Feature Article - April 2011
Find a printable version here

Puddle-Loving Fun

New Developments in Sprayground Design

By Deborah L. Vence

However, Cory Forrest, product manager for a company based in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, which specializes in aquatic recreation equipment, cautioned that while the integration of large rocks into the pad is popular to create a more natural play area, "this is not recommended without impact attenuation surfacing."

"While it can enhance the aesthetics of the pad, it can result in injury from falls or creating tripping hazards on the pad," Forrest said.

While more theme-based designs and natural elements grow in popularity, Whiteaker noted that it's equally important to have the option of changing sprayground designs from year to year.

"Interchangeability is important because now you can offer one design one year, but change different [features for the next year]. It creates a different and new and fresh effect each year," he added. "It provides the opportunity to [offer] different types of configurations for different years."

Joe Shuttleworth, deputy director of the city of Bridgeport Parks and Recreation in Bridgeport, W.Va., added that having removable features on spraygrounds is a common trend now.

"Many of our features are mounted directly to the concrete and when meeting the required specs can be removed and replaced from year to year. This option allows facilities to change the look and, therefore, the attraction of the sprayground each season ... or as often as one wants. We can change out a feature in about 20 minutes," Shuttleworth said.

Additionally, Ron Lausman, director of architectural services for a manufacturer of waterparks and aquatic attractions in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, noted that "There is a move toward technology to enhance the experiences of kids and to make the water more interactive. Kids are faced with ever-enhanced media and games (everything from X-box to Internet games) and this is their basis for determining what is 'fun.'

"Water for them needs to have more impact and fun, as the new forms of entertainment are competing for their attention within the recreation umbrella," he added. "It gets harder to engage kids to participate in things that do not give them the same degree of stimulation."