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Buckingham Fountain, Chicago

Updated on January 23, 2016

You Just Landed in Chicago. Then What?

You decided to see the Buckingham Fountain Ride within the city, a popular sight located in a large urban park (Grant Park) located in the Loop community area of Chicago. Typically, it’s always best to see this fountain ride between the months of April and October which are the months of operation.

Columbus Drive and Congress Parkway are the intersections that lead near the Grant Park which is why the Buckingham Fountain Ride is regarded as the frontage of Chicago; technically, it welcomes you to Chicago. Right at the entrance of the ride, there are four sea horses that serve as perimeters on the lake. These horses serve strategically to map out the four states that shares Lake Michigan from the western region to the eastern region, in this order: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan; Lake Michigan is represented by the Buckingham Fountain and is one of the five great lakes in the United States of America amongst other lakes that are collectively shared by the Canadians and the Americans.

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Edward Herbert Bennett

Did you know that Edward Herbert Bennett, an architect and city planner designed the Buckingham Fountain which was shaped after the Latona Fountain (Latona is a goddess born by Coeus and Phoebe)? At a construction cost of $750,000, Buckingham Fountain which was dedicated on August 26, 1927 was donated to the city by Kate Buckingham, in memory of her brother, Clarence Buckingham. This is the reason why despite being known as the Buckingham Fountain Ride, the official name of this fountain is Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain.

Constructed with Georgia pink marble, this fountain contains 1,500,000 U.S gallons of water and shoots about 14,000 gallons of water per minute. The water shoots are done on an hourly basis and lasts for about twenty minutes per shoot. You can easily relax, take aqua-inspired photos, have a picnic or watch the water shows on your tour of the fountain.

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Doing the Tour Ride Differently!

Naturally, I should suggest going with a car or scooter, right? But let's do different here and now. Let's do a horse drawn carriage.

There are various horse drawn carriage companies that can take you on a tour of the Buckingham Fountain:

  1. Chicago Horse & Carriage, Ltd: Located at 806 N. Michigan Avenue at the Historic Water Tower, she offers a private specialty ride of the Buckingham Fountain for 2 hours at the rate of $240 i.e. $120 per hour.
  2. Noble Horse Theatre: Located at 1410 N Orleans St, Chicago, she caters to about thirty horses that can be booked for a horse drawn carriage ride through the Buckingham Fountain.
  3. Antique Coach & Carriage: Located at 1410 N Orleans St, you can get an antique ride from this company at $40 - $80 for four passengers.
  4. Great Lakes Horse & Carriage: She offers a 95 minutes ride on Alvin or Bud (her horses) past Millennium Park, the Cultural Center and other exquisite locations down to the Buckingham Fountain at $175 for 1-4 passengers, 5 passengers for $180, and 6 passengers for $185. Her work hours are all through the week (10am – 11pm).

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Still Indecisive?

If you’re yet to make up your mind about visiting, there are some good words on Trip Advisor about horse carriage rides that will make you consider riding in one:

We took the Carriage ride to help us get familiar with the area around the Ritz Carlton. Rush Street is a must and we went back a couple of times. The city did a great job with the dining, bars, parks, and residential housing. The guide was knowledgeable and this was one of the best local tours we've taken. Gave her a nice tip.” – Snorris57

Four people are the same price. With an hour they take you to past historic homes and high end retail. Carriages line up by the water tower near the Hershey and Giradelli stores.” – Diamondbargal

We had never done this before, and what a treat! We started by the Hershey store and could take several routes. The driver was very knowledgeable as we rode through downtown Chicago and pointed out many historical sites and homes. It was very relaxing and a lovely experience. Prices were reasonable.” – Heathergot2

After lots of shopping, this was a treat. The driver was friendly, the carriage comfortable and clean. This was a different pace and we saw several things we had driven right by earlier and did not notice. Very nice!” – Noni E.

The carriage promptly picked us up at 8:00pm at the entrance to the John Hancock tower (we had dinner at the Signature Room). The weather was beautiful - and the driver had a special trip already planned on "Oak Street" to the gazebo so we could get engaged. If it were not for the whole engagement/horse carriage ride thing, I probably would never have done this. However, in the big picture of things, with the pick up at dinner, the 1.5 hour ride, the dozen roses, etc., it worked out well. Like the other reviewer have stated - the driver had some tidbits of information t share - but there really wasn't too much "informative" stuff going on. I'm not sure I really wanted to hear the driver talk - as I really liked the peacefulness of the ride.” – DNLeeper

We took the longer tour because I wanted to see the city and the lakefront. I was so happy we did! It was $60, but for the 3 of us I didn't think it was too expensive. The driver was courteous, but I did think we would get information. At first I was disappointed, but as we went along I was happy not to have the distraction. The girls were pointing out the many sites and were happy for me to give them some background on a few things. The day was perfection and that just added to a great experience! We also just walked up and they were ready to go! No waiting! It was a nice way to see part of the city without driving or going past fast. I would recommend the carriage ride to anyone who wants a leisurely pace through the city!” – Sandra L.

I do hope you get to see the Buckingham Fountain and share your experiences with tourists who are yet to visit.

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