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Urban Spelunker: Spraygrounds

Why swim when you can run through water?

Wright Park. Photos by Jackie Fender

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Though folks like to carry on about the seemingly neverending rainfall in the Pacific Northwest, the truth of the matter is, our seasons are mellow, with only pockets of extreme weather doled out by Mother Nature. With just a few short weeks of summer heat remaining, some of us are still looking for fun ways to beat the heat - after all, it's not like A/C and backyard swimming pools are standard in this neck of the woods. Skip trying to pack the fam in that teensy kiddie pool and avoid the excessive lines outside public pools where you are but just one of the many bobbing, shoulder-to-shoulder noggins. Instead, hit up the spray parks. Seemingly a fairly new phenomenon, spraygrounds are popping up all over the place at our local parks, making it easy to partake in a family adventure. Here are a few of my favorites in the local area.
First up: Wright Park. Just a skip from the heart of downtown Tacoma, Wright Park boasts ample walking trails, picnic space and a sprayground packed full of whizzing gizmos and whirling gadgets that spew, spout and dump water upon squealing youth. It's a decent-sized space for folks to tromp through, plus there's ample space to take a seat and dry off. It ranks high on the list thanks to the plethora of other local attractions nearby, including spots prime for picnic fare picking, though it doesn't top the list due to difficult parking during high traffic times. 501 S. I St., Tacoma
Next up, Titlow Park. Seaside Titlow Park is the bee's knees for an outdoor journey, with loads of walking trails and lovely viewing points from which to admire the Narrows Bridge, tide pool fun and more. Where there was once the public pool lays a vast green space partnered with a fabulous playground and sprayground. There are loads of spaces for the parental units to take a load off while watching the minis splash around with glee. This locale marks high on the list thanks to the variety of outdoor activities you and your clan can endeavor to discover. 8425 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
Top spot on the local sprayground agenda is at SERA Campus. Though the gadgets and gizmos are less condensed, SERA Campus has the largest sprayground I've ever laid eyes on, and it's definitely the largest in Tacoma. There's enough space that even on a busy day, moms and dads feel less awkward romping around with the little ones, and the uber minis are less likely to be trampled by bigger kids. Located next to the STAR Center, SERA Campus has only been in action since June of this year, but I can't imagine it losing its luster anytime soon. There's loads of space to splash about and cool off plus loads of cool stuff for the kids to do. 6002 S. Adams, Tacoma
Stay Cool Here, Too: Jefferson Park, Norpoint Park, Wapato Park, Franklin Park, Kandle Park, Verlo Playfield (McKinley Park) and the Little Lily Pads at Point Defiance Zoo.

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