25 Top Splash Pads and Sprinkler Parks in NYC for Kids (2024)

2. Chelsea Waterside Play Area – Chelsea

23rd Street at 11th Avenue
Chelsea Waterside Play Area has been a mainstay on our list of the city's best playgrounds for years, and thanks to its $3.4 million overhaul in 2018, the aging play area received a whole new look—a 22-foot, rainbow-hued pipefish winds through the multi-level playground, bringing joy to kids of all ages. Parents appreciate the fact the sea creature keeps the dueling splash pads separated. One is for big kids, while a mild toddler-sized section with gentle springs entertains little ones.

RELATED: Central Park's Top Playgrounds Ranked for NYC Kids and Visitors

25 Top Splash Pads and Sprinkler Parks in NYC for Kids (1)
Ancient Playground's water feature flows from every angle, creating plenty of cooling mist. Photo by author

3. Ancient Playground – Central Park

Enter at 85th Street and Fifth Avenue
Situated next door to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this adventure-style playground is an excellent destination for kids of all ages. The play structure includes pyramids, catwalks, tunnels, slides, and water running along the bridges. Kids can splash through or stand under a mini-waterfall in a splash pad area with water jets. Younger kids will be fascinated by the water squirting from nozzles set into the walls.

4. East River Park – Lower East Side

Delancey Street and the FDR Drive
We stumbled upon these spray showers near the Williamsburg Bridge one summer while biking along the East River and were instantly taken with them. The park has slate pavers, and tall grass waves in the breezegiving it a pretty, natural atmosphere. The bronze harbor seals are cute and fun to climb on. As for the water at this sprinkler park, it shoots up randomly from different geysers. It's like a giant Whac-A-Mole game as kids run from spot to spot, trying to guess where the water will emerge next. To get to the spot, head to the end of Delancey Street and cross the FDR Drive, then head south. It's also easily accessible via the bike path.

5. Heckscher Playground – Central Park

Central Park South and Seventh Avenue
The biggest playground in Central Park offers two ways to get wet. The first is on the giant climbing structures, which connect via small pathways with water flowing through them. The second is at the awesome sprinkler section, where water rains down from tall tubes and shoots up from jets in the ground. Little kids get a separate, gentle splash pad area adjacent to the awesome sandbox.

6. Discovery Playground – Washington Heights

Fort Washington Park at 165th Street
This playground gets bonus points for its steps-from-the-Hudson location in Fort Washington Park. In addition to sprinklers, slippery rocks to climb, and tiny streams in which to splash, there's plenty of shade. You can always catch a cool breeze from the river, making it a perfect destination on a hot summer day. If not for the noise from the commuter trains or the Henry Hudson Parkway above, you'd forget you're in the middle of the city when you visit this uptown splash pad.

7. Hudson River Park Pier 25 Play Area – Tribeca

Hudson River at North Moore Street
Near the southern end of Hudson River Park, you'll find this fabulous playground with one of the best splash pads in Manhattan. Take note: Ongoing construction will cause some intermittent closures this season. The water features range from passive, gentle sprinklers just right for little ones to tipping buckets that douse anyone who dares walk under their splash zone. Plus, there's a pair of water cannons that shoot sky-high...or right at your unsuspecting sibling, depending on how you aim them. When kids tire of getting wet, there's a seasonal mini-golf course on the pier that costs just $5 for children and $12 for adults. Nearby, find the very cool Pier 26 playground

8. Imagination Playground – South Street Seaport

John Street between Front and South Streets
This innovative playground and splash pad, which was designed by architect David Rockwell, opened to great fanfare in the summer of 2010. While it doesn't have a sprinkler, it does have a fantastic water play area with pools and fountains, surrounded by wooden steps on which parents can lounge. Kids manipulate the water with piping and other tools while getting drenched. It's a one-of-a-kind play experience and one of our favorite things to do at the South Street Seaport.

9. Teardrop Park – Battery Park City

Warren Street and Murray Street, East of River Terrace
Swooshing down the long, perpetually wet slide at Teardrop Park is addictive, so don't be surprised if your kids want to do it over and over and over again. In the splash pad area, jets spout water into the air as kids climb over the funky wet rocks in this sweet sprinkler park.

10. Police Officer Moira Ann Smith Playground – Flatiron

26th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues
Be warned: Due to its proximity to multiple family-friendly neighborhoods, this playground—the only one in Madison Square Park—is always packed. The space itself is tiny, and the jungle gym is huge. There's also a neat spinning wheel that dumps water from the top of a 15-foot pole straight onto kids below as jets shoot water out of the ground.

11. The Bosque Fountain – Battery Park

Battery Place and State Street
While I don't encourage my kid to play in fountains, this one was created specifically for frolicking. Kids love the jets of water that burst up from the ground, and parents appreciate the fact the water drains, so kids don't end up jumping around in a pool of dirty water.

RELATED: 10 Play Fountains Where NYC Kids Can Get Totally Soaked

25 Top Splash Pads and Sprinkler Parks in NYC for Kids (2)
Domino Park's expansive water play area is always teeming with fun. Photo by Rosalind Muggeridge

Top Splash Pads in Brooklyn

12. Brooklyn Bridge Park Waterlab at Pier 6 – Brooklyn Heights

Enter at Furman Street and Atlantic Avenue
Ever since we first visited this spectacular sprinkler park when it opened in 2010, Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6 has been one of our favorite kid play destinations. In the Waterlab area, one of four distinct sections of the sprawling playground, sprinklers shoot water all over a splash pad enclosed by small, manmade cliffs. It's gorgeous and fun, but also slippery. Kids can splash through the streams, climb around, and even try some of the interactive water features. It's always crowded and not the best choice for younger children.

13. Lakeside Splash Pad – Prospect Park

171 East Drive; enter at Lincoln Road and Ocean/Parkside Avenue entrances
There's water everywhere at the splash pad at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. While one rink is used for roller skating in summer, the other transforms into a water play area featuring dozens of jets shooting water out of the walls. Grab snacks at the adjacent Bluestone Cafe with indoor and outdoor seating, or hit the nearby Zucker Natural Exploration playground for some drier fun.

14. Harmony Playground – Prospect Park

Enter at Prospect Park West between Ninth and 11th Streets
Taking its inspiration from the nearby bandshell, this Prospect Park playground has an interactive musical motif, including xylophones that kids can play. But, the real draw is the abundance of sprinkler park features. The designers covered all the splash pad bases here, including geysers, spraying animal sculptures, misters, and a shower.

15. Domino Park – Williamsburg

The architecture at this new park was inspired by the historic Domino sugar factory that once occupied the site. While there's a cool playground, a separate kid-friendly splash pad is located just a bit further south. Stadium-style seating gives mom and dad a place to lounge and supervise while kids frolic in the sprinklers that shoot straight up from the ground. The backdrop is hard to beat, and other amenities here include an open lawn, an urban beach, a taqueria from Danny Meyer, and more jam-packed into a tight waterfront space.

16. Imagination Playground – Prospect Park

Enter at Ocean Avenue between Parkside Avenue and Lincoln Road
No relation to the aforementioned South Street Seaport spot, this charming, kid-lit-themed playground boasts a black-and-white play structure and a statue of Peter and Willie of Ezra Jack Keats' fame. But the hot-weather draw is the gorgeous bronze dragon fountain that gets kids good and soaked in the splash pad. Find other fun things to do in Prospect Park.

17. Pier 2 Uplands – Brooklyn Heights

Opened in July 2020 as part of Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 2 renovation, this tiered splash pad is constructed from remnants cut away during the construction of Pier 3. Its multiple levels feature sprinklers and sprayers at various heights and lots of room to run around. A cool feature is the retention tank which catches the run-off from the sprinklers and reuses it to irrigatethe landscaping.

RELATED: 25 Things To Do with Kids in Flushing Meadows Corona Park

25 Top Splash Pads and Sprinkler Parks in NYC for Kids (3)
Kids hit the beachside splash pad at 30th Street in Rockaway when the surf is too rough or cold. Photo courtesy of Rockaway Park

Top Sprinkler Parks in Queens

18. Beach 30th Street Playground – Rockaway

Beach 30th Street and the Rockaway boardwalk
This playground is a must-visit for young water lovers and Rockaway visitors. H2O sprays from several splash pad features, including circular pipes and built-in water guns. Plus, there's a play boat and traditional sprinklers of different heights, and Rockaway Beach is steps away.

19. Playground for All Children – Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Off of Corona Avenue and 111th Street inside Flushing Meadows Corona Park
This spacious playground includes a manmade river that flows to a contained splash pad, and if that's not enough, there's also a kid-size village with a school and fire station, wheelchair-accessible jungle gyms, and basketball courts.

20. Gantry Plaza State Park – Long Island City

Enter at 47th Road and Center Boulevard
This state-of-the-art water play area comes complete with a lifeguard. Water shoots at kids from all over the place, making it one of the best splash pads in NYC. But be warned, swimsuits are required, and hours are sporadic since you must wait for the lifeguard to show up. If you drop by and it's closed, console your kids by exploring the rest of Gantry Plaza State Park and the Long Island City waterfront, which is fabulous.

21. Travers Park – Jackson Heights

34th Avenue between 77th and 78th Streets
There is a good-sized splash pad in the big kids' area of this playground, with leafy spray showers and water jets. It attracts kids of all ages. This is the only official playground in Jackson Heights, Queens (other than school playgrounds), so it's often crowded, but there is a separate, gated section for toddlers.

22. Fountain of the Fairs – Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Grand Central Parkway between 111 StreetandCollege Point Boulevard
Unveiled in October 2020, thisinteractive "mist garden" with specialized jets is part of a major upgrade near Flushing Meadow Park's Unisphere. The sprinkler park has been designed to create a refreshing cloud where kids can play and cool off on hot summer days. Approximately 500 hidden jets shoot up into the air from an Art Deco-inspired pavement that has been constructed over the original pool.

RELATED: Queens Museum: 6 Fun Things To Do with Kids

25 Top Splash Pads and Sprinkler Parks in NYC for Kids (4)
Run through the rainbow-hued arches at Roberto Clemente State Park's splash pad. Photo courtesy of NYS Parks

Great Splash Pads in the Bronx and Staten Island

23. Roberto Clemente State Park – Morris Heights, the Bronx

301 West Tremont Avenue
This state park boasts a pool-and-splash pad for kids and adults alike to frolic. Its season opens annually on the first weekend of July, with two sessions daily. One drawback: There is an entrance fee, but at $1 per kid and $2 per adult, you can still treat the family to a relatively inexpensive afternoon of fun. In addition to a full-size pool, there's a kiddie pool with a shower at one end and an entire sprinkler park where kids can run through geysers and sprays in every shape and size imaginable. See a full list of pool rules here.

24. Seaside Wildlife Nature Park – Great Kills, Staten Island

Nelson Avenue and Tennyson Drive
Located along the shore, this playground features one-of-a-kind equipment such as a shipwrecked boat to explore, a shark to climb, and play units inspired by the Staten Island Ferry and a lighthouse. Of course, the nautical theme wouldn't be complete without actual water. Thankfully, splash pad features abound.

25. Walter Gladwin Park – Tremont, the Bronx

175th Street and Arthur Avenue
Formerly Tremont Park, this spot was recently renamed after Walter H. Gladwin (1902-88), the first Black elected governmental official in the Bronx, and underwent a $4.5 million upgrade a few years back. Renovations included two new playgrounds and one impressive splash pad. Kids love darting across the footbridge and pathways as water sprays at them from every angle. Though this is the destination splash pad at Walter Gladwin Park, there is a second sprinkler park located in the playground at the corner of East Tremont and Arthur Avenue. It's much smaller, featuring a fire hydrant centerpiece, but it gets the job done on a hot day.

You can find a comprehensive list of all the sprinkler parks in NYC on the Parks Department's website.

Originally published in May 2008.

25 Top Splash Pads and Sprinkler Parks in NYC for Kids (2024)


Where to get wet in NYC? ›

Best Splash Pads in Manhattan
  • Chelsea Waterside Play Area – Chelsea. ...
  • Ancient Playground – Central Park. ...
  • East River Park – Lower East Side. ...
  • Heckscher Playground – Central Park. ...
  • Discovery Playground – Washington Heights. ...
  • Hudson River Park Pier 25 Play Area – Tribeca. ...
  • Imagination Playground – South Street Seaport.
May 24, 2024

Are sprinklers on in NYC parks? ›

You can find out about New York City parks and playgrounds with sprinklers (spray showers) to help kids stay cool during hot weather. Spray showers are turned on during park hours when the temperatures reach 80 degrees or higher. Find a sprinkler in a park or playground.

Does Central Park have a splash pad? ›

Central Park features both passive and active recreation opportunities and is home to the new Splash Pad and community-wide events, including our Sip of Summer concerts.

Are splash pads safer than pools? ›

Splash pads are usually designed so that standing water does not collect in the water play area to reduce the risk of drowning.

Does NYC have a water park? ›

The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark

Kartrite is New York state's largest indoor water park. Check out the Jiggerty-Jaggerty, a 42-foot-long slide, fun puddle ducks, the lazy river and so much more.

Does Central Park have sprinklers? ›

Many of the playgrounds in Central Park - like many playgrounds throughout Manhattan - have water features. (The experience is often similar running through a sprinkler).

What park is built over water in NYC? ›

Little Island, a new, free public Park pier within the larger Hudson River Park, opened to the public on May 21, 2021, providing New Yorkers and visitors from around the world with a unique green space unlike any other in New York City.

Is NYC park water clean? ›

Our pools and spray showers are safe to use. Our water fountains are safe to drink from, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. They are not a known source of childhood lead exposure. It is good practice to let the water run for 30 seconds before drinking.

What time do sprinklers turn on in NYC? ›

We also turn on the sprinklers at hundreds of playgrounds across the city! In general, we turn on spray showers on days when the temperature reaches 80 degrees or higher.

Where to avoid in Central Park? ›

I also suggest not wandering into the northern section of the park above the Reservoir (96th Street). It's not as busy because it has fewer popular spots to visit. Definitely steer clear of the North Woods at night, a wooded area located on the northwest corner of the park.

Are there a lot of ticks in Central Park? ›

Don't get ticked off. Ticks are found around the world in hot, humid climates, which means they can also be found in Central Park, especially during the summer.

What do you wear to a splash park? ›

Splash parks tend to be less crowded, and you're not going to be getting full sun if you head out from 10am-noon. Get your kids dressed in their bathing suit under their clothes and put them in crocs or water shoes if they have them. Try and steer away from flip-flops or anything that gets slippery when wet.

Do splash pads get moldy? ›

Problem: Potable water from a flow-through system, plus a porous or infrequently cleaned surface allows for algae growth on top of the pad. With porous systems, like pour-in-place, mold can grow deeper, which is a nightmare to remove.

What are the cons of splash pads? ›

Pros and cons of splash pads

Because there is no standing water, there's less of a need for lifeguards or other supervision and there is little risk of drowning. But even with a very small risk of water-related injuries like drowning, splash pads are not as safe as they should be, and people are being injured.

Do you wear a bathing suit to a splash pad? ›

Swimwear or other appropriate attire must be worn at all times. Footwear is strongly recommended. Children requiring diapers must wear swim diapers. No food or drinks are permitted on the Splash Pad.

Are there public water fountains in NYC? ›

We have locations in all five boroughs. Just look for the bright blue tent! To view fountain locations and times, visit our Events Page. To learn more about New York City drinking water, visit Drinking Water.

Is there hard water in NYC? ›

New York City water comes from multiple sources. The Catskill/Delaware aqueduct has soft to slightly hard water, while the Croton aqueduct provides moderately hard water. Because these two sources are blended, NYC water is considered moderately hard.

Are there water towers in NYC? ›

The New York City water tower is one of the most iconic and ubiquitous elements in the city's skyline. So much so that it has become an oft-used symbol of the city itself. And over the years, it's become much more than just the functional object it was designed as.

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