Water parks have long been the quintessence of summertime. And free fun is always a hit, so we've rounded up splash parks, spraygrounds, splash pads and play fountains.
Here’s a handy list of options for watery fun, arranged by type of attraction (note that sometimes spots are closed for maintenance or during inclement weather). We'll keep updating the list throughout the summer, so be sure to come back frequently for more options.
Water parks and other paid attractions
BAHAMA BEACH Opening on May 27, this southern Dallas water park houses slides and numerous other aquatic attractions, such as a winding lazy river and an interactive rain playground. 1895 Campfire Circle, Dallas.
FRISCO WATER PARK You’ll find a 45-foot-tall, four-lane mat racer called The Preston Plunge as well as The Fort, a multilevel water playground bursting with 85 water features and three slides. A Lazy River is a pleasant place to bob along. At Frisco Athletic Center, 5828 Nancy Jane Lane, Frisco.
HURRICANE HARBOR Hurricane Harbor is made up of about 25 attractions, including the Geronimo, which drops visitors, screaming, six stories into a shallow pool of water. In addition, the park features attractions such as the Dive Bomber, the Tornado and the painfully honestly named Mega Wedgie. There are also options for the little ones, including the kid-focused Hook's Lagoon Treehouse, a high-climbing aquatic jungle gym. It's also offering a new Dive-In Movies series from June 9 through August 11.
NRH20 North Richland Hills’ NRH20 is the perfect park for the suburban family looking for a smaller setting. Single- and multi-rider slides, a wave pool and the Endless River are among the highlights. NRH20 also offers cabanas to reserve for those looking for privacy during their trip. 9001 Boulevard 26, North Richland Hills.
PLANO SPLASH PARKS You'll find an outdoor splash park and an indoor pool at Plano Aquatic Center, which has a $3 entry fee for those 3 and up. At Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center, expect three large slides, water volleyball, a play structure for toddlers and spray features ($3 for ages 3-15, $6 for 16 and up). Outdoor swimming options at Jack Carter Pool include a shallow water pool with a dual-rider tube slide, body slide, climbing wall and spray features. ($5 for ages 3-15, $9 for 16 and up.)
SPLASH FACTORY Grand Prairie's outdoor water playground is home to a water wall, ground sprayers, play structures, spray cannons and more. 601 E. Grand Prairie Road. Admission is $2.
SUN VALLEY AQUATIC CENTER Tucked behind Lewisville High School, Sun Valley Aquatic Center's amenities include two double-loop slides, a lazy river and a toddler pool. The center first opens for Memorial Day Weekend on May 27 then re-opens officially on June 1. ($3-$5 for 3 and up). 801 S Valley Pkwy, Lewisville.
WATER WORKS PARK Denton's splashiest spot features a new wave pool, four big slides, a kiddie play pool, a continuously flowing river, a sand volleyball court, an outdoor amphitheater and more. (Also cool: The ice cream at the Hula Hut concession spot is from local fave Beth Marie's.)
WET ZONE Nestled in Rowlett, Wet Zone offers a couple slides, a lap pool and kid-friendly play areas. In keeping with its community feel, the water park also offers swimming lessons as well as Junior Lifeguard training. 5304 Main St., Rowlett.
Hotel or spa parks
GREAT WOLF LODGE Considering that most of Great Wolf Lodge's water park is climate-controlled and indoors, North Texas' hybrid hotel-water park isn't just a summer spot. It is only for lodge guests, however, who can enjoy the impressive water attraction as part of their stay. Slides range from a six-story funnel to a kiddie version, and there's a wave pool, a lazy river and more. It's open year-round. 100 Great Wolf Drive, Grapevine.
GAYLORD TEXAN RESORT The Paradise Springs seasonal park for the hotel's overnight guests will feature a Texas-themed, multi-level water play structure with three slides and plenty of water features. There's also a 600-square-foot lazy river, 6,000-square-foot family lagoon with a 27-foot waterslide and zip line. 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine.
JADEWATERS AT HILTON ANATOLE This new attraction for guests at the Dallas hotel opens Memorial Day weekend (some memberships will also be sold through the hotel's Verandah Club) and features 4,000 square foot leisure pool, an activity pool with a play area, a lazy river, two slides, a swim-up bar and a restaurant. 2201 N. Stemmons, Dallas.
KING SPA This eclectic 24-hour Korean-inspired spa and waterpark has attractions ranging from a slide to a swim-up bar, hot tubs to a shallow area for little splashers. Important note for those unfamiliar with King Spa: There are select gender-specific spa and locker room areas where there is communal nudity. 2154 Royal Lane, Dallas.
Free splash parks
ADDISON CIRCLE PARK The jets send refreshing arcs of water high in the air (the littlest splashers might be a bit intimidated by the height of the spray), and a layer of water eases any potential foot-sizzling. The Blueprints sculpture across the street provides a cool backdrop. It’s a great place for fun photos. 4950 Addison Circle Drive, Addison.
CARROLLTON SPLASH PARKS Both open until Oct. 15, Oak Hills Splash Park at 1225 Royal Palm Lane and W.J. Thomas Splash Park at 1955 N. Perry Road have free water playgrounds. Water features run automatically at Oak Hills, but activation by tapping the silver sensor on the fire hydrant is required at W.J Thomas.
CELEBRATION PARK (ALLEN) Allen's big-and-bustling splash park with water jets, buckets and more is open for the season. Keep in mind the sprayground is closed for maintenance every Wednesday. Bonus: It's next to the big KidMania playground for extra fun. 701 Angel Parkway, Allen.
DALLAS SPRAYGROUNDS There are 11 Dallas spray parks that are open every day Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, as well as weekends only from Labor Day through the end of September.
EULESS SPLASH PAD The splash pad, which includes a raining bucket, spray fountain and geysers, is activated by touch. You have all the way until Sept. 30 to visit 600 S. Main St. in Euless for a fun day in the sun.
FRISCO SPRAY PARKS There are three free water playground options in Frisco. Frisco Commons at 8000 McKinney Road is one of the best spray parks in town, plus it's close to the sprawling playground at Hope Park. There are also spray parks at J.R. Newman Park (8211 Twin Falls Drive), and Shepherds Glen (12012 Shepherds Hill Drive). All three parks are open through Sept. 30.
GALATYN PARK URBAN CENTER The plaza features a kid-magnet fountain that sends up bursts of water that’ll get everyone soaked quickly. It’s often lighted at night, and during special events the water show is sometimes choreographed to music. The fountain’s right in front of performing arts venue the Eisemann Center, and there’s a DART station nearby. Near 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson.
GRAPEVINE SPRAYGROUNDS Grapevine has two free options: Parr Park at 3010 Parr Lane and Dove Park at 1509 Hood Lane). (There's also Dove Waterpark, which charges a $2-$5 admission fee).
HALTOM CITY SPRAYGROUNDS Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, both Broadway Park at 4839 Broadway Ave. and Whites Branch Park at 5290 Western Center Blvd. will turn on their free spraygrounds. Swimwear is required at both locations, and no water balloons are allowed on the spraygrounds; save those for pranking dad.
HILLSIDE VILLAGE (CEDAR HILL) The centerpiece of this shopping center, formerly known as Uptown Village, is the free interactive fountain, which sends water shooting up at delighted kids (it's for ages 10 and younger and those 48 inches tall and shorter). You'll find it near Barnes & Noble, at 305 W. FM1382, Cedar Hill.
IRVING SPRAY PARKS At both Northwest Spray Park at 2800 Cheyenne St. and Southwest Spray Park Road at 2800 Shady Grove in Irving, fountains, picnic areas and grills make for a refreshing summer field trip for the kids and a relaxing barbeque for the adults. Both locations are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
KLYDE WARREN PARK In the Children's Park, a shallow splash pool reminiscent of a giant saucer and the caterpillar fountain (the arcs of water turn it into a "butterfly") in the play area are kid magnets. There are also interactive fountains at Hart Boulevard and Moody Plaza.
MAIN STREET GARDEN The park on Main Street in Dallas has a flowing layer of water on the bottom of its fountain, which keeps feet nice and cool as you walk around. There are also some benches within the fountain space, so you can have a seat and cool your toes. Main Street Garden also features a mini playground, a lawn and a dog run. On Main Street between St. Paul and Harwood streets in downtown Dallas.
ROCKWALL SPRAYGROUNDS The city of Rockwall has three free spraygrounds. They're at Harry Myers Park, 945 E. Washington; The Park at Foxchase, 4475 Tubbs Road; and The Park at Hickory Ridge, 1910 Walnut Ridge. (In case you're wondering how to activate the water features, touch the top of the white tube.)
THE VILLAGE AT FAIRVIEW Officials say the free-to-splash-in fountain at this shopping center is for those 12 and younger, and it's a great end to a shopping trip. There are also periodic shows where the water movement is choreographed to pop music and lights, and all splashers have to get out. Good news if you're hungry: It's right by the patios for Gloria's and Cane Rosso in the area around 148 Fountain Court, Fairview.