Who: Globe reporter Stephanie Ebbert and her children, Anna, 8, and Nick, 6
What: Swimming and water play
Where: Springs Brook Park, 181 Springs Road, Bedford
BEDFORD — Springs Brook Park always calls to mind one of my favorite lines from the classic film “Caddyshack”: It has a pool and a pond. (The pond is good for us.)
Nestled into a wooded area, this is a swimming area that offers the best of both worlds. It’s a man-made swimming hole that is spring-fed but filtered and supplemented by town water (meaning the kids don’t end up shrieking at slippery things tangled around their ankles). Sheltered by shady pine trees on one side, the park provides a nice little slice of tranquillity, then opens onto a sunny splash park of riotous fun.
Since admission isn’t cheap — $7 a person on weekdays, $10 on weekends for those who aren’t Bedford town residents — I try to make a day of it, and a visit there feels more manageable than a day at the beach, especially when I’m wrangling two kids on my own. The facilities are especially convenient, with changing rooms, bathrooms, picnic tables, a playground, and a snack bar with slushies and 5-cent candy. Mom’s only big effort comes in hauling all the day’s gear from the parking lot.
On the sunny weekday we visited, the park was barely populated. Campers were bused in for swim lessons, but the vibe was calm and quiet. My kids started off at the playground, spinning one another on the tire swing until they were dizzy and hot. Then we headed for the pool, which is particularly inviting to small children, with its broad, shallow, zero-entry area. Beyond a rope line, the pool gets deeper and has a sandy bottom; bigger kids can try out the cool-looking slide and diving platform. My daughter worked on her handstands and Nick practiced swimming underwater. Then, we ate a picnic lunch on our blanket and headed to the splash park while our stomachs settled.
For a town recreation area, Springs Brook boasts an unbelievably impressive splash park, with steering wheels for kids to control the flow of water and underfoot fountains that spray at random. My kids mischievously shot one another with streams of water, then settled down, tiptoeing along the fountains, as they lost themselves in their imaginations.
On this particular day, the park even provided entertainment: Dan Foley the Airborne Comedian juggled fruit, juggling pins which were often aflame, and rode a unicycle. “Don’t try this at home,” he warned the kids. “Try it at a friend’s house.”
I found it a surprisingly wry and ambitious show for such a tucked-away locale. But my son, who was by then giddy with exhaustion, thought it was about the best thing ever.