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Splash away! Your summer guide to splash pads in Salt Lake County

These popular water features are designed for family fun — and environmental sustainability.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Elena Sanchez splashes in the water to cool off with her grandchildren Zareth, Jazi and Zurma, at Fairbourne Station in West Valley City, on Monday, June 7, 2021.

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Kids don’t need any encouragement to toss aside their shoes and run through a splash pad on a hot day. But with another heat wave likely over the Fourth of July weekend, should Utahns be concerned about using them as 90% of the state sizzles under extreme drought conditions?

Good news: Many splash pads are designed to balance water conservation with the need for people to cool down. Some systems are built to recirculate water, and that water is filtered and treated before it goes through the fixture again. Touch-activated controls can prevent water from running when people aren’t around.

Under executive orders issued by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, state facilities, local governments and individuals are asked to conserve every drop of water they can. So several cities in Salt Lake County have been giving their splash pads a second look, modifying flow and operating hours in efforts to conserve water, or designing them to be efficient in the first place. At a newer park in Bluffdale, the water that goes through the splash pad is used to keep the surrounding landscaping green.

At splash pads without a recirculating system, the used water goes right down the storm drain. To the dismay of residents, Cottonwood Heights announced in May that its splash pad in Mountview Park would stay closed for the season because the water it uses isn’t recirculated.

Below is a rundown of almost 20 municipal and county-operated splash pads currently open in Salt Lake County, as well as how water efficient they are.

Keep in mind: This information can change based on potential water restrictions and weather conditions. The traditional closing date for splash pads is Labor Day on Sept. 6, unless specified otherwise.

Bluffdale:

Where • There are three splash pads in Bluffdale, at Wardle Fields Regional Park (14148 S. 2700 West), Independence Park (15245 S. Noell Nelson Drive), and Vintage Park (14180 S. Loumis Parkway).

Cost • Free.

Hours • The water features at Wardle Fields are open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sept. 6, and 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 7-30. The splash pads at Independence Park and Vintage Park are open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cool stuff • Wardle Fields has waterfalls, streams and geysers, along with a splash pad. The circular splash pad at Vintage Park has jets and dumping buckets, and it’s right next to a playground. Independence Park’s pad has colorful interactive play features.

Water efficiency • The water used at the Wardle Fields splash pad is reused to water the park. The systems at Independence Park and Vintage Park recirculate the water.

Draper:

Where • Draper Splash Park in Smith Fields Park, at 150 E. 13400 South.

Cost • Free.

Hours • Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cool stuff • Large layout features shallow “rivers,” wading pools, waterfall steps, jets that squirt water and dumping baskets. Lots of shade is available for extra sunny days.

Water efficiency • This splash pad’s water is recirculated.

Herriman:

Where • The city operates three splash pads, at J. Lynn Crane Park (5373 W. Main St.), Rosecrest Park (14070 W. Rosecrest Road), and Umbria Estates Park (12790 Brundisi Way).

Cost • Free.

Hours • 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cool stuff • J. Lynn Crane Park’s splash pad features jets and fountains, plus large rocks to climb on. Visitors to Rosecrest Park can play among jets and arched sprayers. The Umbria splash pad is close enough to a playground that kids can run back and forth.

Water efficiency • Out of the city’s three splash pads, only the system at Crane Park recirculates water.

Herriman City Council plans to discuss water use at its splash pads at a meeting in July. “We recognize the benefit our splash pads provide to our community, but also understand the importance of being an example of water conservation to our community,” said Anthony Teuscher, deputy director of parks, events and recreation, in an email.

Midvale:

Where • Midvale City Park, at 425 6th Ave.

Cost • Free.

Hours • The splash pad is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. (Note: This splash pad is currently closed for repairs, but the city is working to have it up and running again before the Fourth of July weekend.)

Cool stuff • Jets to run through and a nearby playground.

Water efficiency • This splash pad’s water is recirculated after it’s filtered and treated, so the only water loss is due to evaporation.

“We had a long discussion about whether or not to open the splash pad this year,” said communications director Laura Magness in an email. “We realized if we don’t give residents a place to cool down and enjoy summer activities, they will turn on sprinklers in the yard, and that water would be lost. … So, we felt it would be best to open the popular amenity.”

Riverton:

Where • The city operates three splash pads, at Old Farm Park (3250 W. 13680 South), Riverton City Park (1452 W. 12600 South), and Western Springs Park (4570 S. Goshute Drive).

Cost • Free.

Hours • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cool stuff • As suggested by its name, Old Farm Park is farm themed, and the splash pad has play features made to look like a tractor and water tower. The splash pad at Riverton City Park has standard jets that shoot water. Western Springs Park has a frog-shaped arch sprayer to run through as well as jets, and is right by a playground.

Water efficiency • None of Riverton’s splash pads recirculate used water, according to Casey Saxton, director of communications.

Sandy:

Where • Amphitheater Park, at 1245 E. 9400 South.

Cost • Free.

Hours • 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Cool stuff • Large layout features shallow rivers, big rocks to climb on, sprayers, fountains and jets. Lots of shade.

Water efficiency • Since this splash pad system recirculates water, “we feel the benefits to the families outweigh the water,” said office manager Aleynia Saville in an email.

Salt Lake City:

Where • Rotary Play Park in Liberty Park, at 900 South and 700 East.

Cost • Free.

Hours • The splash pad is operating on reduced hours due to drought and will be open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Cool stuff • Colorful arches and jets that spray water. The splash pad is right next to playgrounds and close to the Liberty Park pool.

Water efficiency • This splash pad’s system doesn’t recirculate water, but touch-activated sensors control water flow.

South Jordan:

Where • Oquirrh Shadows Splash Pad, at 4000 W. South Jordan Parkway.

Cost • Free.

Hours • 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cool stuff • Streams, geysers and water nozzles. A playground is located nearby.

Water efficiency • South Jordan reduced the splash pad’s hours by 25% this summer to conserve water, which is treated and recirculated. Timer buttons were also installed this season to make sure that water is running only when people are there.

West Jordan:

Where • Ron Wood Park, 5900 W, New Bingham Highway.

Cost • Free.

Hours • Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Sundays.

Cool stuff • Located next to the Sierra Newbold Memorial Playground, this splash pad has jets and sprayers to run through.

Water efficiency • “The city’s recirculating splash pad was designed with water conservation in mind,” said city official Tauni Barker in an email, adding that the recirculated water is also treated. The splash pad is also equipped with a button that visitors can push to turn on a timed water cycle.

West Valley City:

Where • Fairbourne Station Promenade and Plaza, 3590 Market St.

Cost • Free.

Hours • 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Cool stuff • Network of shallow rivers for wading, with large rocks to climb and rest on, plus sprayers, a fountain and water stairs.

Water efficiency • This splash pad recirculates water that is filtered and treated. The city is operating the fixture 30% less than a typical summer in order to conserve water.

Kearns:

Where • Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Complex, 5624 S. Cougar Lane.

Cost • Admission to the splash pad is included in pool admission, which is free for children age 2 and under; $5 for children and youths age 3 to 17; $6 for adults age 18 to 54; and $5 for seniors age 55 and older. Members get in free.

Hours • Monday through Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5:45 p.m. (same as pool hours).

Cool stuff • The splash pad features alternating nozzles that shoot water, a waterfall and water guns. It is located next to an outdoor swimming pool and waterpark.

Water efficiency • “We control when our splash pad is turned on as it is part of our outdoor pools and shares the same recirculated and treated water as the pools,” executive director Kevin Schmidt wrote in an email. Owned by the Oquirrh Recreation and Parks District, the Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Complex also recently resealed the surge tank for the splash pad. “This helps us capture as much of the water as possible,” Schmidt said.

Magna:

Where • Magna Pool, at 3270 S. 8400 West, inside Pleasant Green Park.

Cost • Admission to the splash pad is included in pool admission, which is free for children age 2 and under; $3 for people age 3 to 79; and free for “super seniors” age 80 and older.

Hours • Mondays and Tuesdays, noon to 5 p.m., 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m.; Sundays and holidays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Cool stuff • Kids can run through the sprayers then jump right into the pool.

Water efficiency • The water in the outdoor pool and splash pad is recirculated and treated. Salt Lake County isn’t concerned about operating the splash pad this summer “because of routine maintenance we complete to ensure effective and water-wise operations,” said county official Liz Sollis in an email. “... If concerns do arise, winterizing early is something we’ll consider.”

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