By Katie Riley
There are plenty of spraygrounds and swimming facilities in the Annapolis/Washington, D.C. area that offer a safe way for tots to keep cool.
Kate Simson's 3-year-old son can't get enough of the water fun at the Ellen Linson Splash Park in College Park.
"We love going there," says Simson, of Laurel. "It's a great way to stay cool on a hot day. Plus, I don't have to worry about him in a deeper pool with older kids and adults."
The park recently underwent a major renovation and the new splash area has an "amusement park" feel, according to Tara Eggleston, assistant division chief and aquatics director for Prince George's County Parks and Recreation. There's a beachfront entry, fountains, and buckets that fill up and dump water from above.
"It's a good alternative for parents who don't want to take small children to one of the larger water parks in the area," Eggleston says.
If you want to find a place where you don't have to worry about your little one wading into deep waters, check out the nine parks below for the 6 and under set.
Spraygrounds and pools for toddlers
Ellen E. Linson Splash Park, College Park
This recently renovated park has a large splash pool with tipping buckets, spray features and floating alligators, plus two toddler slides that empty into 2 feet of water. The beachfront entry makes it easy for little swimmers to get wet, and a separate wading pool with a spray whale is perfect for tots who like a quieter experience.
Older kids can use the main pool with a lily pad crossing, larger slide and six lap lanes. There's also an aqua climbing wall.
Lockers, vending machines, changing rooms, umbrellas and lounge chairs are all available.
Admission: Adults, $6 for PG County residents, $8 for non-residents; ages 3-17, $5 for residents, $7 for non-residents; children 2 and under, free
Hours: Weekends only May 28-June 19 and Aug. 23-Sept. 5, 2016, noon-7 p.m. Weekdays noon-6 p.m. Will close at 4 p.m. July 4.
5211 Paint Branch Pkwy.; 301-277-3717 or pgparks.com and click on Things to Do, Find a Park and search for Ellen E. Linson Splash Park.
Roger Carter Community Center, Ellicott City
The center has a splash pad and swim center for swimmers of all ages. Colorful pipes spray onto a padded outdoor deck, while overhead buckets dump water to keep kids cool. The outdoor splash pad is connected to an enormous indoor swim center with a zero-depth entry pool that has a retractable roof and walls for summer use.
There are lockers, vending machines and a fitness center on site.
Admission: Ages 3-59, $5; children under 3, free
Hours: Call ahead or check online for splash pad and general swim schedule, which changes weekly.
3000 Milltowne Dr.; 410-313-2764 or howardcountymd.gov/rccc.htm
Note: For 2017 the sprayground is closed while the community center is renovated.
Right in downtown Silver Spring, kids can chill out at this park-like sprayground. Six fountains spray cool water onto a flat surface with a mosaic basin. Random spray jets serve as a cooling station surrounded by dozens of shops and restaurants.
Hours: Closed for 2017 season during community center renovation.
14715 Good Hope Rd.
240-777-8060 or montgomerycountymd.gov/rec, click on Things to Do, Aquatics, Sprayground
Cove Point Park Pool, Lusby
This partially shaded toddler pool offers a zero-depth entry wading pool with spouting whale and fountains for splashing. Older siblings will enjoy the windy waterslides in the main pool.
Concession stand is on-site with a playground nearby.
Admission: Resident Adults, $6; residents ages 3-17, $4; ages 2 and younger, free
Non-resident Adults, $8; non-residents ages 3-17, $6
Hours: June 9-Sept. 5, 2016. Weekdays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; weekends, noon-8 p.m.
750 Cove Point Rd.; 410-394-6248 or co.cal.md.us and search the site for Cove Point Park Pool.
Click Next below for five more spraygrounds and pools perfect for preschoolers.
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