5 Places to Splash in the City

Take your brood for a plunge without leaving Portland.

By Kelly Clarke August 1, 2014 Published in the August 2014 issue of Portland Monthly

Pearl District's Jamison Square

Dip just a toe in the burbling cascade of water while lounging atop a sun-warmed slab of stone, or go shin-deep with the kids a few steps below in the tidal pool. You can wade in without ever handing over your Cool Moon double-scoop cone.

Downtown's Director Park

With its proximity to food carts and a wide, shallow pool hugged by wooden benches, this downtown plaza is tailor-made for warm-weather lounging. Family-friendly concerts and events take over the park throughout the summer, from Oregon Mermaids to Bollywood Family Dance, which means you can soak your feet in between spins on the pavilion.

Piedmont's Peninsula Park

Head here for concentric arcs of sprayers in the shape of a goofy giant frog, water jets, and a tall metal flower that unexpectedly drenches you with icy water—only yards away from a gorgeous formal rose garden. 

Irvington's Irving Park

The leafy oasis hides a tiny gauntlet of surprisingly high-pressure water sprayers: a cityscape of droplet-spewing pole geysers, car wash-like arches, a faux fire hydrant, and arcing sneak-attack nozzles doubles as an icy refresher and full-body exfoliation regime.

Arbor Lodge's Harper’s Playground

This bastion of play for all abilities boasts a big, wet, messy sandbar with a water trickle perfect for enticing your inner toddler/architect to build elaborate, drippy sand castles.

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