5 NYC Water Play Equipment Spots

Water play equipment brings new sensations and experiences to children of all ages and abilities. Often called “commercial splash pads,” these aquatic playgrounds add value and excitement to community recreation destinations.

Children can indulge their natural fascination with water while socializing and learning through active, creative play. These sensory activities encourage interaction and collaboration and are easy to maintain.

Brooklyn’s Lakesides Splash Pad

When the sticky NYC summer heat sets in, kids need fun ways to cool off and burn off energy. And what could be more fun than a water playground? These unique play spaces help kids hone their motor and social skills while stretching the imagination. They’re a must-visit for families with kids of all ages.

Located next to Prospect Park’s skating rink, this splash pad is a summer favorite. It’s a big, shallow basin surrounded by a low wall with jets that shoot water into the center (cue many shrieks of delight). The best part? It’s free!

The whole family can enjoy this fun water playground. Kids can get sprayed with mist from giant leaves and water jets that are inspired by the area’s old Domino sugar refinery. After they’re done water playground equipment getting soaked, head over to the slides and climbing equipment for more fun.

This water park is a true destination. There’s a two-level play area with water fountains, pumps, small pools to stomp in, and a huge waterwheel. Kids will spend hours here. When they’re ready for a break, there are several snack and drink options available nearby.

This cool playground is also a great option for kids with sensory issues. It’s equipped with water jets that are shaped like piano keys, a splash pad with a musical theme, and even a water table designed for children with special needs.

Williamsburg’s Domino Sugar Refinery Splash Park

In Williamsburg, a waterfront park that celebrates the city’s historic Domino sugar factory opened earlier this year. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the landscape architects behind the High Line, Domino Park occupies the previously inaccessible stretch of Brooklyn’s Brooklyn Heights waterfront. The six-acre public space extends from Grand Street to the Williamsburg Bridge and offers a sprawling waterfront esplanade and a series of active recreational activities.

The southern end of the park is dedicated to kids and families with a splash pad featuring in-ground sprays and stadium-style seating that gives parents a place to lounge while their children frolic in the water’s refreshing mist. Nearby, a series of stepped seating areas overlooks the pier and water’s edge with views of the Manhattan skyline and the Williamsburg Bridge.

On the northern side of the park is a playground inspired by the factory’s sugar refining process. Designed by Mark Reigelman, the primary structures water playground equipment feature “conveyor belts,” catwalks, and stainless steel slides that evoke the industrial equipment of the former Domino sugar factory. The color palette of yellow, turquoise, and green reflects the original factory’s hues. Throughout the play area, preserved industrial artifacts—including reclaimed wood from factory floors and valve wheels cast from the original factory walls—provide a sense of history.

The park also includes a passive recreation area that features picnic areas, rolling lawns, an urban beach and Tacocina, a taco stand by restaurateur Danny Meyer. JCFO’s strategy was to layer the activities across the site, with more active uses closer to the Williamsburg Bridge and more passive uses further north.

New York City’s Temple of Dendur Splash Park

Visiting NYC museums can feel very adult oriented, but this unique playground provides kids with a chance to let off steam. Inspired by the Temple of Dendur, which resides next door in the Met’s Egyptian art wing, this playground recreates a river during the summer and features a variety of water-jet activities that keep kids entertained.

Located near the Brooklyn Bridge, this park is a fun and refreshing break from urban life. Its shady grounds and tumbling waterfalls are relaxing for kids to enjoy, but the real draw here is its water play equipment. The tumbling water channel and spouting jets are perfect for small kids, while the leafy spray showers and water cannons entertain older children.

This is one of the most popular parks for children in all of Manhattan, and it’s also home to a splash pad that offers a wide range of options for kids of all ages. From the gentle sprinklers that gently spray the kiddos, to the tipping buckets that douse them and their unsuspecting siblings, there’s something for everyone at Chelsea Waterside Play Area.

Originally built as a roller skating rink, this Prospect Park playground is transformed into a splash park in the summer. Kids can play with interactive musical themes—including xylophones—as well as get soaked by geysers and spraying animal sculptures.

New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge Splash Park

Kids can get wet without getting cold at this downtown playground, which boasts multiple water diversion and sprinkler park features (and a lifeguard on duty). It also has unique play manipulates that kids use in the man-made stream, including xylophones, geysers, spraying animal sculptures and a shower. Plus, the entire playground is gated in and surrounded by comfortable wooden bleacher-style seating and shady umbrellas.

A favorite Central Park playground got a major reno last year, and it’s now even more kid-friendly. The Ancient Playground now has two user-activated water features: Big kids love climbing pyramids that lead to a spray area with water jets, while younger children will be fascinated by the water running down the obelisk-like main structure and splashing from nozzles set into its walls.

The first phase of Brooklyn Bridge Park opened in 2020 and kids have been flocking to its new waterfront playgrounds, lawns and a dock for free weekend ferry service to Governors Island. The park’s first section, on Pier 1, is a trapezoidal patch of green near the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which only a few years ago looked down on huge abandoned warehouses.

The new Pier 25 playground has a fun water play area that includes a sprinkler park and plenty of other swings, slides and climbing structures for kids to explore. It’s a great place to spend the day with friends and beat the summer heat. Then you can head over to nearby South Street Seaport for shopping, dining and family-friendly activities like the aquarium and a movie at air-conditioned iPic Theater.