Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Forest Hills Park Sprayground

I hadn't ever heard of a "sprayground" before. But in a moment of brilliance, Sarah C. found out about these on the Internet. So on a hot day Sarah C., Stacey ("S'Rich"), and I decided to take our boys to a sprayground.

We know of 8 different spraygrounds in the area (see list below). If you are wondering what a sprayground is, it is a playground area that has water features. There are sprinklers, sprays, showers, and other water fountains for kids to play in.

It turns out there isn't a ton of information out there about specifics for the different spraygrounds. So picking blindly, we chose Forest Hills park.

We were expecting the sprayground area to be bigger. Instead we found a very large playground with a small area (3 rings) dedicated as the sprayground. But since it was hot, and our kids were all ready to go in their swimsuits, we went for it. Turns out, this is a lot of fun for kids, regardless of our adult expectations.

The water starts when someone places their hand on the post in the proper spot (very Harry Potter -esque). When the water goes, it works in a random pattern, shooting up in the air through sprinklers and shooting out of the rings.

There are some problems with water parks anywhere you go, and on whatever scale. For example, even though this sprayground is only a couple of years old, there is mold around. The ground is covered with a special waterproof material, but it looks like there are drainage issues. So the kids managed to find areas of standing water where mold was growing. My husband, the environmental engineer, was also worried about the water conservancy issue when I told him about our day, which makes me wonder too.

And since this is a very popular and free feature, there can be a lot of kids there. We had good luck since we went during a weekday afternoon, but I imagine that weekends can get crazy. And no shade over the sprayground.

But honestly, for a hot day, this was great. It was especially good for our toddlers. They can do their thing and walk around exploring the water, without the stress of a big pool and flotation device. Of course, some toddlers might be a little put off by the water spurting suddenly, such as C, but you never know til you go! Beyond the toddler age, as we were leaving a group of older boys showed up and they seemed to have just as much fun. So it seems to work for all ages.

We didn't find or use any indoor changing facilities or restrooms. We came ready to play and left a little wet.

Outside of this sprayground, the Forest Hills park was good. There is a pool there, not large, but we didn't check it out. The playground itself is large with some good equipment. No shade, and the ground cover is a combination of mulch and synthetic material. They do have bucket swings for toddlers.

This could make a great outing, especially when paired with a hot day stop at Local Yogurt down the street.

Forest Hills Park & Sprayground
1639 University Drive
Durham, NC

A list of spraygrounds in the area: Note that some of these, especially Raleigh locations, may require an entry fee.
1) East End Park, 1200 N. Alston Ave
2) Forest Hills Park, 1639 University Drive
3) Hillside Park, 1301 S. Roxboro St
4) E. Johnson Rec Center, 600 W. Murray Ave

5) Millbrook Exchange Park, 1905 Spring Forest Rd
6) Chavis Park, 720 Chavis Way
7) Lake Johnson, 1416 Athens Drive
8) Ridge Road, 1709 Ridge Road


At June 30, 2010 at 10:47 AM , Blogger LauraC said...

Someone recently forwarded me this blog and I love it!

The Lake Johnson spray park would be worth a separate post. The spray park part is separate from the pool and the baby pool. They have an ENORMOUS baby/toddler wading pool. The splash park part is good for toddlers and kids!

I did a short post with a couple of pics here:


At June 30, 2010 at 11:09 AM , Blogger chapelhillmom said...

Laura your blog is so cute!

And I LOVE the Lake Johnson tidbit. As I mentioned, I had never heard of spraygrounds at all so this is all new to me. And without a whole lot of information on the Internet about them, we were just guessing about which one to go to. I will definitely try this one out! Hopefully C will be feeling a little more adventurous. He wasn't completely sure what to make of the whole thing.

Thanks for the kind words, and glad you find this useful. If you think of anything else we should check out, send it my way.

At July 31, 2010 at 5:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

they recycle the water!!!!

At July 31, 2010 at 6:09 PM , Blogger chapelhillmom said...

That is so great to know! Thanks!

At August 7, 2010 at 7:55 PM , Anonymous Heather Forgione said...

This was such helpful information. We moved the area 5 months ago and were really surprised by the lack of water-related activities. Growing up in upstate NY, we had our choice of 5 water parks 1 to 1.5 hrs away, and in South FL we had just as many. My husband took the kids today to the Lake Johnson sprayground and they had a lot of fun, esp. my 16-month old! Thanks.


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