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Splash Pads: A Growing Trend

By Patricia Rotschild, Marketing & Design Specialist, Vortex Aquatic Structures International




The Andersen Celebration Park in Saginaw, Michigan was built to replace an aging water park. The new design consists of a 3,000 square foot splash pad with a rainforest theme. The tallest water elements reach 9.5 feet.
Photos: Vortex

 

For several years now, spray park installations have been identified as desired amenities for all types of recreation environments. They have been implemented in municipal parks, community recreation centers, family fun centers, public swimming pools, aquatic centers and water parks.

Innovative Community Enhancement
Splash play areas provide a unique way of bringing vitality to their communities. This exciting amenity brings families and communities together, providing refreshment on a hot summer day. With the wide array of design options available, a unique splash pad can tie in to any surrounding.




The scorpion water feature and splash pad is located at Parc Safari Zoo in Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada. The splash pad is 18,000 square feet and is part of a larger water facility within the zoo, it uses 81 to 145 gallons of water per minute.

Healthy Play and Connecting Families
Parents, citizens and community leaders have taken on the role of ensuring the future health and well being of their children. While kids flock to splash pads because of their high fun potential, the splash pad happens to be an ideal venue for them to develop and maintain active bodies and minds. Social engagement and interactivity in these settings help develop overall physical health, particularly motor skills and coordination, aerobic capacity, muscular strength, agility and reflexes, as well as cognitive and sensorial learning.

The splash pad environment also contributes to a necessary component of a child's everyday lifestyle and schedule- free-play, which is critical for fostering growth. Unlike organized sports, free-play activities on a splash pad are genuinely unstructured and open to creativity, where children make their own rules.




City of Tychy, Poland receives its first splash pad at a community park. The water structures include a rainbow and a watergarden flower with a total splash pad area of 3,250 square feet.

Inherently Safe
With the intent to eliminate danger and create a stress-free family play environment, splash pads have developed systems that address safety concerns. With no standing water on splash pads, the risk of drowning is eliminated. Structures are designed to be as safe as possible through advanced engineering and innovative design.

Considerations are made to effectively eliminate pinch points, protrusions and risks of head entrapment.

Environmentally Sustainable Play
Today, the need to conserve our natural resources has become essential to our future. As the popularity of splash pads grows, so does the responsibility of using water in the most effective, sustainable way possible. As such, splash pads offer several conservation options that make them a viable and socially responsible amenity.

Assessing a water management system is a vital part of the planning process for any splash pad installation. Recirculation systems and capture and repurposing systems offer advanced technology for water management, and serve as superior water conservation options than traditional drain-away systems.

The Ohio Department of Health are now requiring splash pads or spray parks, such as Savage Spray Park at 645 Vance St. off Nebraska Road, to be inspected and licensed to meet new health requirements.

As of April 1st of 2011 local health agencies began inspecting spray parks to insure the water was properly filtered and chemically treated while shooting and spraying. Since the spring of 2011, each spray park has been required to have signs warning splash goers not to participate if they have diarrhea and to not drink the water.

Each spray park license costs $80. The new regulations were sparked after an outbreak of 4,000 people got sick from cryptosporidium at a New York Splash pad. Cryptosporidium is a parasitic illness that causes diarrhea and vomiting.

Modest Investment for High Value
While a splash pad cannot replace a full service pool, it is an affordable way to add a water amenity for a relatively small investment. Compared to long-lasting splash pads, traditional swimming pools and wading pools have high start up and maintenance costs. This is mainly due to the ease of splash pad operation. Less time is required to upkeep the system, and the need for trained staff and lifeguards is lessened, therefore reducing labor costs. An increasingly popular option to generate revenues, or to simply cover costs, is the "Pay for Play" concept.

Sharpening Community Value
Quality amenities such as parks and community centers are determinant factors when choosing a place to live. Splash pads offer a safe, sustainable, and cost effective solution, adding exciting and fun elements to a community park. With the potential for growth, splash pads have become the simple solution to brighten up and enhance community spaces, enticing locals to come out for some healthy fun.


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November 22, 2019, 1:07 pm PDT

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