The Summer of Splash Parks: Smale Riverfront Park

The Summer of Splash Parks is going strong, people.

Last weekend, we went down to Smale Riverfront Park for an afternoon of fun! Since there was no Reds game, we were able to park at a nearby meter, which cost $4 for 2 hours (and the meters accept credit cards, so you don’t need to make a special trip to get change!).

Smale Riverfront Park has several gardens, parks and trails that are great for adults and families. For kids, there are four main attractions:

  1. Carol Ann’s Carousel
  2. Main Street Fountain: a traditional splash park with fountains and music, located next to the Carousel
  3. Heekin/PNC Adventure Playground: a giant, state-of-the-art adventure playground
  4. The P&G go Vibrantscape: an interactive play area with water pumps/channels, a giant foot piano, balance boards and climb-able poles and a huge, flying pig with flapping wings that kids climb into using a rope ladder.

I’ve already raved about Carol Ann’s Carousel, and made it an item on my Summer Bucket List and Rainy Day activities list — so check it out!

In terms of the other kid-friendly attractions at Smale, here are my thoughts:

Main Street Fountain

My kids LOVED this. Julian and Mary were running wild the entire time, and the open layout made it easy for me to keep track of them. I especially enjoyed the view of the Suspension Bridge and Ohio River.

The fountains were on a timer, so they’d go off randomly, which was a fun surprise for little Harvey.

In terms of logistics, there were plenty of benches to change and put our stuff. There is also a really nice “comfort station” (restroom) right on the Fountain grounds.

The P&G go Vibrantscape

After thoroughly drenching themselves, we headed down the steps (next to the Vine Street Water Garden), then across the crosswalk on Mehring Way, over to the P&G go Vibrantscape. Still in their swim gear, the kids had such a fun time with the various pumps, switches and other interactive features in the water area.

Being a fan of construction, Julian could not get enough of the “giant drill.” He was in heaven!

Harvey found lots to do here, too — he loved cruising along the water lines, splashing in the various pools and mini fountains, and ambling around the greenspace. The greenspace was a great place for me to nurse him, administer snacks, and get the kids changed.

Heekin/PNC Adventure Playground

After changing into dry clothes, we walked under the Suspension Bridge to the Heekin/PNC Adventure Playground. It did not disappoint!

This park is located to the side of the bridge, so the views of the Riverfront are just breathtaking.

There is a rock climbing canyon, log climbers, twin racing slides, a rope bridge and a mist feature. The kids ran, climbed and played until they were tired and dry! There is also that awesome, squishy turf that I simply love.


If you’re not doing anything this weekend, I definitely recommend heading down to Smale. Pack a picnic and rent some bikes to make an afternoon of it!

Don’t forget to tell us about your adventures at Smale! Send us your #summerofsplashparks pictures on Facebook or Twitter!

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