Splash Pads, Spraygrounds, and Fountains for Kids in Hartford County
Just because Hartford isn't near a shoreline doesn't mean kids have to venture far to enjoy the water. Plenty of Hartford-area parks are outfitted with fun spraygrounds, splash pads, and fountains to beat the heat, no pool membership required. Here are some of our kids' very favorite water play areas, most of which are free—so there's no need to bring your wallet (just towels and sunscreen)!
As with any public activity this summer, be sure to pack along a face mask along with your sunscreen and towels: Per state guidelines, face coverings are required in outdoor areas when 6 feet of social distance can't be maintained. Our Connecticut Summer Fun Guide includes more fun and safe ideas for keeping kids active and busy in July and August.
Writer's Note: Many of these spots has not yet determined the details of their Splash Pads for the 2021 season. Check back for updates, or call the town for the most current information.
1. Colt Park Splash Pad, Hartford
This is a great place to go on a hot summer day: There are several overhead sprayers and even spinning controllers for the kids to man themselves. This is an all-ages splash area.
2. Pope Park North, Hartford
There's a splashy spray park in this northernmost corner of the popular park (a.k.a, Baby Pope), and a full swimming pool in Pope's main section.
3. Keney Park Splash Pad, Hartford
This is the largest park in Hartford at almost 600 acres. This splash pad opened in 2017 and is a mecca for local children wanting to cool off. It consists mainly of floor sprayers and a structure under which kids can stand in cool showers. Nobody can miss the big, yellow spraying spider!
4. Goodwin Park, Hartford
Home to a golf course, Goodwin has lots of open green space for running around, and a splashy playscape that's perfect for cooling off after.
5. Hyland Park, Hartford
This baseball-themed little park near the popular ball fields offers a small, contained space with simple water features well-suited for little ones.
6. West Hartford Splash Pads, West Hartford
Conveniently located next to playgrounds, concession stands, and restrooms, you will find four splash pads featuring several water features, making for a fun day out. Spray Pads are located at Beachland, Fernridge, Kenney, and Wolcott Park, and are free for children ages 2-8. Open Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend, daily from 10am-7pm.
7. Rockwell Park, Bristol
In addition to its great playground and picnic areas, the park also features a splash pad, a pool, a basketball court, and walking trails. It is easy to spend a day here, especially considering other kid-friendly things to do in Bristol.
8. Cotton Hollow Preserve, Glastonbury
Enjoy 80 acres of outdoor adventure in a historic atmosphere. For a refreshing escape from the heat, visit the naturally formed swimming holes, the cascading and tumbling freshwater, and the roaring banks of the roaring brook. A beach area located at the bottom of the main falls features the best conditions for a relaxing dip in the water. Unfortunately, it is limited to Glastonbury residents and guests only.
Willow Street Park. Photo courtesy of TO Design
9. Willow Street Park, New Britain
Bring a towel and a cooler because the largest (and free!) splash pad in New England will keep the kids entertained for hours.
10. Elizabeth Berner Pool, Plainville
11. Chesley Park, New Britain
At Chesley Park, there are plenty of exciting water spray features, including bucket dumps, ground sprays, and jets you can aim at your friends. There's even a new pool for getting fully wet.
This article was originally published June 24, 2013.