A Summer Worth The Splash

Posted in News -

Splashpad Frank Mckenna
Photo by Frank Mckenna | Location San Diego Waterfront Park 

The squeak of water shoes hopscotching across concrete. Bright laughter and the smell of SPF 70 Summer sunscreen. The promise of ice cream at the end of a hot day.

Summer is finally here – and frolicking through cool sprays of water is the thing to do!

OTL is an expert in the design and construction of interactive fountains, which create natural gathering spaces for public and private destinations.


Water features give crowds the opportunity to see, hear, touch, feel, and play in nature’s most refreshing medium, water.

These features are key in both urban and suburban placemaking, bringing nature and art together in a place where people really want to congregate, relax, and spend time.

And interactive fountains are one of the most ingenious water features of them all. Here’s why:

  • Interactivity at its best: Interactive water features offer more than Kodak-moment photo opportunities. They offer memories that last a lifetime – on social media in particular. One look at #splashpad or #interactivefountain on Instagram reveals nearly 150,000 posts aggregating millions of likes.

The key behind this is authenticity. These fountains are designed specifically to engage and delight. For example, Outside the Lines (OTL) completed the mechanical and electrical work for the whimsical water feature at Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, which systematically sprays a mix of water and air through nozzles strategically arranged around sculptures created by Nebraskan artist Matthew Placzek.

This is essentially a children’s playground, bringing moments that delight and entertain, and of course, must be shared.

  • Safety first, always: Interactive fountains pose fewer safety issues than fountains or pools, which need frequent cleaning and constant supervision. Through precise execution, the OTL team addresses the materials and design to ensure safety, and also addresses the need for constant recirculation, filtration and treatment to keep fountain water clean and free from contaminants.
  • Flexibility: One of the most unique aspects of an interactive water feature is the ability to turn it on and off as needed. These water features drain quickly, allowing fountain beds to be used for multiple purposes. For example, at Cowles Commons in Des Moines, Iowa, OTL completed all mechanical, electrical, control systems, lighting and finish materials for the fountain, which is used as a splash pad in the summers, and returns to a beautiful landmark city plaza when the weather cools.
  • Fun for all ages: One of the best features of an interactive fountain is its ability to appeal to all generations. These are destinations where parents and grandparents can bring their kids and let them play, while the adults enjoy food and drink from nearby businesses and socialize with one another. Because there is no standing water, adults don’t have to be directly beside their children at all times and can instead let them play and enjoy openly.

In an ever-growing world of individualized technology and indoor activities, people of all ages are seeking opportunities to get outside and connect with others. Interactive water features provide those opportunities and create true destinations for cities and communities. Welcome to summer – happy splashing!

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