By: Jill Martin
Soak up some summertime fun at these splash and play parks.
While we all love Miami for the weather, summertime calls for creative ways to keep cool as temperatures rise. And that’s where these neighborhood splash parks come into play.
We’re talking shallow fun for the younger crowd—where they can jump and run and splash and laugh. And parents can stay on budget as most of these offer free entry or only charge a few dollars.
So grab a few towels, your waterproof sunscreen, and soak up some summertime fun at the following parks:
James Archer Smith Park Splash Pad
300 N.W. 12 Street, Homestead
This splash park located right across from MAST Academy is great for little ones because there is no standing water to worry about. It’s just a big ole’ circle of artistic concrete with 11 gushers that squirt up from the ground, perfect for sitting on, splashing in, running through or standing on top of. What’s more – it’s free. The splash pad is surrounded by plenty of comfy benches, there are bathrooms a few steps away, and there’s even another playground, a fitness trail, a dog park and picnic areas. Weekday hours at James Archer Smith Park Splash Pad are 4 p.m. to sunset, and weekend and holiday hours are 10 a.m. to sunset.
Helen Sands Pool Splash Park
28151 S.W. 164 Avenue, Redlands
The splash playground at Helen Sands Pool Splash Park is the newest addition to this popular park in the midst of a residential neighborhood. Parents love the big blue shady umbrellas and little ones love the dancing waters, dousing buckets and waterfall mushroom trees. Besides the splash park, there’s a full size swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, skate ramps, fitness zones, a large center field, a children’s playground and a measured walking path. The splash park is open in the summer from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $2.50.
11000 S.W. 57 Avenue, Pinecrest
At the site of the original Parrot Jungle, Pinecrest Gardens has it all, including a splash 'n play area designed for ages 2-12. This water playground is free with your $5 garden admission and your kids will love the giant misting palms and giant mushroom waterfall tree. Not to mention, the surroundings are stunning. It is, after all, one of the finest botanical gardens in South Florida. Even the parking lot is beautiful with its huge ficus trees. Once your kids are worn out from dodging squirting geysers, visit the petting zoo or Swan Lake, walk the garden paths, feed the fish, or play a giant game of chess.
Zoo Miami Splash Pads
12400 S.W. 152 Street, Miami
Normally, advice you hear when visiting a zoo is “wear comfortable shoes.” But when it’s Zoo Miami, you should bring a swim suit and towel! They have several get-wet splash pads and the biggest of them all is the Ocean Voyage play area. And yes, your kids will get soaked by overflowing buckets of water and squirting whale tale fountains. Parents, you can chill in the shade with a lemonade. All splash parks inside Zoo Miami are free with your zoo admission.
Normandy Isle Park and Pool
7030 Trouville Esplanade, Miami Beach
With a depth of zero to 15 feet, the water playground at Normandy Isle Park and Pool is one of the best around. It’s not only plenty big, you’ll find a nice setup at this facility for a day of family fun with a lap pool for adults, an interactive play pool with toys for toddlers, a concession stand, lounge chairs, and several umbrellas for shade. You can shower in the locker room before you head out, and let your children sleep the whole ride home. Admission is free for Miami Beach residents and children ages 3 and under, otherwise it’s $10 for adults and $6 for kids ages 4 to 17.
A.D. "Doug" Barnes Park
3401 S.W. 72 Avenue, Miami
While the splash area at A.D. “Doug” Barnes Park isn’t huge, when the water’s flowing and kids are jumping around to get soaked, it’s still an absolute blast. There’s also a picnic area and large pool for all-day summertime fun. Once you’ve dried off, there is a lot more to see at this sprawling 65-acre park, including the Sense of Wonder Nature Center, with eco-adventure tours, a fishing lake, and hands-on environmental programs for all ages. Admission is $2.50.
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