The City of Bixby has been one of Oklahoma’s fastest growing
communities for the past several years. Dedicated to enriching
community lifestyle and enhancing visitor experiences, the City of
Bixby worked with PDG Inc. in Tulsa, Okla., to develop an overall
master plan for a recreation facility including eight baseball
fields, eight softball fields, an international soccer field, 12
youth soccer fields, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball, bocce courts,
walking trails, a playground and a spray pad.
The 100-acre Bentley Park Sports Complex was opened to the public
in the spring of 2010. Given the need for an aquatic recreational
activity center for the community, the City of Bixby decided a
spray pad featuring colorful and dynamic attractions at Bentley
Park would be the perfect solution.
Located adjacent to the Arkansas River, the Bentley Park spraypark
is the centerpiece of the sports complex. It was designed to
promote cross-generational and collaborative play. Families enter
through an inviting colorful gateway arch, illustrating children at
play. Once inside, the aquatic experience encourages imagination
with colorful water features and a unique play surface featuring
graphics of a sun, moon, stars and swirls.
Several distinct activity bays stimulate and challenge children of
all ages. The “toddler bay” encourages the little ones
to engage in cognitive development, sensorial discovery, motor
skills development and socialization through interaction. The
children interact by activating and rotating play products, and
engaging in gentle streaming jets coming out of appropriately
scaled products. These unique products feature vibrant colors and
are complemented by non-intimidating water effects.
The central area, the “Family Bay,” allows all family
members to play together. The Family Bay features colorful misting
rainbow arches, spinning water flowers, magical aqualiens and
arching ground sprays. Infants and preschoolers are introduced to
larger water elements with interactive features allowing touching,
rotating and moving.
The “Teen Bay” is the area where teens and tweens
engage in high-energy play. In addition to promoting social
development skills, the “Teen Bay” is designed around
play products that initiate high intensity activities and
collaborative play. The Teen Bay features interactive water
cannons, numerous cause-and-effect ground sprays and the
always-popular dumping buckets.
To enhance guests’ experience, the design includes a concrete
plaza area connecting the aquatic play area and the dry playground
so children can move freely from one to the other. The plaza
includes several seating areas under colorful shade structures and
essential site furnishings, such as ADA-compliant picnic tables,
park benches and litter receptacles.
Cost saving and water conservation strategies include
reduced-consumption nozzles and spray heads; a touch bollard
activator, which allows the community to save water and money since
the waterfeatures operate only when a child touches the activator
during operational hours pre-set by the city; and programmed spray
sequences that operate waterfeatures at different times and
locations to generate interest and interactivity within the
splashpad bays. In addition, the stainless steel spray elements are
100 percent recyclable at the end of life. Plastics are recyclable
through a program offered by the supplier; and brass spray heads
and nozzles are lead-free.
Bentley Park Splashpad is the first of its kind for the city of
Bixby and has proven an overwhelming success. “The Splashpad
is our most popular recreational activity with kids and parents.
During the summer we will have 75- to 150 people daily using the
Splashpad and playground,” says Don Cash, director of Parks
and Recreation for the City of Bixby. Many come just to play at the
Splashpad while others come to cool off while attending other
organized sporting events and activities in the park.
Aquatic space: 4,500 square
Dream amenities: Shade shelters, site furnishings, dry
playground, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball, baseball fields and
- Dream Designer: Power Play
- Lead Designer/Architect:PDG Inc.
- Contractor: RJR Enterprises
- Water-play Equipment: Vortex Aquatic Structures Intl.
- Water-play Equipment Supplier: Power Play
- Sun Ports: Sun shades
- Vortex Aquatic Structures Intl.: Water-play equipment