Here’s the last word on Dallas-area fountains where kids can have more fun in the water, even after public swimming pools close. All have been tested for playability by my grandsons. Most are free -- or nearly so. (I know, today the kids could just stand outside in the rain, but rain won't last. This is Texas.)
-- Dallas Arboretum’s Toad Fountain, at the Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road in Dallas. This water feature anchoring a shady allee off the Arboretum’s main walkway is an irresistible kid magnet. Intersection spouts from four giant toad statues make even grownups giggle. During August only, see it for $1 per person (kids ages two and younger are always free). The August dollar days price is only good in person at the entrance, not available online. You can also get discounts on parking ($5), but those are only available online for the day of entry. Please supervise the little ones -- the wet footing at the fountain gets slippery. Because the Arboretum doesn’t allow changing of clothes in its restrooms, dress children for play beforehand. Quick-drying tees and shorts are great. The boys’ mom finds tees or swim shirts over trunks keep them looking respectable. For more information and Arboretum attractions, see www.dallasarboretum.org/.
-- Eastside in Richardson, at Campbell Road and Lakeside Boulevard (near I-75), in Richardson. This retail-restaurant-apartment complex is centered by a two-acre park with shade, seating, and of course, a ground-level fountain. My daughter says the boys love it, although, as luck would have it, the fountain was turned off when I visited because rain was forecast. Numerous snack venues available, and nobody in the frozen yogurt shop objected when the boys walked in in their swim trunks and shirts. See www.eastsiderichardson.com/.
-- Klyde Warren Park, 2012 Woodall Rogers Freeway, Dallas. You know we love this place! The children’s playground is the best-designed one I’ve ever seen, and with young grandsons, I’ve seen a lot of playgrounds. The playground has shade, seating, restrooms, adjacent drinking fountain. And of course, highly playable water features, from spouts to mists. However, there are numerous water spouts outside the play area, close enough for my daughter and me to keep watch on the boys while cooling off with snow cones from the food trucks. There’s a trolley stop across the freeway service road, a DART stop a few blocks away. We drove, but stocked up on quarters and parked on a side street a couple of blocks away to save money on parking. Even on a weekday, we found metered parking easily. Twenty-five cents for ten minutes, two-hour maximum. While we were in the Arts District, we intended to explore the reflecting pool at Sammons Park, but the boys were tired. See
-- Pegasus Plaza, Main and Akard in Dallas. Pegasus Plaza -- Akard and Main streets, Dallas. The fountains aren’t meant for playing in, but the boys enjoyed exploring the rock features in this pocket-sized park. Security personnel were, rightly, more concerned with policing dog owners than with the boys’ antics. Staff at the adjacent hotel and restaurant reacted kindly to allowing restroom use (and offering ice when one of the boys, inevitably, fell). Shade and seating offered respite to my daughter and me from the afternoon heat.
Need more options? See my August 9, 2013, post, “Water spouts keep summer flowing.”
(Note: I didn’t give enough credit last week to the fountain near the Eisemann Center -- technically, Texas Instruments Foundation Community Fountain. It is rather slippery, but it has the benefits of restrooms and a snack bar in the adjacent hotel.)