I had always heard of splash pads in the south, but until recently I never knew splash pads existed in Lancaster County! In fact, after I did a little research, I was shocked to find just how many splash pads there are in the Lancaster area that are FREE!
I’ve included a list of all the splash pads I found within an hour of Lancaster below, but first I thought I’d share five fun tips for a positive splash pad experience. You’ll find these especially helpful if you’ve never been to a splash pad before.
5 Tips for a Fun Splash Pad Experience
Invest in some excellent water shoes. Don’t buy the cheapest you can find—they can wear out quickly! Water shoes protect your child’s feet from stubbed toes, from hot pavements, and of course germs. Have you seen these barefoot water shoes? They make them in sizes for adults and kids and they are less than $10! Definitely worth the investment and they’ll last so you can use them again and again this summer at creeks, beaches and in the showers at the pool or when you go camping!
Apply sunscreen before you leave. Did you know that it is best to have sunscreen applied and rubbed into the skin at least 15-30 minutes before you get wet? Plus, once you arrive at the splash pad, your kids are going to be so excited its just hard to make them wait.
Dress your kids in a long-sleeve rash guard. Are you as in love with rash guards as we are? Rash guards help protect your child from the sun and you don’t have to lather on so much sunscreen, which just takes forever! We recently found some Underarmour rash guards at Goodwill that we wear all the time! Tip > If you buy your kids matching rash guards or bright colors, it will be easier to spot them on the splash pad!
Bring an insulated snack bag. Kids are always more hungry in the hot sun—it’s just a given! So come prepared with healthy, cool snacks that will keep them hydrated—cucumber slices are great! If you’re packing a lunch, consider freezing your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so they thaw in time to be eaten. We always love to bring frozen energy bites along! Also consider freezing any juice or yogurt pouches you bring, to keep them nice and cold.
Remember the essentials. I started packing my large thirty-one organizing tote and leaving it pretty much packed all summer. I keep it stocked with snacks, water bottles, wipes, towels, sunscreen, sunglasses and plastic bags (for taking wet clothes home). I don’t have toddlers anymore, but if you do, be sure to pack swim diapers—Huggies Little Swimmers always worked the best for us!
Lancaster County Area Splash Pads
Here’s a map of the FREE splash pads and wading pools in Lancaster County (zoom out to see those within driving distance):
Lancaster Rec Wading Pools – Sixth Ward, Buchanon (wading pool only), King Elementary (on South Duke Street), Reservoir Park and Rodney Parks. Open from 12 noon to 4:30pm from mid-June until the beginning of August. Children 6-14 can be left under supervised care if registered.
Enjoy a FREE, nutritious lunch and snack at all playground sites daily. Lunch times vary between 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. depending on the location. Register on-site at the playground nearest you any day playgrounds are in session. (Program also includes Farnum Playground.)
Here are some photos of a few of the splash pads and wading pool that are part of the Lancaster Rec program.
Fairmount Park – This splash pad is in Red Lion, about 40 minutes from Lancaster (or 50 minutes from Ephrata/Lititz). It is open from 9am to 8pm, daily. Because this is open late in the day, its a great place to take a packed dinner and enjoy in the evening with dad!
Middlesex Township – This is a splash pad in Carlisle (about an hour away from Lancaster and Ephrata areas). It operates from 10:30am to 7pm every day between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Groups larger than 10 people must notify township two weeks before your visit. Please read the rules on their website.
Fountain of Youth Spray Park – Splash pad at 255 Manatawny St, Pottstown (about 1 hour from Lancaster, 50 minutes from Ephrata).
11th & Pike Playground – Splash pad at 1401 N 11th St, Reading, PA (30 minutes from Ephrata, 45 minutes from Lancaster, 50 minutes from Mt Joy or Willow Street). Just opened in May 2016!
Grange Splash Park (this is under construction) – Splash pad will be at 360 Grange Road, Allentown, PA (1 hour from Ephrata, 1 hour and 12 minutes from Lancaster). Project should be completed by June 30, 2017!
You might also be interested in . . .
- 15 Before-Naptime Trips You May Not Have Known About in Lancaster County
- 5 Ways to Beat the Heat in Lancaster County
- Lancaster County Interactive Google Playground Map