My 4-year-old boys and I spent over two hours at Independence Lake’s Splash Pad: Blue Heron Bay. We had a blast! Located at 2600 Jennings Rd, in Whitmore Lake, the lake is less than a 25 minute drive from downtown Ann Arbor.
Daily admission for children under 2 is free, while residents are $4, and nonresidents are $5. Blue Heron Bay is a Splash Pad/water park and is open daily from 11 AM to 7 PM. The large water slides and water play structure make it ideal for children of all ages to enjoy water fun!
My ‘mom friends’ and I arrived at the splash pad, at 11 AM, exactly when the splash pad opens to the public. Admission into Independence Lake is $6 (non-residents are $10, and they will ask to see your ID), unless you have an annual park pass ($30 for residents). We waited in a short line to purchase admission into Blue Heron Bay. Upon entering the splash facilities, we found that the shaded lounge chairs had already been snatched up! There is not a ton of sun coverage, so be sure to bring your sunscreen, and lather the little ones up.
Although my boys are not huge fans of getting water in their faces, they LOVED the water tunnels, water squirt guns, covering up the water squirting up from the ground and the stacked bowls of water. I was pleasantly shocked that they even went down the smaller water slide too! You have to climb up the main structure to get to the slide, which entails several passes through water splashing down, over your head. Another ‘real’ fear for the little ones, is the LARGE bucket of water. It takes about 5 minutes to fill up and when the bucket dumps over, the water drops over and around the water slide…it makes quite a splash!
After close to an hour of water play (I had to stretch them to get to noon!), we sat down for lunch. You are NOT allowed to bring in outside food, and if you do, there are picnic tables located just outside of the splash pad facilities. You can always come back in, to play again. There is also a snack bar with hot dogs, ice cream, drinks, chips, etc. However, we did find a few ‘hidden’ tables, inside the pavilion, and fed our kids the lunches we had packed. No one seemed to noticed or be too concerned with reinforcing the ‘no outside food’ policy.
With bellies full, my boys managed to play for another thirty minutes. Several of their little friends were not into the water play and left sooner. Toddlers and preschoolers can definitely be ‘hit or miss’, when it comes to their interactions with water…sometimes they just do not enjoy water in the face, and other times, they are all for being splashed!
Overall, our adventures at Blue Heron Bay was a blast! There is tons of water play, the space is clean and spacious, and the water is not TOO cold! I would definitely take the boys back for more fun!
The splash pad also has two, larger water slides, for children above 42 inches tall. My boys even enjoyed watching the ‘big kids’ going down these slides!