The Go-To Guide: Free Splash Pads and Spraygrounds Around Columbus
17 spots to beat the heat when the summer sun is sizzling
When summer heats up, you need a place to cool off.
Fortunately, Central Ohio has a great selection of splash pads and spraygrounds where families can beat the blazing sun.
We’ve compiled a roundup of water-play spots that will come in handy during hot-and-sticky Columbus summers. It includes 17 sites in all corners of town that are free and open to the public.
Before you head out, it’s wise to check social media or call ahead to make sure your preferred destination isn’t closed for maintenance, water testing or weather.
To suggest a location we should consider adding to our list, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ballantrae Community Park
6350 Woerner Temple Road, Dublin; 614-410-4700;dublinohiousa.gov
The splash pad/sprayground in this scenic spot, popularly known as Bunny Hill, is reopening for 2022, so expect plenty of dancing and frolicking below the “Dancing Hares” sculpture. Spray fountains built into the hillside and other water features are accompanied by a large, grassy area nearby. There are restrooms next to the parking lot.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, May 28 through Labor Day
Barnett Community Center
1184 Barnett Road (Linwood), Columbus; 614-645-3065;columbus.gov
Barnett is one of four splash pads located at community centers operated by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. It features sprayers, fountains and plumbing-pipe-style water features. Parking, restrooms and other amenities are located at the community center.
Bicentennial Park on the Scioto Mile
233 Civic Center Drive (Downtown), Columbus; 614-645-7995;sciotomile.com
The city will open the Scioto Mile Fountain this season, though some repairs are still needed. The center fixture of this 15,000-square-foot interactive splash pad can shoot water 75 feet high, and the structure also boasts 1,079 spray nozzles and 1,100 fog nozzles. Its location affords river views and green space, plus easy access to COSI and the adjacent Dorrian Green park across the Scioto River. There are public restrooms.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, May 27 through Labor Day
Blackburn Community Center
263 Carpenter St. (Olde Towne East), Columbus; 614-645-7670;columbus.gov
Colorful, fanciful water features and in-ground spouts provide kids with a spot to stay cool. Parking and restrooms are available at the community center.
50 Belle St. (Downtown), Columbus; 614-645-3300;columbus.gov
The interactive splash pad is just one feature of this newer, 6.32-acre park in front of COSI. The space, named for longtime Columbus civil servant Hugh Dorrian, also includes multiple playsets and pollinator, sensory and prairie gardens. It offers a great opportunity to feel young no matter your age.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays
Use 3993 Easton Station, Columbus, for navigation purposes; 614-337-2200;eastontowncenter.com
Easton’s Town Square splash pad fountain offers a fun spot for younger children to unwind between shops. Find it adjacent to Brio Tuscan Grille.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays through Labor Day. The fountain occasionally closes for special events.
3899 Orders Road, Grove City; 614-277-3060;grovecityohio.gov/parks-and-recreation
Beyond serving as a bright, colorful aquatic addition to 110-acre Fryer Park, the splash pad includes 17 water features in a 2,800-square-foot, space-themed play area. Restrooms and parking are located within the park, which has a Century Village historic area, an accessible playground, fishing, biking, walking trails and more if you decide to stay and play.
Hours: noon to 7:45 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 6:45 p.m. Fridays, noon to 4:45 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Sundays. The splash pad operates Memorial Day weekend through Sept. 4 and is closed when the YMCA outdoor pool is closed.
1115 E. Park St., Westerville; 614-901-6545;parks.westerville.org
You can definitely get wet and cool off at this 1,000-square-foot splash pad, whose in-ground, eyebrow-shaped fountain features 12 jets. Hanby Park also has a playground with a climbing tower, bench swings and a train depot-styled shelter and restrooms.
Hours: dusk to dawn daily Memorial Day through Labor Day
Hilliard’s Station Park
4021 Main St., Hilliard; 614-876-5200;hilliardohio.gov/hilliard-station-park
This small city park in Old Hilliard, designed to evoke the train depot that once operated there, hosts an assortment of in-ground fountains. The park sits at the beginning of the 7-mile Heritage Trail and across from Center Street Market. Amphitheater seating and a restroom are available.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Sept. 30
John Bishop Park
4815 Etna Road, Whitehall; 614-863-0121;whitehall-oh.us
The splash pad in John Bishop Park features palm trees and ground fountains that spray water.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays from Memorial Day through the start of the school year
4390 Lancaster Ave., Obetz; 614-491-1080;obetz.oh.us
This 4.5-acre village of Obetz park has a sprawling water play area (which doubles as an ice rink seasonally). Parking, restrooms and lockers are all located conveniently to the splash pad.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Linden Community Center
1350 Briarwood Ave. (Northeast Side), Columbus; 614-645-3067;columbus.gov
This new community center features a sprayground with a host of fountains, nozzles and sprayers. Parking, restrooms and other amenities are located at the community center.
North Bank Park on the Scioto Mile
311 W. Long St. (Arena District), Columbus; 614-645-3300;sciotomile.com/parks/north-bank-park
This 9-acre park in the Arena District has an interactive spray fountain that’s designed for younger children and a view of Downtown that parents will appreciate. Parking is available in nearby lots and garages and metered on-street spaces.
Hours: The fountain doesn’t have a set operating schedule because it is closed to the public when the pavilion is rented.
125 E. Sixth St., Marysville; 937-645-7350;marysvilleohio.org
This 1-acre park in the center of Uptown Marysville features an in-ground fountain, pavilion, restroom, green space and other amenities.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Scioto Southland Community Center
3901 Parsons Ave. (South Side), Columbus; 614-645-3224;columbus.gov
The former Indian Mound Community Center is still home to a colorful water play area. Parking, restrooms and other amenities are located at the community center.
1121 S. Houk Road, Delaware; 740-203-1810;delawareohio.net
This well-known, dinosaur-themed “spray and play” area offers spray features and a splash pad. The park includes shaded areas and a table with benches.
Hours: dawn to dusk daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day
Village Green Park
47 Hall St., Powell; 614-885-9820;cityofpowell.us
This city of Powell splash pad features a soaking array of fountains, nozzles and other water features. The park has picnic tables, with restrooms nearby in City Hall.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day
This story is from the Summer 2022 issue of Columbus Parent.