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Fountains of Youth

The Second 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 aquatic play features are steadily becoming one of the hottest amenities at parks, recreation areas and aquatics facilities, and Parks & Rec Business magazine will continue to cover this growing trend throughout the year.

What you'll find here is a breakdown of each company's offerings into products and prices, product features, mechanical and physical installation requirements, type of surfacing and contact information.

Go to www.parksandrecbusiness.com to view the entire report, which includes 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.

While you're at the Web site, don't forget to browse past issues, download helpful forms and join us at the Parks & Rec Business magazine Bulletin Board.

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 more than 40 water play elements for zero-depth spray grounds. Features include creative interaction, multi-user interaction and participation, age-appropriate play and accessibility. Contact the company for pricing.

Product features: ARC offers either stainless steel or fiberglass reinforced plastic structure fabrications. This allows designers and owners the flexibility to choose their desired fabrication material based on budget, environment and public accessibility concerns. All ARC structures have a multi-step finishing system that is specifically designed for chemically treated water and UV protection against fading. ARC water formations are uniform because all water elements have internal manifolds and baffles to eliminate distortion due to flow directional velocity. ARC promotes environmentally responsible spray ground facilities by offering recirculation systems. These systems allow for enhanced water play without wasting tens of millions of gallons per average seasonal use. ARC says its UL-listed recirculation systems provide water quality management with filtration, sanitation and system controls.

Mechanical requirements for installation: All features have Installation, Operation and Maintenance Manuals available for instruction in the mechanical installation of the features.

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. All above ground features are flange mounted and all ground sprays are imbed in concrete. A thickened slab is required at all feature locations.

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

Aquajeux

Products: Aquajeux has been in the business of producing zero-depth aquatic features since 1993. Its line of ground sprays, above ground structures and interactive water toys now include seven climbable non-slip Aquapets for younger children.

Product features: Aquajeux delivers municipal grade aquatic features. Water usage, treatment choices and recirculation efficiency are important and the reason why Aquajeux pre-assembles and pre-tests water management systems.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Accommodates specific site constraints by offering several possible systems configurations.

Physical requirements for installation: Concrete pad properly graded for drainage.

Type of surfacing: For most applications, Aquajeux recommends a broom finished concrete pad with mixed-in colors for aesthetics. However, for its Aquapets, it strongly recommends rubber surfacing.

Contact information: Aquajeux International Inc., 287-A Wilfrid Laurier, St-Basile, Qc, Canada, J3N 1M2, (888) 441-2040, (450) 441-2040, (450) 441-7091 (fax), info@aquajeux.com, www.aquajeux.com.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

KoalaPlay Group

Products and prices: WaterColors, Superior Foam, Classic Water Play and Spray Pool Components. Please call for quotes as they vary with the product.

Product features: Interactive WaterPlay, standard or uniquely-themed models available. WaterColors also offers seamless expandability, modular flexibility, reduced-cost in installation and is an ADA-compliant water play structure.

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.

Contact information: KoalaPlay Group, (888) 214-9698, (303) 539-8300, (303) 539-8399 (fax), info@koalaplaygroup.com, www.koalaplaygroup.com.

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.

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

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

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

Vortex Aquatic Structures International Inc.

Products and prices: Product lines include Seeflow; 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, zero-depth recreational 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. The interactive Splashpad can be launched with the Magic Touch Activator, which automatically opens and clses valves on the distribution manifold. Vortex also offers a drain-away operating system or its Water Quality Management System.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Potable 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.

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. It is important to provide a sloped surface with adequate drainage in order to avoid pooling of water, which can cause algae growth.

Contact information: Vortex Aquatic Structures International Inc., 403 Avro St., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H9R 5W5, (877) 586-7839, (514) 694-6925 (fax), info@vortex-intl.com, www.vortex-intl.com.

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. High flow nozzles are utilized for all treated water supply parks.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Trouble-free 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 choice in surfaces used in spray parks is colored concrete

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

Waterworks International

Products and prices: Full line of in-ground and above-ground interactive water play products, with prices from $350.

Product features: All stainless steel construction and removable for winterization.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Can use re-circulated water or water to waste.

Physical requirements for installation: Easily installed by employees or local contractors.

Type of surfacing: Can use poured-in-place rubber or broom-finished concrete.

Contact information: Waterworks International Corp., 107 East Court Street, Kankakee, IL 60901, (800) 932-3123, (815) 932-3002, (815) 932-3123 (fax), waterworksint@earthlink.net, www.waterworksinternational.com

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.

Mechanical requirements for installation: Call for details.

Physical requirements for installation: Call for details.

Type of surfacing: Call for details.

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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