Wichita summers can get really hot, and there's no denying that. Splash parks are a fun and free way to beat the heat, or you can make some waves at local pools! If you're looking for a great place to spend an afternoon playing in the water, check out some of these great places around town.
Rock River Rapids
With their giant water slides, diving boards, a rock wall, a lazy river and more, Derby’s Rock River Rapids is a perfect pace to spend a summer day, especially a hot one! Twist and turn down the blue slide in a double-tube with a friend, or take a daring plunge down the red speed slide!
Rock River Rapids is located at 1900 E. James, and admission is priced at $8 for children ages 3-17, $9 for adults ages 18- 59, and $8 for ages 60 and over. Children under the age of two are admitted for free.
Old Town Square
Oldtown Square offers a variety of dining and entertainment options, and it's also a great place to have some summer fun on a warm day! In the center of the square, you'll find dancing fountains to splash around in!
It's free and it's fun, so there's no reason not to take advantage and cool down! The fountains typically run from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
If you want to cool off without getting wet, there are plenty of air conditioned shops to duck into, or you can enjoy shaded seating in the square, where and you might just catch one of the many performances by local musicians and street performers.
Waltzing Waters Fountain at the Wichita WaterWalk
The Fountains at Waterwalk are for visual entertainment rather than splashing in. Although this isn't for playing in, it can't be forgotten. Waltzing Waters at the Waterwalk is one of Wichita's coolest water features. While most fountains are pretty to look ay, these put on a whole show, featuring lights and music.
During the summer, the shows run Thursdays through Sundays and begin at noon, 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Each show lasts 10 to 15 minutes. Shows are choreographed to a variety of genres of music, including classical, classic rock, country and ’80s rock. The fountains are located just east of Gander Mountain at 605 S. Wichita Street.
New Market Square
In the center of New Market Square, in front of Old Navy, you'll find a splash pad with bench seating for those who wish to stay dry, but in the height of the summertime, those fountains could coax almost anyone to come out and play.
The fountains run from approximately 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily during the summer, and are turned off during inclement weather. When it's time for a break from all of your shopping, this is a great place to cool off.
Riverside Park features a large interactive fountain area that guest are invited to splash around. This is a really popular fountain, but it's a lot of fun! If you're in the Riverside area and looking for a way to beat the heat, you won't find a better way than this. The Fountain is located near the Kansas Wildlife exhibit.
This fountain should be running from 10:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. as it is under Wichita Parks and Recreation.
Buffalo Park has recently added a new shelter, and is in the process of installing an interactive fountain. Originally, the official opening for the shelter, new outdoor restrooms and the fountain was scheduled to take place before Memorial Day weekend, but inclement weather slowed the construction process. It's getting close, though, and should be open before too much longer.
Buffalo Park is located at 10201 Hardtner Road, off of Maize near 21st Street.
Fairmount Park is locates at 1647 N. Yale, near 17th and Hillside. The splash park at Fairmount is pretty big. This is a great summer fun option for those in the Fairmount area, and it's totally free.
Since Fairmount is operated by Wichita Parks and Recreation, its fountains should run from 10:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Lincoln Park is located at 1323 S. Topeka, near the intersection of Lincoln and Broadway. These fountains were uncrowded. Lincoln Park features a covered pavilion and shaded areas.
As a City of Wichita park, the fountains should be running from 10:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
The splash park at Osage park is large and very popular. Osage Park is located at 2121 W. 31st Street South, near the intersection of 31st and Meridian.
These fountains also typically operate from 10:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. This is a great place for south-siders to play, and it doesn't cost a dime!
Wichita Public Pools
Wichita currently has 10 city pools for citizens to enjoy, but this may soon change as a result of a recent City of Wichita aquatics master plan proposal, which could convert some of these pools into more splash parks with child friendly features, and one pool will be converted into a launch site into the Arkansas River. These changes will require the closure of pools, some permanent, others temporary. This summer, take advantage of Wichita's pools before construction begins. The proposed changes are as follows:
- Aley Park – Closes for renovation in 2021; new facility to open in 2022
- Boston Park – Pool closes permanently in 2019, water playground to open in 2020
- Edgemoor Park – Closes for renovation in 2019; new facility to open in 2020
- Evergreen Park – Closes for renovation in 2020, new facility to open in 2021
- Linwood Park – Pool closes permanently in 2022, water playground to open in 2023
- McAdams Park – Closes for renovation in 2019, water playground to open in 2020
- Minisa Park – Permanently closed in 2021, will reopen as river launch site
- Orchard Park – Closes for renovation in 2022, water playground to open in 2023.