Feeling hot hot hot! If you don’t want your kids spending every sweltering day watching YouTube, you’re going to want to figure out some ways to stay cool while having fun. Here are some ideas.
Water is always the most popular way to cool off, and there are several spray pad/splash park/ water poles in the Bucks/Montco area. Best of all, most are free. (I threw in one where you pay at the bottom.)
Note: Most of these open Memorial Weekend or early June. I will update as I hear about 2022 openings.
Bristol Township Municipal Park Playground
2149 Bristol Oxford Valley Road/2501 Bath Road, Bristol
The Spray Park is a large area next to the playground with water shooting up from the ground. There is a low wall surrounding the Spray Park, a few benches, one table (with more a little farther away), and a bathroom. General hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but they ask that you check the Bristol Township Parks and Recreation Facebook page (linked) in the morning before coming out. They will update each morning (except Sunday) between 8 and 9 a.m. if the Spray Park isn’t running. Last summer when they first opened, the Spray Park/Playground was limited to Bristol Residents and you actually had to have a reservation. As of now, it is FREE, no reservations needed, and open to everyone!
FYI: We were there the day after it opened in 2021. They’ve since added to Facebook posts that are shoes are required, so be sure to wear those water shoes!
Montgomery Township Accessible Playground and Spray Park
1030 Horsham Road, Montgomeryville, PA 18936
While the new Bristol Township playground will likely be our go-to this summer if we want to visit a splash pad (and don’t feel up to the Sesame crowds), this park is a great spot to meet our friends in MontCo. Located right outside the Community & Recreation Center, this inclusive playground and spray park has a lot of fun special features that make it a great spot children of all abilities. The well-designed space features shaded play areas, tables, benches and two outdoor bathrooms. The playground space includes slides, swings (a variety of types, including ADA), climbing areas, see saws, and more.
Mason Mills Park
3500 Mason Mill Road, Willow Grove
We recently made the drive out to Willow Grove to meet friends at Mason Mills Park. In addition to a playground area, walking trail, Safety Town (currently closed for refurbishing) and other amenities, there’s also a Water Spray Pole! Kids can push the button to activate sprays of water. While it might SEEM like a mist, trust me, your kids will get adequately soaked after a few sprays! If your kids are smaller, be prepared to get wet yourself, as it might be tough for them to turn it on themselves.
Warwick Community Park
1733 Township Greene, Jamison
Warwick Community Park is located next to the local Township Building in Jamison and features all kinds of kid-friendly structures. Kids can enjoy swings (regular and tire), slides, climbing areas, tunnels, a short zip-line, pretend train and more. During the summer months, the Splash Pole turns on, so it’s a great spot to bring the kids to cool off! The park is 27 acres, with a 1.5 walking/biking path and basketball courts.
Everybody’s Playground at Lukens Park
540 Dresher Road, Horsham
I actually didn’t even realize this until we were already there, but Everybody’s Playground has a spray pole! It’s the type where you need to press a button on the pole and then it sprays down on you. It’s more of a mist, but you definitely get wet. Note: The button is a little higher up and takes some effort to push. My 4.5 year old could do it no problem, but my 3 year old daughter needed me to help push it for her. Also, I’m not sure if it needs repairs or if it’s always like this, but there was a drinking water fountain right behind the spray pole, and when you push the button to get water, it SHOOTS out. I mean HIGH and powerful! I saw several kids, mine included, that got more were from the water fountain than they did the spray pole! The playground is a good one, so there’s plenty to do on a hot day. Bathrooms are also open.
12770 Dunks Ferry Road, Philadelphia
This one is in the far Northeast, basically Bensalem. I haven’t been to it, but there’s a Facebook page where you can check for updates about when the Spraypark is open. According to their June 1, 2021 post, the Spray Park hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Bathrooms are closed on the weekends but open when staff is there during the week.
Neshaminy State Park
Neshaminy State Park is a popular place for walking, riding bikes, picnics and more. Plus, they also have a pool! Within the park, there’s a fenced off pool area with snack bar, swimming pool and splash park. The pool is open daily from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 per day, and there are also season pass options.
Have you tried river tubing?! This one’s probably better for families with older kids. (My kids are still nervous is the lazy river at Sesame Place, but I’d love to do this with my husband!) But if you have older/more adventurous kids, try Bucks County River Country out of Point Pleasant!
Based on my kids’ ages and proximity to the park, Sesame Place is our water park of choice. We have season passes and can be there in 10 minutes, so it’s no big deal for me to throw on our suits and head over for a quick visit. Water rides are open Memorial Day through Labor Day.
If your crew has outgrown Elmo and his friends, here are a few other options to consider:
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Digger Land (there’s now a water park, too!), Dutch Wonderland, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, The Boardwalk at Hershey Park
Plus indoor options: Aquatopia at Camelback, Kalahari, Great Wolf, Sahara Sam’s
Take a Trip to the Beach
I know this is an obvious summer destination, but it’s true – it’s almost always a few degrees cooler at the beach as long as you get that ocean breeze. And even if it’s hot, you can always plant your beach chair at the water’s edge!
Brigantine (just over the bridge from AC) is our choice for its quieter, laid-back, more residential feel and a deep beach that’s really never overly crowded. If you do go to Brigantine, be sure to check out Laguna Rum Bar. It’s a beach bar/restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating. Throughout the week, they have live music on their outdoor stage. Totally kid friendly. And if you’ve followed this page at all, you KNOW I love a good playground … so make sure to go to Shark Park, too.
It goes without saying that Ocean City is a great choice for kids, and Belmar is quieter option that’s a bit closer and very kid friendly.
Keep the Entertainment Indoors
Some days, you just need air conditioning.
(Some of these photos are from 2021. Masks are no longer required.)
More ideas: Movies, Funzilla, Franklin Institute, Mercer Museum, Please Touch Museum
Indoor Play Spaces at Local Fast Food Restaurants
This spring, we finally have some options for indoor playgrounds that are free! (My kids love places like Playpad, but I feel obligated to spend a few hours there after paying for admission.)
So far, the ones I know of that are open include:
McDonald’s in Penndel (shown above)
Burger King by Oxford Valley Mall
Burger King in Feasterville
Burger King in Souderton
Chick-fil-A in Bensalem (Street Road)
Chick-fil-A in Warrington
Chick-fil-A in Warminster
I’ve heard that some restaurants are only opening the play areas for limited hours (typically lunch), so you might want to call to confirm.
And since it wouldn’t be summer without at least a few scoops of ice cream …
Our favorite local spots are Uncle Dave’s at Shady Brook Farm, Richman’s, Dairy DeLite, OWowCow and Nina’s Waffles. I’m looking forward to trying Volpe Water Ice & Ice Cream in Bensalem this summer!