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Image courtesy of Polin Waterparks and Pool Systems


and Doug Mulvaney, KOA’s facilities development manager, is a true believer. “A spray park is a great amenity to offer to families with


small children that would opt out of using a swimming pool. Spray parks ... promote return visits to the campground. Families that are planning future vacation stays remember campgrounds that offer a variety of fun recreational activities and spray parks definitely add to the mix.” Mulvaney’s colleague, Robyn Koromhas, operates one of


Downtown at City Hall, the budget department loves


the fact that their spraygrounds a) have no standing water which makes them perfectly safe for even the smallest children, b) require no staffing which translates into savings for taxpayers, and best of all c) they’re free to the public to be enjoyed by all. And they are and not just in Omaha. “Some people criticise spraygrounds as just squirting


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playgrounds,” laments Kirsten Kahl, of Rain Drop Products in Ashland Ohio. “In fact a typical sprayground quickly evolves into a community gathering place where children can play and their guardians come to enjoy the company of others in their neighbourhood. Often times the parents and guardians of the children enjoy equal if not more recreation value from a visit to a sprayground.” Kahl is equally enthusiastic about the


eco-friendliness of spraygrounds. “The most common misconception is that a sprayground wastes a lot of water and is not an efficient use of a limited resource. In reality, a properly designed sprayground that utilises the latest in controller technology and water recirculation (systems) provides a much more sustainable recreation solution than even a small public pool. Drop for drop, a sprayground provides a greener alternative and more play value than a traditional public pool.” Apparently they’re also good


for making money. Kampgrounds of America (KOA) currently operates 24 spray parks in their campgrounds


22


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those splashpads at a KOA campground near Myrtle Beach, Florida. For Koromhas, the single most important benefit of the splash pad is the competitive advantage it brings over the other campgrounds in the Myrtle Beach area. “The splash pad... has been a positive addition to our


recreational features at this campground for some time now,” says Koromhas. “Families return year after year as their children remember the splash pad and all the fun they had during their stay!” And that, he says, has had a significant impact on the campground’s bottom line. If there’s a downside to spraygrounds it’s their cost, to


buy and operate.


“Commercial splash pads generally start at around


US$25,000 installed and it’s not uncommon to see a $250,000 to $300,000 splash pad on the higher end,” observes Ryan Vaughn of Rain Deck, an Arizona sprayground builder. “Still, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, ‘I wish I’d built a larger splash pad.’ Increasing the size of the splash pad does not necessarily mean adding additional pumps, features and other equipment - so the additional cost is generally minimal for concrete and surfacing material. Once installed, a splash pad requires


Image courtesy of Whitewater West Industries


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