Spray On

Hall and Cunningham also recommend making the entire splash pad as non-slip as possible. Cunningham says the ideal would be a rubberized, non-slip surface right next to sod, rather than having it ringed in concrete. If it is ringed in concrete, the concrete should have a fairly rough broom finish to reduce slip when the area gets wet.

“If you put the surfacing right next to rocks, dirt or anything like that, it will get into the splash pad. Kids run around that entire place, and may run through the rock and injure themselves. Whatever water does escape should have a place to evaporate and soak into, like sod,” says Cunningham.

Proper drainage is another important aspect to keep in mind when planning a splash park as you don’t want water pooling up here and there.

“Make sure everything drains to two or three different points, and that the drains are at a critical angle so that the water doesn’t pool up,” says Hall. “You have to make sure that nothing pools, especially in hot, humid weather because that’s when algae grows.”

The splash park is open from May to October, when it’s closed for the winter. Hall says winterization is straightforward, as they hire someone to blow out the valves and run a non-toxic anti-freeze through the system.

Hall adds that it’s a good idea to have a back-up computer system and extra valves in case either a valve or the controller goes down. Both are housed in a typical utility shed.

From a planning perspective, Boulder City found out right away that recruiting local children to help plan the features was a great idea. It promotes pride and care in the new facility, and gives the kids a sense of accomplishment.

“Councilman Mike Pacini spearheaded the children’s design team for the city. We contacted the school and had five or six kids from each grade between kindergarten and junior high make up a design team,” recalls Hall.

“The kids placed all the pictures of the various themes and toys Vortex offers on a board, and voted on what they wanted to see in the park by placing different colored stickers on the pictures. At the end of the process you have 200 different stickers, which will tell you what they want to see.”

Hall says the kids were given design hats and t-shirts, which helped add to their identification as design team members. This helps create additional responsibility, ensuring that the kids will take time and effort to protect their splash park from vandalism and damage.

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