Ten Fun East Bay Parks with Free Water Play Features

The weather is warming up, so  it’s time to find fun outdoor activities for the kids that incorporate water play.  Kids love to play in water… any kind of water!  The play areas I’ve included in this list are all free and are located within local community parks.  If the features aren’t already on in the park near you, they will be beginning this Memorial Day weekend.

So pack the towels and a change of clothes, put on the swim suits and lots of water-proof sunscreen, and head to the park for some cool, wet fun!  Click on the link for the address of each park and for additional information.   Enjoy!

  1. Emerald Glen Park, Dublin:  Fun fountain play!  Kids love to run through the variety of water features spouting in all different directions.  This is one of the larger play areas with water features.  This park is a must-visit.
  2. Shannon Park, Dublin:  This is the kind of water park that the kids want to jump into.  Instead of fountains for running through, this park has a roaring cement fountain water fall with a small pool the kids can dunk themselves in.  When the water is on here, watch little ones closely, as there are no barriers around the pool.
  3. Central Park, San Ramon:  This one is a favorite!  It has a strange, jelly-fish like large fountain that sprays water down on the kids.  From there, the water flows down some steps into a man-made stream, which the kids love to play in.
  4. Val Vista Park, Pleasanton:  Val Vista Park actually has two different sections with water features.  If you have a younger child (toddler), they’ll enjoy what we call the “soccer park.”  The water features here are small, with cute little bubbling and spouting fountains.  Find this one behind the large soccer ball sculptures.  The other water features are located at the end of the road / parking area.  At this section, kids will not only enjoy the alternating spray of the fountains, but also the man-made creek and the unique “miniature mountain” water climbing area.  There’s not much shade here, so it can be uncomfortable for the adults watching the kids, unless you want to jump into the water, too!
  5. Tennis and Community Park, Pleasanton:  I actually haven’t been to this park, but it looks fun!  The water play area has fountains and water cannons.
  6. Hap Magee Park, Danville:  This is such a fun park.  The water features are relatively small, but are fun on a hot day.  It has spray features that kids can run through and cool off in.  The water here will keep the kids cool, so they can enjoy the other fun features this park has to offer (nice sand area, great climbing structures, and a wild-west theme)
  7. Sycamore Valley Park, Danville:  A relatively new park, with nice water features.  It has lots of water-spraying fountains and a couple water cannons.
  8. Community Park, Castro Valley:  The water play area here has a few water cannons that kids can use to shoot water at other kids in the middle of the area.  The central area has fountains and water sprays to run through.  Super fun on a hot day.
  9. Cannery Park, Hayward:  If you’re in the Hayward area, this is your best bet for free water play at the park.  It, too, has water spray features and water canons.
  10. Birch Grove Park, Newark:  This water park has sprays of water that are fun for little ones!

Keep cool this summer, and have fun!


  1. *** Note that the water features at Shannon Park will be OFF for the 2013 summer while the park is under renovation. ***


  2. Ines says:

    Thanks for this great list! Which park would be best for a 21 month old who prefers calmer water features and shallow (warmer) water? Is the picture you posted from any of the parks on your list?


    1. A Nature Mom says:

      The photo is of my son when he was 13 months old, at Emerald Glen. When he was younger than two, I thought the best water park for him was the one at Val Vista, behind the big soccer ball sculptures, but the other one at Val Vista is good for little kids, too. I recommend you take a bucket and a ball or two to play in the water with. As for warmth of the water at each park, I have no idea!


  3. John Mejia says:

    If you would like a Splashpad for your community, please visit our website at http://www.vortex-intl.com

    Vortex is the world leader in aquatic play solutions with over 4,500 installations worldwide!


  4. We checked out Shannon Park today and loved it. It was a bit too windy for the water feature, but the girls loved the sand, climbing trees, and the rock wall on the play structure. We even found a bridge and a creek to check out. Thanks for sharing!


    1. A Nature Mom says:

      Shannon Park is one of our favorites (and one of the closer parks to our home). It has the BEST climbing tree, and we, too, love the creek. We had my son’s 2nd birthday party here! Is the water on?? Today is definitely a bit too breezy for water play!


      1. The big waterfall pool was running. It looked like there might be some other features (mist spouts?), but we didn’t check those out. This would be a great place for a party! I loved all of the tables in the shade.


  5. badwalker says:

    This is great. Can I link from my site? Or do it as a guest post? Thanks.


    1. A Nature Mom says:

      Glad you found it helpful! Yes, you may post as guest post or reblog or as link.


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