Splash pads are packed with great family fun and sure to keep your kids entertained in the summer heat. Sarasota has some exceptional choices. Try one of these locations to keep the kids cool and happy! 

Bayfront Park

Bayfront Park’s Splash Pad is one of the best ways to entertain the entire family and stay cool during the summer heat. This is a tourist favorite, but what many locals don’t realize is that a day at this park can be as easy as throwing on suits and sunscreen, packing a towel and hopping in the car. Parking is usually not bad this time of year and with the enjoyable stroll to the splash pad, there’s always something to see.

Upon your entrance into the park, you will be in awe of all that you can see. Within the view is a breathtaking Dolphin Fountain, boats along the waterway, decently shaded picnicking areas, sculptures, climbing trees aplenty and blue sparkling water as far as the eyes can see. After you walk past the partially enclosed playground, you begin to hear echoes of laughter and see hints of rippling streams of water leading you to the splash pad; your hot summer refuge! 

Bayfront’s circular splash pad is located just beyond the playground and down plenty of stairs, allowing for conversation, while being able to keep a close eye on your little ones below.

Free and open to the public, this splash pad’s summer hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with periodic “rest breaks” making it easy for parents to reapply sunscreen, get a snack, or transition to another activity. The bathrooms are more than a few footsteps away, so prepare your potty training toddler to give you a little more of a “heads up”.

Whether you’re a planner looking for a full day of fun in the sun or a take it easy short visit at the pad this park has something for all ages regardless of swimming ability. If you choose not to pack a picnic lunch, all within a short stroll, you can grab a bite at o’Leary’s Tiki Bar or Marina Jacks for a more formal experience, both accompanied by live music (hours and operations vary) 0n your way out, be sure to stop and get that infamous picture with the unconditional surrender statue “The Kiss”.

Bradenton Riverwalk

The park is located between the Green and Desoto Bridges overlooking the Manatee River.

With its colorful splash fountain and playgrounds, the Family Fun Zone at Riverwalk is one of the most popular features of the Riverwalk. Cooling off at this colorful splash pad is easy with plenty of refreshing streams to keep everyone a bit cooler. Benches are plentiful to relax nearby and watch the kids hard at work running around the splash pad and jungle gym.The walk from public parking to the splash pad is short leaving time to enjoy all the park’s 1.5 mile stretch of fun.

Prepare to save some energy and take a walk along the walking path and enjoy 19 interactive art structures.  Among the other unforgettable activities is a kiddie park, viewing docks (Look closely to spot manatees!), a fishing pier, amphitheater, a volleyball beach, modern sculptures, landscapes and a beautiful view. The splash pad is not enclosed so keep a close eye out for your little ones.  Bathrooms are in close proximity and there is a snack bar if you didn’t plan for a picnic at the riverside outdoor “living room”. Riverwalk is free to the public and is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 6 pm.  There are plenty of restaurants a short distance away located downtown Main Street.

Sarasota Sharks (Formally the Y.M.C.A. of Sarasota)

If you’re planning for a day of fun in the sun, at Sarasota Sharks Inc., located in Potter Park, is open to the public. Fees are $12 and hours are 11am to 4 pm during the summer weekends through August 12th. The fee for the splash pad also includes access to a nicely sized water park with both a shallow and deep end.

The park has two splash pads. Both splash pads are specifically designed for age appropriateness. Perfect for toddlers, the splash pad for little ones is smaller and allows the littles to play with kids their own size. The older kids will have a blast dodging buckets of water from above and running from interactive water shooters soaking their friends.

Why should the kids have all the fun?! If you’d like to take a dip and stay cool too, this is the Sarasota Sharks Inc. Park is a great option for you. The entire family will be entertained throughout the day. If you are bringing a new swimmer, see below for the Selby Aquatic Center Wrist Band Policy on swimming in the pool and/or riding the slides. Life jackets are supplied on site for no additional cost. With the exception of rest breaks, life guards are on duty at all times.

See who splashes first!  The water slides can be fairly speedy, located side by side, and allow for some good times while racing to the water. Make sure you visit this bountiful Splash Pad before the school year starts. Although this splash pad has a cost, you won’t be disappointed because you can make it an entire day of fun.  The kids will be worn out as the day ends…. guaranteed!

There are life guards on duty at the pool. Ample seating is available; benches, loungers, chairs, and tables are located within sight of all of the fun. A full menu of quick bites is available at The Shark Bait Grill if you don't bring your own packed lunch.

Wrist Band Color Policy

Red Band: Swim test not passed or not taken. May just use water park – no slides

Yellow Band: Swim test not passed or taken but is over 42 inches. May just use water park and slides

Green Band: Swim Test Passed. Can use water park, slides, and diving boards

Sun n Fun 

Sun N Fun is one of the only RV Resorts of its kind. There is something for everyone here! The resort does charge a fee but it’s worth it for all the amenities they offer. Among the entertaining activities are shuffleboard, hot tubs, a kiddie splash pool, fishing, the mega slide, an indoor lap pool and the chillest splash pad you’ve dreamt of this summer! The kiddie pool and splash pad are a great way to make sure your little ones stay cool, without the worry of being a swimmer, you can stay relaxed. This is a summer treat for the whole bunch! 

At Sun N Fun, the older kids can take advantage of the BoGo deal that includes the Wibit water obstacle course ($6) and get a pass doe the Mega Slide ($6). The splash pad is included with any child’s entry fee. Although the resort has a cost, don’t let it “splash” by this summer! After cooling off, you can stay after and watch a dive in movie too. 

Sun N Fun is an easy and fun outing for family and to catch up with friends. You won’t hear “I’m bored” here! The shade from the co feed pavilion and outside restaurants like the Boondocks make it easy to stay all day. What a wonderful way to share the day! 

Unique to the resort are their ample amenities and if you plan ahead, you can book a trailer and stay all weekend! The resort even has miniature golf and other classes for the whole family. 

Sun N Fun is located at 7125 Fruitville Road. Park hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and attraction hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Pricing is $5 Monday-Thursday and $7 Friday-Sunday. Children five and under are always free. 

You have a lot of choice to keep the kiddos cool and happy this summer! Try out one of these cool splash pad parks and let us know in the comments what made your day special. 

Connect with 941area for fun family things to do in Sarasota. Registration is always free! 

Cover photo courtesy of Unsplash