Splish, Splash, Summer Fun for Little Ones!
Summer is the season for water sports. Fortunately, Kansas City has something for everyone—from free spraygrounds for young children, to daring water rides for teens and adults, to classes and programs, pools and waterparks and everything in between. Dive into fun this summer!
A Few of Our Favorite Pools
Tip: Most of these attractions are open through Labor Day weekend.
- Overland Park Swimming Pools The City of Overland Park has six outdoor pools. Bluejacket Pool: Avoid summertime shivers in this heated pool flanked by decks, shade and grassy areas. Marty Pool: Built in 1994, Marty is the ideal facility for younger children. The facility is surrounded by lots of grassy areas perfect for laying out or relaxing. Tomahawk Ridge Aquatic Center: At TRAC, the city's largest overall pool facility, visitors can enjoy lots of shade and grassy areas for laying out or relaxing. Roe Pool: Set among trees in a pleasant park atmosphere, Roe has water depths ranging from 3 feet, 6-inches to 12 feet. Stonegate Pool: Originally, the city's smallest pool, Stonegate Pool was rebuilt in 2009 after more than 40 years of summertime fun. Young's Pool: One of the city's largest pools, Young's makes its mark with a 31-foot-tall water slide that dares guests to take the plunge down the drop slide. The indoor pools at Matt Ross Community Center are open year round.
- Summit Waves in Lee's Summit This family aquatic center features a 904-foot action river! The outdoor water park also boasts one body slide and one tube slide, a six-lane lap pool with diving boards, a water playground area featuring mini-slides, dump buckets and more. When taking a break, enjoy the concession stand with healthy items, snacks, drinks and more.
- Black Bob Bay in Olathe This waterpark features raft water slides, lazy river, shallow water play structures, family changing room, shade areas for party rentals, dive well (two 1-meter diving boards and two 3-meter diving boards), 50-meter pool and baby pool.
- Discover more when you click “Going Places” on KCParent.com
Indoor Water Play:
Little ones love to play in water, but sometimes Mom wants to skip the sunscreen and the bath afterward. Head to one of these indoor attractions where they offer great water tables for children to enjoy.
- The Children's EduTainment Center at Paradise Park (1021 NE Colbern Rd., Lee's Summit, MO, Paradise-Park.com) offers many areas of imaginative play, but a hands-down favorite is the indoor water table where children play with boats, rubber ducks and other water toys. In addition to this fun play area, kids also love the child-size village with a grocery store, pizzeria, bank and home—a favorite for my children. They love to pretend they are choosing groceries for the family and ringing them up for customers. Other fun activities include face painting, a ball pit (with a "genie" system that sanitizes the balls as the kids play), art center and more. The favorite outdoor feature is the playground with unique hands-on activities for children. This isn't your ordinary playground! Kids dig for dinosaurs, climb giant webs and “go fishing” (with magnets) in the pond.
- Science City at Union Station (30 W. Pershing, Kansas City, MO, UnionStation.org). Science City, housed in Union Station, is Kansas City's own hands-on science center with permanent and traveling exhibits to educate and engage children. Little children enjoy the water table, where they learn about water as it flows through tubes and tunnels. Other fun sensory exhibits for little ones include the musical playground, the dinosaur dig, the nature center and more.
Water Fun at Home
- BEST Homemade Bubble Solution Ingredients: 4-1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. liquid dish soap (brand name is best), 4 t. sugar. How To: Measure water first, then add soap (if you measure soap first and add running water, you will have dish suds). Tip: Make the night before, allowing the mixture time to set, and use the next day for bigger bubbles.
- Homemade Bubble Wands You can find many easy ways to make your own bubble wands. A few simple ideas: Bend a wire coat hanger into fun shapes and use it as a bubble wand (for a wand this large, aluminum pie plates work great to hold the bubble solution. Bend pipe cleaners into favorite shapes and use them (these are easier for children to bend). Use string and soda straws. Simply run some string through a soda straw or two (straws cut to be shorter work too) and tie the string together—essentially creating a straw necklace. Then hold onto the straws and dip the string into the bubble solution. Straws work by themselves—but be sure to blow the bubbles and not drink the solution!
- Toy Car Wash Hook up the sprinkler to have some fun. Add a twist by setting up an outdoor car wash for your toy cars (or real car for that matter) or wash favorite play toys. Play classic games around the sprinkler like tag or duck, duck, goose, and this summer, parents join in the fun! The family that plays together stays together.
- Kiddie Pool “Free” Toys You don’t have to splurge on fun pool and bath toys for little ones. Many common household items make great water toys. Have an empty yogurt carton or margarine container? Empty plastic containers make great scoops to play in the pool or tub. Brand new sponges or clean washcloths are great fun in the tub too. Let children fill an empty salt shaker or salad dressing bottle with water and watch as it pours through the spout like a sprinkler. Measuring cups, spoons and squirt bottles you have around the house all make great water toys as well.
- Bonus: Cool off after your water play with a delicious homemade frozen pop. Buy plastic Popsicle molds and have fun creating your own flavors! Fill with juice and some fresh berries or fruit, or make pudding pops with instant pudding and add bananas for fun. Let the kids create their own tasty concoctions all summer long. Tip: Fresh berries and peaches are a favorite addition to all summer treats, and you’ll find a full u-pick berry guide on KCParent.com.
Kansas City Area Spraygrounds:
Kansas City is home to many wonderful spraygrounds! Spraygrounds are water playgrounds where children can play through sprinklers and sprays on a safe surface. This is a fantastic fun, free way to cool off on a hot summer day. Spraygrounds are open through Labor Day across the metro!
Kansas City, MO, Spraygrounds: (Open 11:00-7:00)
- Harmony Park: E. 10th Street & Agnes Avenue
- Jacob L. Loose Park: W. 52nd Terrace & Summit Avenue (Closed Wednesdays.)
- Sunnyside Park: W. 83rd Street & Summit Avenue
- Longview Tract: 7107 Longview Rd.
- Golden Oaks Park: NE 46th Street & N. Antioch Road
- Garrison Square: E. 4th Street & Forest Avenue
- Central Park: Linwood Boulevard & Bales Avenue
- Nelson C. Crews Park: E. 27th Street & Michigan Avenue
- Douglass Playground at Grace Williams Nicholl Park: 2632 Jarboe St.
- Zona Rosa: I-29 & Barry Road
Independence, MO, Spraygrounds:
- McCoy Park: 24 Highway & N. Delaware
- Rotary Park: 24th & Hardy
Lee's Summit, MO, Sprayground:
- Miller J. Fields Park: 1301 SE 3rd Ter.
Grandview, MO, Sprayground:
- John Anderson Park: 4701 E. 135th St. (Note: This one features a fun pirate theme! This sprayground is featured in the photo on the right.)
Liberty, MO, Spraygrounds:
- City Park: 970 S. Hwy. 291
- Ruth Moore Park: 401 N. Morse
Kansas City, KS, Spraygrounds:
- Eisenhower Park: 2901 N. 72nd St.
- Heathwood Park: 10th & Parallel Parkway
Overland Park, KS, Sprayground:
- Roe Park: 10400 Roe Ave.
Kristina Light’s daughters love spending summer days at local waterparks with their friends.