UNION COUNTY, NJ — Many communities are offering a free or low-cost way for families and friends to stay cool this summer. The spraygrounds offer sprinklers, fountains, sprayers and mats. There are a few free spraygrounds and splash pads located right in Union County.
The majority of these are located in Elizabeth, with nine locations in the city alone. These locations include Kellogg Park, Green Acres, Jackson Park, Jefferson Park, Lynch Memorial, Mickey Walker Spraygrounds, Miller Playground, Phil Rizzuto Park and Mattano Park. Most locations opened in June and will remain open until September. The general hours of operation for each location is 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The exceptions are the locations at Phil Rizzuto Park and Mattano Park, which are opened on Memorial Day and will remain open until Labor Day. The hours of operation for these locations are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
There are also free locations in Scotch Plains, Plainfield and Roselle. The Scotch Plains location is at Ponderosa Farm Park and the water turns on when school is finished for the summer. The hours of operation for this location are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. This location has a farm-themed playground and sprinklers. Sprinklers are activated by a motion sensor. The ice cream truck is also known to make frequent stops at this location. In addition to the sprayground, this beautiful 23-acre park also has swings, a rock climbing wall, tunnels and rope climbing sculptures.
“I’ve been to Ponderosa Park several times,” said Karen Planas of Clark. “I’ve also been to spraygrounds in Clark at Esposito Park, Nomahegan Park and a few parks at some of the schools. I would prefer to be at the beach, but not this weekend. I’m here today with my 3-year-old and a friend’s 5- and 7-year-old. It’s good but a little chaotic.”
Ponderosa Park was packed with visitors over the weekend. People gathered for picnics and parties as they enjoyed watermelon and other cool treats. Kids climbed on the monkey bars and splashed around in the sprinklers. Many parents were there along with their kids.
“I’ve been to a sprayground in Freehold and I’ve also been to Ponderosa Park a few times,” said Jenny Goodell of Garwood. “I really like coming to the sprayground with my eight and five year olds.”
The Plainfield location is at Cedar Brook Park. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It opened on Memorial Day and will remain open until Labor Day. The Roselle location is at Pine Street Park. This park was also known as Bud Simmons Park. Sprinklers are activated by touching the red podium. The park is quite large and offers much more than just a sprayground. There’s chess and checker tables, a horseshoe court, a bocce court and basketball court. There’s also a gazebo and picnic area. Warinanco Park, located in Roselle, also has a sprinkler pool, in addition to pedal boats that can be rented for just $10 per hour. The sprayground, located across from the boat house, has 100 jets.
Finally, there is a low-cost location in Berkeley Heights located at Snyder Avenue Park. Nestled inside a playground, this sprayground has a football theme, including a goal post that squirts water and was generously donated by the New York Jets. They also offer canoeing and kayaking.