Best free spraygrounds and splash pads in NJ for summer 2016
New Jersey families are happy, if not a bit skeptical, when they hear about "free" ways to entertain the kids this summer. Everything usually winds up costing something.
But I'm being sincere: There are some great public spraygrounds, splash pads and splash parks in Jersey where you and your kids can beat the heat.
There are also a few that charge a fee. We'll get to those, too.
Keep this list handy, so that as the mercury spikes, you'll know where to go. And, before that first sprayground trip, stash a couple buckets, pails or even cups in the car as your go-to supplies for the summer!
Don't hesitate to share your favorite "splashy" spots in New Jersey and family fun photos by tweeting me @ProudJersey and at @NJ1015!
Ponderosa Park (Scotch Plains)
This sprinkler park and playground is a popular one in Union County. The spot is along Cooper Road in Scotch Plains, close to Fenimore drive. It's also available for group parties.
This Middlesex County spray park is within Veterans Park in Monroe (on Avenue K). It's right next to a playground and some picnic tables.
Dorbrook Recreation Area Sprayground (Colts Neck)
The good news is that Monmouth County is upgrading the Sprayground in Colts Neck! The less convenient news... that means it won't be opening at the start of summer. Keep an eye out for updates on the work, which includes a cushioned surface and new water filtration system.
Manalapan Recreation Center Splash Pad (Manalapan)
Monmouth County does have another free option: The Manalapan Recreation Center now has a splash pad. It's a large facility, with athletic fields, courts and playgrounds. The township notes on its site "Splash Pad is next to Field L (behind Field 9) on the expansion property."
Fasola Park Splash Pad (Deptford)
This is a newer splash pad in Gloucester County at Charles Fasola Park in Deptford. It's alongside a playground, athletic fields, tennis courts, a pavilion and a lake with a fountain.
James J Braddock North Hudson County Park splash pad (North Bergen)
This Hudson County park is another massive rec area where you could splash for a while and spend the day. It also includes a castle themed-playground, picnic areas, nature trails, athletic fields, bocce courts and a dog run.
Van Saun Park splash pad (Paramus)
You could easily spend a whole day here. The splash pad at Harmony Playground is just one attraction at this massive recreation area. For the playground, the park entrance from Continental Avenue seems most direct.
The entire Bergen County park spans nearly 150 acres with playgrounds and picnic spots, plus Bergen County Zoo, a small train ride and a carousel (those will cost you to use).
Warinanco Park Sprayground (Roselle/Elizabeth)
Union County runs four spraygrounds, including one at Warinanco Park. The bustling park tucked between Roselle, Elizabeth and Linden also has a lake with paddle boats, athletic fields, paved trails and a track (which I remember well from my high school cross country meets!).
There's splash pad areas in Elizabeth at Phil Rizzuto Park, right across from Kean University and at Mattano Park along 5th Avenue. Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield also has a county-run sprayground.
(The above pic is from Rizzuto Park in Elizabeth.)
Snyder Avenue Park splash pad (Berkley Heights)
Here's a place for devoted Gang Green fans in the off-season! The Jets donated a goalpost sprinkler to Snyder Avenue Park's sprayground in Berkeley Heights. There's also athletic fields and a team-neutral playground, (ha!).
Michael Lepp Park (Somerville)
Somerset County has a free splash pad in Somerville at Michael Lepp Park. There's also a playground, picnic area, bathrooms and a pool for paying residents.
Polifly Park Splash Pad (Hackensack)
Hackensack has this splash pad (with a 'dumping' water bucket) alongside a playground, picnic area and bathrooms. It's off Polifly Road, near Sutton Avenue.
Newport Green (Jersey City)
Newport Green serves as a sun-and-sand oasis amid the concrete bustle of Jersey City. Aside from the sprayground, there's some lounge chairs in a stretch along the waterfront. The park also includes a seasonal carousel and outdoor ping pong.
Pine Lake Park & Playground (Manchester)- This park in Ocean County features a Splash Pad, playground, covered picnic areas and restrooms. The township website pinpoints it at the shoreline of Pine Lake, adjacent to Lake Drive.
Borough Park Sprayground (Elmwood Park) - This Bergen County spot is nestled amid a playground, baseball & soccer fields and a basketball court. It's at 500 Boulevard in Elmwood Park.
There are also NJ spraygrounds and splash parks that charge admission. Fees range from a few bucks to a bit more! Here's a few options you'll need cash for:
Asbury Splash Park (Asbury Park boardwalk)- Splash Park Day Rates: Child $9, Adult $5, and Family Pass (2 Adults & 2 children) $20
Bridgeton City Splash Park (Bridgeton)- $3 a person, per 2 hour session. It's in Cumberland County, next to the Cohanzick Zoo.
Splash Pad at Michael J. Tighe Park (Freehold)- $4 Children 14 and under, $3 Adults. Reopens in June.
Waterworks Aquatic Complex (Princeton Junction)- Almost 20 bucks per adult/child, varying by day and age.
Randolph Park Beach (Randolph) - This Morris County spot will be open to paying non-residents on weekdays this year. Weekend and holiday admission is for members and Randolph residents.
Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee. A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.
Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook as ProudJersey.