8 fun fountains Chicago families should know about

Sure, you already know Buckingham and Crown Fountains, but so does every tourist who sets foot in our fair city. But if you want to prove your “local” cred, these eight fabulously fun fountains are must-sees—and just might help you cool off on some of these sweltering Chicago days.

The Children’s Fountain

It’s right there in the name—this fountain is just for the littles in your life. Chicago’s first female mayor, Jane Byrne, helped create the fountain to honor the city’s kids, and its figures of frolicking children will get yours in a playful mood. It can be found in Lincoln Park, not far from the Chicago History Museum.

The Wild Fountain

Thirsty? If you’re spending the day at Lincoln Park Zoo, the answer is probably yes. Head to the communal watering holes—aka water fountains—where you can slurp up some refreshment with a pride of lions, mother-and-baby elephant pair or a sextet of woodland creatures.

The Historic Fountain

During the summer, an eight-story jet of water arcs over the Chicago River at McClurg Court, making for a stunning sight. If the breeze is just right, you just might catch a little mist in your face! The Centennial Fountain commemorates the reversal of the Chicago River, so try to squeeze in a mini history lesson while you’re there.

The Cool-Off Fountain

Sure, you can run past the water coursing down Crown Fountain, but you can run through the water here. Mary Bartelme Park in the West Loop has a fountain that guards its entrance—and the five stainless steel arches release a fine mist of water on hot days.

The Escalator Fountain

If you’re dragging your kids along for a little retail therapy, the promise of this fountain might be good to have in your back pocket. They’ll love watching balls of water pop up as they ride the escalator in Water Tower Place so much, you might be the one begging them to head for the car.

The Wish Fountain

If you’re looking for a place to toss your pennies, the Wicker Park Fountain (officially, Gurgoyle Fountain) is a picture-perfect spot. The granite base and cast-iron center practically beg to grant your dearest wishes—and come the holidays, it lights up with the best of ‘em.

The Restful Fountain

Take a break from your busy day at the Art Institute with a breather in McKinlock Court, where the Fountain of the Tritons offers a soothing space (and maybe some giggles at the naked statues). Best of all, the courtyard is attached to the Museum Café, which offers kid faves and sweet treats.

The Tropical Fountain

As far as tropical oases go, Navy Pier’s Crystal Gardens are pretty top-of-the-line. Add in the dancing leapfrog fountains just begging to be run through, and your kids will think it’s just as good as a vacation to Fiji. Afterward, order a Mai Tai from Harry Caray’s Tavern for the true experience.

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