We’re officially in the dog days of summer — those endless afternoons that are hot and sticky. Why not cool off at one of the many splash pads and spray parks in the area?
Our Special Harbor Spray Ground is open this summer with some operational guidelines including a limited capacity, high-frequency cleaning, no group reservations, and organized groups on walkup basis only. There is an admission fee required for organized groups and groups can’t exceed 10 percent of the current spray park capacity.
The Chesapeake Bay themed sprayground has Chessie, the spraying sea serpent, misting sunflowers, and a gentler beach area with interactive water tables for little ones. Don’t miss the computerized water maze and dumping crab basket! Children ages 15 and below must wear aquatic shoes or sandals with a manufactured back strap at the park. Street shoes are not permitted. 6601 Telegraph Rd., Alexandria
The sprayground and playground are quite close to each other, making it easier for kids to alternate between wet and dry play. The spraygrounds of Arlington have some rules, including no pets, no running or horseplay, and, of course, “having fun is permissible and highly encouraged.” Drew Park’s sprayground is open Monday and Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m.; and Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, noon until 8 p.m. It’s closed on Tuesdays. 2310 S. Kenmore St., Arlington
This 2-acre fenced park is full of fun activities for the whole family. The sprayground is full of colorful and whimsical designs. Parents can play at the park’s tennis courts and older siblings love the basketball court. The sprayground is open until Labor Day. Hours are Monday and Tuesday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday, 2 to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday noon to 8 p.m. It’s closed on Thursdays. 1800 N. Highland St., Arlington
Cool off after a hot summer day walking around Old Town Square in Fairfax at the splash pad. The pad is open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily, closing in October. Going after sunset is particularly magical, as the water turns different colors. Keep in mind, the splash pad may be turned off from time to time for routine maintenance. Check the website before you go. 10455 Armstrong St., Fairfax
Entertain everyone from the baby to grandpa at this Lorton-based park. The biggest pirate-themed waterpark in the area centers around “Pirate’s Cove.” Guests can enjoy a big pirate-themed play structure that includes a 300-gallon giant dumping bucket. There’s also water spraying palm trees, a kiddie pool with a clam shell slide, and more.
If you need a break from all the water fun, Buccaneer Beach’s large sand area includes plenty of places to dig up some treasure. 6501 Pohick Bay Dr., Lorton
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