Spray Park Features

To increase aesthetic appeal, a central processing unit (CPU) handles the choreography of the water at the spray park. Once a step, push button, or electronic-eye switch is activated, it puts in motion the choreography of the spray grounds. “The kids trigger the switch, and as a result, the CPU will cycle through a pre-arranged sequence of shooting out water from the various features,” says Cox. “Once the kids activate the system, the choreography of the water draws the children or participants around through the playground.”

Water Flow Features

The water sprays are in almost any shape and size imaginable. Spray pads shoot the water around the edges of the pad in the ground, creating an arch as the water tumbles down. Geysers shoot a large diameter and volume of water from the spray pad in the ground.

Above ground, bars that spray out water in a shower or waterfall include a variety of shapes, including hoops, arches, angled and straight. Arches spray the water to the ground, and can be used to create a tunnel of water for kids to pass through. Water sprayed from a central point creates a bell shape as it falls back down. There are even palm trees where the water rains down from the leaves.

Shade

A well-designed spray park should have plenty of shade, which is especially important in the toddler area because of recommendations against using sunscreen on young children. Parents also will appreciate a shady vantage point from which to sit and watch their children. And don’t forget to include shading in some play areas for the older kids.

Prior Planning

When designing or redesigning a spray park, opt for one that allows for universal accessibility. You also must know who your patrons will be and how many people will visit daily in order to create a spray park design that accommodates your clientele.

“As early as possible, meet with key groups–the operator, engineer and architect, supplier and installer,” says Cox. “Define what is happening and what the time frames are for everything to occur.”

In addition to planning for ingress and egress, plan the flow of people through the spray grounds by using step, push button, or electronic-eye activation of a CPU program. Typically, spray grounds can be installed inside of 60 days, but give yourself some wiggle room to handle unforeseen problems before the grand opening.

For the long-term success of a spray park, facility managers and maintenance staff must be knowledgeable about the equipment, operations, proper water chemistry and maintenance, as well as how to handle the public and to follow proper health behaviors.

“It is very exciting to see a spray park come together,” says Cox. “The success of [it] comes down to planning–pre, during and post.” By planning, you can provide a safe and fun day at the park for your patrons.

Tammy York is the owner of LandShark Communications LLC, which specializes in media and public relations for recreation businesses. Her upcoming book, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Cincinnati, is due out March 2009, and can be pre-ordered through Amazon.com. You can reach her at landsharkpr@yahoo.com.

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