Problem Solver - August 2012
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Attract More Patrons to Your Aquatic Facility

When attendance is down at any part of your aquatic facility, it's time to find new ways to revitalize the space and attract more guests. Existing aquatic facilities can benefit by converting wading pools or unused deck space into spray parks that provide a lot of bang for the bucks.

Q: We have a wading pool at our aquatic facility, but it's not getting a lot of traffic. Is there a way to use this space better?

A: Many facilities have converted their wading pools to spray parks, a cost-effective option that does not require extra supervision, maintenance or large amounts of water. Generally, a spray park is a zero-depth play area where children can enjoy water sprayed from upright structures and ground sprays. The water drains off the pad and is directed through the facility's water management system.

These fun areas for splashing and playing come in a variety of designs and sizes. They can be as small as 300 square feet or as large as 20,000 square feet, with the average falling close to 2,500 square feet.

When you replace a low-traffic wading pool with an aquatic play facility, you will generate a lot of new excitement and interest. In addition, you can get more use out of the areas, as a typical play pad enjoys an operating season about twice as long as an outdoor pool.

Q: We love the idea of adding an aquatic play pad in place of a wading pool. Will it attract a wider range of ages?

A: Zero-depth aquatic play pads are safe and fun for kids of all ages and abilities. Oftentimes, manufacturers suggest offering different zones that feature sprays and elements suited to different age groups. Consider creating a zone for older children, who play more exuberantly, separate from features for toddlers, who are more curious and passive in play. Interactive play features can be centrally located, as these accommodate all ages and act as a common area where kids can engage with one another.

Q: We want to provide an interactive sprayground that is fun for all the kids. What should we consider?

A: Talk to your manufacturer about the features that will best suit your needs. You'll be able to find aquatic play features, slide activity centers, urban features and more. Be sure to ask about activators, as well. These increase play value by providing more interactivity and directly engaging children in the play, while at the same time reducing your spray park's environmental impact.

Interactivity is an important part of play value, and you want to provide an aquatic play pad that maximizes play value. Children will get wet and have fun splashing, but a sprayground should also offer opportunities to learn, explore and get engaged. Unique combinations or spray, sound, and cause-and-effect relationship play will keep kids engaged for hours.

Enhancing aquatic design through discovery play—including sensory stimulation, cooperative play, age-specific activities and water displays—is key to an aquatic play space that expands beyond the bounds of the everyday. Spray cannons and dumping buckets, sprayers and interactive play features that play musical notes through splashing water—all of these will help kids take their imaginative discoveries to the next level.


Waterplay Solutions Corp.: 800-590-5552