By Madison Rutherford
“It’s like a mirage… if you blink, it’ll be gone.”
That’s how CityScape’s marketing director Sara Anderson describes the entertainment district’s monthly summer event, Urban H2Oasis — a pop-up waterpark in the heart of downtown.
This summer, on the second Saturday of each month, CityScape transforms into an urban oasis featuring 10 inflatable waterslides, plenty of shade and the splash pad, which is a permanent fixture at the downtown shopping and dining destination. The next one is Saturday, August 11.
Though the event is geared toward children and families, Anderson says people of all ages are encouraged to participate. The slides range in size according to age, and the splash pad is suitable for toddlers and babies.
“There are a bunch of restaurants around here, too, so you can make a day out of it,” Anderson says. “Part of it could be you have your kids and you sit on Chico Malo’s patio and watch them go down the slides as you have a margarita. There’s a little something for everybody.”
During the event, if patrons spend $20 or more at any of CityScape’s restaurants or retailers, they can spin a prize wheel to score summer essentials like sunglasses, reusable water bottles and portable phone chargers.
The family-friendly event requires a $5 donation, which goes toward the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA and its “Safety Around Water” program, which aims to educate Arizona residents about water safety tactics and precautions. YMCA volunteers are onsite to answer questions and provide advice on swimming skills, staying safe around bodies of water and what to do if you unexpectedly fall in. Though these tips are aimed at the youngsters, Anderson says anyone can benefit from them.
“Technically, it should be for everyone, whether you’re a kid or not, you sometimes forget the water safety rules. It’s more reminder-based: this is what happens, these are the statistics in Arizona, this is a heightened season for this activity,” she says. “It’s kind of like a heads-up initiative for a heightened water risk season.”
Anderson says CityScape is the perfect venue for a pop-up water playground because of its splash pad, ample outdoor space and proximity to premier downtown destinations.
“It’s a natural gathering space for activities, but also we’re connected via light rail and bus systems, we’re really accessible via car, there’s parking garages and Lyft and Uber drop-offs, so it’s just a very accessible place downtown to get to and navigate through,” Anderson says.
If you’re craving a mid-day meal, H2Oasis is within walking distance of eateries like Chipotle, Chico Malo, Tilted Kilt, The Arrogant Butcher and Jimmy John’s, as well as stores like Urban Outfitters and CVS, in case you forget the sunscreen or a towel.
Though convenience is a cornerstone of CityScape and its events, Anderson says H2Oasis is also about demonstrating the flourishing community in Downtown Phoenix.
“It’s about bringing people together and understanding we’re community-based. We have a lot of interest in how the downtown Phoenix community thrives and is brought together and how we support each other,” she says. “I know sometimes there is an audience that doesn’t view downtown Phoenix as accessible or as that family-friendly gathering space on its own, so it’s things like this that showcase that we are a budding and growing community and it’s a great way to meet your neighbors if you want to cool off in some water in the summer.”
Urban H2Oasis, CityScape Phoenix, 1 E. Washington Street, 602.772.3900, cityscapephoenix.com, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, August 11, $5 minimum donation per person.
For more in-depth articles on local events, visit our attractions page.