Today I went to the Santee Lakes sprayground for the first time. I have heard really good things about it and I found out that you could park in the park for free today so we decided to give it a shot. I have to say I was not impressed. On a typical weekday, the cost to drive into Santee Lakes is $3. On a weekend, it’s $5. And that’s just the start. Then, to play in the sprayground, kids have to have a wrist band, which is $2 per kid. For the price paid, I expected it to be a huge sprayground with a lot of space for kids to run around and get wet.
I guess I expected too much because I was kind of disappointed. We had been there for 5 minutes and my kids were telling me they were done.
We did end up staying for about an hour, but I really wasn’t that impressed. I just kept thinking of how I could have just gone to Hilton Head Park for free with so many other things to do.
I love Hilton Head Park.
Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but I don’t think so. We did live right next to the park so we went on a daily basis, but I would still think it’s a great park even if it didn’t have so many memories. it’s totally free.
The sprayground area is not any smaller than that at Santee Lakes, but there are also two play structures and swings for the kids to have fun with when they don’t want to play in the water anymore.
There are covered picnic tables for lunch, and there are also barbecues. It really is a gem of a park in Rancho San Diego.
Now, a fair warning: this park can get really crowded on the weekends. If you’re planning a party there, make sure that you have a back-up plan in case you don’t end up with one of the gazebos. People are known to get there at 4 or 5 in the morning, just to reserve their party spot and I’ve heard of fist fights breaking out over the picnic tables. Also, being that this is a fairly new park, there isn’t a lot of shade, so don’t forget your beach umbrella. There is, however, a baseball diamond and a great little path to walk/run with workout stations along the way and a basketball court.
Sure, Santee Lakes has paths and picnic areas and lakes and ducks and camping and playgrounds. I think it’s definitely a place to be mentioned and used. Now that I live so close, I need to go there more often, but if you’re going purely for the sprayground, save your money and head a little further south to Hilton Head Park. You won’t be disappointed.
*Update: As of this year (2012), Hilton Head Park has started charging $3 per child for use of the sprayground. I have not been there since this change, but I have heard that there is a vending machine where you can purchase a wrist band for your child, which allows use of the sprayground area of the park.