Battling the heat on a red-hot Sunday was no problem for 6-year-old twin brothers Vashon and Marquise Watson.
“You just get in the water,” Vashon said. “It's cool, fun and there's all kinds of water.”
The boys' mom, Alex Tillman, watched from a bench near a spray ground in Kountze Park at 1920 Pinkney St. The park is one of six in Omaha with spraygrounds, and they will be operating through Labor Day.
“We live near the park, and this is a wonderful part of it,” Tillman said. “The boys really have a good time.”
With a heat wave descending on the metropolitan area for the rest of the week and public pools closed, spray parks appear to be the place to be. Temperatures on Sunday reached the mid- to high 90s across Nebraska and Iowa, with more in store.
Josh Boustead of the National Weather Service in Valley said people should be prepared for temperatures in the upper 90s all this week.
“It's not going to get any cooler,” Boustead said. “It's going to be hot, dry and in the upper 90s through next Sunday.”
Melvin Simpson refereed as his three children and two nephews played around the plastic palm trees in the sprayground at Kountze Park. Simpson said he has taken the children to five of the city's six spray parks.
“I try to mix it up so they can see something different and not get bored,” he said. “Fontenelle Park is the favorite, because they have more little cool gadgets and it's more colorful for the kids.”
Some of those gadgets include large, plastic flowers that fill with water and spill out when they reach a tipping point. That spray park is also fenced and located near a playground.
At Fontenelle Park, Jessica Watkins of Lincoln kept an eye on four kids as she sat on a bench with a friend. Watkins said she makes the trip to Omaha about once a week to see friends and family members.
“They have one (spray park) in Lincoln, and it's not even close to being as nice as this,” she said. “At home, the kids mostly just get in our pool to cool off.”
The spray park at the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Plaza doesn't have palm trees or flowers that dump water on shrieking children, but it does have a nice view of the Missouri River.
Jason and Nicole Leathers of Rossville, Kan., watched their children play after a trip across the bridge. They came to Omaha for a birthday party at Werner Park for their 10-year-old son, Mcgwyre.
“You don't have to get in to have fun, and it's easy to watch (the kids),” Nicole Leathers said. “This is a really nice spot, because after you walk across that bridge, the kids can come down here and cool off.”
David Walker and Rose Cook come to the sprayground near the bridge just about every weekend, they said. They had eight kids with them Sunday.
“You can look at the river and cross the bridge,” Cook said. “At night they have a laser show across the river (in Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park in Council Bluffs), and the kids really like that, too. “Besides, it's free.”