At one time, Dallas had nearly 60 public pools. Now it has nine plus eight water centers, an indoor pool at Bachman Lake and the Bahama Beach Waterpark near Dallas Executive Airport. But the most democratic option for a summer refreshment is definitely the Sprayground. The 17 options dotted around town are often packed with families taking advantage of the water cannons, spray arches, bucket dumps, and water wheels that blast cold water during the hottest part of the day. They are open to all, require no membership and are easy to reach. I’m an expert because I’m 11 years old.
Back in the summer, like in 1991, kids would run through sprinklers in their gardens to cool off. I mention this because I’m not surprised that said children (now adult editors at D magazine) had to ask an 11 year old (me) to tell the readers about the best spray fields in Dallas because these are clearly sprinkler people.
My rules were simple: they had to be free, they had to be real spray fields and not some kind of fountain you could stand in, and they had to be in Dallas. I’m sharing my top 3 – rated on a scale of 10 water cannons – and a hidden gem as a bonus.
The city’s spray fields are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
5155 Bernal Dr.
Although this spray spot is very popular, it’s still easy to find parking when you get here and that’s a big bonus. But it doesn’t have much shade, and that means your parents will force you to leave earlier because parents shouldn’t cook. If it’s a hot day and you’re bored, this is a great way to cool off. The downside is that there are a lot of children. Still, it has plenty of water tires, water cannons, and other fun features.
9.5/10 water cannon
In terms of features, it’s very similar to the others I’ve visited. In researching this, I found that the same company, Dunaway, installed most of the spraygrounds in Dallas parks, so you’ll likely see some repeats. This place is popular so parking is a problem and there isn’t enough shade. But the water is the coldest here and the features are fun even if you see them at other spraygrounds.
8/10 water cannon
16600 Hillcrest Dr.
This one has a few different items, such as a waterwheel that pours water on your head. Parents will like that there is enough shade so they don’t fry while their child yells, “Look out, Dad!” as they run through the water arches for the 50th time. It’s not usually that crowded either, which is nice, and it’s close to some soccer fields and a playground, meaning you could throw a great birthday party there.
10/10 water cannon
3751 Thedford Ave.
This is my favorite hidden gem. It’s in a neighborhood again, right next to the KB Polk Center for Academically Talented & Gifted, over by Love Field, so it’s really quiet. It still has all the fun stuff that the other parks have, and lots of kids go there, but it’s not totally overcrowded, which is nice if you just want to stand under a water bucket dump and live your best life without a lot of shouting.