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Two south Washington County splash pads are among the 14 best in the state

Channing Webb, 5, (right) of Menomonie, Wisconsin and Grayson Lewis, 4, of Hudson, Wisconsin, enjoy the Bielenberg Splash Pad Monday. (Bulletin photo by William Loeffler)

Two south Washington County splash pads are among the 14 best in the state, according to the latest issue of Minnesota Parent.

Included in their list of “14 Places for Kids to Cool Off” are Highlands Park Splash Pad in Cottage Grove and the Bielenberg Splash Pad in Woodbury.

The editors gushed about the sprayers and Highlands Park for its “numerous overhead and waist-level sprayers,” as well as the nearby trails, green space, picnicking area and athletic fields.

Bielenberg Splash Pad got the seal of approval for eco-friendly recycling of water and a push-button feature that lets a kid activate a new blast of water every four minutes from bubblers and buckets. The splash pad also has a smaller platform for toddlers and is located next to the new playground Madison’s Place.

City of Woodbury Communications Coordinator Jason Egerstrom said they were excited about the endorsement of the Bielenberg Splash Pad.

“It’s been a really busy place all summer with Madison’s Place opening in early June,” he said. “The two places compliment each other really well. It shows that Bielenberg is not just a place for athletics.”

A muggy, overcast Monday didn’t stops dozens of folks from visiting Bielenberg Splash Pad. Many came from out of town.

Brad and Katie Erickson made the trip from North Branch with their five children: Ian, 13, Jack, 11, Noah, 9, Tate, 8 and Finn, 18 months.

“It’s nice that it’s pretty much one level,” Brad Erickson said, as his kids darted in and out of the fountains. “You go from the playground to this.”

Katie Webb drove from Menomonie, Wisconsin, with her sons Henley, 3, and Channing, 5.

“It’s nice,” she said. “We don’t have anything like this back home.”

Larry Berg of Oakdale brought grandson Edison, 18 months, to the playground. Grandad didn’t know about the splash pad so he didn’t bring Edison’s bathing suit.

Edison wasn’t happy. He watched the other kids splashing around, evidently wondering, “What have I done to deserve this?”

“He’s got this embedded in his mind,” Berg said.

Grandad finally relented and let Edison run into the spray with his clothes on. He was wet but happy.

The Highlands Park Splash Pad is a zero-depth aquatic play area whose pillars spew cool water, mushroom fountains and small geysers. The touch-activated sprayers continuously drain and reuse the water, so there is never any water high enough for immersion.

The article noted that seating is limited, however, so parents might want to bring chairs.

Both splash pads are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and are free. For more information, visit or

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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