Say cheese at 8 photo-worthy urban fountains where the kids will love making a splash. Water is already a mesmerizing kid magnet––and these delightful springs feature everything from life-size breaching whales and frolicking dolphins to 20 foot high spray. Read on to see where to get soaked, strike a pose, or toss your pennies to make a wish.

Photo: Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Birch Aquarium
Have a whale of a time at the entrance to Birch Aquarium where you’ll behold this towering spectacle of a fountain called “The Legacy.” At the time of its installation in 1996, The Legacy was the only life-size bronze sculpture of gray whales in the entire world. Standing tall at a height of 39 feet and 10 inches, it’s also the second largest bronze sculpture ever cast in the U.S. The breaching gray whale and calf are in one fountain and the diving tail of a third gray whale is in a second fountain. Be sure to read the accompanying sign next to this epic art form to learn a bunch of fun facts about gray whales. Then head into the aquarium for even more ocean-inspired good times.

2300 Expedition Way
La Jolla, Ca 92037
858-534-3474
Online: aquarium.ucsd.edu
Hours: Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Photo: William Zain via Flickr

Waterfront Park
Downtown San Diego’s wettest attraction features two separate water areas on both sides of the County Administrative building, as well as a cool playground. Kids can test the waters and dip their toes in the giant shallow pools, then run through the fountains that spray overhead. The water feature — combined with innovative play equipment at the playground and a lovely view of the ships will keep kids occupied for hours.

1600 Pacific Hwy.
San Diego, Ca 92101
Online: sdcounty.ca.gov/parks/Waterfrontpark.html
Hours: Daily, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Photo: Lionel & Heidi via Flickr

Balboa Park
Kids will gravitate toward the elegant Bea Evenson Fountain that boasts spray that can shoot 20 feet into the air. Cool down on a warm day by splashing about in this beautiful oasis named after a famous San Diego activist who gathered her allies and founded the Committee of 100 in 1967 to help protect and preserve the Spanish Colonial architectural treasures of Balboa Park. Read our guide to this number one California attraction to see what to do in Balboa Park after you visit the fountain.

1549 El Prado
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-239-0512
Online: balboapark.org
Hours: Open 24 hours/day

Photo: Beth Shea

UTC Westfield Mall
You’ll find another delightful ocean-themed play fountain in La Jolla at UTC Westfield Mall. Friendly, frolicking dolphins swim and leap through this long-stretching pool of water that kids will no doubt want to walk alongside.

Photo: Beth Shea

Also, a short stroll away from the dolphin fountain at UTC, pack your pennies to toss into this floral, mosaic-trim beauty (also at the mall) and make a wish!

4545 La Jolla Village Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92122
858-546-8858
Online: westfield.com/utc/
Hours: Daily 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Photo: Beth Shea

Del Mar Highlands Town Center
Splashing in an outdoor fountain may not be what you think of when you imagine this upscale shopping center. But it’s exactly what kids love about Del Mar Highlands Town Center. Located on the lower-level of the center is an outdoor sprinkler fountain that shoots water high up in the air. Luckily for parents, there are benches, tables and bleacher seats just out of reach from the splashing. So you can enjoy a latte while the kiddos splash in this fun spot. For a quick treat before or after getting wet, stop in for a cup of frozen yogurt at Carmel Valley Swirls, located right next to the fountain.

12925 El Camino Real
Del Mar, Ca 92130
858-793-5757
Online: delmarhighlandstowncenter.com
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Photo: City of San Marcos Website

Lakeview Park Fountain
Take in the beautiful view of Discovery Lake while enjoying this San Marcos water feature. The wading fountain is powered by well water and perfect for all ages, including smaller children who just want to get their feet wet. If you want to see the fountain spring up, schedule your water play for when it turns on. Lakeview Fountain operates daily and turns on for 15-minute intervals at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. When kiddos are done splashing, check out the ducks at the lake — only a short walk away from the water play area.

Foxhall Dr. and Buckhorn Ave.
San Marcos, Ca 92078
Online: http://www.san-marcos.net/
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Photo: Otay Ranch Town Center

Otay Ranch Town Center Popper Fountains
Kids will love getting their splash on at this Chula Vista mall water spot. The fountain is right next to the mall’s food court, making it super easy to grab a quick bite before water play. The small surrounding grassy area is a good spot to take food and have a picnic. Kids who don’t feel like getting wet can still keep busy with the provided chalk, off to the side of the fountain.

2015 Birch Road Ste. 500
Chula Vista, Ca 91915
Online: otayranchtowncenter.com/dining-entertainment
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Where’s your favorite fountain in San Diego? Let us know in the comments.

––- Marissa Mullen and Beth Shea