Best Splash Pad: Seattle Center International Fountain!

The Yards Park in DC takes runner-up spot

Sometimes the best things in life are free (or at least cheap) – that's certainly the case with these 10 park splash pads – voted as the best in the U.S. by 10Best readers – where families can come to cool off during the hot summer without breaking the bank.

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park Water Lab at Pier 6
    Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Opened in 2010, the playgrounds at Brooklyn Bridge Park include the summer favorite Water Lab at Pier 6, where kids can cool off in a field of water jets with big boulders to climb on (water shoes recommended).
    Photo courtesy of Etienne Frossard

  • Discovery Green
    Houston

    Popular interactive water elements inside Houston's Discovery Green include fanciful Gateway Fountain with its 14-foot arching jets, as well as a sculptural Mist Tree in the middle of the Sarofim Picnic Lawn.
    Photo courtesy of Adam Baker / Flickr

  • Piratesville Splash Pad
    Hartsville, S.C.

    One of the largest splash pads in the southeast, Piratesville centers around a pint-sized pirate ship outfitted with water slides, jets, water cannons, dumping buckets, fountains and water wheels.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Mt. Elliott Park
    Detroit

    The newly opened Mt. Elliott Park in Detroit includes a kid-favorite, schooner-themed water feature complete with water cascades and kid-activated water cannons among its many interactive features.
    Photo courtesy of Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

  • Historic Fourth Ward Park Splashpad
    Atlanta

    Atlanta's Historic Fourth Ward Park is home to a splash pad featuring numerous water jets and plenty of space to play. Benches are a welcome addition for parents.
    Photo courtesy of Hotlanta Voyeur / Flickr

  • Centennial Center Park
    Centennial, Colo.

    To cool off in Centennial, Colorado, head to Centennial Center Park. The free Nautilus water playground is packed with water features, including a shallow stream running through the middle. Little ones love running through the fountains or standing beneath the tipping bucket.
    Photo courtesy of Centennial Center Park

  • The Dinosaur Place Splashpad
    Montville, Conn.

    For a small fee, visitors get access to New England's biggest splash pad, The Dinosaur Place. Situated within Nature's Art Village, this water playground includes 30 dinosaur-themed features – water cannons, dumping buckets and even a ribcage waterfall.
    Photo courtesy of The Dinosaur Place

  • Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Fountains
    Boston

    The seven water features situated within the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in Boston rank among the park's most popular attractions. Young visitors can dip their toes in the Canal Fountains or race through the jets at the Rings Fountain. The interactive Harbor Fog sculpture responds to movement around it with a cooling mist.
    Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

  • The Yards Park
    Washington

    When DC heats up, head to the Yards Park to cool down. This Capitol Riverfront favorite features popular dancing fountains where kids love to splash, all with a riverfront view.
    Photo courtesy of Capitol Riverfront

  • Seattle Center International Fountain
    Seattle

    The International Fountain, a centerpiece from the World's Fair at the Seattle Center, has been transformed into a giant splash pad where kids (and adults) can splash in the fountain bowl or venture right up to the smooth silver dome at its center.
    Photo courtesy of Seattle Center

The top 10 winners in the category Best Splash Pad are as follows:

  1. Seattle Center International Fountain - Seattle
  2. The Yards Park - Washington
  3. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Fountains - Boston
  4. The Dinosaur Place Splashpad - Montville, Conn.
  5. Centennial Center Park - Centennial, Colo.
  6. Historic Fourth Ward Park Splashpad - Atlanta
  7. Mt. Elliott Park - Detroit
  8. Piratesville Splash Pad - Hartsville, S.C.
  9. Discovery Green - Houston
  10. Brooklyn Bridge Park Water Lab at Pier 6 - Brooklyn, N.Y.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Jacqui Boland (Red Tricycle) and Mommy Nearest (mommynearest.com) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of family travel in the U.S.

Congratulations to all these winning splash pads, and be sure to keep this list close at hand for those scorching summer afternoons.

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Jacqui Boland

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