Fun in the Sun
Awesome splash parks & playgrounds that rock
Whether your crew wants to swim, climb, run, or play, we’ve got you covered. Here are our favorite splash parks, pools, and playgrounds around Memphis and the Mid-South.
Mud Island River Park (mudisland.com) — On Mud Island, kids can wade in the Riverwalk, an exact scale model of the Lower Mississippi, and get wet in the fountain at Lake Ponchartrain. Free. • Rental options include: Pedal boats, $5/30 min. Bikes, $10/2 hours. Kayak, $15/1 hour. Canoe, $20/hour.
Peabody Park — At the corner of Cooper and Central, this little Midtown park is ideal for young children, with fountains, geysers, and misters. Free.
Children’s Museum of Memphis (cmom.com) — The garden-themed splash park is CMOM’s newest addition, with fountains, sprayers and a water organ. Weekdays: $4/members, $8/non-members. Weekends, $5 & $10.
Memphis Zoo (memphiszoo.org) — Believe it or not, your kids can watch the animals AND get wet at the zoo. Wading is allowed in the stream at the entrance to the park, and kids often dance in the geyser at Teton Trek.
Collierville Parks (colliervilleparks.org) — The city offers two outdoor spray parks: W. C. Johnson Park (419 Johnson Park Dr.) and Suggs Park (163 East South Street. Both were recently resurfaced, and have water stations with sprays and fountains. Johnson Park also offers a playground and ball fields; there’s more shade at Suggs, as well as a dog park.
Wild River Country, North Little Rock, AR (wildrivercountry.com) — Giant outdoor pool with slides, swimming pools, and a lazy river all adds up to lots of summertime fun. • $30/adults, $20.99/48” & under. $20.99/all ages, between 3 & 8 p.m.
Magic Springs and Crystal Falls Water and Theme Park, Hot Springs, AR (magicsprings.com) — Splash Island is this park’s newest attraction, complete with slides, sprayers, and plenty of interactive water play. Falls, towers, & a wave pool. • Season Pass: $75/per person & $60/excludes Saturdays. Admission: Sunday-Friday, $40/ adults, $30/48” or less. Saturday, $50/adults, $33/48” or less.
Geyser Falls Water Theme Park (geyserfalls.com) — Geysers spurt water to cool you down, plus water slides and pools. • Season pass: $90/adults, $75/ages 4-11 (plus tax & fees). Admission: $35/adults, $25/under 48”, Free/ages 3 and under.
Ripley Water Park (ripleytnparks.com) — This swimming pool has a huge slide and small fry slide, perfect for kids of all ages. FYI, once the pool reaches capacity (150), they do turn visitors away. • Season pass: $80. $7/per person (w/o Ripley Park ID card), under 3 free.
Bartlett Parks and Recreation (cityofbartlett.org) — Indoor pool and recreation center. Lap time, swim lessons and recreational swim times available. • Summer family membership (3 months): $156/residents, $234/nonresidents.
Germantown Athletic Club (germantown–tn.gov) — Indoor and outdoor pool with splash park, sprayers, separate pool for young children. Also a recreation center. • Summer family membership (May 18-Sept. 2): $340. Available to nonresidents.
Kroc Center (Krocmemphis.org) — This colorful new aquatic center offers indoor and outdoor pools and splash areas. Membership also entitles you to athletic facility and classes. (Outdoor splash area scheduled to open in June.) • Family membership: $50/month, $50 one-time registration fee.
Memphis City Pools – The city operates 13 swimming pools, many in conjunction with community centers in neighborhoods across town. The pools open from June 8th-July 27th; Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m.
City pools are free and open to the public, but you and your child must have a City Access Card to get in. Register for a card by going to your local library. For children under 12, bring the child’s birth certificate or another ID that shows their birth date. Adults need a valid drivers license or another picture ID plus current proof of residency (utility bill, phone bill, voter ID, etc.). Go to the city’s website to find the nearest pool and library branch to you. • The city pools also offer low-cost swim lessons: $25 for 10 lessons over 2 weeks. Ask about their lesson schedule at your neighborhood pool.
Memphis Jewish Community Center (jccmemphis.org) — This impressive aquatics center feels like a waterpark, with lazy rivers, huge slides, lap pool, and diving well. Swim lessons available to non-members. • Annual family membership: $1,060. Open to all.
YMCA (ymcamemphis.org) — The YMCAs of Memphis offer outdoor pools, some with splash areas for tots. Those locations with outdoor pools include Davis Y (4727 Elvis Presley Blvd.), Nuber Y (5885 Quince Rd.), Cordova Y (7950 Club Center Cove), Olive Branch Y (8555 Goodman Rd.), Shilling Farms Y (1185 Schilling Blvd. E., Collierville), and Millington Y (7725 E. Navy Circle, Millington). The Fogelman Y (245 Madison) has an indoor pool only. • Month-to-month family membership: $76/per month, $75/joining fee.
Rainbow Lake Playground at Overton Park (overtonpark.org) — Adjacent to Rainbow Lake on the west side of the park, this popular play spot has just received a major facelift, offering new, multi-level climbing structures, slides, chess tables, and a pebble sculpture. In addition to more interesting play equipment, the welcome renovation of bathrooms and water fountains promises a more family-friendly experience. • Open sunrise to sunset.
My Big Backyard at Memphis Botanic Garden (memphisbotanicgarden.com) — Imaginative play gives kids a chance to learn about plants and birdlife while exploring playhouses, climbing a tree house, discovering art, and playing musical instruments. • Family membership: $75. Admission: $8/adults, $5,/ages 2-12. Open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Lichterman Nature Center (memphismuseums.org/lichterman) — While not a playground per se, we include this park because it offers such a wonderful array of outdoor habitats kids can explore. Walk around Mertie’s Lake, explore the meadow or woods, and learn about animals at the Backyard Wildlife Center. • Admission: $6/adults, $4.50/3-12. Open Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free on Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m.
Shelby Farms Park Woodland Discovery Playground — Climbing nets, cool slides, sand for digging, great swings, a tree house, and much more make this the place to be. Since this playground opened in 2011, families have lovingly embraced it. A serpentine arbor leads kids to different “nests” that give kids places to run, climb, or enjoy quiet time. If you haven’t been yet, this is a summer must-do. • Open 9 a.m. to one-hour before sunset.
Everybody’s Tree House, Riverdale Park, Germantown — This wheelchair-accessible playground is centered around a tree house with swings, gliders, and climbing stations for all-inclusive play. • Open sunrise to sunset.
Splash MidSouth is a nonprofit organization that offers free swim lessons to city kids. To receive free or low-cost swim lessons, your child should meet the following qualifications:
• Must be between the ages of 6 to 12
• Must be on the Free School Lunch program
• Must be able to attend 10 swim sessions
• Must have swim suit, goggles, and a towel
• Must have transportation to and from swim lesson
They also sponsor a swim team for kids interested in the sport of competitive swimming. For more, call Anthony Norris at 569-0080 or go to splashmidsouth.org.