Families and Kids

Tempe splash pads and waterpark fun this summer

What makes any summer day in Tempe just a little bit better? Water. As in splash pads, water parks and pools. Even though the summer days get pretty toasty in Arizona, my family always cools off and has fun when there is water around. Luckily for us, Tempe has lots to choose from!

Here are a few options in Tempe to keep you cool all summer long:

Tempe Summer Hotel Deals


Take a break this summer at one of Tempe’s hotels. Many Tempe hotels are offering great rates, some including food and beverage credit and other extras. And, of course, you and your family will spend lots of time at their sparkling pools. Check out our Summer in Tempe page for a list of all of the hotel specials this season.

Kiwanis Wave Pool

The Kiwanis Pool is perfect for the whole family. No need to reapply sunscreen here – the pool is indoors. It has water slides and 3’ waves – rafts are also available for rent. Admission is inexpensive at just $7 for adults and kids who are 13 years and older. For children from 2-12 years old, admission is $5. Season passes are available. Check the website for more details, including hours of operation.

Splash Pad at Tempe Marketplace

Splash Pad at Tempe Marketplace

This splash pad is surrounded by a shaded seating area for parents and it’s close to a few spots where you can get an iced beverage or dessert, such as the cafe inside Barnes & Noble, Panera Bakery, Churoholic, Zero Degrees and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. It’s open daily from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. On Friday and Saturday evenings, parents can also enjoy live musicians who play within earshot of the splash pad. And, if you plan it correctly, you can even schedule your visit around a blockbuster movie at the Harkins Theatre at Tempe Marketplace.

Every Thursday, June 6-August 1, from 6-7:30 p.m., (excluding July 4th), kids can cool down and party at the Summer Splash Thursdays with music, games and prizes. And, they’ll meet with their favorite characters and super heroes, from Moana and Belle to Wonder Woman and Spider Man.

Big Surf Waterpark

Big Surf is more than a pool and more than a waterpark. It’s legendary around here. America’s Original Wave Pool, Waikiki Beach, features 2.5 million gallons of water that glide into waves every few minutes. Boogie boards, rafts and even surf boards are available to rent. This Tempe water park also features multiple water slides, ranging in excitement levels from gentle to the not for the faint of heart. There’s also a special area just for little kids called Captain Cook’s Landing.

Boating in Tempe

There are two places in Tempe where you can get out on the water: Tempe Town Lake and Kiwanis Lake.

Boat Rentals of America at Tempe Beach Park offers electric boats (with surrey tops for shade), stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, pedal boats and the snazzy new swan pedal-boats. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Riverbound Sports schedules sunset paddleboard meetups at the Tempe Town Lake Marina on Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The paddleboards can be picked up from their shop located at 415 E. University Dr., Ste A-112, Tempe, AZ 85281. Check their website for more information and a calendar of events.

Boat Rentals of America at Kiwanis Lake rents kayaks and pedal boats by the half hour, hour or two hours. A signature part of Kiwanis Park, this smaller lake is perfect for a family outing. You can also rent cruiser, tandem and surrey bikes by the half hour or hour.

Tempe neighborhood spray pads

Check out one of Tempe’s neighborhood spray pads. Kiwanis, Esquer, Hudson and Jaycee neighborhood parks are open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. April 1- through October 31.

The Cloud at Kiwanis Park – 5233 S. Ash Ave. Tempe, AZ 85283
Jaycee Park – 817 W 5th St., Tempe, AZ 85281
Esquer Park – 2407 E. McArthur Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281
Hudson Park – 1430 S. Cedar St., Tempe AZ 85281

The Phoenix Zoo, located in beautiful Papago Park, has several splash pads and water play areas. Summer hours are 7 a.m.-2 p.m. daily.

  • Leapin’ Lagoon Splash Pad is perfect for babies and toddlers. Adults can take a break and watch from shaded benches or join in the fun if they don’t mind a good soaking. There’s also a changing area.
  • Yakulla Caverns with its stalactites, stalagmites and a splash pad is great fun for kids five and over.
  • At the Virginia G. Piper Enchanted Forest kids can take the bridge over a trickling river to the tree house, slide down the giant tree trunk and end with a splash through the river bottom.

Check out more summer fun ideas that are happening all summer long in Tempe!

Toni Smith
Written Toni Smith

An Arizona native, Toni Smith loves to dine out, conquer hiking trails, go to concerts and survive hot yoga classes. She has also never met a dog she didn’t love instantly. She lives in Tempe with her husband and daughter.