As the sun beat down on Boston Common Friday morning, families lined up at the Frog Pond spray pool before it opened, taking refuge from the August swelter.
In the middle of the city and its most historic park, residents and tourists of all ages splash in the water and sit in the shade. People spread out blankets on the grass and cool off underneath trees, while kids run to the playground or carousel and back again.
“We come here probably about once a week,” said Yuchan Chu, who brings her 3-year-old daughter, Chloe. “We’re regulars.”
In the winter, the pond is a picturesque skating rink, a quintessential New England scene. But summers in Boston can be stifling, and the huge wading pool offers a perfect escape.
“I live close by, so it’s pretty convenient,” said Chu, 41. “It’s a shallow pond, so it’s easy to watch my daughter as she plays. And of course, the park next door is also the Public Garden.”
On Thursday, the temperature surged to 98 degrees, breaking a record set in 1928, and temperatures are expected to remain high through the weekend — up to 89 degrees on Saturday and 93 on Sunday. Around noon on Friday, it was 88 degrees, with a predicted high of 91. The pond opened at 11 a.m. and before long, the sound of children’s laughter and splashing water filled the park.
Visitors can buy cold snacks and refreshments from the Frog Pond Café or vendors sprinkled across the Common. Emily O’Neill, who was visiting from Chicago, said the watermelon and raspberry-flavored slushie was her 3-year-old daughter Caroline’s favorite way to cool off.
“We were in the water yesterday,” O’Neill said. “But she likes to eat the ice. That’s probably the biggest draw.”
Like O’Neill, Andrew Bennett only briefly visited the pond with his son while on vacation. Originally from New Providence, N.J., Bennett said the pond was a fun spot to spend the hot day with his 4-year-old son, Aiden
“I’ve never been to the Frog Pond before, but I figured this is summertime and it’d be a good spot,” Bennett said. “We’ll be here all day. My son is having a blast!”
For Barbara Uncovsky, the Frog Pond is an ideal place to enjoy Boston in the summer. Originally from Switzerland, she lived in Boston from 2015 until 2019, and is now back for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Uncovsky said the pond is deeply nostalgic.
“We used to live on Beacon Street, so [the pond] was so close,” said Uncovksy, who was in town with her husband and 4-year-old son. “The pond is in the heart of Boston, so whenever you’re taking a city stroll ... it’s just very nice.”
Uncovsky said her son, Finn, “just loves the water,” and the Frog Pond is the perfect place for him to take a dip. But with the intense humidity and high temperatures, the family didn’t plan to stay beyond a couple of hours.
“We actually have tickets for the aquarium,” Uncovsky said. “A little bit of indoors and outdoors, I think that’s probably best when it’s so hot.”
The Frog Pond is free and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Sept. 5.
“We love to run around and splash in the water and get wet,” Uncovsky said. “The Frog Pond feels like home.”