To cool down in the great outdoors this summer, look no further than your favorite Five Rivers MetroPark. Through Labor Day, MetroParks offers free, kid-friendly spaces to splash and programs that encourage families to get out on the water.
Island MetroPark, 101 E. Helena St, Dayton
Offering paved recreation trails, access to the Great Miami River and a traditional playground, Island MetroPark is perfect for a family day out. During warm-weather months, Island MetroParks’ sprayground is open daily, giving kids the opportunity to be physically active and enjoy water play.
Hours for the sprayground at Island MetroPark are Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7:50 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 7:50 p.m. Starting Aug. 13, the sprayground is open Monday through Friday, from 4 to 7:50 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7:50 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 7:50 p.m. through Labor Day.
Make a day out of it: Families can spend the entire day on an Island MetroPark adventure or opt to explore the many cool destinations a walk or bike ride away. A few of these destinations include Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, RiverScape MetroPark, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and Fifth-Third Field, home to the Dayton Dragons.
RiverScape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton
Families who find themselves downtown during the summer enjoying the many events, amenities, shopping destinations and restaurants can plan ahead and pack a swim suit for a quick cool off at RiverScape MetroPark’s interactive fountains. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Labor Day, the interactive fountains feature jets that shoot water as high as 20 feet in the air and are choreographed to family-friendly music.
Make a day out of it: Known as Dayton’s front porch, RiverScape MetroPark has so much to offer, from festivals to cycling adventures. Located at the heart of 340 miles of paved recreation trails — the nation’s largest paved trail network — RiverScape MetroPark is the perfect place to work up a sweat on the trails before enjoying the interactive fountains. For those without gear for themselves or their little ones, RiverScape Rentals offers equipment for all ages. Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Labor Day, families can rent youth bikes, strider bikes, weehoos and safety equipment. To finish the day, grab a treat from the Fountain Snack bar and take in the beautiful views of the Great Miami River.
Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton.
For families who are looking for more of a sensory adventure, the Children’s Discovery Garden at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark gives children the chance to use their curiosity to discover and explore the natural world. Dig in the sandboxes, crawl through the fossil cave, get up close to some wild plants in the sensory garden and rock out in the music maze before stopping by the Children Discovery Garden’s water features. These features allow children to get their feet wet and experience water as if it were in its natural setting in watercourses in Ohio.
Make a day out of it: Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch with your kids after your Children’s Discovery Garden Adventure. Next, stop by the gardens at the park to admire the colorful blooms and see how many bees, butterflies and other pollinators you can spot.
In addition to making a splash in the water, MetroParks offers families many chances to enjoy the water. These water-based programs allow families to enjoy time on the water in a safe and fun environment.
At Eastwood MetroPark
Wednesday, July 10 and Aug. 28, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Learn about canoeing, kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding, and then give it a go on the water. This free program is appropriate for all ages. Equipment will be provided.
Kayak Under the Fountains
At RiverScape MetroPark
Wednesday, Aug. 7, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Kayak under the Five Rivers Fountain of Lights at RiverScape MetroPark on the Great Miami River. This program has a $10 fee and is for those 9 and older (must be accompanied by a parent). Space is limited and registration is required. Visit metroparks.org/programs-events-finder to register.
New for 2019 – Riverscape MetroPark has extended its rentals to offer kayaks and SUPs on specific Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer. Children 13 and under must paddle with an adult and everyone must be fitted with a lifejacket before enjoying the river. Those who wish to use the RiverScape River Run whitewater feature must use a helmet.
Friday, July 5, 4 to 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 13, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, July 27, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Celtic Festival)
Sunday, July 28, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Celtic Festival)
Friday, Aug. 2, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Pickin’ in the Park)
Saturday, Aug. 10, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (GermanFest Picnic)
Saturday, Aug. 24, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information on RiverScape MetroPark’s watercraft rentals, guidelines and safety information call 937-274-PARK or visit metroparks.org/riverscape.