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Neighborhood Expert: Where to find local public “spraygrounds” and splash pads

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

With the official start of summer upon us, many are already thinking of how to pass the hot summer days with water play.

Many of the public options were closed last year for little kids, like splash pads and spraygrounds, but it appears that won’t be the case this year. Fairfax County announced the opening of its spray parks yesterday.

If you’re looking for places to take young kids, here are some ideas:

  • Our Special Harbor (6601 Telegraph Road, Franconia): This Chesapeake Bay themed splash park has a water maze, dumping crab basket, spray fountains, misting flowers and interactive water tables. Aquatic shoes or sandals with a back strap are required for kids under 15. There’s also a carousel.
  • The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole (400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston): Here you’ll find a pool, slides, a lazy river, an area for kids with a smaller slide, covered picnic areas and chairs for lounging. This is a great option for day trips to a pool if you’re not a member of any of the local pools. We bought a family pass our first summer in Vienna when we weren’t members of a pool yet, and it was a great way to pass the summer. We have also done birthday parties here — so much fun!
  • Ocean Dunes Waterpark (6060 Wilson Blvd, Arlington): Explore multiple pools for different ages, large slides, a “sprayground” with a dumping bucket and many areas for lounging in the sun. It’s also adjacent to an 18-hole mini-golf course — another great way to pass a lazy day!
  • Volcano Island Waterpark (20015 Volcano Drive, Sterling): This is another great option with a pool, “sprayground,” slides and a dumping bucket.
  • Atlantis Waterpark (7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville): Keep the kids busy with waterslides, pools, a play island with smaller slides and a huge 500-gallon dumping bucket.
  • Great Waves Waterpark (4001 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria): For the adventurous, this park includes speed slides, waterslides, a wave pool and a small kids’ zone for the younger crowd. There’s also a mini-golf course, batting cages, playground and cabanas.

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