We were in downtown Chicago today and thought about taking a walk around Grant Park. It dawned on me that my kids have never been to Buckingham Fountain. We walked through Grant Park, down to Congress Parkway and Colombus Drive where the fountain is located.
Lilia and Franky made a break for the fountain and both were wishing we could jump in since it was a hot day. We did the next best thing and bought ice cream from a vendor and watched the fountain while trying to eat the cold, sticky treats before they melted.
After admiring Buckingham Fountain, we walked further down the steps in front of the fountain and across Lake Shore Drive to the lakefront. It was a warm, sunny and near cloudless day so there were boats sailing by, joggers, bike riders and people strolling along the lake.
Buckingham Fountain History
Grant Park is a must see in Chicago and Buckingham Fountain is one of its crowning jewels. It opened May 26, 1927 and was designed by architect Edward H. Bennett along with French sculptor Marcel Loyau and engineer Jacques H. Lambert.
The fountain was dedicated as a gift from Kate Buckingham in honor of her brother. The official name is the Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain.
The fountain's design was not only influenced by the Latona Basin at Versailles, but also by Lake Michigan. In fact, the seahorses in the fountain represent the four states that border the lake: Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana.
When to visit
From April to mid-October beginning at 9:00 a.m. and every hour on the hour for 20 minutes, Buckingham Fountain produces a major water display where the center jet shoots 150 feet into the air.
Beginning at dusk, the fountain's major water display is accompanied by a major light and music display. The final display of the evening begins at 10:35 p.m.
Don't forget about this landmark in the winter. During the holiday season, Buckingham Fountain is lit up by thousands of Christmas lights.
The fountain is gorgeous at any time, but I personally think it's exceptionally beautiful at night. During its design, Kate Buckingham envisioned that the fountain would glow like "soft moonlight." As is such, the fountain is home to 820 shimmering lights.
Learn more about Buckingham Fountain from the Chicago Park District by clicking here.
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