clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Shutterstock

The best NYC parks with splash pads and spraygrounds

Where to take your kids to cool off in NYC

View as Map

In the dog days of summer, New Yorkers seeking ways to cool down have a good number of options—beaches, pools, and plenty of sites that have A/C (and don’t charge a fee to take advantage of it).

And for the smallest New Yorkers (and their parents), there are dozens of playgrounds around the city with spray showers, offering another way to cool off when temperatures soar above 80 degrees. These range from extremely minimal—a single sprinkler on a playground is common—to wildly elaborate, such as a cool nautical-themed “sprayground” in the Rockaways, or the educational Water Lab in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

It’s a good bet that there’s a spray shower at your neighborhood playground, but if you’re looking for more to do than just stand under a sprinkler, read on for some of the cooler splash pads and spraygrounds in the city.

Read More

Imagination Playground

Copy Link

Architect David Rockwell designed this playground close to the South Street Seaport, where unstructured play—made possible with lots of big, movable blocks—is the whole point. There are jets of water where kids can splash, and umbrellas for parents who want to stay in the shade.

Pier 25 at Hudson River Park

Copy Link

Hudson River Park’s longest pier has a wide array of kid-friendly activities, including mini-golf, a skate park, and a climbing wall. There are also a bunch of sprinklers and spray showers, a necessity on super-hot days.

Washington Square Park

Copy Link

The fountain at Washington Square Park is an icon, and one that gets packed in the summer with New York kiddos (and the young at heart) looking to cool off. It’s often crowded, but also has plenty of space.

Chelsea Waterside Park

Copy Link

This Chelsea playground reopened in 2018 after a renovation by Michael Van Valkenburgh & Associates, and now has a bunch of nifty elements—slides, climbing areas, and more—inspired by the nearby Hudson River. The splash pad has jets and sprinklers that’ll help both little and big kids cool off.

Max Giuliani/Hudson River Park Trust

Heckscher Playground

Copy Link

Central Park has plenty of playgrounds with splash pads and spray showers, but Heckscher Playground on the park’s southern end is one of the best (and most popular), thanks to several different water features—sprinklers, jets, and streams—where kids of all ages can play.

Discovery Playground

Copy Link

Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park got a facelift a few years ago, and now has a natural theme that includes a climbable treehouse and a rope bridge. There are also sprinklers and a water fountain, and while you’re there, you can take a detour to the Little Red Lighthouse—a must-visit for city kids.

Roberto Clemente State Park

Copy Link

There are a lot of ways to cool off at this South Bronx state park, located on the banks of the Harlem River: an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a waterfront esplanade (which recently benefited from a $100 million renovation to the park), and a cool splash pad area that has jets, sprinklers, and plenty of space for kids to run around.

Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

Crotona Park

Copy Link

Bring the whole family to Crotona Park, which has an impressively big splash pad adjacent to its Olympic-sized swimming pool. The pool is great for adults and bigger kids, while the splash pad—which has big geyers and sprinklers—has plenty of ways for little kids to cool off.

Travers Park

Copy Link

The playground at Travers Park in Jackson Heights has a few different water elements, including jets that shoot up, and large leaf-shaped sprinklers that spray water all over the kids beneath them.

NYC Parks Department/Daniel Avila

Playground For All Children

Copy Link

The Playground for All Children in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was groundbreaking when it opened in 1984, with features “designed to accommodate children using crutches, canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, and to provide many opportunities for social, cognitive, sensory and motor activity,” according to the NYC Parks Department. One of those is a Water Wheel area, which had some shady spots and plenty of jets and sprinklers for kids to cool off.

Beach 30th Street Playground

Copy Link

Just steps from Rockaway Beach is this playground with a cool nautical theme. It’s one of the more expansive spray grounds, with cooling jets that kids can run through, along with water cannons and a climbable boat.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6

Copy Link

One of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s most popular spots is the Water Lab at Pier 6, which has pools, sprinklers, and streams for kids to enjoy.

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Domino Park

Copy Link

Domino Park, the waterfront open space that’s part of the Domino Sugar Refinery redevelopment, doesn’t have much in the way of shade. But it does have a fountain with 88 separate water jets where kids can splash and cool off (just don’t forget the sunscreen). Other park features include a playground designed by Mark Reigelman that has slides, climbing elements, and more.

Shutterstock

J.J. Byrne Playground

Copy Link

One of Park Slope’s most popular playgrounds has a cool splash pad with water cannons, streams, jets, and rocks for kids to climb on (which can get slippery, so be careful!).

LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park Brooklyn

Copy Link

The outdoor section of the ice-skating rink at Prospect Park transforms into a massive splash pad in the summertime, with 20 water jets and lots of space for kids (under 12 only!) to play.

Loading comments...

Imagination Playground

Architect David Rockwell designed this playground close to the South Street Seaport, where unstructured play—made possible with lots of big, movable blocks—is the whole point. There are jets of water where kids can splash, and umbrellas for parents who want to stay in the shade.

Pier 25 at Hudson River Park

Hudson River Park’s longest pier has a wide array of kid-friendly activities, including mini-golf, a skate park, and a climbing wall. There are also a bunch of sprinklers and spray showers, a necessity on super-hot days.

Washington Square Park

The fountain at Washington Square Park is an icon, and one that gets packed in the summer with New York kiddos (and the young at heart) looking to cool off. It’s often crowded, but also has plenty of space.

Chelsea Waterside Park

Max Giuliani/Hudson River Park Trust

This Chelsea playground reopened in 2018 after a renovation by Michael Van Valkenburgh & Associates, and now has a bunch of nifty elements—slides, climbing areas, and more—inspired by the nearby Hudson River. The splash pad has jets and sprinklers that’ll help both little and big kids cool off.

Max Giuliani/Hudson River Park Trust

Heckscher Playground

Central Park has plenty of playgrounds with splash pads and spray showers, but Heckscher Playground on the park’s southern end is one of the best (and most popular), thanks to several different water features—sprinklers, jets, and streams—where kids of all ages can play.

Discovery Playground

Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park got a facelift a few years ago, and now has a natural theme that includes a climbable treehouse and a rope bridge. There are also sprinklers and a water fountain, and while you’re there, you can take a detour to the Little Red Lighthouse—a must-visit for city kids.

Roberto Clemente State Park

Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

There are a lot of ways to cool off at this South Bronx state park, located on the banks of the Harlem River: an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a waterfront esplanade (which recently benefited from a $100 million renovation to the park), and a cool splash pad area that has jets, sprinklers, and plenty of space for kids to run around.

Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

Crotona Park

Bring the whole family to Crotona Park, which has an impressively big splash pad adjacent to its Olympic-sized swimming pool. The pool is great for adults and bigger kids, while the splash pad—which has big geyers and sprinklers—has plenty of ways for little kids to cool off.

Travers Park

NYC Parks Department/Daniel Avila

The playground at Travers Park in Jackson Heights has a few different water elements, including jets that shoot up, and large leaf-shaped sprinklers that spray water all over the kids beneath them.

NYC Parks Department/Daniel Avila

Playground For All Children

The Playground for All Children in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was groundbreaking when it opened in 1984, with features “designed to accommodate children using crutches, canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, and to provide many opportunities for social, cognitive, sensory and motor activity,” according to the NYC Parks Department. One of those is a Water Wheel area, which had some shady spots and plenty of jets and sprinklers for kids to cool off.

Beach 30th Street Playground

Just steps from Rockaway Beach is this playground with a cool nautical theme. It’s one of the more expansive spray grounds, with cooling jets that kids can run through, along with water cannons and a climbable boat.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

One of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s most popular spots is the Water Lab at Pier 6, which has pools, sprinklers, and streams for kids to enjoy.

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Domino Park

Shutterstock

Domino Park, the waterfront open space that’s part of the Domino Sugar Refinery redevelopment, doesn’t have much in the way of shade. But it does have a fountain with 88 separate water jets where kids can splash and cool off (just don’t forget the sunscreen). Other park features include a playground designed by Mark Reigelman that has slides, climbing elements, and more.

Shutterstock

J.J. Byrne Playground

One of Park Slope’s most popular playgrounds has a cool splash pad with water cannons, streams, jets, and rocks for kids to climb on (which can get slippery, so be careful!).

LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park Brooklyn

The outdoor section of the ice-skating rink at Prospect Park transforms into a massive splash pad in the summertime, with 20 water jets and lots of space for kids (under 12 only!) to play.