The 21 Coolest (Mostly) Free Sprinkler Parks and Splash Pads in Los Angeles
Free and fabulous splash pads in Los Angeles can be found at many parks and playgrounds across the city— and some of them are open year-round. Entire playgrounds (plus a few swimming pools and wading pools) are dedicated to ways to keep it cool with plenty of fountains, geysers, pumps, and water sprayers. Kids adore these spraygrounds and splash pads, and parents love the fact that they're a great way to beat the heat without a drive to a favorite beach (not to mention, the car won't get all sandy!).
The Best Splash Pads on the Westside
1. Stoner Park – West LA
Although technically a pool, this facility offers a whole lot more fun than that word encompasses. A gradual entry the length of the pool makes it feel more like a shore than a pool, and the giant sprinkling mushroom, walls of water, and other spraying features in the shallows are non-stop fun. There is a formidable waterslide, too, for kids old enough to indulge (48” and 7 years old). Open from June to September, the hours can be persnickety; always call 310-575-8286 or check online before heading out. While this one isn't free, it's just a buck for kids and $4 for adults. Note that rules at Stoner are strict: adults must wear bathing suits whether or not they intend to swim, or else wait outside the gate; kids under 7 must have an adult in the water. Also, the water is pretty cold, so save this one for a sunny day. All that said, this is one of our favorite splash pads in the city.
2. Virginia Avenue Park—Santa Monica
In action from Memorial Day (at the latest) to Labor Day (at the earliest), this splash patio is a big favorite. The water splashes up, across, and around in all sorts of ways, alternating between features to keep things lively. There is shade, and the park is a very manageable size for watching multiple kids, both in and out of the water.
3. Annenberg Beach House—Santa Monica
It might sound too obvious to point out a water feature at the beach, but Santa Monica’s public beach house has a free and inviting splash patio. Although there’s no shade here, the patio does have several tables and chairs that make it a good spot for a picnic lunch. Be warned, though, that there is a pool on the other side of the fence that costs $10 for adults, $4 for kids – or a beach, of course, that’s free!
RELATED: Beyond Splash Pads: 6 Places for Year-round Water Play in LA
The splash pad at the Annenberg is beach adjacent! Photo courtesy of Annenberg Community Beach House
4. Tongva Park—Santa Monica
Santa Monica parks have more water than most, and the beach city's park by the beach has fast become one of its most popular. The splash/spray pad is part of the small but well-designed play area, with padded ground, some shade, and tables. The rest of the park has inviting fountains not for playing, and a man-made paddling stream for cooling little feet. And all an easy walk from the Pier and the Promenade.
5. Coldwater Canyon Park—Beverly Hills
Not to be confused with the larger Coldwater Canyon Park up on Mulholland, this park is in Beverly Hills proper, across from the fire station where Beverly Drive merges with Coldwater. The water feature here is a little man-made creek for kids to paddle and splash in – gentle and low-key, but very popular on a summer day. Picnic areas may be reserved for use year-round; call 310.285.6850 to reserve.
The Best Splash Pads in Los Angeles (Mid-City & Downtown)
6. Grand Park – Downtown
The free interactive splash pad in the heart of the park in the heart of downtown is open all year round. Kids who find public fountains irresistible can kick off their shoes at this one with no cause to resist. With the Music Center and City Hall among your surroundings, it's a splash pad with a definite sense of place, and a refreshing oasis in the middle of the concrete city. Nearby Starbucks is open for caffeine breaks.
7. City Terrace Park—Downtown LA
The partially covered splash pad is great for cooling off. It's open May - September, 7 days a week. City Terrace is a popular park among DTLA families for birthday parties. Other amenities include 2 baseball diamonds, a tennis court, and a playground.
8. Queen Anne Park—Mid-City
I hesitate to talk about this park that no one seems to know about. It’s a neighborhood park in the truest sense—I’d never heard of it until a friend who lives nearby brought our family to the splash pad on a hot summer day. There’s nothing super special about this little park, but when temps are high and your kids just want to get wet, but you don’t want to drive far, it’s perfect. There are grill stations, a playground, tennis courts, and sports fields—and it’s never very crowded.
Stay in the shade while you splash at Los Robles Splash Pad. Photo courtesy of LA Parks and Recreation
The Best Splash Pads in South LA
9. Los Robles Park—Hacienda Heights
This pretty (and shaded) little neighborhood park is a popular spot in the summer due to the splash pad as well as the playgrounds, swings, and grassy area that's perfect for picnics.
10. Amelia Mayberry Park—Whittier
The partly shaded summertime splash pad is a major kid-pleaser on hot days at this 14-acre park with a basketball court, softball field, and a fitness zone as well as a playground and a skate park.
11. St. Andrews Park and Recreation Center—South LA / Inglewood
A reader tipped us off to this local favorite park and recreation center with a splash pad. Time it right on a summer evening and you could even enjoy the Summer Jazz Festival while kids splash.
The Best Splash Pads in the Valleys
12. North Hollywood Recreation Center—North Hollywood
The splash pad here is adjacent to the swimming pool, which means adults and children alike need to don bathing suits. Because the splash pad requires admission to the pool, kids are $1 and adults are $4. On the upside, the plentiful fountains are worth the visit. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day.
13. Mason Park—Chatsworth
This splash pad has recycled water, so tell kids to pay attention to the many signs telling them not to drink (and keep an eye on little ones). There are two parking lots and a playground right next to the pad for kids who want to mix it up.
14. La Pintoresca Park—Pasadena
After a year of renovations, the park, including the splash pad, opens Memorial Day weekend. The colorful splash pad in the center of La Pintoresca Park is surrounded by benches where adults can relax just outside the reach of the spray, which is turned on through Labor Day. If the water isn’t flowing, try hitting the start button on the east side of the spouts. The patio itself has no shade, but shady trees are nearby.
15. Sylmar Park—Sylmar
Sylmar’s free splash pad, adjacent to the recreation center and pool (the pool is $1 for kids and $4 for adults), lures kids on a hot day with tree-shaped sprinklers, a spraying whale, and a variety of fountains that drench and delight.
16. Pacific Park—Glendale
Glendale’s downtown Pacific Park does its bit to keep kids cool on hot Valley days with its splash pad and water play area. Shade is a bit scarce, but the air-conditioned library makes for a great place to cool off and (and get books!) when you pull kids out of the water.
17. Cerritos Park—Glendale
Part of the Pacific Community Park, there are 32 acres of sports fields, picnic shelters, trails, and more, so leave time to explore after your little one gets his or her fill of splashing around.
Ready ... aim ... stay cool! Dalton Park Splash Pad. Photo by Victor Cejeda
18. Dalton Park—Azusa
Dalton Park is a small neighborhood park with a splash pad that gets crowded in the summer, as well as a playground, fitness zone, picnic shelters, and a variety of programs for families.
19. Valleydale Park—Azusa
This park may not be large, but it packs in the activities. Sports fields, horseshoe pits, fitness zones, and a playground draw families all year round, and the water play splash pad is a summertime favorite, in no small part because it’s shaded!
RELATED: Water Safety Musts from the Experts
The Best Splash Pads in the South Bay
20. Wilson Park—Torrance
The Wilson Park splash pad is open May through September. Kids will love a run through the sprayers and when they're ready to dry off, the park has a wide variety of other features to enjoy - a handicapped-accessible treehouse, large playground, and picnic areas. There's also a farmer's market, with produce and restaurant vendors, every Tuesday and Saturday.
21. Alondra Park—Lawndale
This free splash pad features sprayers, mushrooms, and pop-ups and might be the only place of its kind in the South Bay. There is a nearby skate park that is quite popular. Splash pads are open May-September.
22. Hemingway Aquatic Center—Carson
Hemingway Aquatic Center is open for swim lessons for all ages and entry to the splash pad. Water features include fountains, sprayers, bucket dumpers, and a couple of slides.
Don't forget that while the kids feel cool, the sun is hot. Be sure to slather them with sunscreen, and bring along hats, towels, and a change of clothes. Also, many of these spraygrounds and splash pads have cement or concrete grounds, which can be slippery when wet. Water shoes can half make sure kids stay safely on their feet.
If these aren't close by for you, try our list of splash pads in Orange County.
Originally published August 13, 2011 and updated annually since