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The Scoop on Spraygrounds

The first annual Parks & Rec Business Zero-Depth Interactive Aquatics Playground Report.

Last month we sent out surveys to companies who provide zero-depth interactive aquatics playground equipment to parks and recreation professionals.

These features are becoming increasingly popular, and are finding great success at various parks and recreation facilities around the nation.

What you'll find is a breakdown of each company's offerings into products and prices, product features, whether the products are designed for indoor or outdoor use or both, design services offered, software offered, mechanical and physical installation requirements, type of surfacing, minimum age/height requirements, warranty policies and contact information.

We'll publish an annual update each year to keep you informed of changes and upgrades. Your input is valuable and we invite you to let us know if there's any other information we can help provide.

Aquatic Recreation Company

Products and prices: Aquatic Recreation Company designs and manufactures water play equipment for zero-depth entry spray grounds. Most-above ground water play features can be installed in maximum depth of zero depth entry pool complete with interactive flow control valves. Ground Sprays are designed for areas with no standing water to limited water depths. Contact the company for pricing.

Product features: ARC above-ground Standard, Signature and Multi-Play System structures are manufactured of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic material with UV inhibitors and chlorine resistance. Interactive flow control valves are optional for the standard structures. Signature structures have been designed for direct interaction by users to create unique water formations. Multi-Play water structures are a way to combine Standard and Signature structures. These systems come with interactive flow control valves and colorful banners.

Multi-Play Systems can be a centerpiece for a zero depth entry pool or a stand-alone water play element. Multi-Play systems have been designed with internal distribution manifolds that minimize underground plumbing. Patrons can interact with multiple spray displays by plugging individual sprays, causing remaining sprays to shoot higher. ARC ground sprays are designed to be self draining and are provided with plugs for easy winterization.

Designed for outdoor use, indoor use, or both: Both.

Design services offered: ARC provides free Splash Pad layouts. These concepts help visualize overall appearance, space usage, splash zones, and age-appropriate areas. In addition, ARC provides overall project data, and total project budgeting information to aid in design direction and scope of project.

Software offered: Equipment specifications and drawings are available on the Web site at www.arc4waterplay.com. A Design and Engineering CD is available from local ARC representatives or direct through ARC.

Mechanical requirements for installation: All features have Installation, Operation and Maintenance Manuals available for instruction in the mechanical installation of the features. All above ground features are flange mounted and all ground sprays are inbed in concrete.

Physical requirements for installation: Each feature requires a minimum splash zone along with overall height and width requirements. All features must be plumb in accordance with specific Installation, Operation and Maintenance Manual recommendations. A thickened slab is required for all features.

Type of surfacing: Typical zero depth entry surfacing is sufficient for water features.

Minimum age/height requirements: Zero depth entry pools can be designed for minimum age and height appropriateness.

Warranty policy: Please consult ARC for warranty for above ground equipment and spray ground equipment and operating systems.

Contact information: Aquatic Recreation Company, 5810 Baker Road, Suite 125, Minnetonka, MN 55345-5903, (877) 632-0503, (952) 345-6445, (952) 345-6444 (fax), bbergsgaard@arc4waterplay.com, www.arc4waterplay.com

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Empex Watertoys

Products and prices: Empex's latest line is Aquatons -- spray features with "limitless" variations. Interactive Watertoys include Waterbikes, Watertotters, Watershooters, Splashing Treefrogs, Tippin Toucans, Squirtin' Frogs & Whales, Kidspumpz, Jungle Jetz, Funny Fish, Butterfly Splash, Baby Bungee and Groundjetz. Contact company for pricing.

Product features: Aquatons and interactive Watertoys are created from composite and specialty plastics offering a lifetime guarantee against corrosion. Shapes are round with no sharp edges, protrusions or entanglement hazards and are ergonomically designed for children of all ages up to 12. Much lighter than steel, Empex products are "contractor friendly" with no complicated embedded anchors or complex foundations. Flange covers are provided on all products to eliminate exposed fasteners.

Designed for outdoor use, indoor use, or both: Both.

Design services offered: Empex offers complimentary design layouts and budget pricing for any size facility large or small with no obligation.

Software offered: Drawings and technical details are available upon request in AUTOCAD and PDF format to assist in design, specification and installation. The Empex 3D Web site offers detailed descriptions of all products available.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Water availability and mechanical requirements vary with each installation. Waterbikes, Watertotters, Watershooters, Squirtin' Frogs & Whales and Kidspumpz all have their own pumps and do not require a piped-in waterfeed. Six to eight inches of water is all that is required for operation.

Physical requirements for installation: A concrete slab, level or sloped is required for securing the products. Many products have their own pumps and can be retrofitted into existing shallow pools.

Type of surfacing: Surfacing varies with each installation, depending on water depths. Non-slip EPDM rubber surfaces are available for Spraypark applications and deck areas around pools to minimize fall hazards and to create graphic designs.

Minimum age/height requirements: None.

Warranty policy: Empex offers a life time warranty against rust and a two year warranty against manufacturer's defects.

Contact information: Empex Watertoys, 591 Albright Rd., Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada L9P 1R4, (905) 649-5047, (905) 649-1757 (fax), ParkRecBiz@watertoys.net, www.watertoys.net.

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GameTime

Products and prices: GTH20, ground-level aquatic activities. Components can be configured to meet a variety of budget/price points.

Product Features: Flush-mounted jet inserts; above-ground anchoring components constructed of non-corrosive material; removable base design for winterization, repair or reconfiguration; integrated pressure regulator with the manifold; stainless steel construction; brass spray jets; U.L.-listed programmable control system; various shapes and activities.

Designed for outdoor use, indoor use, or both: Designed for outdoor use only.

Design services offered: Local representative can visit the site to help design to fit budgetary and community needs. There are six types of kits and a variety of individual components available.

Software offered: GT Design tools offers top view and 3D renderings using your CAD program.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Must meet city and local codes for electricity and water. Certified electricians and plumbers required for site work. Available for installation with either city water or recyclable water systems.

Physical requirements for installation: Must be installed over a concrete pad and properly graded for drainage.

Type of surfacing: Brushed concrete, roll-on deck-type coating or poured-in-place rubber surfacing installed over a concrete pad.

Minimum age/height requirements: None.

Warranty policy: One-year limited warranty.

Contact information: GameTime, 150 GameTime Drive, Ft. Payne, AL 35967, (800) 235-2440, info@gametime.com, www.gametime.com

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Koala Play Group, a division of Koala Corporate

Products and prices: Spray pool, $1,000-$8,000 per component; WaterColors, $25,000-$100,000, depending upon design. Product lines found under SCS Interactive and Superior Foam Inc.

Product features: Seamless expandability, modular flexibility, interactive play, standard or custom-themed models, ADA-compliant.

Designed for outdoor use, indoor use, or both: Both.

Design services offered: Basic site planning.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Varies with product.

Physical requirements for installation: Varies with product.

Type of surfacing: Brushed concrete surface. Padding required at end of slides.

Minimum age/height requirements: Varies.

Warranty policy: One year.

Contact information: Koala Play Group, (888) 214-9698, (303) 539-8443, (303) 539-8399 (fax), info@koalaplaygroup.com, www.koalaplaygroup.com

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Natural Structures

Products and prices: Various spray products and figurines.

Product features: Zero-depth spray play area -- sprays, umbrellas and splash buckets. Zero entry to four feet -- water toys, figurines and slides.

Designed for outdoor use, indoor use, or both: Both.

Design services offered: Design manufacturing and installation available.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Laying water pipe and electrical lines, drilling holes in concrete, connecting valves, manifolds and times, and installation of filtration and chlorinating units.

Type of surfacing: Concrete or colored surfacing over concrete.

Minimum age/height requirements: None.

Warranty policy: One year.

Contact information: Natural Structures, PO Box 720, Baker, OR 97814, (800) 252-8475, (541) 894-0141, natstruc@teleport.com, www.naturalstructures.com

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Rain-Drop Products LLC

Products and prices: Interactive and non-interactive spray grounds and water playgrounds available in a variety of configurations, with separate components available.

Product features: Interactive by individual manipulation by the child -- gravity controlled and computer controlled activity.

Designed for outdoor use, indoor use, or both: Both.

Design services offered: Complete design services from planning to presentation services to construction documents and permitting.

Software offered: Design Center offered at the Web site.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Complete re-circulation system packages are offered.

Type of surfacing: Non-porous per ASTM new standard.

Minimum age/height requirements: No regulatory requirements. Designs should be developed based on the age group the client wants to serve. Typically utilized by ages two years to 12-13 years old.

Warranty policy: Lifetime warranty against corrosion and/or rust on all structural fiberglass. 10 years against defects in material and workmanship on all products manufactured by RDP

Contact information: Rain-Drop Products LLC, PO Box 781, Ashland, OH 44805, (800) 343-6063, (419) 207-8902, www.rain-drop.com

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Vortex Aquatic Structures International Inc.

Products and prices: Product lines include Columns, Arches & Loops; Thrills 'n' Spills; Water Cannons; Multi-Activity Centers; Ground Sprays; Silverflow Series; Pool & Waterpark Features and Activators. Each product category has a number of individual components. Contact Vortex for product specifics and prices.

Product features: The Vortex Splashpad is a fully automated, interactive play system. The product line of over 120 features includes everything from flush-mounted ground sprays, arches and loops for the youngsters, to spray cannons and highly interactive multi-activity play centers that are ideal for older children. Colors and features can be configured according to a client's specific needs. Vortex also offers five pre-designed "theme pad" systems, including: the Nautical, the Urban, the Western, the Medieval, and the Fire Station.

Designed for outdoor use, indoor use, or both: Both.

Design services offered: Project planning (environmental issues, timeline requirements, budget guidelines, etc.); project proposal (all products and services clearly outlined and itemized); design (CAD drawings, product specifications, system parameters and Splashpad layouts); pre-fabrication and testing; consultation and training.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Portable water source and drainage system for drain-away operating system, plumbing work and pipes, electrical supply.

Physical requirements for installation: Features and spray effects will influence the size and layout of the area. If the area is pre-determined and cannot be adjusted, this will influence what features can be chosen. It is important to provide a sloped surface with adequate drainage to avoid pooling of water, which can cause algae growth.

Type of surfacing: Concrete with a broom finish is the most popular surface. It is essential that if graphics are used on concrete that non-slick paint is used or colorant applied to the concrete prior to laying it down. This will ensure that the surface is textured to avoid a slippery surface.

Minimum age/height requirements: None.

Warranty policy: 25 years on stainless steel structures.

Contact information: Vortex Aquatic Structures International Inc., 403 Saint Roch St., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3N 1K2, (877) 586-7839, (514) 948-0096 (fax), chamelin@vortex-intl.com, www.vortex-intl.com

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Waterplay Manufacturing Inc.

Products and prices: Waterplay offers a variety of three-dimensional components, including fantastic characters, themed fabrications and crazy geometric shapes. Contact company for product and pricing specifics.

Product features: Extra-thick and extra-tall components prevent children from grasping and climbing the equipment, while ground level, obstacle-free products allow easy access for all ages, abilities and sizes. Delrin nozzle construction prevents bonding of metal parts and guarantees high performance and superior longevity. Electronic controllers and activators utilize technology to minimize water consumption and handle heavily trafficked usage. Low flow nozzles, smart sensors and integrated timers help reduce water consumption.

Designed for outdoor use, indoor use, or both: Both.

Design services offered: The design process begins with an on-line park builder, which is then used to transform creative ideas and cool component options into tangible three-dimensional drawings and specific CAD layouts.

Software offered: On-line spray park design software at www.waterplay.com. Also available off-line.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Installation of Waterplay products requires the services of a certified plumber to provide water supply lines, to install a manifold or treated water system and to ensure component pipe fittings are secure and water tight. A certified electrician is required to supply wiring from the activator to the controller as well as from the solenoid valves to the controller. Each component requires a general contractor to install individual concrete footings. Waterplay components come complete with anchor hardware and templates.

Physical requirements for installation: Every Waterplay Park requires three elements: Water source (either potable water or treated water); electricity (to activate the control system and manage water usage); and drainage. A building is the preferred location for the control system but a kiosk is available from Waterplay should no building be available.

Type of surfacing: While there are many options available for surfacing a spray park, your local health department's swimming pool deck specifications are a good starting point. Generally, the surface of a spray park should be nonporous to prevent a build up of mould or other biological organisms, and non-slip to prevent injury to users. With a hard surface you must be diligent in your efforts to prevent any elevated surfaces, climbable areas, trip points or overhead obstructions within the spray zone. Children will run on this surface, so it should have a good grip, yet be comfortable to bare feet. The top three surfaces typically used in spray parks are asphalt, concrete, and rubber.

Minimum age/height requirements: None. Water is drained away before it can accumulate, eliminating the risk of drowning.

Warranty policy: Twenty-five year warranty on all aluminum and stainless steel alloys that guarantees them to be free of defect, corrosion and deterioration.

Contact information: Waterplay Manufacturing Inc., 129 Nanaimo Avenue West, Penticton, BC, Canada V2A 1N2, (800) 590-5552, (250) 493-1693, (250) 493-1675 (fax), admin@waterplay.com, www.waterplay.com

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Waterworks International

Products and prices: In-ground and above-ground interactive water play products, with prices ranging from $900.

Designed for outdoor use, indoor use, or both: Both.

Design services offered: Preliminary design, budgeting, CAD drawings and bidding documents.

Software offered: Programmable computer controls that can be programmed to music.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Systems can be used with potable water, or can have a filter and re-circulating system.

Type of surfacing: Choice of surface materials, from broom-finish concrete to applied ground rubber surfaced.

Minimum age/height requirements: None.

Warranty policy: One year from start of operation.

Contact information: Waterworks International Corp., 107 East Court Street, Kankakee, IL 60901, (800) 932-3123, (815) 932-3003, (815) 932-3123 (fax), sales@waterworksinternational.com, www.waterworks-fountains.com, www.waterworksinternational.com

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Whitewater West Industries Ltd.

Products and prices: AquaPlay and AquaSpray interactive systems. Contact company for quote.

Product features: Fiberglass and poly slides are available on all units, which are multi-level, multi-platform. All units are hot-dipped and painted galvanized steel. Interactive spray features include valves, cranks, water cannons and nets, available in different sizes, shapes and themes.

Designed for outdoor use, indoor use, or both: Both.

Design services offered: AquaPlay comes in standard theme packages. Custom themes and designs are also available.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Call for details.

Physical requirements for installation: Call for details.

Type of surfacing: Call for details.

Minimum age/height requirements: All ages.

Warranty policy: The complete system is warranted for manufacturer's defects for one year.

Contact information: Whitewater West Industries Ltd., 6700 McMillan Way, Richmond, BC, Canada V6W 1J7, (604) 273-1068, (604) 273-4518 (fax), whitewater@whitewaterwest.com, www.whitewaterwest.com

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