Few things make parents happier than finding free entertainment, especially when it involves water play on a beautiful hot summer day. Gather your pennies — so, um, we guess it’s not totally free — because we rounded up local water fountains worthy of your wishes. Some you can actually play in! From the world-famous and massive to the tiny and refreshing, these picks will put a smile on your face and a click in your camera.
You may find it hard to find a spot to throw your wishful pennies, but Crown Fountain at Millennium Park should top your bucket list of must-see Chicago fountains. Completed by Spanish Artist Jaume Plensa in 2004, this fountain is unique because of its use of modern mixed media (light, LED display and water). Even if you've seen this now-iconic masterpiece, be sure to check it out again after it's renovation this winter. The technology has been updated with new energy efficient LED screens that adjust to light levels, making for a more consistent viewing of the rotating images. Pack a swim diaper and change of clothes because the fountain's two 50-foot glass-brick towers joined by a 232-foot long granite pool invite visitors to ditch their shoes and take a respite from the summer sun. The faces appearing on the towers were taken from a cross-section of 1,000 Chicago residents and are modern interpretations of traditional gargoyles in fountains from which water, a symbol of life, flows from an open mouth. The fountain is open daily from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. and the water flows mid-spring to mid-fall.
201 E. Randolph St.
photo: Crown Fountain by Chris Oakley via Flickr
Know of a fountain that’s perfect for pictures (and your pennies)? Let us know in the Comments!
— Maria Chambers