Playing in the Fountain

“Let’s swim to the moon
Let’s climb through the tide
Surrender to the waiting worlds
That lap against our side.”
― Jim Morrison

Nancy Best Fountain, Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

On Friday the Dallas Photowalk folks had a sunset photowalk planned at Klyde Warren Park here in Dallas. I took the DART train down there – which was good because the traffic was horrific. We met up at six or so, walked around, took some photos of people taking salsa dancing lessons and then walked down to the new Nancy Best Fountain at the East End of the park.

From the website:

By day, the Fountain is an interactive play area for families and a relaxing respite in the heart of Dallas. It features a 5,000-square-foot splash pad, which can accommodate hundreds of children at a time.

By night, just after sunset, the Fountain will come alive for 30 to 45 minutes with dancing water and a choreographed light and music show, which changes monthly.


Guests are encouraged to play in the water—even during the evening performances—making it one of the most unique fountains in the world.

And that is how it was. The summer heat is fading a bit here in Dallas, but it is still plenty hot. Hordes of children played on the vast concrete pad running around between intermittent computer controlled spurts of cooling water.

I tried to buy some food from a nearby truck, but the line and the wait was too long.

Then, as the sun set, the music began and the huge fountain came to life. Colorful giant streams of water burst into the sky, raining down onto the crowd of children who rushed around screaming in joy.

There has been a lot of criticism of this new fountain… it was too expensive/big/Dallas-y/pretentious/obnoxious/wasteful.

for example:

“During a time where there are literally lines of cars over a mile long trying to get donated food, a $10 million fountain just screams ‘Let them eat cake,’” says community activist Soraya Santos. “I’m an art lover, and I am proud of our Arts District and our beautiful downtown parks, and would have loved to see this at any other time, but right now it’s incredibly tone-deaf.”

or another:

A Facebook group called DFW Corona Connection had several posts and comments criticizing the use of the money, suggesting it could’ve been better spent on homeless shelters or other pandemic relief efforts.

“Because a 10 story, $10 million water fountain is exactly what this community needs to bounce back from a pandemic-driven economic crisis. How do you spell tone deaf?” wrote page administrator Josh Smith.

I had read all this and was interested in actually seeing the thing and deciding for myself.

Well, that’s all bullshit. It’s fantastic. Hundreds of kids were having a blast – as were their parents watching them. A free blast, I’ll add. No tax payer money went to the fountain; it was built completely through donations. What is a better way to “bounce back” from the draconian pandemic restrictions than with a unique public space/amenity that brings children and adults together, giving them insane amounts of joy.

I took some photos – they are on my desktop now and I’m working my way through them – you’ll see more than a few here in the coming days. Sorry about that.

2 responses to “Playing in the Fountain

    • I was surprised at how cool it was and how many kids were playing in it. Of course it was a warm, Friday night – it probably won’t be as popular on a weeknight or once the weather cools off (if it ever does). That used to be the lesser-used end of Klyde Warren – they moved the dog park across the street.

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