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Children in colorful swimsuits play in a splash pad on white plaza in front of a dramatic midcentury performing arts center.
The Music Center’s revamped plaza features a new splash pad.
Alissa Walker

LA’s best splash pads

These public fountains are refreshing for all ages

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The Music Center’s revamped plaza features a new splash pad.
| Photo by Alissa Walker

When the heat wave hits, most Angelenos make plans to visit the nearest pool or beach. But splash pads require less of a time commitment, are far more accessible, and don’t require carting a boatload of equipment along with you (although you may want to bring a towel or change of clothes).

Los Angeles is immersed in somewhat of a splash pad renaissance. From Tongva Park in Santa Monica to the recently renovated Music Center plaza in Downtown, water features are a hot trend in new park design. As the city warms, expect to see more of these wet plazas—or, perhaps, ”spraygrounds”—incorporated into our urban fabric.

While some splash pads are designed for kids, most are just as welcoming for people of all ages and abilities to stop in and cool off. Be sure to also check with your local recreation department, many of which have splash pads that are part of public pool complexes. Some water features operate seasonally, so confirm opening hours before you head out—in true Southern California fashion, they might be turned off during times of drought.

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1. Rancho Tapo Community Park

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3700 Avenida Simi
Simi Valley, CA 93063
(805) 584-4400
Visit Website

A gem of a splash pad set inside a big, grassy Simi Valley park filled with lots of other diversions—bocce ball!—should you tire of the Dr. Seuss-like water features.

2. Annenberg Community Beach House

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415 Pacific Coast Hwy
Santa Monica, CA 90402
(310) 458-4904
Visit Website

You don’t have to get tickets to the beach house to enjoy the splash pad just outside the entrance. It makes a great beach-day alternative when the Pacific is too rough—or too chilly—for swimming.

Annenberg Community Beach House

3. Tongva Park

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1615 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 458-8310
Visit Website

Santa Monica’s best park has a splash pad nestled into the children’s section of the park, which is named Discovery Hill. An adjacent rock climbing wall challenges big kids, while the super soft surface underfoot is great for littles.

4. Virginia Avenue Park

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2200 Virginia Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 458-8688
Visit Website

Another Santa Monica gem, this no-frills splash pad is housed in the same park as a great playground, library, and, on Saturday mornings, a farmers’ market.

5. Panorama Park

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8600 Hazeltine Ave
Panorama City, CA 91402
(818) 893-3401
Visit Website

A splash pad that feels like a Rube Goldberg machine for water, complete with dumping buckets, funnels, and water wheels.

6. Coldwater Canyon Park

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1100 N Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 285-6820
Visit Website

More like a faux stream than a proper splash pad, this water feature rolls gently through a leafy, shaded Beverly Hills park, making it the ultimate summertime destination.

7. The Lion’s Fountain

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9840 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

Yes, that’s the Cowardly Lion—or a feline inspired by him—from The Wizard of Oz, which was filmed right down the street. The Culver City plaza has 40 dancing water jets that will make you want to kick off your ruby slippers.

8. Hollywood & Highland

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6801 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 817-0200
Visit Website

There is indeed a splash pad in the center of the Hollywood & Highland mall. A good bet if you don’t mind sharing the fountains with tourists, and don’t want to be too far from Hot Topic.

9. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM)

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900 W Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 763-3466
Visit Website

The Nature Gardens exhibit at the Expo Park museum has a refreshing creek for wading—a great way for kids to cool off after they dig worms out of a compost pile (really). Museum admission required.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

10. Pacific Park

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501 S Pacific Ave
Glendale, CA 91204
(818) 548-4098
Visit Website

This gem of Glendale’s park system has a large colorful splash pad and a sparkling new pool. Also be sure to check out Glendale’s network of wading pools.

11. The Music Center

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135 N Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 972-7211
Visit Website

A major makeover for the Music Center’s midcentury plaza reopens in time for Labor Day weekend, including a splash-ready fountain at the center. Plus, coffee by Go Get ‘Em Tiger is fountain-adjacent, as well as a new wine bar.

Tim Street-Porter, courtesy The Music Center

12. Grand Park

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200 N Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 972-8080
Visit Website

The progenitor of LA’s contemporary splash pad scene, this Downtown institution is always packed yet never crowded. Hot tip: The fountain lights up at night, making it the perfect escape for a warm summer evening.

13. Rio de Los Angeles State Park

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1900 N San Fernando Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90065
(323) 276-3015
Visit Website

This splash pad is part of an amenity-rich recreational complex in Cypress Park where a new pedestrian bridge will cross the river, connecting both banks.

14. Aquarium of the Pacific

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100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 590-3100
Visit Website

To get the full-immersion experience at this Long Beach museum, head to the Shark Lagoon, where an outdoor playground features interactive water-squirting squids and chance to pet some actual sharks. You’ll need to pay the museum admission to get in.

Aquarium of the Pacific

15. Kidspace Children's Museum

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480 N Arroyo Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 449-9144
Visit Website

Multiple outdoor water play areas means this Pasadena museum never gets old. Interpretive arroyos, flood plains, and a “rainstorm” even teach kids about how water affects local habitats. Admission required, but absolutely worth it on a hot day.

16. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

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1151 Oxford Rd
San Marino, CA 91108
(626) 405-2100
Visit Website

The children’s area of the legendary San Marino garden offers some of the coolest water features in town, with fountains, misters, and vine-strewn pergola shrouded in fog. Requires museum admission, but you get access to an entire botanical gardens.

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1. Rancho Tapo Community Park

3700 Avenida Simi, Simi Valley, CA 93063

A gem of a splash pad set inside a big, grassy Simi Valley park filled with lots of other diversions—bocce ball!—should you tire of the Dr. Seuss-like water features.

3700 Avenida Simi
Simi Valley, CA 93063

2. Annenberg Community Beach House

415 Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica, CA 90402
Annenberg Community Beach House

You don’t have to get tickets to the beach house to enjoy the splash pad just outside the entrance. It makes a great beach-day alternative when the Pacific is too rough—or too chilly—for swimming.

415 Pacific Coast Hwy
Santa Monica, CA 90402

3. Tongva Park

1615 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Santa Monica’s best park has a splash pad nestled into the children’s section of the park, which is named Discovery Hill. An adjacent rock climbing wall challenges big kids, while the super soft surface underfoot is great for littles.

1615 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401

4. Virginia Avenue Park

2200 Virginia Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Another Santa Monica gem, this no-frills splash pad is housed in the same park as a great playground, library, and, on Saturday mornings, a farmers’ market.

2200 Virginia Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404

5. Panorama Park

8600 Hazeltine Ave, Panorama City, CA 91402

A splash pad that feels like a Rube Goldberg machine for water, complete with dumping buckets, funnels, and water wheels.

8600 Hazeltine Ave
Panorama City, CA 91402

6. Coldwater Canyon Park

1100 N Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

More like a faux stream than a proper splash pad, this water feature rolls gently through a leafy, shaded Beverly Hills park, making it the ultimate summertime destination.

1100 N Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

7. The Lion’s Fountain

9840 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

Yes, that’s the Cowardly Lion—or a feline inspired by him—from The Wizard of Oz, which was filmed right down the street. The Culver City plaza has 40 dancing water jets that will make you want to kick off your ruby slippers.

9840 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

8. Hollywood & Highland

6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

There is indeed a splash pad in the center of the Hollywood & Highland mall. A good bet if you don’t mind sharing the fountains with tourists, and don’t want to be too far from Hot Topic.

6801 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028

9. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM)

900 W Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The Nature Gardens exhibit at the Expo Park museum has a refreshing creek for wading—a great way for kids to cool off after they dig worms out of a compost pile (really). Museum admission required.

900 W Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90007

10. Pacific Park

501 S Pacific Ave, Glendale, CA 91204

This gem of Glendale’s park system has a large colorful splash pad and a sparkling new pool. Also be sure to check out Glendale’s network of wading pools.

501 S Pacific Ave
Glendale, CA 91204

11. The Music Center

135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tim Street-Porter, courtesy The Music Center

A major makeover for the Music Center’s midcentury plaza reopens in time for Labor Day weekend, including a splash-ready fountain at the center. Plus, coffee by Go Get ‘Em Tiger is fountain-adjacent, as well as a new wine bar.

135 N Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012

12. Grand Park

200 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

The progenitor of LA’s contemporary splash pad scene, this Downtown institution is always packed yet never crowded. Hot tip: The fountain lights up at night, making it the perfect escape for a warm summer evening.

200 N Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012

13. Rio de Los Angeles State Park

1900 N San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90065

This splash pad is part of an amenity-rich recreational complex in Cypress Park where a new pedestrian bridge will cross the river, connecting both banks.

1900 N San Fernando Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90065

14. Aquarium of the Pacific

100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
Aquarium of the Pacific

To get the full-immersion experience at this Long Beach museum, head to the Shark Lagoon, where an outdoor playground features interactive water-squirting squids and chance to pet some actual sharks. You’ll need to pay the museum admission to get in.

100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802

15. Kidspace Children's Museum

480 N Arroyo Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91103

Multiple outdoor water play areas means this Pasadena museum never gets old. Interpretive arroyos, flood plains, and a “rainstorm” even teach kids about how water affects local habitats. Admission required, but absolutely worth it on a hot day.

480 N Arroyo Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91103

Related Maps

16. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108

The children’s area of the legendary San Marino garden offers some of the coolest water features in town, with fountains, misters, and vine-strewn pergola shrouded in fog. Requires museum admission, but you get access to an entire botanical gardens.

1151 Oxford Rd
San Marino, CA 91108

Related Maps