The state has announced plans for a major upgrade to the Freetown State Forest wading pool and we are excited for the change.

Backlash to the news that the Freetown wading pool would be closed this summer as a $700,000 renovation took place at the popular facility was swift and harsh. But as a parent of two young kids, I'm all for it.

Major upgrades to the facility haven't happened in about a decade, so now is definitely the time for the cleaner, safer change to a more modern spray deck.

And it looks like they have a nice one planned.

Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)

Spray decks are a delight. Honestly, they should make them for adults. Water squirting out of nowhere as you run around on the wet, squishy ground just sounds like a good time. And seeing your kids enjoying a spray deck always looks like a good time.

And there are lots of reasons why the spray deck is in fact a better choice than the current wading pool.

Spray pads promote sensory and mental growth.

Manipulating when and how the water will spray out. Figuring out how to get the water to spray where you want it. It's all sneaky brain-building fun for the little ones. Wading into a shin-deep pool provides none of that stimulus.

Kids use more energy running around on a spray pad.

You can sit and splash in a wading pool, but the energy kids burn running and climbing around a spray pad is sure to give everyone a good night's sleep – and every parent knows that's a benefit.

Maintenance is much easier and more affordable.

Over the years, the Freetown wading pool has had its issues. Shutdowns for leaks, lightning strikes and other wear and tear have always been a bummer. But repairs and operating costs for a spray pad are much more cost-efficient, which is fantastic in the long run.

Kids are safer.

Of course, having no standing water, the spray pad drowning risk is basically non-existent. But building age-appropriate attractions in separate areas also means kids can play with other kids their own age and can help keep the younger splashers from getting run over by the older ones.

Spray decks offer a longer season of enjoyment

Though this season is going to be affected by the construction, once open the new Freetown splash pad will have a much longer season. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) tells us the plan will be to open the spray deck from May through September with longer hours of 9AM-8PM once it is operational.

So you can see why as a parent I am psyched for this upgrade.

The DCR says the Freetown wading pool will remain closed until the construction is complete and they hope to reopen the new spray pad by August 24, 2021.

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