By Micaela Williamson
Does the thought of taking a toddler or preschooler to a full-fledged water park sound too overwhelming? Luckily, the NoVA area has a bounty of delightful, free spraygrounds and play fountains that pack in a splash of fun for the pint-sized crowd. Here is a list of the region’s top options:
Drew Park: Arlington
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, check out this sprayground in Arlington with a tunnel sprayer, umbrella sprayer, and little sprouts throughout. The site also features two playground structures, swings, and picnic facilities. Parking is limited but available in the nearby community center lot, which also houses the nearest restrooms.
Fairfax Corner Fountain: Fairfax
In the center of it all, the iconic Fairfax Corner Interactive fountain has become an area favorite for all families. Come early to snag an umbrella picnic table, and enjoy the free “Little Tots” concert series on select Wednesday mornings and evenings throughout the season, or (for a fee,) take a ride around the lot on the Fairfax Corner Express train. Fairfax Corner is also lined with plenty of restaurants and eateries to grab a meal or a quick treat.
Hayes Park: Arlington
This shady, solar-system themed sprayground is fun and not too overbearing for smaller children. The park also offers great modern playgrounds, a giant sandbox, picnic tables, and restrooms to maximize the outdoor fun.
Lake Anne Plaza: Reston
Kids will enjoy splashing in the fountain while adults can hang back and relax on the patio. In June, July, and August, families can take advantage of the free kids’ entertainment series on Tuesday mornings. The surrounding restaurants offer special summer lunch specials just for children.
Lyon Village Park: Arlington
Another Arlington County Parks sprayground, Lyon Village Park features dumping buckets and fun fountains. Kids love jumping on the colorful pads through the water. The park also contains playgrounds and picnic tables; however, there is no restroom in site, so plan accordingly.
Mosaic District: Fairfax
The vibrant Mosaic District is the place to be this summer. Soak up some play time in the fountain, and take advantage of all the family-friendly opportunities the Mosaic District has to offer. Activities include the entertaining Tuesday morning Stories on Strawberry Lane , a free Friday evening outdoor movie series, and old school animated fun on Saturdays with Cartoons and Coffee. There are plenty of amazing eating options and great retail too. Plus, garage parking means no hot carseats on the drive home. It’s a win-win!
One Loudoun: Ashburn
This new urban destination in Loudoun County is still under construction, but the main plaza by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema contains a large fountain area that is slated to open Memorial Day weekend. There are plenty of tables and seating areas surrounding the fountain, which is sure to be a summer favorite.
Our Special Harbor: Springfield
A beautiful, large sprayground on the grounds of Lee District Park, there is fun for kids of all ages. Water structures include dumping buckets, a pirate ship, spraying dragon, flowing water tables, and sprouting sprinklers. Parents and caregivers can expect to get wet too! Water shoes are required for play.
Reston Town Center: Reston
The splash fountain is a great place for young kids to cool off on a hot day. It is located on the end of the Town Center in Reston Town Square Park. Check the online calendar for special events and entertainment throughout the season. There is an abundance of eating options within walking distance.
Many of the spraygrounds and fountains listed in the article will close periodically for maintenance and routine checks. Please refer to the venue’s websites before heading out. Happy splashing!
Micaela Williamson is a co-author of local travel guide, Kid Trips Northern Virginia, an extraordinary resource that provides descriptions, useful information and insider tips for hundreds of local destinations. Micaela is also an award winning blogger who enjoys supporting area businesses and scouting out family-friendly venues with her two young sons.