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Splash Pads Rankings for the 100 Largest U.S. Cities, 2018 

splashpad

  1. Introduction

Based on annual research undertaken by the Trust for Public Land through our annual City Parks Survey, the Center for City Park Excellence has determined that splash pads are among the fastest growing park amenities in the combined parks of the 100 largest US cities. In the 2015 City Parks Survey, we began asking cities to report the number of splash pads or spray grounds they have within their parks. There are currently 1,756 splash pads in the parks of the 100 largest cities, an increase of 423 splash pads over the last year.

  1. Current Splash Pads Numbers

2017 saw a growth of 423 splash pads in the 100 largest US cities, with 1,756 splash pads in parks. Since 2015 when we began collecting information on splash pads, we’ve seen a 60 percent increase in slash pads, when there were only 709 splash pads reported in the largest US cities.

Year Number of Splash Pads Change in numbers Change in percentage from prior year Overall increase since 2015
2017 1,798 465 26% 61%
2016 1,333 624 47% 47%
2015 709      

Splash pads are among the fastest growing amenities in the 100 largest US Cities’ park systems and the top cities might be surprising. We calculate rank based on the number splash pads for every 100,000 residents in a given city. Below we have ranked the top 10 cities. [For information on our work and findings from our annual city parks survey, please check out our annual publication, City Park Facts – http://www.tpl.org/cityparkfacts.]

City                        Population          Splash Pads   Splash Pads per 100,000 Residents

  1. Louisville            248,987                   32                           12.9
  2. Cleveland            383,649                  40                            10.4
  3. Boston                 661,977                   61                             9.2
  4. New York         8,691,599                780                             9.0
  5. Chicago            2,781,116                240                             8.6
  6. Pittsburgh           309,419                 26                              8.4
  7. Tulsa                    419,494                  31                             7.4
  8. Henderson          290,567                 17                              5.9
  9. Philadelphia    1,587,761                 80                              5.0
  10. Cincinnati           309,190                 14                              4.5

Wintertime in our Parks

As we rush headlong into a week bookended by two long holiday weekends, we might not think first of what continues to happen in our parks, whether we’re in the colder northern parts of the United States or the warmer southern reaches. Increasingly, there are more and more outdoor activities during the winter months that you can enjoy in parks across the United States. So, dress appropriately and come out to work off that eggnog and pie!

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Photo courtesy of  Bryant Park

Ice Skating is a long-standing popular activity.  Close our Boston office is the Frog Pond on the Boston Common. Also popular are the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and Bryant Park in New York City. New on horizon, with a twist is bumper cars on ice at the ice skating rink in downtown Providence, Rhode Island.

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Picture courtesy of Frog Pond, Boston Common

San Francisco is another city that combines ice skating with a variety of other activities during the holiday week at Embarcadero Plaza, a variety of free activities are offered on selected days with Tuesdays for Disc Golfing, Wednesdays: Skateboarding, Thursdays: Rock Climbing, Fridays: Skateboarding, and Saturdays for Slacklining.

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Winterfest at the Arch (courtesy of Gateway Arch Park)

Not to be outdone, Gateway Arch Park in Saint Louis Winterfest at the Arch at the Kiener Plaza in downtown Saint Louis from December 21st through January 1st has a skating along with special events including food trucks, live music, and giveaways.

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Skijoring in With Park (courtesy of the Loppet Foundation)

The Minneapolis Park Board partners with the Loppet Foundation to sponsor winter activities including cross-country skiing, hiking and skijoring in Wirth Park in Minneapolis.

Later this winter, Saint Paul will host their annual Winter Carnival (Jan 25-Feb 10) and they are working to raise funds to build a multi-story peoples’ ice palace. The center of activities is Rice Park in downtown Saint Paul.

 

There’s many, many more activities and events planned and we’d love to hear about them as we’re (the Center for City Park Excellence at The Trust for Public Land) working to compile a longer report on winter activities in city parks. Please contact us at ccpe@tpl.org

 

 

Park Signage: 2017

I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of cities and their park systems in 2017 through my work with The Trust for Public Land as well as in my spare time.  I love examining the features of parks and have been paying close attention to signage in the past few years. I wanted to share a few of the many park signs that I saw in the past year as a fun end of the year retrospective.

– Charlie McCabe, Center for City Park Excellence, The Trust for Public Land.

 

The signage shown above is from the following cities: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Dallas, Gloucester, Houston, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St John (NB, Canada), St. Paul, San Francisco.

 

 

 

Greater & Greener in Minneapolis & St. Paul

lighthouse

Not too many park systems have their own lighthouses…

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St. Anthony falls on the Mississippi

We’re just six weeks away from the start of the Greater & Greener Urban Parks Conference in Minneapolis and St. Paul and we want to encourage you to attend.  You can register on the website.

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hike/bike trail footbridge over a stream that empties into the Mississippi.

Recently, the Trust for Public Land held their first all-staff in person meeting in many, many years on the campus of the University of Minnesota and we were able to enjoy a little of these two great park systems. The weather was great and it should be an amazing conference there.  We’re posting a few pictures of what we saw to encourage you to register and join us. (The Trust for Public Land is a sponsor and will be well represented at the Conference. And of course, the City Parks Alliance is the presenter of the Greater & Greener Conference.

bridge

trail and steps leading back to the Grand Rounds trail system

bikecoop

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Great architecture can be found in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

ParkScore: St. Paul is #2

ParkScore badges_Instagram_2017_2 St. Paul

Repeating their number 2 position again in 2017 is St. Paul Parks & Recreation! Congratulations!  St. Paul has a park within a ten-minute walk of 96 percent of their citizens, with 15 percent of the city as parkland and a median park size of 3.7 acres.  You can check out all of the details here or check out their map here.

You can experience all that St. Paul has to offer in their award winning Parks department by attending the City Parks Alliance Greater & Greener International Urban Parks Conference July 29-August 2. Over 1,000 parks advocates, designers, programmers, planners and professionals will be there and it’s a great way to learn more about what our urban parks are doing.

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Mears Park, downtown St. Paul

And check out The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore with the 2017 rankings of the 100 largest US city park systems. Questions? contact us at ccpe@tpl.org

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Separated bikway nearing completion in downtown St. Paul.

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