Cool down at the free Watsessing Park Spray Park in East Orange. Photo by Margaret Hargrove
Cool down at the free Watsessing Park Spray Park in East Orange. Photo by Margaret Hargrove

35+ Splash Pads and Spraygrounds in New Jersey

Who doesn't love running through a sprinkler on a hot and steamy summer day? Bring it to the next level at one of New Jersey's splash pads and spraygrounds, many of which are located in local parks and playgrounds.

Most New Jersey spraygrounds will reopen this season, but not all. We've updated our list of the top NJ splash pads with info on who is planning on opening this season, who is not, and any restrictions there might be. Many of these facilities have new social distancing guidelines, and some have introduced reservation systems or fees. Be sure to check the individual websites for up-to-date details before heading out.

Find more ways to cool off in the Garden State in our Guide to Summer Fun, which includes our favorite water parks, beaches, and more.

Editor's note: While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Most facilities still require masks for entry, though you can take them off while you play. We've included opening dates where we've been able to confirm them, but in general, the water doesn't start flowing until Memorial Day weekend, and hours may be limited until school lets out. Photos in this post were taken before the pandemic.

These splash pads are not water parks, so you won't find a ton of bells and whistles—though some do offer interactive features like dumping buckets or whimsical designs like water spouts in the shape of flowers (Dorbrook); a pirate ship (Veterans Memorial Park); or basketball sprayers (Manalapan). But the best part? Most of these splash zones are completely FREE.

Remember to check the park or local site's Facebook page, or even call ahead before hopping in the car with kids. Many water playgrounds will close unexpectedly for repairs or even events. Sometimes the closure is an afternoon, a day, or the rest of summer!

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Newport Green sprayground
The waterfront Newport Green playground and sprinkler park includes a little beach. Photo courtesy of Newport Green

1. Newport Green – Jersey City

This park, spanning 4 acres on the waterfront in the Newport section of Jersey City, is a fantastic place to bring the kids on a sunny day. It has everything (and more) that you could ask for in a playground. The park's water features include spraying misters, rings to run through, and dumping buckets, as well as a little beach complete with umbrellas and sand. There's even a carousel for when the kids tire of soggy pants. Parking can be a problem, so plan ahead. (Tip: Park in the parking garage—if you spend $10 at Morton Williams, it will validate). FREE

2. Hamilton Park Splash Pad – Jersey City

It may not be the biggest water playground, but this Hamilton Park spot sure is fun! The splash pad is fenced in and features in-ground sprinklers and buckets of water dropped from overhead. Hamilton Park is nestled in the heart of downtown Jersey City and offers a large playground, tennis courts, dog runs, a basketball court, and lots of grass on which to play. Bonus: The Hamilton Park area of Jersey City has tons of great food options. FREE

3. James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park – North Bergen

This Hudson County Park is a great summer destination for kids and parents alike. The children's area includes a free splash pad with plenty of water features to keep the kids cool. The splash pad is adjacent to a large, castle-themed playground. Families can easily spend the day at this 167-acre park that includes trails, beautiful Woodcliff Lake, and views of the Manhattan skyline. FREE

4. Snyder Avenue Park – Berkeley Heights

This 13-acre park includes a modest spray park next to its playground, as well as a great walking trail and more. The fenced-in playground features play equipment for children of various ages, as well as rock walls and swings. The cute, football-themed sprayground, which includes a huge goal post that shoots out water, was possible because of a generous donation from the New York Jets. It's modest and lacking in shade, but the little ones and locals definitely consider it a win! FREE

5. Madison Street Park – Hoboken

This park offers a large water play area with fun, modern playground equipment nearby. The water features include dumping buckets, in-ground sprays, and more, right in the center of the playground. All of it is done in bright primary colors. FREE

6. Mattano Park – Elizabeth

Your kids will get a kick out of this small splash pad. The soccer field-inspired pad includes a large spraying soccer ball with crossbar-goal water jets at both ends. A stone's throw away is an inclusive playground, with an accessible merry-go-round, roller table, swing seats, and other play equipment. FREE

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Kids playing in the spraygroudn at Ponderosa Park
Kids of all ages enjoy Ponderosa Park. Photo courtesy of the park

7. Ponderosa Park – Scotch Plains

This pretty park boasts a modest set of sprinklers in the playground that typically turn on at about 8am on hot days. Parents set up shop on the grass while kids cool down in the water. There are bathrooms and benches that dot the perimeter, and an ice cream truck is usually stationed here on weekends. There's not a ton of shade on the playground, but families can duck under the park's trees to escape summer's heat. There are two playgrounds: one for ages 2-5 and another for 5 and up. Both have slides and climbing walls; there are also swings and a netted climbing structure. It's a popular spot for birthday parties, too. FREE

8. Walter Lubbe Jr. Playground – Bergenfield

Walter Lubbe Jr. Playground is wildly popular in the heat of the summer. The sprinkler park is large and open and consists of rings that kids can run through and get sprayed. The playground is partly fenced in and features swings, a rock wall, monkey bars, and bouncers. There is also a covered picnic area for those wishing to brown-bag it. FREE

9. Weasel Brook Park – Clifton

Cool off at this lovely neighborhood park punctuated by its meandering namesake brook. A large, circular sprayground is the main attraction, with an arch of rainbow-colored sprinklers surrounded by four tall sprayers. The park is also home to regulation horseshoe pits, a rarity in the area, and is often the site of professional horseshoe tournaments and championships. There are also basketball courts and softball fields, plus a nicely shaded playground with plenty of benches. FREE

10. William T. Birch Park – Fort Lee

2021 update: Opens Wednesday, June 30, and guests must obtain passes to visit.
Imagine what a marble run would look like in life-size dimensions; now, replace the marbles with free-flowing water, and you’re looking at Fort Lee’s splash pad! Featuring Pacman-style fish sprayers, a huge orange alien who spews water from above, and loads of colorful water-collecting discs, the pad has playthings for kids of every age and benches dotting the perimeter for parents.

RELATED: 15 Awesome Water Parks for New Jersey Kids and Families

Kids running though sprinklers at Warinaco Park
The Warinanco Park sprayground includes more than 100 spray jets! Photo courtesy of UCNJ

11. Warinanco Park – Roselle

Union County's sprawling Warinanco Park features a children's area with both a playground and sprayground. Located near the boathouse, the splash pad features a giant tree fountain in the middle and more than 100 spray jets surrounding it. Other family activities at the park include boating, skating, hiking, biking, and picnicking. FREE

12. Watsessing Park Spray Park – East Orange

This sprayground, which opened in July 2017, is located on Glenwood Avenue near Dodd Street in East Orange. The 3,000-square-foot addition to the 69-acre park provides deep-sea–themed water adventures to keep your kids cool when the temperatures soar. FREE

13. Cross Farms Park – Holmdel

The playground and splash pad at Cross Farms Park has a small, baseball-themed water feature with a water-spewing baseball and diamond with five in-ground water sprays. Hit the playground adjacent to the spray area for even more outdoor fun.

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Dorbrook Sprayground
The recently renovated Dorbrook Sprayground is open seven days a week in season. Photo courtesy Monmouth County Park System

15. Dorbrook Recreation Area Sprayground – Colts Neck

2021 update: Online reservations are required and cost $3 per person, including parents. Splash sessions last for 90 minutes.
This large popular sprayground got a makeover in 2016, adding a cool new soft (and bright blue) surface and new water filtration system to keep things clean, plus water troughs for the kids to play with and cool "raining leaves" offering a cascading mist of water. The splash pad is open seven days a week from mid-May through early September, depending on the weather. There are tons of water features, from sprayers and sprinklers to water tables and more; it feels more like a mini water park. The size of this sprayground is what makes it so much fun for the kids. Don’t forget your beach toys for the sand area! There are some picnic tables nearby, so you can bring lunch, but you can’t take food into the sprayground area itself. FREE

16. Johnson's Corner Farm Discovery Barnyard – Medford

You can easily spend an entire day at this family farm, so make sure you pack swimsuits and towels with you before heading out. Located outside of the Discovery Barnyard, the splash pad is a great place for kids to cool off after strawberry picking, animal feeding, and hay riding around the farm. Daily passes are $10 for kids 1-12; kids 13+ and adults are $5. A season pass is $60 per child; $30 per adult. The Discovery Barnyard also includes go-karts, climbers, slides, and a rope maze. Dedicated bathrooms and a food service area exclusive to Discovery Barnyard guests make your family feel like VIPs.

17. Michael Lepp Park – Somerville

2021 update: Social distancing ambassadors will be on-site the summer to keep everyone safe.
Opened nearly five years ago, the Spray Park at Michael Lepp Park is a great place to bring young children on a hot summer day. This free spray park offers a variety of water features, including dueling canons and buckets. It's adjacent to basketball courts and a regular playground, so kids have plenty of options to keep them entertained (and parents can easily keep their eye on several kids at once). There are some nice shady spots where parents can relax and enjoy the action, so be sure to bring towels and chairs. The water playground is located near a street, so be prepared to keep an eye on very young children. In addition to the Spray Park, Michael Lepp Park also features a wading pool for registered town residents. FREE

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Kids run through water at Manalapan splash pad
The sports-themed Manalapan splash pad features gentle misters and small water canons. Photo courtesy of the park

18. Manalapan Recreation – Manalapan

Manalapan Township recently added a splash pad to its recreation complex. This sports-themed sprayground is great for the little ones, with gentle misters, small water canons, and mild sprayers. There is a covered pavilion with picnic tables and restrooms nearby, and the large recreation complex features trails, playgrounds, and basketball courts. The sprinklers here work off of a motion sensor, so if your kids are the first ones to hit the splash zone, have them wave their hands in front of the sensor to get the water flowing. FREE

19. Pine Lake Park & Playground – Manchester Township

This sprayground is adjacent to a playground and picnic area as well as near the lake. Enjoy the playground after splashing around in the sprinklers! This splash pad opens for weekends from Memorial Day weekend until Monday, June 28, and operates daily thereafter.

20. Veterans Park Sprayground and Playground – Monroe

The generously sized sprayground at this park is fenced in, and there are many different water features, including water cannons, buckets that dump from above, rings to run through, and an oversize mushroom shower. The large, clean park offers playground equipment for children of various ages and a rock wall to keep your kids busy, but not a ton of shade. Parents often set up towels along the inside of the splash pad while the kids cool off. Pack a picnic and use one of the many picnic tables available there. FREE

21. Berkeley Island County Park – Bayville

2021 update: Berkeley Island's splash pad opens in late May.
Superstorm Sandy did her worst to Berkeley Island County Park, but the family-friendly spot is back on the map thanks to some incredible rebuilding, renovations, and reinforcements carried out over the last few years. The fishing pier has its legs again; new bathrooms, gazebos, and a picnic pavilion have all been added to the campus; and a pirate-themed splash park has run aground in the best way possible to make this Barnegat Bay mainstay a perfect place for endless play during the summer season.

22. Veterans Memorial Park – Aberdeen

This pirate-themed spray park is a favorite of every seashore-loving swashbuckler on the coast. Open daily all summer long; there are ample opportunities for little ones to tweens—ages 2-12—to log some time getting soaked in the spirit of true scallywags! The pirate ship is stacked with water-spitting canons, and there’s even a shark who surfaces from the sea to spray all the park dwellers. For parents who bide their time while little ones get wet, the summer weekend “Movie in the Park” series is definitely worth sticking around for! There are lots of great family flicks for the whole crew to watch as they dry off.

23. Colonial Park – Somerset

2021 update: The sprayground reopens on Saturday, June 12, for the season.
Colonial Park’s spray park was long delayed and then closed completely in 2020. That means it's practically brand new and ready to welcome revelers this summer. The splash pad sprouts up with 21 fun water amusements, along with increased parking for patrons and a gazebo for guests to hide out under when the sun gets too strong.

24. Carver Park – Hackensack

If your kiddos can hardly wait to get wet this summer, this park is the place to be. Though it’s small, there’s a ton of potential to get poured on! This park has in-ground geysers and spraying rainbow rings to run through, but the coolest part might be the Pez Dispenser-looking drenchers (there’s a monkey and a frog) that older kids can have a blast pointing at their friends or even parents (if they’re brave enough to get soaked!). FREE

25. Bridgeton City Park Splash Park – Bridgeton

The splash park in Bridgeton City Park, which opened in 2013, offers more than 2,000 square feet of cool summer fun—all fenced in! It takes inspiration from its neighbor, the Cohanzick Zoo, and includes 28 cool zoo fixtures, including fountains, buckets, water wheels, canons, and various animal-themed amusements. In addition to the water deck, the site features outdoor showers, restrooms, a concession stand, benches, and two pavilions. The splash park is open seven days a week in the summer. There is a small fee ($3) to enter the sprayground (blocked out in 2-hour-long sessions to accommodate all users), and you can also reserve it for birthday parties.

26. Pirate’s Cove at Mount Playmore – Budd Lake

2021 update: Tentative opening date is Saturday, June 26.
This sprayground packs a whole lot of fun for children of every age. It features more than 20 interactive water features that are motion-activated to help conserve water. Three different play areas offer low-to-high-intensity drench opportunities appropriate for toddlers, big kids, and tweens; in the middle of it all, a huge splash bucket dumps water every few minutes. An on-site attendant monitors the water area at all times. FREE

RELATED: Best Swimming Lakes in New Jersey for Families

Jewell Street splash pad
The sprinkler park at Jewell Street playground has dumping buckets, an arc of sprinklers, a face that spews water, and more!

27. Jewell Street Playground – Garfield

Intended for residents and members only, this sprinkler park has water-dumping buckets, an arc of sprinklers, a face that spews water, and more! A nearby playground adds to the fun with slides, swings, and other activities.

28. Randolph Park Beach – Randolph

Locals head to this lakeside beach for swimming, paddleboats, picnicking, and a water feature for the kids. You'll also find a refreshment stand, changing facilities, swimming lessons, and more. The park offers resident and non-resident monthly and daily passes, but weekend entry is limited to members and residents. Weekday fees are $5 per resident or $10 for non-residents.

29. Berry Lane Park – Jersey City

This 17.5-acre park opened in 2016 on a former industrial site in the city’s Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood, just steps from the Garfield Light Rail station. The flat-surfaced sprayground has sprinklers that shoot water up from the concrete. Bright purple picnic tables and benches border the water area so parents can keep an eye on their kids without getting wet. The recreation area features several basketball courts, soccer and baseball fields, and a sprawling playground with rope climbers, swings, and slides under big blue umbrellas, providing shade on hot sunny days. FREE

Van Saun Park splash pad
The charming splash pad at Van Saun Park lets kids cool off after hitting the adjacent playgrounds, carousel, and zoo. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

30. Van Saun Park – Paramus

The impressive Van Saun Park recently added a whimsical pond-themed, ADA-accessible water sprinkler feature to its Harmony Playground, complete with gigantic lily pads, water creatures, and cattail misters. The mist is gentle and the size modest, so it can get crowded by the afternoon, but the kids don't seem to mind. Water pools in sections and kids delight in stomping through it. There's plenty more to do at the park, including several adjacent playgrounds with all manner of slides, swings, climbing, and hanging equipment. The 150-acre park also boasts walking trails, grills, and picnic tables, a paved path great for kid bikers, beautiful gardens, a train ride, pony rides, a carousel, and the popular Bergen County Zoo. There isn't much shade in the play areas here, so come early or late. FREE

NJ Splash Pads Closed or Undecided in 2021

These splash pads either haven't determined their operating schedule for summer 2021 or have decided to stay closed. We're keeping them on our list—and your radar—in hopes conditions improve and they're able to operate.

31. Lyndhurst Town Park – Lyndhurst

2021 update: Closed for the season.
There’s something for kids of all ages at this large Bergen County park. The splash pad is fenced in with three structures. Kids can run through a tunnel of rainbow-colored sprinkler rings or stand under a large, snake-shaped sprayer. With three (yes, three!) separate playgrounds for toddlers to big kids, you’ll find plenty of swings and slides for everyone. There’s also a snack bar where you can grab a hot dog or ice cream. A picnic area between the splash pad and playground is a perfect place to set up camp for a fun-filled day.

32. John Russell Wheeler Park – Linden

2021 update: Union County officials have not determind whether the splash pad will open this season.
Pools are great, but we'll do you one better! This state-of-the-art spray park replaced Wheeler Park’s existing pool, but keeps the splashiness of the scene alive. In addition to bringing in 33 super-soaking water attractions—which include water cannons, slides, dump buckets, a dragon, spray bus, pirate ship, surf shack, and a ton of water tunnels, jets, and geysers—the park also features an updated concession stand, new restrooms, and convenient changing rooms to make trips home in the sun a little less sloppy and sticky! Read our full review of Wheeler Spray Park here.

33. Pine Street Park – Roselle

2021 update: No information has been released for the summer season yet.
This hidden gem, formerly known as Bud Simmons Park, has a cute and colorful fenced-in sprayground. Little explorers will love running through this forest-themed water pad, with tall, flower-shaped sprayers, giant bee and frog climbers, in-ground ladybug sprayers, and a tall tree in the middle where kids can take cover from the sun and water. In addition to the water fun, there are two playgrounds, a basketball court, picnic area, and gazebo.

34. Lyndhurst Town Park – Lyndhurst

2021 update: Closed for the season.
There’s something for kids of all ages at this large Bergen County park. The splash pad is fenced in with three structures. Entry costs $2 per person for a wristband ($1 refund upon return) that allows you to come and go as you please all day. Kids can run through a tunnel of rainbow-colored sprinkler rings or stand under a large, snake-shaped sprayer. With three (yes, three!) separate playgrounds for toddlers to big kids, you’ll find plenty of swings and slides for everyone. There’s also a snack bar where you can grab a hot dog or ice cream. A picnic area between the splash pad and playground is a perfect place to set up camp for a fun-filled day.

35. Fasola Park – Deptford

2021 update: No information has been release for the summer season yet.
Fasola Park’s water feature is small, but it still does the job. Kids love running through the sprayground's water jets, which are controlled by pushing a green button located in the middle of the splash pad. It's right next to the playground, allowing parents to keep an eye on more than one child easily. FREE

Asbury Splash Park
Cool off at Asbury Splash Park with a soaking from the giant watering can. Photo by Ray Clark via Flickr

36. Asbury Splash Park – Asbury Park

2021 update: Closed for the season.
Plan a day of family fun at the Asbury Park Boardwalk, and while you're there take the kids to cool off at the splash pad, which includes a number of unique spray features like a giant tipping teacup, an oversized garden hose nozzle, and seating for parents. It's not free ($10 for kids and $5 for adults on weekdays; $12 for kids and $6 for adults on weekends), but this splash pad is more of a day trip destination. You can hit the beach, play 18 holes of mini-golf, grab some food truck eats, or play pinball at The Silverball Museum Arcade. Check its Facebook page for updates.

37. Michael J. Tighe Park – Freehold

2021 update: The splash pad is open to campers, but not the public this season.
There’s a sprayground and splash pad at this vibrant playground, so be prepared to get wet! Little ones will love the splash pad area with lower-to-the-ground sprinklers, dumping buckets, and in-ground sprays. The adjacent sprayground provides even more water fun, with tall sprayers and sprinkler rings to run through. After splashing around in the water, have some dry fun at the playground and picnic areas. The fee is $4 for kids 12 and under and $3 for adults.

Tips for Visiting a Sprayground With Kids

  • Don’t forget dry towels, sunscreen, and dry clothing. Remember to bring a plastic or mesh bag for wet bathing suits and towels. Do yourself a favor and place important items like cell phones in Ziploc baggies.
  • Check ahead to see if there are changing facilities or restrooms available.
  • Some water playgrounds prefer swim diapers for the little ones.
  • Figure out what the parking situation is ahead of time if you are traveling by car. Some playgrounds do not offer a parking lot.
  • Hours: The time the water gets turned on and off can vary depending on the crowd, weather, and particular park, but hours seem to run from 10am to dusk at most spots, with the water going on as long as it's hot out, even before Memorial Day in some cases. Daily hours typically start when school lets out; otherwise it's weekends only.

This article first published in 2012 and is updated annually.

Photos courtesy the respective park except where noted.

Places featured in this article:

Dorbrook Recreation Area Sprayground

Veterans Park Sprayground and Playground

Michael J. Tighe Park

Pirate's Cove at Turkey Brook Park

John Rusell Wheeler Park

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