Splash Parks

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Ballantrae Park

6350 Woerner Temple Rd., Dublin

Careful hunting for Ballantrae Park -- Google Maps will steer you off course. Once you find it -- at the northwest corner of Woerner Temple and Avery roads, south of Rte. 161 -- you'll enjoy this simple and beautiful splash park in the shadow of a giant mound with industrial-size bronze bunnies dancing on top of it (seriously).

Pros: It's completely handicapped accessible with 79 water jets shooting out of the flat, brushed-concrete splash pad and a rock wall of waterfalls. The lush green space is nice for picnics. Bathrooms (open dusk to dawn) are next to the parking lot -- a bit of hike but clean and well-ventilated.

Cons: There's no signage directing you to the parking lot from Woerner Temple Road. There are five small tables (with umbrellas) on the splash area's perimeter -- prime real estate with parents showing up in droves by 10 a.m. The rock wall has decent bone-breaking potential for unsupervised children, but the undulating water jets distract would-be mountaineers. There's no signal from the city's Wi-Fi service, but with little shade, you can't see a laptop screen anyway.

Village Green Park

47 Hall St., Powell

No problems finding this place next to Powell's village hall, and even better, it's within shouting distance of the Mean Bean Caffeine Lounge (22 S. Liberty St.) and Rita's Water Ice (50 S. Liberty St.).

Pros: Where do we start -- 11 full-size picnic tables, two water fountains with pet bowls, several large shade trees, free Wi-Fi service that works, nearby restrooms (open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.), a big Plaything, and a gadget-intensive splash area (shooting jets, spray tunnel, swiveling water gun and flipping buckets). The entire play area is surfaced with a bouncy rubberized mat. Added bonus: The train tracks 200 yards to the west. Long train + little kids = shrieks of delight.

Cons: We're digging deep to come up with something we didn't like about Village Green Park, but my son reported that with water flying in so many directions, it got in his eyes pretty easily and burned a little. Not enough to make him want to leave, but enough to make me wonder if goggles wouldn't make sense for a longer visit.