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Splishing and a Splashing, Squirting and a Spraying

The fourth annual Parks & Rec Business Zero-Depth Interactive Aquatics Playground Report.

Zero-depth spray grounds are front and center in the push by parks and recreation departments across North America to upgrade their aquatic facilities.

This popular option, which can be developed as a stand-alone park in areas that formerly had no aquatic facilities or used to upgrade an existing pool or water park, is relatively inexpensive to build and operate. And, of course, they’re a lot of fun!

To help you keep up with who's doing what in this area we sent out surveys to companies who provide this equipment and asked them to give us the 411 on what’s new this year.

Here’s an edited version of what they had to say. For the complete report, visit us online at www.parksandrecbusiness.com.

Aquatic Recreation Company

Products and features: Aquatic Recreation Company designs and manufactures more than 60 water play elements for pools and zero-depth spray grounds. The company offers either stainless steel or fiberglass reinforced plastic structure fabrications allowing designers and owners the flexibility to choose there desired fabrication material based on budget, environment and public accessibility concerns. All structures have a multi-step finishing system that is specifically designed for chemically treated water and UV protection. Water formations are uniform because all water elements have internal manifolds and baffles to eliminate distortion due to flow directional velocity. The company promotes environmentally responsible spray ground facilities by offering re-circulation systems. These systems allow for enhanced water play without wasting tens of millions of gallons per average seasonal use. The company has UL-listed re-circulation systems provide water quality management with filtration, sanitation and system controls.

Contact information: Aquatic Recreation Company, 5852 Baker Road, Minnetonka, MN 55345-5903, (877) 632-0503, (952) 345-6445, (952) 345-6444 (fax), aglor@arc4waterplay.com, www.arc4waterplay.com

Empex Watertoys

Products and features: Aquaton spray features and interactive Watertoys are created from composite and specialty plastics offering a lifetime guarantee against corrosion. They utilize non-metal components for a lightning-proof water playground. Shapes are round with no sharp edges, protrusions or entanglement hazards and are ergonomically designed for children of all ages up to 12. Much lighter than steel, Empex’s products are "contractor friendly" with no complicated embedded anchors or complex foundations. Products can be easily removed or interchanged to periodically renew the area. Flange covers are provided on all products to eliminate exposed fasteners.

Contact information: Empex Watertoys, 591 Albright Rd., Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada L9P 1R4, (905) 649-5047, (866) 833-8580, (905) 649-1757 (fax), info@watertoys.com, www.watertoys.net.

Rain-Drop Products LLC

Products and features: Interactive and non-interactive spray grounds and water playgrounds are offered in a variety of configurations. Separate components are available. Interactive by individual manipulation by the child -- gravity controlled and computer controlled activity.

Contact information: Rain-Drop Products LLC, PO Box 781, Ashland, OH 44805, (800) 343-6063, (419) 207-8902 (fax), www.rain-drop.com

Vortex Aquatic Structures International Inc.

Products and features: Vortex's Splashpads are permanent zero-depth aquatic play environments where children can enjoy stimulating and interactive experiences while learning through fun. Splashpads fuse innovative design, enhanced play value and maximum durability with total safety, affordability and low-cost operation, with experiences ranging from gentle mists to dynamic, interactive play.

Contact information: Vortex Aquatic Structures International Inc., 328 Avro St., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H9R 5W5, (877) 5 VORTEX, (514) 694-3868, (514) 335-5413 (fax), info@vortex-intl.com, www.vortex-intl.com

Waterplay Manufacturing Inc.

Products and features: Waterplay designs and manufactures a variety of three-dimensional components for indoor and outdoor aquatic environments. Extra-thick and extra-tall components prevent children from grasping and climbing the equipment. Ground level, obstacle-free products allow easy access for all ages, abilities and sizes. Delrin nozzle construction prevents binding of metal parts and guarantees high performance and superior longevity. Low flow nozzles, activators, and electronic controllers utilize technology to minimize water consumption and handle heavily trafficked usage. Components with integrated sound effects that are activated when water flow is blocked are also offered.

Contact information: Waterplay Manufacturing Inc., 1451 b. Ellis St., Kelowna, BC, Canada, V1Y 2A3 (800) 590-5552, (250) 712-3393, (250) 861-4814 (fax), admin@waterplay.com, www.waterplay.com

Whitewater West Industries Ltd.

Products and features: AquaSpray by Whitewater offers a variety of individual water spray activity elements including both wet and dry applications suitable for a wide range of ages. Applications can be combined with other elements and optional theming possibilities are offered.

Contact information: Whitewater West Industries, Ltd., 6700 McMillan Way, Richmond, BC, Canada, V6W 1J7. (604) 273-1068, (604) 273-4518 (fax), whitewater@whitewaterwest.com, www.whitewaterwest.com

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