summers at the point ruston spraypark

With summer finally kicking into high gear in the PNW, I’m determined to get keep these kiddos outside as much as humanly possible. There’s a saying out here; “live like the mountain is out.” When it’s rainy and misty, Mt. Rainier is fully veiled and hidden from the naked eye. When the weather is beautiful, however, the mountain is visible in all its glory, and we’re doing our best to embody that saying to the fullest. Enter the Point Ruston Spraypark.

There’s actually no real shortage of splash pads for kids around JBLM. In fact, there are two on post, alone. There is a large one on JBLM, but it’s incredibly busy. There is also a smaller one on North Fort near American Lake called Summer Cove. I wanted to get out a bit and explore though, so we decided to venture up to Point Ruston, a favorite of ours, and take advantage of the good weather.

The Point Ruston Spraypark is actually more of a water feature than anything else. Set on the promenade between restaurants and condominiums and in full view of the waterfront, the oversized splash pad features a rock wall with a man-made stream, as well as large, timed water features that kids of all ages can enjoy. We’ve seen it before, but this is the first time we were prepared and went purposely to enjoy it.

One of the best parts is that, though the area is busy, the splash pad is actually big enough that it’s never overcrowded. Lots of kids (and parents) were there, but it wasn’t so busy that this solo mom of three was totally overwhelmed. I could easily see the kids, and they ran like little madmen, just enjoying the cold water on a hot day. Totally worth it.

If you’re in the JBLM area and looking for summer fun, here’s what you should know about the Point Ruston Spraypark:

  • The splash pad is free! Bring your swimsuit and towel, and get ready for endless fun
  • Plan ahead to buy something, or you’ll pay for parking; there’s a one-hour time limit if you don’t buy, but you can validate with your license plate at any business for free
  • Water shoes are recommended but not needed
  • The splash pad is open from 12 PM to 10 PM, 7 days a week & is lit at dusk for a light show
  • There is a small area to the side designed for younger children
  • There are no real “change rooms,” only public restrooms, so come prepared before you arrive
  • The Tacoma Farmers Market takes place on Sundays at Point Ruston, so it’s extra crowded; I’d recommend going on a Saturday for smaller crowds
  • There is considerable construction going on right now as they continue to build condominiums and business spaces nearby; most activity is during the week, however, so it’s quieter (in terms of construction) on the weekends

We’ll definitely be going back to enjoy some more fun in the sun, and I can’t wait until Mieke is big enough to play in the water, too!