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.