You know it's summertime in Boston when kids are running through fountains and splashing in shallow pools of water on the Greenway and Boston Common. There's plenty of water fun to be had in neighborhoods all around the city, and we've rounded up some of our favorite spots. Most locations are open on weekends after Memorial Day, and then daily from the end of June through Labor Day. Bonus: they're all free!
Families frolic in the Frog Pond. Photo courtesy of The Skating Club of Boston
Frog Pond, Boston Common—Beacon Hill
From the opening day festivities on June 29, 2017 through Labor Day weekend, children ages 12 and under can cool off in the Frog Pond Spray Pool, open daily at 11 a.m.
In addition to playgrounds, open green space and paths, Danehy Park has a large spray deck that’s perfect for cooling off on hot days.
Chuckie Harris Park—Somerville
The innovative water feature at Chuckie Harris Park doubles as a movie screen on summer nights.
Splash Fountain on the Christian Science Plaza has lots of room to roam. Photo by Sarah Nichols/CC BY-SA 2.0
Splash Fountain, Christian Science Plaza—Back Bay
Renovated in 2005 at the Christian Science Plaza to include a new splash pool area and evening lighting system, the Splash Fountain is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., weather permitting. The fountain is on the Belvidere Street side of the plaza, not far from the free movie series at The Pru.
Ryan Wading Pool and Playground—Mattapan
The water features at this next one are extensive. Not only is there a substantial wading pool, but there are several spray features in the shapes of animals. Ryan Wading Pool is open daily from mid-June to late August with extended hours on Thursdays in July and August.
North Point Park — Cambridge
The spray deck at North Point Park has one of the best views in the area. You can see Boston and the Zakim Bridge while splashing around.
Summer splashin’ at the Rings Fountain on the Greenway. Photo courtesy of Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy
Rose Kennedy Greenway—Chinatown, Wharf District, and North End
Rose Kennedy Greenway fountains, listed below from north to south, are available for splashing from late May through early October 2018 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
- Rings Fountain, Wharf District Parks—Milk Street.
64 nozzles shoot up in the air and create circles of vertical water.
Canal Fountains, North End Parks—New Sudbury Street and North Street
The Canal fountains run along the North and South lawns of the Parks. These fountains are perfect for smaller children, who just want to get their feet wet.
River Stream Fountain, Chinatown Park—Surface Road and Beach Street
A bamboo lined, rocky stream in Chinatown is best for older kids.
The Canal Fountains are perfect for little kids who just want to get their feet wet. Photo courtesy of Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy
It’s still under construction, but there’s a large splash pad opening this summer at Latta Brothers Pool. The facility is open daily from late June to late August.
Artesani Playground Spray Deck and Wading Pool—Brighton
The small, nicely-maintained DCR playground has a spray deck and wading pool for cooling off. The spray deck is open daily from late May to early September, while the wading pool is open Saturday and Sunday from mid-June to late August.
Dorothy Curran Playground — South End
This nautically themed playground has some of the coolest water features in town: several large seaweed sculptures spray kids down when the weather heats up.
Water shoots out of what looks like a volcano at Coolidge Playground.
With multiple spray features and some depth, the Artesani wading pool is a great way to cool off. Photo by anevseev via Instagram
Stony Brook Spray Deck—Jamaica Plain
This small neighborhood spray deck is part of the Stony Brook Playground. It's open daily from late May to early September.
Johnson Playground Spray Deck—Jamaica Plain
Like Stony Brook, this is small neighborhood spray deck is part of the Johnson Playground. It's open daily from late May to early September with extended hours in July and August.
Alexander W. Kemp Playground—Cambridge
This super unique playground Cambridge Common (it’s built of natural materials) has a splash pad and water wheel with attached water tables.
The rock features make Beaver Brook feel a little like a natural spring. Photo by aslava via Instagram
Alfond Memorial Spray Deck—West End
You may not be able to dive into the Charles River, but you can cool down on its shores at the Alfond Memorial Spray Deck.
Beaver Brook Spray Deck and Playground—Belmont
There are a lot of fun water features in the Beaver Brook Spray Deck as well as a playground and lots of green space to explore in the Beaver Brook Reservation (a favorite for dogs and their humans). Tip: The rocks in the water area get slippery, so have your little ones wear water shoes with tread. It's open daily from late May to early September.
Olsen Swimming Pool and Spray Deck—Hyde Park
With brightly colored spray features, this splash pad is big enough for everyone who needs to cool down on hot days. The spray deck is open from late June to late August with extended hours in July and August.
Soule Recreation Center—Brookline
Nestled right in the middle of a large playground is a sizable spray deck to cool down on in between turns on the slides and swings.
Originally published in 2011; updated in 2017; updated 2018.