Let’s face it, they don’t call Columbia “Famously Hot” for nothing. Temperatures easily reach three digits long before the official start of summer. The best advice to beat the heat is to either find an indoor play area, or hit one of the local splash pads, spray pools, mist pads, swimming pools, or water parks. And luckily, there is no shortage of them here in the capital city. Check out our list of where you can find some water play in and around the Columbia area, and don’t forget the sunscreen!
Splash Pads/Spray Pools/Mist Pads/Swimming Pools
Thirteen of Columbia’s city parks have splash pads or spray pools, all with free admission (think playground with splash pad/spray pool next to it). Just be aware many of them don’t officially turn on the water until Memorial Day or later. We’ve also included local swimming pools open to the public, as well as larger splash pads and water park that have an admission cost to join in on the fun. Regardless of what venue you check out, there are plenty of options for staying cool this summer!
>>Here’s an interactive map with locations plotted to help you get a better idea of where each is located.<<
Drew Park – 2101 Walker Solomon Way, Columbia, 29204 (downtown, behind Drew Wellness Center)
One of the largest splash pad/spray pool in the city with multiple water sprays for kids to enjoy! Open Monday-Saturday from noon-8 p.m.; Closed on Sundays.
Features a concrete splash pad, outdoor basketball court, playground, and fossil dig area. Open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-noon and 4-6 p.m.; Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Elmwood/Roy Lynch Park – 900 Abbeville St., Columbia, 29201 (beside Logan Elementary, downtown Columbia off Elmwood)
Enclosed park with water spray, playground, swings, picnic shelters and concrete area with water spray for kids to enjoy (newly renovated in 2016!). The spray pad is user-operated and available during the park’s operating hours from sunrise to sunset.
Emily Douglas Park – 2500 Wheat St., Columbia, 29205 (Shandon)
Shady park with spray pool operated during summer months, playground areas and swings. Open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-noon and 4-6 p.m.; Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Greenview Park and Aquatics Center – 6700 David Street, Columbia, 29203
Includes swimming pool, water play area for children and toddlers (including water slide). Regular hours for recreational swimming are as follows:
- Mondays from 1-6 p.m. (free swim day)
- Tuesday through Friday from 1-5:45 p.m.
- Saturdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Sundays from 2-6 p.m.
To accommodate all guests, visitors must observe a two hour time limit in the pool and water play areas when the maximum capacity is reached. Guests will be given a color-coded wristband before entering the pool area. $3 (ages 12 and under), $4 (ages 13 and over).
Hampton Memorial Park – 117 Brandon Ave., Columbia, 29209 (near Dorn V.A. Hospital)
Park includes a spray pool, pond, two tennis courts, youth baseball field and full size basketball court. Open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-noon and 4-6 p.m.; Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Heathwood Park – 800 Abelia Road, Columbia, 29205 (Heathwood neighborhood, off Garners Ferry Rd/Devine St. close to Beltline Blvd.)
Features a spray pool operating in the summer months, playground equipment for children of all ages, swings, digging toys, climbing structures, sand digging toys, small spin-around ride-ones and springy seesaws. There is also a picnic shelter along with basketball and tennis courts. Open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-noon and 4-6 p.m.; Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Lorick Park – 1600 Lorick Ave., Columbia, 29203 (near Columbia College)
Includes a water spray, neighborhood center, basketball courts, a baseball diamond and picnic shelters. Open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.; Closed on Sundays.
Maxcy Gregg Pool – 1655 Park Circle, Columbia 29201
Regular hours for recreational swimming are as follows:
- Monday through Thursday from 1 to 7 p.m.
- Fridays from 1-6 p.m. (free swim day)
- Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m.
To accommodate all guests, visitors must observe a two hour time limit in the pool and water play areas when the maximum capacity is reached. Guests will be given a color-coded wristband before entering the pool area. $3 (ages 12 and under), $4 (ages 13 and over) or season tickets are $80 (ages 12 and under), $120 (ages 13 and over).
Melrose Park – 1500 Fairview Road, Columbia, 29205 (Melrose Heights, near Trenholm Rd. and Gervais St.)
Enclosed park with spray pool and playground equipment. Open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-noon and 4-6 p.m.; Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Palmetto Falls – 6511 Marion Ave., Columbia, 29207 (at Fort Jackson)
Park includes a 10,000 sq. ft. family pool, two water slides, a 600 sq. foot splashdown pool, a 2,500 sq. foot kiddy pool, a lazy river stretching 800 linear feet and a snack bar – talk about enjoyment! Take the Forest Drive Gate, then left on Marion St. Driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance are required to enter the gate. Open to the public every Tuesday-Sunday. $12 a person, 2 and under free (or purchase a season pass for $50 per person).
Fort Jackson Directorate of Emergency Services requires all visitors and non-DoD cardholders 18 years old and older to submit to and pass a background check to access Fort Jackson (application form (pdf). Just fill it out and return it to the address printed on the form. Please include the required information for all family members who are 18 and older. Once your background check is complete they will contact you. Please make sure to include all your contact information.
Palmetto Falls Water Park Schedule:
May 26: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
May 27: 1-7 p.m
May 28: 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
June 2: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
June 3: 1-7 p.m.
Season begins June 8- August 12
Tuesday – Saturday: 11a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday: 1-7 p.m.
Pinehurst Park – 2315 Pinehurst Rd., Columbia, 29204 (near Providence Hospital)
Includes spray pool, playground area, baseball diamond and a community center. Open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.; Closed on Sundays.
Quinine Hill Park – North Beltline Boulevard and Forest Drive, Columbia, 29204 (behind Walgreen’s)
At this “mist pad,” push the button on the back of the water fountain pole for a nice misting for a few minutes. Mist available upon demand, aka whenever you want to push it!
Sesquicentennial State Park – 9564 Two Notch Rd., Columbia, 29223
This new splash pad opened Memorial Day 2016 and offers 2,800 square feet of water fun for kids that includes squirting and pulsing water. Admission to the park: $5 adults; $3.25 SC seniors (age 65 & older); $3 children ages 6-15; ages 5 and under, free. Open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily (extended hours during Daylight Saving Time).
Sims Park – 3500 Duncan St., Columbia, 29205 (Shandon)
Contains a spray pool, neighborhood center, play area, picnic shelter and basketball court. Open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-noon and 4-6 p.m.; Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Waterfall Junction at Riverbanks Zoo – 1300 Botanical Parkway, West Columbia, 29169 (just off SC Highway 378 at I-20 and I-26)
Flora, fauna and fun intersect at Waterfall Junction where big kids and little sprouts can explore nature throughout the year or retreat to a cool escape during warmer months. Frolic around and under a 25-foot cascading waterfall and splash zones, unearth a life-size replica of T-Rex, play in giant tree houses, pop in and out of rabbit holes, and more. Entry to Waterfall Junction is included with general park admission. Children ages 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult, and kids under 4 must be fully potty trained or wear proper swim diapers to use any water features. Water shoes are recommended for all ages. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
Lexington County has six splash pads, spray pools or mist fountains for your kids to enjoy! Some offer free admission (typically the spray pools and mist fountains) while the splash pads offer more activities and include a cost to participate.
Felton C. Benton Park Splash Pad – 2915 Platt Springs Rd., Springdale, 29170
Just a note if you have an especially little or shy one: This splash pad is a favorite with local daycares, so there may be older children there. FREE.
Corley Park – 210 Corley St., Lexington, 29072
Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. FREE. Includes spray pool and playground.
Melvin Park – 370 A Eptings Camp Rd., Chapin, 29036
Melvin Park Splash, located in at Melvin Park in Chapin, is a zero-depth water spray grounds for children. Open 9 a.m.-8p.m. Monday-Saturday and from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. Wristbands are $3 per person or you can purchase a 15-visit Splash Pass for $40. The Splash Pass is valid at both Saluda Splash and Melvin Park Splash in Chapin.
NorthWest YMCA – 1501 Kennerly Rd., Irmo, 29063
Outdoor splash pad with play equipment. Open Monday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday: 1–5 p.m. Free to members and adults. Non-member children pay $5; check in at the front desk.
Willie B. Caractor Park – 804 Hendrix St., Lexington, 29072 (behind Lexington Medical Center).
This park is not usually crowded. Includes mist fountain, playground, hopscotch court, rope climber and picnic shelter. FREE.
Saluda Shoals – 5605 Bush River Rd., Columbia, 29212
Saluda Splash is a zero-depth water spray ground for children. Open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. This is a large park maintained by the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission, near the Lake Murray Dam on the Irmo side. There is a $5 parking fee, which covers the entire park, and $3 fee per person for the splash pad itself or you can purchase a 15-visit Splash Pass for $40 (the Splash Pass is valid at both Saluda Splash and Melvin Park Splash in Chapin). Large splash pad with lots of activities to keep kids entertained, and right beside a large playground.