by Ryan Renner
on Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 at 3:42pm.
Kids love splash pads. And as a father of a two-year-old, I've become familiar with several of the splash pads in the area.
Most splash pads (also known as spray pools or spraygrounds) are found in public parks. About 10 years ago, I'm not sure if there was a single public splash pad in the area, but times have changed.
Splash pads have little or no standing water so that helps eliminate the need for lifeguards or other supervision. Water spray grounds have distinct advantages over swimming pools in that they are cost-effective and low maintenance, and water-play activities extend well beyond normal pool season.
Here's a list of spray grounds available in the City of Omaha
Benson Park (7002 Military Ave.) A padded area that is decorated with blue and green wave patterns and lily pads totaling 3250 sqft. It offers Barrier-Free Play with a close large playground, a Port-a-John, a beautiful pond with walking paths, and a fishing pier. It has 29 spray features that include images of cattails, insects, and flowers. Benson Park is surrounded by a picnic table area with 15' x 50' shade canopy and bench seating. Best of all, it is handicap accessible!
Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge (705 Riverfront Dr.) Offers walking trails near the river with Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and the Missouri River as your backdrop. With Interactive water sprays that rise from the circular plaza, and grassy slope and stepped seating where parents can sit on and watch their kids. Enjoy live music? Check out the Bridge Beats free summer concert series. Just keep in mind that the splash pad closes early at 2 pm on Bridge Beat nights.
Fontenelle Park Sprayground (4405 Fontenelle Blvd.) Contains 9 spray features including colorful dumping bells, spinners, and spray "flowers", and offers a close playground, a Port-a-John, and tennis courts. It has Interactive ground sprays (when a child steps on a spray, nearby sprays react by rising higher) as well as toddler-friendly low sprays called water jellies. Shaded benches are nearby for parents to sit on and observe the fun.
Kountze Sprayground (1920 Pinkney St.) Funded by the Peter Kiewit Foundation in 1999, this sprayground offers interactive palm trees, spray hoops and ground sprays. There is also a large grass area, tennis courts, and a close playground. They are open 11am to 8pm daily.
Levi Carter Park Sprayground (809 Carter Lake Shore Dr.) CLOSED DUE TO MECHANICAL ISSUES (as of this writing) Features a serpentine stream bed with playful fish, flowing water plants, and many other fascinating water play elements designed to evoke thoughtful and imaginative play. There's a large, 50-gallon, dump bucket that will be sure to cool you off on the hottest of days. It also has many interactive ground sprays and overhead sprays for the kids to enjoy.
Miller Sprayground (2707 Redick Ave.) Omaha's newest sprayground; opened in May of 2019. The largest one in Omaha with almost 4,000 sqft of space. It has a Viking theme with 37 spray features, including a Viking ship, sea monster, and large dump bucket. It also includes areas for children of all ages and has shaded seating areas for parents.
Morton Park Sprayground (5724 S. 41st St.) Open 9am to 8pm, this 3,000 sqft Sun-themed water playground first opened in 2014. It has an area designed for smaller children equipped with smaller spray features. Dumping buckets, sun-shaped sprays, and larger features ensure that the sprayground will entertain kids of all ages.
Orchard Park Sprayground (6502 Hartman Ave.) Open 11am to 8pm, offering a close playground, a Port-a-John, picnic tables off to the side a little (not covered), and older tennis courts. Opened in 2002, this sprayground was constructed as part of the Orchard Park Rehabilitation project. It features a space theme with the sun, stars, and planets illustrated in the rubber surfacing.
Seymour Smith ALL PLAY Park (6802 Harrison St.) Offers a few shaded picnic tables, a nearby playground (with rubber bottom), frisbee golf, and a Port-a-John. The sprayground was built without curbs and steps to complement ALLPLAY Park's universal accessibility concept. It is ADA compliant and has lots of handicap parking.
Upland Sprayground (3104 Jefferson St.) Opened in 1999 and features a sea serpent, spray hoops, and daisies. Spray features are activated by the kids themselves when they touch the activator posts. Constructed as part of the Upland Park Renovation, replacing a deteriorating and outdated swimming pool.
Westwood Heights Sprayground (12334 Seldin Dr.) Offers a covered picnic area, close playground, and a Port-a-John. The water playground features a Rainbow, a Serpent, Ground Sprays, Dumping Buckets, Elephant, and Sea Horse spray cannons. Kids activate the sprays themselves by placing their hand on top of a blue post. The various spray features turn on and off randomly.
Other nearby Splash Pads
Eagle Ridge Splash Pad (2 blocks east of 66th St. and Ashwood Ave. in Papillion) Open from 8am to 7pm, it offers a covered picnic area, playground, sand volleyball, and a restroom. Follow the sidewalk past the playground, over the bridge to the splash pad. It features a pelican dump-bucket, blue whale misting system, sunflower sprays, bubblers, and a geyser.
Schwer Park Splash Pad (800 W. Centennial Rd, Papillion) Open from noon to 7pm, this splash pad offers a covered picnic area, nearby playground, and bathrooms. Features include shower flowers, dumping buckets, spray cannons, and rainbow rings.
First Street Plaza Splash Pad (1st Street and Washington Street, Papillion) A small splash pad, which is open from 9am to 10pm. First Street Plaza provides modern ADA compliant bathrooms to the downtown historical district. The plaza is also the location of a B-Cycle station where residents can rent a bicycle to explore the downtown area or ride on the nearby West Papio Trail.
Hastings Banner Park Splash Pad (Virginia St & S 50th St, Bellevue) Open daily from 8am to 7pm, aside from the splash pad, the park also has a playground, lighted pavilion, access to the keystone trail, and great fields for softball, soccer, or rugby. It is a great splash pad for kids with a good sized picnic area with outlets. The playground is new and there is a nice paved trail around the entire park. The parking lot just got repaved and striped. There is an easy access to the Papio trail system just West of the park.
Everett Park Splash Pad (Adjacent to Betz Road, Bellevue) Open daily from 9am to7pm, the park, named after former Bellevue City Councilman Robert Everett, was originally called Betz Park when it was built in the 70s. It's one of the larger parks in Bellevue. Aside from the splash pad, it also offers plenty of space for recreation such as baseball and soccer, and tennis courts.