Parents and children in Fredericton, a city in New Brunswick Canada, knew that a Splashpad® would be just the thing to replace the city's existing wading pool, which was nearing the end of its lifespan.
The thought of replacing the beloved 100+ year-old wading pool was difficult for some residents; it had been the site at which many parents had been taught to swim as children, and then brought their own children to learn as well. However, many were willing to put their nostalgic feelings aside with the recognition that the time was right for an updated amenity.
When they approached city officials, both kids and their parents said they wanted an outdoor "spray type" facility that would be accessible for longer periods of time throughout the year (May-October) than the wading pool. Kids requested features that would be fun and exciting for all ages so that there would be a wide range of play opportunities. Residents won the support of the Mayor, Mike O'Brien, and the City Council, and plans got underway to replace the wading pool in Fredericton's historic Wilmot Park with a Splashpad using Vortex features and materials. A series of public meetings were held as part of the design process and children from various community organizations and local area schools were engaged and asked to provide their thoughts on what should be incorporated within the Splashpad.
The children of the City of Fredericton were instrumental in the design of the Splashpad - it was through their creative imaginations that we’ve been able to provide this interactive aquatic recreational space for kids to enjoy for many years to come.— Mike O’Brien, Mayor City of Fredericton
New Brunswick, Canada
Since children of all ages participated, the design specified three water intensity zones - low, moderate, and high - for different abilities and stages of childhood development. Kids are free to remain in one zone, or rotate between all three.
The lower intensity zone includes the whimsical frogs that gently drizzle water onto even the youngest of users. There is also a Water Journey™ Jet Dance with a sand ripple-inspired surface, on which children can also trigger various jet mists, block or intensify and arch water sequences by directing water into a drain.
For kids who are ready for a little more adventure, the Splashpad has water cannons and larger and stronger jet sprays. The oldest kids particularly enjoy standing under the giant bucket that drenches them in refreshing water while they wait below in anticipation.
The Splashpad was also designed to fit into its surrounding area, using the same bright colors as the adjacent playgroup equipment within the park. The variety of features and festive environment draw in those who are just passing by. In addition, the Splashpad provides the community with a wide range of interactive and creative play opportunities within a contained space, at no charge.
The city's management reports that they were able to easily incorporate maintenance of the facility into their existing service routine. The Splashpad also fits into the municipality's emphasis on water conservation since the system recirculates water, and the features are only activated when they are in us
The Splashpad is the first facility of its type to be constructed in the City of Fredericton. Prior to its installation, residents frequented Killarney Lake, the Fredericton Indoor Pool, or one of several outdoor pools to cool off on hot summer days. Although these other aquatic facilities continue to be well used, response to the new Splashpad has been overwhelmingly positive because of its uniqueness.
The facility's openness, which incorporates clear sight lines and strategically placed elements, can accommodate a large crowd. On hot summer days, up to 1,400 users have been drawn to the Splashpad that covers 12,000 square feet - many staying for hours at a time.
This unique aquatic facility has proven to be popular with residents as well as those visiting the City. It has been a welcomed addition to the existing outdoor aquatic infrastructure within the municipality.— Michelle Horncastle, Culture and Community Development Division Manager
New Brunswick, Canada
"This was the best day ever!" exclaimed one user. Other kids have chimed in, remarking "I love it here!" and "It is so much fun!" And parents have also appreciated the aquatic play delivered by the Splashpad, with one remarking, "It was the highlight of the summer for my children." The Splashpad has also been successful in attracting vacationing tourists visiting Fredericton. While other communities have Splashpads, each Vortex installation is designed and constructed with different elements and features, so that even seasoned Splashpad users get a unique experience when visiting Wilmot Park.
City management reports that the Splashpad is always busy during its hours of operation, which are from 10:00AM until dusk.