We’ll still be providing you reviews of “Great Parks!” this summer, but we’re also going to be telling you about splash pads and splash parks. Up first, contributor Rebecca Greco tells us about Prairie Point Splash Playground in Oswego. – Tara
Name, directions and details, including hours and any admission charge:
Admission to Prairie Point Splash Playground in Oswego is free, and it is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is the Oswegoland Park District’s first splash pad, and it just opened in 2012.
The Oswegoland Park District website lists the park at 4120 Plainfield Road – Plainfield Road at Grove Road. However, I drove past it several times and kept driving around confused. There is no visible sign when you’re driving on Plainfield Road and it’s easy to miss the park because it’s near a school and slightly off the road. After you pass the intersection of Plainfield and Grove, continue on Plainfield Road, you actually want to turn at Woolley Road.
Q. Is the parking nearby?
Yes there is a parking lot. There is a slight walk, but it isn’t far.
Q. Can you describe the splash park?
The Prairie Path Splash Park is a newer park and it’s really nice! There are 17 spray and play features. There is a really nice variety of different sprayers and there are plenty of bathrooms and picnic tables nearby so you can plan on spending a long time here!
Q. What type of surface? Cushion, concrete, etc?
Q. Is there a playground near the splash pad?
There is an elementary school nearby and there is a playground there. It isn’t too far but you do have to cut through some grass to get over there. It is a very large playground with lots of swings and plenty of slides and areas to run around.
Q. What was your child’s favorite part of the park? Least favorite?
My 4 year old loves splash pads but doesn’t like playing around sprayers that have a more random or sporadic pattern, she doesn’t like to be surprised by a spray. She liked this park a lot but was very nervous about the large buckets in the center; they fill with water and then will dump the water below. They were easy enough to avoid though, and she just kept to the water features around the sides.
Q. What was your favorite part? Least favorite?
My favorite part was that this splash park is completely fenced in so I didn’t have to worry about one of my girls leaving the area while my eye was on the other one. There are some areas of shade, but they are on the edges of the park. So the areas around the water itself are in pretty direct sunlight.
Q. Does it seem like a park that might be especially crowded at certain times of day?
I went at 3 p.m. and it wasn’t terribly busy, but it was also early in the season. I think once all schools are out and the weather is consistently hot, this will be a very popular spot.
Q. Are there public bathrooms? Is it indoor plumbing or a port-a-potty?
Yes there are two separate bathroom facilities. The splash pad is fenced in and there is a bathroom within the fence and another bathroom outside near the picnic area.
Q. Is there shade nearby for a picnic? Any picnic tables?
Yes there is a covered picnic area with tables and grills.
My 2 year old was comfortable with most of the sprayers and my 4 year old had a blast. There were older kids running around so you might need to keep a close eye on any younger toddlers.
Q. Can you describe your family’s experience a bit?
I decided to take an impromptu afternoon trip to Prairie Point Splash Park after nap time. Getting there took longer than it should have because I couldn’t find it right away, but we finally made it. My girls played in the water for about an hour before they wanted to go check out the playground. After the playground they wanted to play in the water again but it was pretty late by that point so we headed home. This would be a great park to head to in the morning and play and have a picnic.
The only thing to keep in mind is that everything is slightly spread out. The parking lot and playground aren’t terribly far, but if you’ve been playing for a long time and have tired kids, it’s a bit of a walk. It might not be a bad idea to bring a stroller to carry your stuff in case they get a little too worn out and complain about the walk back!