The birds are chirping, the sky is blue, and the sun is bright and warm. If you’re like me, that means any excuse to be outside. Scratch the gym, I’m going for a run! Want to meet me for dinner? As long as it has a patio, I’m in.

It’s nice to pretend that the winter weather is over, but we know that even as we inch closer to spring, there’s always a chance it can come back. The good news: it doesn’t matter the weather or the season – our parks and greenways are there to help you enjoy the outdoors year-round. But, you may notice a few features are unavailable until the temperatures rise for good.

Drinking Fountains

A path going through a nature preserve in the middle of winter.

Getting a workout in on a nice, sunny winter day? Just make sure you bring a full water bottle! You wouldn’t plant your spring flowers until the threat of frost is gone, and we can’t risk turning water fountains on only to have the pipes freeze. The process to bring fountains back online begins in March, but you shouldn’t expect for all of them to be operational until April.

Smaller Restrooms

Most of our large restroom facilities remain open year-round, but some of our smaller facilities have water pipes in the ceiling that are more difficult to keep from freezing. So, we keep them closed through the winter because fixing damage to the water pipes is expensive! You can expect all park restrooms to be open and operational in April.


When the weather is right, there’s nothing more fun or more refreshing than taking the kids (two-legged or four-legged) to one of our eight spraygrounds. They’re open on the same schedule as most summer pools (Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day). If you need a splash earlier than that, you’ll just have to check out Ray’s Splash Planet!

A decorative water fountain in uptown Charlotte spraying streams of water in the middle of a park.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: decorative fountains and water hoses at community gardens  follow the same schedule as drinking fountains and restrooms. The moral of the story? Plan accordingly! In all honesty, we wish there was one big blue button at Park and Recreation headquarters that allowed us to turn water features on and off according to the forecast. That would make the job a whole lot easier! But, it’s a little more complicated than that.

In the meantime, you’ll just have to join me in counting down the days until a warmer season.