Feature Article - April 2011
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Puddle-Loving Fun

New Developments in Sprayground Design

By Deborah L. Vence

Sprayground Design

While the quintessential waterpark today boasts an array of fun and entertaining amenities ranging from curvy waterslides to uniquely shaped swimming pools to sizeable sandboxes, sprayground designs offer up valuable and exciting design elements as well—with unique geometric shapes, water guns, dumping buckets, as well as design themes and customized elements, just to name a few.

"[Sprayground design] is evolving. In Woodridge, we just put in a new facility. It has a large themed interactive play structure. [The sprayground] was part of a larger waterpark," said Tom LaLonde, principal at Williams Architects in Carol Stream, Ill.

LaLonde said that the custom-built sprayground in the Chicago suburb, shaped as a pirate ship, was built without having to add a separate pool. The one big thing that's evolved, he said, has been the move from more traditional pools to spraygrounds that hold water, and that continuously drain.

"There's a big advantage to that. You don't need certified lifeguards. We've gone through the gamut," LaLonde said.

Not to mention that spraygrounds can be "customized to whatever you want. In Lisle [Ill.], they have a sea lion facility with a mermaid. It has a whole kind of aquatic ocean theme," he added. "They will customize it to whatever you want. We did a custom-designed element at Flick Pool in Glenview [Ill.]."

On another sprayground project, LaLonde said, the waterslide was built into a slope of a hill for younger children, with the water draining into a shutdown lane.

"It has a run-out area, a troth where kids can go down the slide and climb out," a better alternative than "spending the dollars to build another pool," LaLonde said. "It's a unique feature without having to build a pool, and it has spray elements."