Splash Island in Oak Brook. Photo courtesy of the Oak Brook Park District
Splash Island in Oak Brook. Photo courtesy of the Oak Brook Park District

16 Cool Water Playgrounds and Splash Parks for Chicago Kids

When summer comes, smart Chicago parents make sure they've always got a sprinkler "go bag" packed and ready in the trunk, stroller, or tote: towel, sunscreen, water shoes, swim diaper (if you've got a really little mermaid), and spare clothes. Because in a city with this many awesome water playgrounds, splash parks, and spraygrounds, it pays to be prepared.

Our favorite water play zones in Chicago and the suburbs feature interactive sprinklers, sprayers, cannons, and gushers so everybody can get good and soaked—and some spots offer extra-wet bonuses like waterslides and pools. Chicago Park District water playgrounds turn on in June and keep the fun flowing through Labor Day weekend, although most water parks in the suburbs open Memorial Day weekend, and a few water parks remain open on weekends through the end of September.

Read on for 16 great water playgrounds that are as wet as they can get.

31st Street Harbor Playground Splash Pad — Oakland
June through September 2019
3155 S. Lake Shore Drive
The colorful lakeshore park houses a sweet, natural-pool-inspired splash pad within sight of its awesome, retro-space-age playground. Grownups can watch from sun-warmed rocks while little kids play in the gentle geysers and fountains.

Adams Park Water Playground. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Park District

Adams Park Water Playground — Lincoln Park
June 10 through September 3, 2019
1919 N. Seminary Avenue
The new splash pad at Adams Park features sprinklers and sprayers for kids of all ages and heights, including a real gusher of a funnel that gets kids good and soaked. When kids tire of the spray, dry off on the nearby playground (or in the field house), and stick around for concerts and movie nights for families.

Austin Park Water Playground — Austin
June through September 2019
5951 W. Lake Street
The giant, blue, multilevel water playground here is new as of 2016, with slides, tunnels, sprinklers, sprayers, gushers...the works. There's not much shade, but there are restrooms, and the area is fenced in with a soft, squishy surface for hours of safe play.

Dunbar Park Splash Pad — Douglas
June through September 2019
220 E. 29th Street
A circular spray park located right near the shady, recently-renovated playground has gentle in-ground sprinklers plus overhead fountains and sprayers for getting wet. Kids love dashing back and forth between the sprayers and the climbing structures, so bring sturdy water shoes.

Forest Park Aquatic Center. Photo Park District of Forest Park 

Forest Park Aquatic Center — Forest Park
May 25 – September 2, 2019
$7.50 children ages 3-11  (residents $5); 12 and up $9.50 (residents $6.50); children under 3 FREE. Cash only
7501 Harrison Street, Forest Park
A huge zero-depth 367,000 gallon pool at this water park holds an interactive water playground, with four water slides and a sprayground. There's also a nearby lap pool with a diving board, plus a sand play area for kids. Lockers and a concession stand are available, too.

Fosco Park Water Playground — University Village
June through September 2019
1312 S. Racine Avenue
The popular community center here is probably best known for its indoor pool, but the outdoor splash park is a true multi-level water playground, with splashers, soakers, and a slide.

The Hub Spray Ground at Berens Park — Elmhurst
May 25 – September 2, 2019
$5 (residents $3.50); children under 3 FREE
493 Oaklawn Avenue, Elmhurst
Part of a bustling community park that also features mini golf and batting cages, the generously-sized, fenced spray ground has two soft-surfaced splash pads and a good amount of shade. Kids here love drenching each other with the "Big Squirt" water soakers available for purchase at the entrance.

Mary Bartelme Park. Photo courtesy of Landscape Performance Series

Mary Bartelme Park — West Loop
June through September 2019
115 S. Sangamon Street
Probably one of the most Instagrammed new features in Chicago, the Fountain Plaza at this compact urban oasis is the place to be on a hot day. Angular archway sculptures spray a fine mist for dashing through at top speed (or lingering under for maximum cooldown). Dry off at the innovative multi-level playground next door.

Maryknoll Park Splash Park — Glen Ellyn
May 25 through September 2, 2019
$3 children ages 1-14; adults $1
845 Pershing Avenue, Glen Ellyn
There's a bit of a Wild West theme to the wet-and-wild water play here, with a water tower, cactus sprinkler, a saloon sign that doubles as a sprinkler, and a railroad gate. Just outside the Splash Park is an adventure playground with a zip line and climbing boulders.

Paradise Bay Water Park — Lombard
May 25 through September 2, 2019
$13 children ages 3-17 (residents $7); $15 adults (residents $10); children 2 and under FREE
437 E. St. Charles Road, Lombard
For a full day of water play, this water park offers a zero-entry pool with jets, sprayers, and even a whirlpool, plus multiple waterslides for every level of bravery, and a separate water playground for little ones. Lockers, changing rooms, and a snack bar are all on-site.

Portage Park Water Playground — Portage Park
June through September 2019
4100 N. Long Avenue
Portage Park is home to a huge public pool as well as a smaller heated pool for those slightly chillier summer days Chicagoans know so well. But the most fun under the sun is at the interactive water play area with slides, sprinklers, and spray. 

River Park Water Playground – Lincoln Square
June through September 2019
Chicago, IL 60625
A squishy, soft-surfaced splash pad with spray towers, sprinklers, and water jets, this water playground is also located right next to a public pool in shady, pretty River Park. 

Sea Lion Aquatic Park — Lisle
May 25 – August 11, 2019
1825 Short Street, Lisle
$13 (residents $7) 
This giant destination waterpark has separate water play zones for both little ones and bigger kids, plus four giant waterslides, a vortex pool, a large ADA accessible pool, and a lily pad feature. Changing rooms, lockers, and a full-service snack bar make it easy to stay the day.

Skokie Water Playground — Skokie
June 3 – September 2, 2019
$14 ($7 for child residents ages 3-15; $8 for residents age 16 and up); children under 3 FREE
4701 Oakton Stret, Skokie
With a huge zero-entry pool, three big water slides, and a multi-level water playground with sprayers, water guns, tubs, slides, and a giant splash bucket, plus an accessible “sprayground” with a rock-like waterfall and sprinklers galore, there's no excuse not to get soaked here. You'll also find a concession stand, changing rooms with showers, and lockers, but not a whole lot of shade.

RELATED: 14 Best Destination Playgrounds in Chicago

Play in the pool with friends at Splash Island. Photo courtesy of the Oak Brook Park District

Splash Island — Oak Brook
May 23 through September 2, 2019
$8 children ages 3-18 (residents $6), $12 adults (residents $10); children 3 and under FREE
1450 Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook
Sunburn conscious parents will appreciate the shaded water play and seating areas at Splash Island, which has slides, buckets, jets, and sprinklers aplenty, plus a cute aquatic-animal-themed splash pad just for younger kids. 

Ty Warner Spray Park — Westmont
May 25 through September 29, 2019 (open weekends only after Labor Day)
$5 children ($3 residents); adults FREE
700 Blackhawk Drive, Westmont
This year a new soft rubberized surface makes this beloved Dr. Seussian splash pad even more fun. Cannons, misters, dumping buckets, and a giant blue whale tail with sprinklers are among the wet-getters on offer. There's a sweet train-themed sand play area and some fun, twisty waterslides too.

31st Street Harbor Playground Splash Pad
3155 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60616

Adams Playground Park
1919 N. Seminary Avenue
Chicago , IL 60614

Austin Park Water Playground
5951 W. Lake St.
Chicago, IL 60644

Dunbar Park Splash Pad
220 E. 29th St.
Chicago, IL 60616

Forest Park Aquatic Center
7501 Harrison Street
Forest Park, IL 60130

Fosco Park Water Playground
1312 S. Racine Ave.
Chicago, IL 60608

The Hub Spray Ground at Berens Park
493 Oaklawn Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126

Mary Bartelme Park
115 S. Sangamon Street
Chicago, IL 60607

Maryknoll Park
845 Pershing Avenue
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Paradise Bay Water Park
437 E. St. Charles Road
Lombard, IL 60148

Portage Park Water Playground
4100 N Long Ave
Chicago, IL 60641

River Park Water Playground
5100 N. Francisco Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

Sea Lion Aquatic Park
1825 Short Street
Lisle, IL 60532

Skokie Water Playground
4701 Oakton St. IL
Skokie, 60076

Splash Island
1450 Forest Gate Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523

Ty Warner Park
700 Blackhawk Drive
Westmont, IL 60559