So it seems that the big thing this summer has been spray pads. I had never really even heard of these things until I had a child, but they seem to be everywhere. Except near me. What’s up with that, Town of Enfield?
Since we don’t have one in town, we have to go invade neighboring towns. The closest I can find in Connecticut is down in Hartford/West Hartford. When you live in Enfield, that’s kind of hike, so we like to drive over the border to Massachusetts. And while I know this is “This CONNECTICUT Mom”, when you live in North Central Connecticut, sometimes it’s faster and more convenient to hop the line to Massachusetts.
I had been hearing about a spray pad in Hampden. I honestly had no idea where Hampden was but it’s just on the other side of Somers and only a 20 or so minute drive from my house. The spray pad is located on Main Street in Hampden. Which if you are unfamiliar with the area like me, that means nothing. But surely the GPS will find its way for you!
I decided to take the drive one afternoon after nap time, so we arrived at the park late in the day, and it was not as hot the day we went. We still managed to have a good time in the water and at the incredible playground!
The park is tucked down a small drive but the entrance is clearly marked with this big sign:
There is ample parking right near the spray pad and playground area. Since we went during a summer weekday afternoon, it was not busy. They do have an overflow lot along the drive into the park for when it does get crowded.
There is a small brook and bridges that connect the parking lot to the play area. There were many little kids playing in the brook when we arrived, checking for froggies and other yucky creatures. The nice thing about this brook is that it does make it harder for the little ones to run into the parking lot, but now you have to worry about water and every worry that comes along with that. So, you’ll want to keep a close eye on those kids that like to wander.
The spray pad is fenced in. There is an open gate for access from the parking lot as well as other narrow openings around the pad to get to the pavilions and playground. Some of the openings are TOO narrow for a stroller so make sure to either leave the stroller behind, or use only the gate openings that you can fit through.
There is a small building right near the entrance with restrooms. The restrooms were pretty dimly lit. They also lacked changing tables. So plan ahead with towels so you can either change your kids outside or on the floor in the bathroom.
Outside the bathrooms, they also have the rules of the park posted. Most are pretty obvious but worth noting is that no food or drinks are allowed on the spray pad. It also gives instructions on how the spray pad sensor works. Like most spray pads, the water is set to a timer and only turns on when the sensor is activated.
Once we were in our swimsuits, we finally got to check out the spray pad!
As I mentioned, this is a sensor based spray pad and the sensor is this big red post right on the edge of the pad. Walking in front of it will turn the water on.
I loved this mushroom that created a waterfall – my boy thought it was fun to run through it and hide behind the waterfall.
They also have the standard water buckets for those who like having water dumped on their heads.
There are smaller water sprayers for toddlers like my boy, including this turtle!
And my favorite was the bench!
The spray pad is cement, and in the heat, it will get pretty hot on the feet. So make sure you pack appropriate water shoes to avoid that.
The surrounding area is grass, and makes for a great area to sit and relax while your kids play. There are benches but they are further away by the fence.
We played in the water for a while but once it started to cool down more, we decided to change into our dry clothes and check out the playground. And what a playground this is! I was in awe (and a little in love)!
The playground is technically for ages 5 to 12, but we like to live a little dangerously. Plus, I stayed by his side the whole time and kept a close watch. There are some areas that are a little scary for a 2-year-old. But he enjoyed this playground!
The playground had a lot of entrances- whether by stair, rockwall, rope, ladder.
And my 2-year-old has NO fear when it comes to the rock wall.
There’s a few slides – a smaller one for little kids, and then a really big one for the older kids.
Lots of things to climb and hang from, including monkey bars, a zip line and more rock walls.
And our favorite- a shake shake bridge.
They also had this log to walk across- but I quickly diverted my child’s attention before I had a mini heart attack!
In addition to this incredible play area, they had a number of free-standing structures such as this fire truck monkey bar/jungle gym contraption.
A huge stand alone slide!
There are also swings, including an accessible swing and a baby swing.
And ride on toys!
The playground is either mulch or rock covered, so it is a little tricky with a stroller but you can get through. If I had planned better, we would have just left the stroller in the car, but now I know!
There are a couple pavilions at the park. These are available for rent for parties or picnics. More information can be found on the town’s website.
If after all that, you are still looking for more to do, there are hiking trails at the park! We didn’t check them out but they have a map on the signs at the park for those interested in checking it out.
The spray pad is seasonal, so it closes for the summer in September. Also, during certain weeks in the summer, the spray pad opens later in the day while summer camp runs- be sure to check the town’s website for up to date information.
This was an incredible park, and definitely one we will visit again, even if just for the playground. It’s one that is worth the drive!
This about sums it up…
495 Main Street – Hampden, MA
Hours: Water is on between 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
During the summer, the park opens at 2:45 p.m. since the summer camp uses the space in the morning. Check the town website for up to date hours.
The spray pad opens mid-June and closes for the season in September.
- Stroller accessible (difficult in some ares but you can move around)
- Open playground area, designed for ages 5 to 12.
- Concrete/Asphalt ground covering- hot surfaces!
- Playground Covering – mulch and gravel
- Hiking trails
- Benches found throughout park – pavilions available for rent/free after 5 p.m.
- Large parking lot with plenty of available spaces
- Bathrooms but no changing table facility
- Open sunny area, bring lots of sunblock!
- Bring snacks/food and make a morning or afternoon out of it!
- Water play area fenced – most of the area is hard to escape but still keep an eye on little ones since there is a brook nearby
A few additional tips:
- Water shoes for you and your child are a must. The pavement, where not wet, is HOT, especially the area around the playscape.
- Wear a bathing suit, mom! Do not be afraid to have fun in the water with your child! There is nothing wrong with being the soaking, dripping wet mom chasing around a laughing happy toddler!
- Remember your sunblock. There is no cover in the water area or the playground, it is easy to get burnt!
- Bring lots of towels! You may end up changing your child on the bathroom floor…