The fountain runs from May 1 to October 31. During that period, it will operate for an hour at a time at 10a, 12p, 2p, and 4p each day.
To make the most of this free, local, super-wet activity, parents should follow this advice:
1. Go heavy on the sunscreen. There is zero shade around the fountain, so both you and your children will be exposed to the summer sun for as long as you're there. You might consider hitting the park closer to 10 am or after 4 pm to avoid the harshest summer rays.
2. Bring a towel and a change of clothes. Your child doesn't have to wear a bathing suit in the fountain (and mine have spent many a morning getting their clothes drenched in it), but it makes for a miserable ride home if they don't have dry clothes to wear. If you might be stopping by the fountain, grab a towel and some spare clothes just in case either their clothes accidentally get wet or there's a bathing suit malfunction that would otherwise keep them out of the water.
3. Wear water shoes or sandals with traction. Again, there are no rules about what to wear in the fountain, but the base and ground around it are extremely slick when wet. With children running in and out, and water splashing everywhere, the chances your child will slip or stub his/her toe are high. Water shoes or sandals with good tread that can get wet (like crocs) are ideal.
4. Pack water and good snack. The sun is beating down and your child is running and jumping and laughing like a crazy person. These are perfect conditions for dehydration (because they're having too much fun to stop for drinks). Make sure to offer some ice, cold water and your child's favorite snack (best options are cold fruit like chilled grapes or watermelon) throughout your time at the park.
5. Bring a chair or blanket. The park offers a few benches, but on hot summer days, you'll likely discover other parents already camped out on them. Make sure you're comfortable and can enjoy your time at the park, too, by bringing a chair or picnic blanket to chill out on.
If you follow this advice, you're guaranteed to have a great time without any regrets. And after you're done, head over to one of downtown's many shops or restaurants for treats and refreshments!