The Best Water Attractions for Special Needs in Dallas-Fort Worth
14 splash pads, pools and water parks for kids with disabilities and sensory sensitivities
Words Alexis Manrodt and Lisa Salinas
Published June 2018 Dallas-FortWorthThrive
Updated August 8, 2018
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Suit up, slap on the sunscreen and get ready for summer fun—just add water. There are plenty of water parks, pools and splash pads across North Texas that offer super-soaked adventures for all abilities, with amenities like heated water temps, wheelchair accessibility and even special needs–only swim times. The best part? Many are free.

Water Parks

Epic Waters, Grand Prairie
A retractable roof and climate controls make for a wet and wild time all year round at this 80,000-square-foot water park crammed with slides, a lazy river and a boogie board ride. Kids with sensory sensitivities will enjoy the air and water temps, which are kept at 85 and 82 degrees respectively. If the crowds get to be too much for your clan, retreat to the quieter 45-game arcade.
Other perks: Chow down at the Hungry Wave Café—just wait 30 minutes before getting back in the water! Parents can even kick back at a full-service bar.
Good to know: Designated Twilight Swim sessions and Family Fun Friday events allow you to take the kiddos after work.
Cost: $29 general admission; $24 for kids under 48 inches; $9 for spectators; Grand Prairie residents receive $10 off admission
2970 Epic Place, Grand Prairie, 972/337-3131
epicwatersgp.com

Hawaiian Falls, Multiple locations
Twice a summer, each Hawaiian Falls location opens up two hours early for Champions Day, a special swim time for guests with special needs. Additional staffers are on hand to assist families while lifeguards hang up their whistles and turn down the music for a morning of sensory-friendly fun. Visit Roanoke on June 30 or all parks on Aug. 3 to take part.
Other perks: All four parks offer free parking. Also available are life jackets (for free) and shaded cabanas (not for free).
Good to know: Wave pools and lazy rivers feature zero-depth entry. Attractions with stairs have handrails, but it is up to you to decide if your child can take part.
Cost: On Champions Day, admission is free for champions and $10 for companions (limit four).
hfalls.com

Hurricane Harbor, Arlington
The Six Flags water park offers plenty of fun for kids of all abilities. Though major attractions like rides and slides require climbing stairs, there are wheelchair-accessible ramps at the lazy river, Boogie Beach, Suntan Lagoon and portions of Hook’s Lagoon. Check in with Guest Relations, and a team member will help design an itinerary tailored to your child’s specific needs.
Other perks: Most restrooms, restaurants and shops are wheelchair accessible, and the park offers accessible parking for cars and vans.
Good to know: Trained service animals are welcome but must remain leashed and out of the pools. (Sorry, Fido.)
Cost: $38.99 general admission; $33.99 for kids under 48 inches; free for age 2 and younger
1800 E. Lamar Blvd., Arlington, 817/640-8900
sixflags.com/hurricaneharbortexas

Wet Zone Family Waterpark, Rowlett
Suit up for monthly Angel Swims all summer long. On July 21 and Aug. 11, the park opens 2 ½ hours early for kids with special needs and their families to splish-splash without the crowds. Play with spray features at the wheelchair-friendly Kiddie Playground, ride down one of the park’s three slides or take shelter from the sun under shaded pavilions and umbrellas.
Other perks: Parking is free, and life jackets are available free of charge.
Good to know: While your family can snack on burgers and nachos at Haley’s Hunger Hut, the park permits you to bring in your own food and drinks.
Cost: On Angel Swim days, all-day admission is free for Angels and $4 for companions
5304 Main St., Rowlett, 972/412-6266
wetzonewaterpark.com

Spraygrounds & Splash Pads

Al Ruschhaupt Park, McKinney
After working up a sweat on the adaptive swings, accessible play structures and rubber-surfaced sports fields, kiddos can cool off in the park’s splash pad. Featuring several fountains, the main attraction is the tunnel-like series of spray arches for kids to dart through on foot or wheel. Open daily.
Other perks: There are also on-site concessions, picnic areas and restrooms.
Good to know: The splash pad is adjacent to a woodsy walking trail, so beware of creepy crawlers—snakes are known to be neighbors.
Cost: Free 2708 N. Brook Drive, McKinney, 972/547-2687
mckinneytexas.org

Celebration Park, Allen
The kidMania splash pad features dumping buckets, sprinklers, water jets and more playground structures that are perfect for sensory play. (And don’t worry about the fun getting too slippery—the splash pad has a flat, rubber surface.) Make a full morning of it and pack a picnic to enjoy under the shaded pavilion.
Other perks: Littles can dry off and visit the rainbow-colored accessible playground with ramps for wheelchairs, adaptive swings and sensory-friendly games.
Good to know: The park is open through Sept. 30 from 9am–9pm and closed every Wednesday for maintenance. Only rubber-soled shoes are allowed.
Cost: Free
701 Angel Parkway, Allen, 214/509-4700
cityofallen.org

Doubletree Ranch Park, Highland Village
This park’s splash pad is more natural than your average sprayground—think less jungle gym and more, well, jungle. Rocks line the curving creek-like design, which holds three wet play zones, 66 spray features and a waterfall. The unique, wheelchair- accessible shape means less crowding, so your kids can splash with room to move.
Other perks: Nearby benches and tables allow for easy supervision.
Good to know: Don’t forget to pack sunscreen—there’s little shade to be found. The splash pad is open daily through Aug. 31 and weekends in September.
Cost: Free
310 Highland Village Road, Highland Village, 972/317-7430
highlandvillage.org

Dove Park, Grapevine
A supersized dumping bucket is the most popular amenity at Dove Park’s partially shaded sprayground. Located between the accessible playground, Casey’s Clubhouse and Dove Waterpark, the splash pad has vertical water features like buckets and misters installed on a flat, concrete surface.
Other perks: Lifeguards monitor Dove Waterpark next door, which boasts slides, a diving board and zero-depth entry for kids of all abilities.
Good to know: The sprayground is open until 8pm daily through September—perfect for working parents.
Cost: Free to Dove Park; entry to Dove Waterpark is $3 for residents, $6 for nonresidents
1509 Hood Lane, Grapevine, 817/410-3450
gograpevine.com

Dove Park, Grapevine Photo Courtesy of Grapevine Parks and Recreation


Frisco Commons Spray Park,
Frisco
Activate the larger-than-life water guns, geysers and more water features with the touch of a button. Kids can roll or run through spray archways or stand under tipping buckets. Leaflike structures at the center of the spray park offer shade.
Other perks: The park also has shaded pavilions with picnic tables plus restrooms.
Good to know: This eco-conscious spot uses recycled well water to power all features.
Cost: Free
8000 McKinney Road, Frisco, 972/292-6500
friscofun.org

Glenville Park, Richardson
Take in the Texas topography with cactus-like water structures, plus water cannons and colorful spray rings at the wheelchair accessible splash pad next to Glenville Pool. The splash pad and pool are open 1–8pm daily (closed on Tuesdays).
Other perks: After toweling off, kids can explore the playground, swing set and sports fields. Mom can enjoy the shaded picnic areas and benches while little ones have fun in the sun.
Good to know: Restrooms (including a family option) and parking spots are by the pool.
Cost: $2 for residents; $4 for nonresidents; free for age 3 and younger
500 S. Glenville Drive, Richardson, 972/671-0187
cor.net

Parr Park, Grapevine
Colorful curvy tubes shoot water from above while ground-level geysers let little ones splash to full effect. Wheelchair users can easily maneuver around the 4,000-square-foot spray area’s colorful concrete surface, but wood chips in the adjacent playground might limit mobility.
Other perks: Pavilions, covered picnic tables and benches under large trees offer plenty of shade for Mom to stay cool without getting soaked.
Good to know: Families of all abilities can explore much of the 31-acre park thanks to paved trails and walkways.
Cost: Free
3010 Parr Lane, Grapevine, 817/410-3000
gograpevine.com

Pools

Rosemeade Rainforest Aquatic Complex, Carrollton
Multilevel platforms with water cannons, sprayers, bubblers and a 600-gallon dump bucket greet swimmers at the splash zone located inside the pool complex. The play structure is surrounded by a zero-depth entry pool, making it ideal for kids of all ages and abilities.
Other perks: There is a concession stand, bathhouse, shaded areas and ample free parking.
Good to know: Lift chairs are available for two pools and the lazy river; call for more information.
Cost: $5 for residents and $9 for nonresidents on weekdays; $6 for residents and $10 for nonresidents on weekends
1334 E. Rosemeade Parkway, Carrollton, 972/466-6399
cityofcarrollton.com

Tom Muehlenbeck Center, Plano
Bask in the summer fun (without the sun!) at this indoor Plano spot. Two pools are set at 80 degrees—perfect for swimmers who are cold-water sensitive. The designated leisure pool is home to an easy-access ramp and shallow depth area, while kid-friendly water aerobics classes are held in the fitness pool.
Other perks: There are water slides, plus inclusive summer events like luaus and treasure hunts.
Good to know: Open daily June 4–Aug. 10 and on weekends until Sept. 2
Cost: $3 for ages 3–15; $6 for age 16 and up
5801 W. Parker Road, Plano, 972/769-4404
plano.gov

West Irving Aquatic Center, Irving
The monthly AquaStars program lets kids with special needs splash around sans crowds. From 10am–noon on July 14 and Aug. 12, your swimmer will have access to the pool’s chair lift, accessible ramps, and water chair and wheelchairs. No reservation is required.
Other perks: Lifeguards on-site mean that Mom can stay dry during the two-hour pool time.
Good to know: AquaStars will be held at Heritage Aquatic Center in the fall.
Cost: $2 for ages 4–17 and $3 for age 18 and older at West Irving Aquatic Center; $1 for participants and $1.50 for adult chaperones at Heritage Aquatic Center
3701 Conflans Road, Irving, 972/721-2325
cityofirving.org