The ocean has a little more competition this summer at Jones Beach State Park: a free “splash pad” has opened in the Central Mall area, offering sprays and spouts of fresh water the kids can frolic in.
Sleek, towering gray pipes shaped like blades of sea grass shoot water onto visitors, and spray also bubbles up from the ground. The water bursts forth from alternating spots in six-minute cycles controlled by users pressing one of three buttons on the perimeter of the rectangular splash pad.
“It’s all fresh and modern,” says Sharon Best, 51, of Greenlawn. “I feel like I’m on a cruise. It takes a staycation to the next level.”
The addition was spurred by surveys of the public showing that they wanted some kind of water play area next to the boardwalk, says Jeffrey Mason, assistant director of Jones Beach State Park. The park refers to it as a splash pad because it doesn’t have all the elements of more elaborate spray parks. It’s lighted and is open in the evening as well.
“It’s fun,” says Caroline Salvadori, 13, of Massapequa Park, as she ran through the water with friends Sofia Migliori, 13, of Seaford and Amanda Bashaw, 13, of Bellmore. Says Amanda: “It’s refreshing. When it’s hot out, it feels good.”
Veronica Weiss, 11, of Massapequa, played in the water with siblings Ethan, 16, Amelia, 12, and Makayla, 20 months. “I like how the water shoots up in all different ways,” Veronica says. Adds mother Laura, who ventured tentatively into the spray: “Even the 42-year-old liked it.”
The spray park area offers tables with umbrellas and a shaded area as well. A short walk away is a new playground area. And even more entertainment is coming in the future: A ropes course with zip lines run by a company called Wild Play is scheduled to open during the summer of 2019, Mason says.
Jones Beach is at 1 Ocean Pkwy., Wantagh. Parking Field 4 is the field closest to the splash pad, Mason says. For more information, call 516-785-1600 or visit parks.ny.gov/parks/jonesbeach