
Location: 353 County Road 537, Colts Neck
Details: Dorbrook’s large, popular sprayground is open daily from mid-May through early September. With a variety of water features, including a large dumping bucket for the bigger kids and gentle sprayers and water tables for the little ones, this splash pad is perfect for children of all ages. A fun playground, complete with a large sandbox, is located adjacent to the splash pad. In addition, there are plenty of shady spots and picnic tables nearby.
Why I like it: This is one splash pad that is consistently clean, thanks to a diligent staff and an updated filtration system.
More info: www.monmouthcountyparks.com or call 732-542-1642
Manalapan Spray Park
Location: 120 Route 522, Manalapan
Details: Head to the Manalapan Recreation Center for a fun, sports-themed spray park. This small splash pad is perfect for the little ones. It features small water cannons, sprayers and misters. To conserve water, the sprinklers work off a motion sensor, so don’t be concerned if you show up and don’t see the water flowing. This large recreation complex also features shaded picnic areas, basketball courts, playgrounds and trails.
Why I like it: Benches and a small shaded area inside the sprayground offer a place for parents to sit and relax while the kids play.
More info: www.mtnj.org/parks_recreation or call 732-446-8354
Bridgeton Splash Park
Location: 35 Mayor Aitken Drive, Bridgeton
Details: Located next to the Cohanzick Zoo, this fenced-in, spacious splash park contains 28 animal-themed fixtures, including cannons, buckets, fountains and water wheels. The site features outdoor showers, a concession stand and two pavilions perfect for picnicking. This year the park also opened a brand new miniature golf course. Note: There is a $3 admission fee to enter the splash park.
Why I like it: Visitors are admitted for two-hour blocks of time in order to accomodate all who want to enjoy the 7,500 square foot venue.
More info: www.cityofbridgeton.com or call 856-453-1675
Location: 61 Avenue K, Monroe Township
Details: This fun, fenced-in sprayground consists of a variety of water features, including water cannons, dumping buckets and an oversized mushroom shower. You’ll also find a great playground nearby, as well as a rock wall for climbing. Veterans Park is open every day of the week from 10:00 am until dusk.
Why I like it: This splash pad is a bit smaller than the others, making it perfect for little ones who don’t need all the bells and whistles. Nearby picnic tables mean you can pack a lunch and stay all day!
More info: www.monroerec.com/Veterans-Park or call 732-521-5016