A Mom’s Guide to Lake Olathe

Olathe’s newest family hot spot just opened this summer and we can’t get enough of it! With a swimming beach, aqua park, marina, nature playground, and Olathe’s first spray ground, you may have a hard time fitting in all the fun in one visit. Here’s what you need to know to spend a day (or a weekend!) at the new Lake Olathe.

Spray Ground: Olathe’s first spray ground is free to the public and open from 10am-8pm during the warm months of the year (opening and closing dates will vary). Divided into three play sections with a shallow stream running between them, this spray ground is fun for kids from a wide age range. There are two splash pads and a sand and water area with a foot wash for rinsing off the sand after you’re done playing. Musical instruments are scattered along the path surrounding the spray ground for the kids to play. My two-year-old had the time of her life running through the water while her sister preferred to play the instruments before wading into the stream. Several of my friends have spent hours at the spray ground already. It is fun for kids and adults alike!

Tips: Along with sunscreen and towels, make sure to bring buckets and sand toys. Water shoes will give your kids more traction so make sure you pack them. Be aware that there are no bathrooms directly next to the spray ground so you’ll have to walk down to the marina or Eagles Landing for potty breaks. Seating for parents is limited and will not always be in the shade, so you might bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket for yourself. While the stream running through the spray ground goes above and below the spray ground area and is open for exploration, the city does ask that people stay off of the large waterfalls and ponds that are situated above the spray ground.

Nature Playground: I think this playground is best for kids ages 4 and up, but younger kids can have plenty of fun, too. The nature playground was built primarily using trees and on-site materials. I love that they used trees that had to be removed elsewhere in the park to build this playground! You’ll find a zip line, climbing tree, tall slide, nets to climb on, loose materials for fort building, and a small water play area! We love that part of the playground has a soft turf ground cover (moms of babies rejoice!) Bathrooms and a water fountain are conveniently located next to the playground. Beaver Shelter sits between the two halves of the playground and can be reserved for parties and events.

Tips: Bring a towel or change of clothes since the small water play area can still get your kids soaking wet. I found I had to shadow my daredevil toddler pretty closely, so depending on the age of your kids, this may not be the most relaxing of playgrounds.

Marina and Beach: This area is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day and has lots of fun family activities available other than just swimming. After you pay admission for the swim beach (see rates here) you can rent pedal boats, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and canoes at the marina for $5 per half hour. The aqua park is another unique feature for families to enjoy. It’s basically a huge floating obstacle course with slides, swings, a blob, and other fun activities. Lifeguards are situated on the aqua park to make sure everyone plays safely. The aqua park is only open on Fridays-Sundays and it costs an extra $10/hour. Kids do need to be 48 inches or taller to participate.

At the beach, you’ll find changing rooms, lockers (bring your own lock), showers to rinse off sand, and a fun sandy beach and swim area for your family to enjoy. My daughter loved digging in the sand and floating around in the lake. I love that there are lifeguards on the beach so you have an extra set of eyes to watch your kids. One last feature I have to mention is something I’d never seen before: a mobi-mat recpath. This is a special mat put down over the sand leading down to the water that allows wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers to easily navigate the beach. I love that thought was put into making the beach more accessible!

Tips: Bring cash or card for admission, water shoes, coolers and snacks (no alcohol), pool noodles or inflatables and a beach umbrella or canopy for shade. Life jackets are provided for the boat rentals and the aqua park, but bring your own life jacket or puddle jumper for swimming if you want your kids to use one. If the parking lot right next to the beach is full, you can park next door in the Eagles Landing lot. 

You can see more pictures and get all the nitty gritty details on the Lake Olathe website. There are still more improvements to come, like a disc golf course and a fishing pavilion. We anticipate many summers to come at Lake Olathe! 

Julia Willhite
I'm Julia and I live in Olathe with my husband of 13 years, my 7 and 2.5 year old daughters, and a sweet old blind pug we call Boopers. I’m a social worker turned SAHM (at least til my youngest starts school). I love Dr. Pepper, thunderstorms, and talking to other adults. I hate coffee, diet culture, and washing dishes. I'll talk your ear off about the best local parks and which restaurants have wronged me by changing their long-standing menu items. I try to walk the line between knowing a lot of stuff and not being a know-it-all. Some days I'm better than others.