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.

Buckingham Fountain

A list isn't complete without mentioning this Grant Park gem, arguably the most well known fountain around. Open to the public in 1927, architect Edward H. Bennett designed it to be a focal point for Grant Park without obstructing views of Lake Michigan, in which it was designed to symbolize. The enormity of the lake is embodied by the 15,000 gallons of water re-circulated every minute and the water displays that shoot as high as 150 feet from the ground - something that’s guaranteed to impress the kids! The four states that border Lake Michigan are represented in the four sets of Art Deco-style sea horses in the massive lower basin. The fountain runs from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. daily from April to mid-October and a 20-minute water show begins every hour on the hour.

Columbus Drive  & Congress Parkway
Grant Park
312-742-7529
Online: chicagoparkdistrict.com

photo: Buckingham Fountain by Dan Perry via Flickr

Know of a fountain that’s perfect for pictures (and your pennies)? Let us know in the Comments!

— Maria Chambers