The Louisville Zoo is one of only several in the nation to feature a spraypark. The Calistoga Splash Park at Glacier Run officially opened in 2007, and through unique theming and forward-thinking design, it has helped boost zoo attendance and extend visitors’ length of stay.

Developed for children of all ages — toddlers to tweens — this Northern Seas nautical-themed spraypark offers zoo guests a different kind of family-focused fun.

The facility features several amenities for families to escape Kentucky’s hot summer days. The centerpiece is a 20-foot-long, 25-foot-high fishing boat play structure that includes dump buckets and spray features on the deck; two kid-sized slides running off the stern; a geyser that erupts from the mast on a timed basis; an interactive jet spray launcher; and a series of themed crates and barrels where kids can push buttons and pull ropes to trigger various sprays and splashes.

Rounding out the aquatic elements are a life-sized polar bear and seal, designed for climbing and photo opportunities, and a separate toddler space.

Nonaquatic features include generous areas of shaded seating; two picnic pavilions; and a restroom complex with two family restrooms, which also can be used as changing areas. Safety features include perimeter fencing, with only one entrance and one exit, and safety surfacing.

Calistoga Splash Park is one part of what will be the zoo’s Glacier Run area. Currently under construction, Glacier Run is designed as an imaginary Far North mining town that will be an interactive experience based on the idea that humankind and nature must co-exist.

The exhibit area will recreate the natural habitats of some of the zoo’s most popular residents in ways that demonstrate how humans have become part of those environments. For example, one interactive feature will be a parked truck in which visitors can sit while polar bears explore the truck bed behind them (separated by a glass barrier, of course). In another section of the town, the bears may travel over visitors’ heads along a walkway resembling a mineshaft.

In addition to close encounters with the animals, guests also will have opportunities to learn about conservation and become temporarily immersed in life on the tundra. The town will include a schoolhouse, a general store, and a spacious amphitheater for seal and sea lion enrichment demonstrations.


Aquatic space: 3,000 square feet

Year opened: 2007

Cost: $1 million (approximately)

Dream feature: Themed fishing boat play structure with multiple interactive aquatic elements, including a spray geyser and dump bucket.


  • Dream Designer:The Weber Group Inc.
  • Construction: Whittenberg Construction
  • Waterfeature Contractor: Funtraptions Inc.


  • Surfacing: Vitriturf
  • Theming: The Weber Group Inc.
  • Water-Play Structures: Funtraptions Inc.


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