Lily Pad Springs in West Bloomfield features the biggest splash pad in Michigan.

Lily Pad Springs in West Bloomfield features the biggest splash pad in Michigan.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Michigan’s largest splash pad continues to attract both residents and nonresidents of West Bloomfield

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 22, 2022


WEST BLOOMFIELD — It has been over a year since West Bloomfield opened the biggest splash pad in Michigan.

Lily Pad Springs is approximately 5,500 square feet, and according to West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission Executive Director Jennifer Tucker, since opening June 1 of last year, things have been “fantastic.”

“We had people come from all over to come to the splash pad,” Tucker said. “It’s been very well received.”

Lily Pad Springs has over 50 play features, four water slides and a splash bucket that dumps 55 gallons of water.

It is a recipe for summer fun that has attracted people inside and outside of the township.

“It’s been a regional destination,” said West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission Superintendent Kelly Hyer. “We’ve heard both from residents and people visiting. They love it. They think we did such a nice job with it.”

Given all the activities people had to do without during earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lily Pad Springs provided a nice escape for some after it opened last year.

“It’s a great outdoor activity, as far as kids getting out and burning off some of that energy,” Tucker said. “Especially through COVID, it did turn out to be kind of a good break from being held up at home.”

West Bloomfield resident John Calvin and his wife and three children have taken advantage of having a water park close to home.

“It’s super convenient,” Calvin said. “It’s really nice looking. Obviously it’s new, so it looks really brilliant, but just the way they’ve set it up — really convenient to park. … Our kids love having it. Every time we drive by, they get excited.”

West Bloomfield resident Claas Kuhnen has a 4-year-old daughter. Aside from liking that Lily Pad Springs is fenced in, he shared another perk that the park offers for him and his family.

“It’s close,” Kuhnen said. “I pack her up, hop into the car, ride over and, essentially, I’m just two streets away.”

Tucker shared her rationale for why Lily Pad Springs has been such a hit and what it could lead to for the community .

“It’s based around families — wanting people to come outside, stay healthy and keep active,” she said. “Also, drawing those younger families into the township, hopefully. … We want to make sure those young families have things to do in the summer months.”

From Calvin’s perspective, what the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission offers is a major appeal of living in the township.

“Overall for the community … Parks and Rec, for me, between that department and the library – I think, those are two things that would make me never wanna move away from here,” he said.

Kuhnen has introduced people who aren’t residents of West Bloomfield to the park.

“I also bring a lot of friends there who are not living here,” he said. “Last summer, that’s what we did — had a lot of splash pad parties or meetups, which was also really good. … So it’s a really nice social meeting point, too.”

As for people’s favorite part about Lily Pad Springs, Tucker said, “it’s all over the place.”

“The little kids seem to think — there’s a frog that squirts, and they seem to really like that,” she said. “We try to keep the little ones’ interest on one side and the older kids’ interest on the other. The older kids have the spray guns. The beauty of those spray guns — you can’t actually spray at someone; you have to work so hard (because) you have to turn wheels to get it to move and different things, so it’s more of (an) engineering feat if you can get it to spray in one direction.”

Those who may be sensitive to overstimulation, including individuals on the autism spectrum, may appreciate a step West Bloomfield Parks has taken to help assure that going to Lily Pad Springs is a more enjoyable experience.

“We are having sensory-friendly Mondays,” Tucker said. “We turn off some of the features so it’s more friendly for kids that are scared of the big splashes or don’t like the repetitive sprays. So it’s a little calmer than the full-blown splash pad. … This creates an environment that’s safe for them.”

Sensory-friendly Mondays take place 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Hyer pointed out some other changes that visitors to Lily Pad Springs might be pleased with this year.

“We’ve added even more amenities because we didn’t really finish what we had started last year,” she said. “For example, we added a water bottle fill station at our drinking fountains, and we added shade over some of our picnic tables, which was the No. 1 request.”

After closing for five days earlier this year due to a high level of bacteria, Lily Pad Springs has reopened and is operating on its normal schedule.

“We do testing weekly,” Tucker said. “We’re not really sure what happened there. It could be as simple as a bird flying overhead and getting washed into the tank. We took the right procedures and protocol, retested, and we’re good to go.”

Tickets to Lily Pad Springs can be reserved online at 30 days in advance for residents, and 15 for nonresidents.

Walk-up tickets are also available.

Those interested in attending Lily Pad Springs can choose between three different sessions seven days a week: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; 1:30-3:30 p.m.; and 4-6 p.m.

The cost of admission is $4 for residents and $6 for nonresidents.

Based on Tucker’s observations, people are getting quite a bargain when they visit Lily Pad Springs.

“It’s been great,” she said. “If we got paid in the amount of smiles, we’d be millionaires. Going by there, just hearing the kids be so happy, it’s fantastic. So we are really happy with the outcome.”

Lily Pad Springs is located at 6200 Farmington Road.