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 feet
Dream amenities: Shade shelters, site furnishings, dry playground, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball, baseball fields and soccer fields
- 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