The forecast predicted the day would be a scorcher.
As I peeled my daughter out of the car at 9AM, I could already feel the sweat trickling down my face and back. Yuck. Hot and humid. Scratch that– oppressively hot. The air was so thick you had to think about your breathing. I thought we would just hang out at the playground until the splash park opened up, but we fled the humidity for the sanctuary of the truck’s air conditioning after a mere 20 minutes.
As we stood in line, waiting for the Splash Park to open, I had my doubts. Maybe we should just turn around and go home. It was too hot to play outside today. Ugh, the sun was so bright it felt like it was drilling a hole in my forehead.
Related: Check out the Kid Friendly Maryland comprehensive resource for parents: Things To Do In Maryland With Kids!
Precisely at 10AM, the ticket counter opened, and the fountains of the Splash Park came alive. Immediately, both me and my 3-year old daughter were transfixed. We couldn’t buy our tickets fast enough. Once we walked through the gate, she immediately ran over and started laughing and splashing. The air was cool and filled with the spray and mist. The sun still bore down on us, but we didn’t even notice. The water was refreshing!
I may have had my doubts at first, but I have to tell you something. The South Germantown Splash Park is the absolute perfect place to be on a hot summer day.
The Splash Park has a little something for everyone. There are the water jets, which is the main event. However, there are also spray and play animals for little kids, rain umbrellas, dumping buckets, a waterfall, a water slide, and ‘canal’-like water feature. Basically, there are about a dozen ways to play at the Splash Park. Your kids will want to explore them all.
Here are 7 tips to help you maximize your visit!
1. Arrive Early– as in, when the park opens at 10AM.
One of the fantastic things about the South Germantown Splash Park is that it opens up at 10AM. That is actually one of the earliest opening times in the area (it may actually be the earliest opening time). However, this is a super popular park because it is so awesome! If you are planning a visit with young kids, I would definitely recommend arriving when they open. Why? Well, here are a few reasons:
- There are only about 17-20 tables with umbrellas. Each table seat about 9 to 10 people, but that is it for shade. If you want a home base at the splash park itself, you will want to snag one of these tables early. The fill up fast!
- Did I mention there is little to no shade at this splash park? It makes sense, since the entire purpose it to, you know, splash. However, summer in Maryland can get hot, hot, hot! Go early, get a few hours of splashing in, and then head home in time for a well-earned nap.
2. Apply Sunscreen early and often.
There are so many ways to get absolutely super soaked at this splash park. The main event is the 280-jet water maze. However, there is also a waterfall, water buckets, water slides. Your water proof sunscreen will not last long here. I would recommend reapplying every 30-45 minutes.. just to be safe.
3. Mom, wear your swim suit!
Ok, full confessional time. I didn’t wear my swim suit and I totally regretted it… and then I got soaked anyway. I had already donned the swim suit three times the week we visited, and I thought I would just kick back and let Sweet Pea splash a little. Boy, that was the wrong call. Trust me on this one: You WANT to play in the water here. It is so refreshing! It was awesome just sticking my head under the waterfall. To be fair, it was over 100 degrees outside and my need to avoid having my head explode trumped my need to keep the car seats dry. Needless to say, I left the park soaked to the bone, and totally happy for it.
Lesson learned: Just wear your swim suit.
4. Bring water shoes for the splash park and socks for the jumping pillow.
The water shoes for the splash park is really probably more optional than anything. Sweet Pea wore them but I saw plenty of kids running around barefoot with no problem. The sun does beat down on the splash park, but most of the area is super soaked with water, so it may not be a big deal.
Socks for the jumping pillow is another story though. What was that? The jumping pillow?
Oh yeah… part of your admission rate includes access to a super fun jumping pillow. Yes, you can wear your swimsuit to jump. Yes, you can go back and forth between the splash area and the pillow. Yes, the surface of the jumping pillow is super hot. Ouchy! Someone recommended we bring socks, and I am so glad we did.
5. Pack a lunch or snacks.
Since you are arriving early enough to snag a table with an umbrella, why not pack a snack or early lunch? There is not much by way of food options at the splash park but you can bring coolers inside. As far as vending machines go, there are a few drink machines and a machine that serves ice cream.
If you don’t get a shaded umbrella, there are some trees around the periphery of the splash area where you can sit and have a picnic.
6. Mind the summer camp schedule.
According to their website, in 2016 the splash park has reached their maximum capacity for summer camp reservations for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Translation for Moms with young kids: Avoid these times at all costs! Ha! I am only half joking. Unlike other places to cool off in the summer, the splash park can feel crowded. If you are visiting with young kids, they might get jostled a bit by the older camp kids.
7. Stick around for more dry fun!
If the weather is not too hot, or if your kids have tons of energy to burn either pre- or post-splashing, there are a few dry options at the South Germantown Recreational Park that are super fun. Adjacent to the Splash Park is an 18-hole Mini-Golf course. Maybe this wouldn’t be for the younger crowd, but if you had older kids with you, they might like the challenge!
There are also a number of great playgrounds for kids to explore at the South Germantown Recreational Park. Near the Splash Park, there is a Tot Lot. We didn’t play in this playground but it looked like a lot of fun and very modern. This playground is near the Dairy Mooseum. A second playground is near the athletic fields. The biggest play area though is the Adventure Playground, which is located on the other side of the park. It is really just a short (less than 5 minute) drive between the Adventure Playground and the Splash Park. However, you could really make a great day out of spending time playing at the Adventure Playground combined with splashing at the Splash Park.
Know Before You Go
- The Splash Park & Mini-Golf are open 10AM-6PM daily through August 28th. The splash park is closed for maintenance August 29th-September 2nd. Then, they are open again over Labor Day weekend.
- Cost: $5 a person, age 2 and up. You have to pay even if you are not splashing. So– wear your swim suit and splash! Mini-Golf costs $4 per person, per round.
- Discount tickets are available, as are big tent rentals.
- In addition to the vending machines, the splash park provides lockers, restroom, and changing facilities.
- For more information about the Splash Park, click here.
- For more information about the rest of the amenities available at the South Germantown Recreational Park, click here.
So, what’s stopping you? It’s hot outside! Make plans to cool off at the South Germantown Splash Park today!