In case the sweat dripping from your brow isn’t a constant reminder, I’m here to tell you that summer is officially here. As much as we Austinites enjoy the outdoors, however, it can be frankly pretty miserable come August now unless you have regular outings which involve some kind of body of water. If you are juggling multiple children, errands, naptimes and all the other daily minutae that come with the mom territory (Did I remember to leave the crockpot on? Are those library books due today or tomorrow?), a trip to a splash pad might be in order. You don’t have to deal with the driving time of a trip to Hamilton Pool, the cost of a municipal pool (which can really add up over the course of a summer!), the hassle of loading up all the necessities for a pool trip, the restricted hours of a neighborhood pool and the inherent stress that comes with supervising children in water that’s deeper than the bathtub. So for these reasons and more, we are bringing you the Summer Splash Pad Series — a weekly review of some of the splash pads in Austin, the hottest (and coolest) places to burn some time out of your house and burn some energy. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!
Clarksville Park is located very close to downtown and is part of a historic neighborhood settled by freed slaves. The Park itself is very close to the northbound Mopac access road and is somewhat hidden in a maze of narrow streets. This seems to make it less-frequented by families, who often flock to nearby Pease Park.
One benefit of the splash pad is that it is partially covered by two blue triangular-shaped shades (akin to what now covers many elementary school playgrounds). There are also benches under the shade and a few picnic tables that are shaded for part of the day. Restrooms and a water fountain are located conveniently nearby. When we were there, a breeze was blowing the water from the hoop-like sprayers, which was really nice for adults who did not have on bathing suits. Street parking is available, but you might need to walk a little ways to the Park.
In addition to the splash pad, the playground is also shaded, and there are some swings, a large field (with a lone picnic table situated in a shady spot) and a concrete area for chalk drawings, hopscotch and the like. My son was immediately drawn to the digging scoop (I’m sure that is the technical term!) which allows you to move the pea gravel from one spot to another. This can be heavy and hard for younger kids to operate, but is definitely a nice feature.
In case the splash pad is experiencing any technical difficulties, you can check out Plan B below.
Clarksville Park Splash Pad
1811 W. 11th St.
Open seasonally from 9:00am-8:00pm
Although splash pads are great free fun, malfunctions do shut them down from time to time. If you are looking for a plan B nearby, check out the Pease Splash Pad, located at 1100 Kingsbury St. (with the same hours).