The Yards Park3rd St SE & Water St SE
Washington, DC 20003
Website ~ Map Link
Bottom Line: A really fun destination for water play. The water is free, but the parking will cost you. Currently (Summer 2012) no bathrooms (portapotties only) and no water fountains near the water. 4/5 stars.
Visiting the Yards Park has been on our summer bucket list, so I finally took the kids down in early August. I had heard great things about the park and was very interested in checking out the fountains and the canal basin/wading pool.
The water feature has two levels. The top level, which you see as you approach from Water Street, has fountains that spray from the ground.
My kids had a blast running through these.
Water from the top area flows over an edge, creating a waterfall into a wading pool below. You can splash in the waterfall in the pool, or walk on a path behind the waterfall and remain dry.
This lower level, comprised of an 12″ wading pool and the aforementioned waterfall, were also a huge hit with my kids.
We went on a Friday afternoon while the Nats were playing and the pool area was relatively empty. My kids has a blast swimming, floating, splashing and playing.
About the Water Feature:
There is no life guard on duty, swim diapers are required for those that need diapers, bathing suit (or clothes) are required (no skinny dipping!). All the rules are posted on signage in the area and online.
The surrounding park area is lovely. A paved riverwalk has been developed that runs along the Anacostia River from the Nationals Ballpark to the Navy Yard.
Looking towards the ballpark.
Looking towards the Navy Yards. Note the USS Barry at the far end of the riverwalk.
We had fun walking along the pedestrian bridge and checking out the riverwalk.
There is a terraced grassy area that is ideal for concerts and gatherings. In fact, there has been a Friday Evening Concert series through out the summer. The music continues into September.
Everything about Yards Park is lovely … however it is important to note that it is still very much under development. Most all of the buildings that front the riverwalk are currently under construction.
The only dining option currently open is Potbelly Sandwiches — it sits back one block from the canal area on the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts
There is no restroom anywhere on site (apart from PotBelly), but there are two portapotties near the canal basin. There are NO water fountains currently installed, which is a major bummer.
From the Yards Park website:
There are pay-to-park surface parking lot off 3rd St, SE and off 4th St, SE directly north of the Yards Park. There is also public, metered street parking along Tingey St, SE and New Jersey Ave, SE, as well as sections of 4th St, SE, north of M St.
There are parking lots nearby, but it is expensive. The closest lot to the fountains is the AMPCO Yards Lot L and it charges $6/hr or $20 during events (i.e. Nationals games).
I used BestParking.com to find the closest cheapest parking option. Select “Daily Parking”, then “By Cross St”, and enter “Water St. SE and Tingey St SE” as a reference. Another source for parking in this area is JDLand’s 2012 Nats Parking Lot Map.
I really hate to pay for parking, but it was worth it to check out this fun and otherwise free destination. As the area continues to develop and more businesses open, it should only get better. If you haven’t yet been, I recommend checking it out before summer is over!
Looking for more places to play? Check out my reviews of other Playgrounds, Parks, and Play Areas in Arlington and the greater Metro DC area.
Find more parks by visiting my main Arlington Parks & Playgrounds page.