14 Dramatic Fountains That Have Very Little Chill
Atlas Obscura readers recommend their favorite over-the-top water features from across the globe.
During hot summer months, when the pavement is boiling and the air gets thick, a nice big fountain can be a perfect place to chill out and cool down. But at the same time, some of the world’s most appealing public fountains are, shall we say, not very chill in terms of design. Dramatic water features—whether they incorporate a mess of baroque statuary, fire streams of water high into the sky, or look like something from the far-off future—are often mesmerizing to behold. We recently asked Atlas Obscura readers in our Community forums to tell us about the most unforgettable fountains they’ve ever seen, and the responses were stunning.
Take a look at a selection of our favorite submissions below, and if you have an amazing fountain of your own that you’d like to recommend, head over to the forums and keep the conversation going!
Occidental College Fountain
Los Angeles, California
“Recognize this bad boy?! Well, you should! It appears in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. It’s called the Gilman fountain, and it’s on Occidental College’s campus in Los Angeles.” — Anne_Ewbank
Changi Airport Indoor Waterfall
“I find many fountains around the world are beautiful but for me the prettiest is…” — Tibz_Traveller
Peterhof Palace Fountains
Saint Petersburg, Russia
“The fountains at Peterhof (Petrodvorets), Saint Petersburg, Russia.” — jgreen31
Point State Park Fountain
“Point State Park Fountain, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania marks the beginning of the mighty Ohio River, and is legendarily fed by Pittsburgh’s ‘Fourth’ River.” — jgotaskie
“The Fasnachts-Brunnen by Jean Tinguely, a kinetic artwork in Basel, Switzerland.” — effka
Witley Court Fountain
“I also love the fountains at Witley Court in England, because they’re in a lovely garden, with a ruined manor house, which equals a magical visit.” — myra
“The Stravinsky Fountain, as its name implies, represents the musical work of Igor Stravinsky. I thoroughly enjoyed the whimsical magic of this delightful fountain in Paris next to the Center Pompidou.” — psundik
Longwood Gardens Fountains
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
“The fountains at Longwood Gardens at Kennett Square, near Philadelphia are amazing. They’re influenced by the great fountains of Europe, built by Pierre DuPont in the 1920s. Longwood and its fountains are a must-see.” — sidraisch
Plaza Venezuela Fountain
“The Water Dome at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. When originally built, the pumps available to Wright weren’t powerful enough to create the dome-like spray he envisioned. It wasn’t until 2007 that the school, which boasts the largest collection of Wright structures, restored the fountain and outfitted it with sufficient equipment to realize Wright’s vision.” — jdoddtampa
Villa d’Este Fountains
“Do we count Villa d’Este as one? Because it could make a hall-of-fame just by itself.” — MisterCustomer
“Ever heard of the little town of Kaatsheuvel in The Netherlands? If yes, you will immediately say ‘The Efteling.’ And when visiting this fairytale amusement park, you will remember Aquanura for sure. Built around the Frog King fairy tale, it will leave you speechless.” — siejoenl
J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain
Kansas City, Missouri
“All of the 48 publicly-owned fountains in Kansas City, Missouri! All are beautiful and this is just one example of the many fountains there!” — carmen333b
Fountain Hills, Arizona
“The world’s fourth tallest fountain. It reaches 560 feet.” — SirNick
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
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