The Fountain’s plume can go as high as 560 feet!
Fountain Hills just wouldn’t be Fountain Hills without its namesake Fountain! Although not the tallest fountain in the world anymore, it is currently in the top five. The Fountain operates for 15 minutes at the top of each hour from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. It is normally operated with two of three pumps reaching 330 feet high and can be seen for miles around Fountain Hills. On special occasions it is run with all three pumps operating and reaches a lofty height of 560 feet, higher than the Washington Monument!
The Fountain was built in 1970, first operating on December 15th of that year. For more than a decade after its debut, it was the world’s tallest fountain. Its three pumps are driven by three electric motors that each delivers 600 horsepower. All three pumps operating at once require over 1.3 million watts of electrical power. This is equivalent to almost 300 house air conditioners running at once! Normally only two pumps are run which still requires almost 900,000 watts. To put this into perspective, if electricity costs 10 cents per kilowatt hour, it would cost $90.00 to run the Fountain for one hour!
The water is supplied by 30-acre Fountain Lake. The water is extracted from the lake to the pump house on the south side of the lake, where it is pressurized by the electric-motor driven pumps and delivered by pipe to the fountain head in the middle of the lake. This is a large concrete structure resembling a stylized water-lily. Within this structure is a specially designed nozzle that forces the water into a hollow stream six inches in diameter. The purpose of this is to cause the water to disperse into a more graceful plume at the top.
When the Fountain operates at night, lights illuminate the plume from top to bottom. There are lights installed on the concrete fountain head that not only light the structure itself but also shine up on the rapidly ascending stream of water. Two banks of lights on the shore of Fountain Lake light up the plume of water as it widens at the top.
In order to prevent nearby cars and houses from being sprayed with water the Fountain does not operate when the wind exceeds a certain limit. Keep this in mind if your intent is to come to Fountain Hills to enjoy the fountain and it is a windy day.
A double partial rainbow on a windy day.
Enjoying the Fountain
It is definitely worth a drive to Fountain Hills just to see ‘The Fountain’. However, there is so much to do here there is no reason not to make it into a day trip.
Fountain Park not only contains Fountain Lake and The Fountain, but also many acres of beautiful grass, shade trees, picnic pavilions and lakeside benches. It also has a one-mile paved walking trail around the lake, a hiking trail (Lake Overlook Trail) that overlooks the lake, a Splash Park for kids, a Disc (Frisbee) golf course and children’s playgrounds!
A veriety of shops and restaurants are located at the edge of the park and close to it. Euro Pizza & Octagon Café both feature full menus and beautiful patio seating with prime views of the park and The Fountain. La Scala Creamery serves incredible gourmet gelato (similar to very smooth ice cream) and has front-row seating for the Fountain too. Grapeables is a great wine bar with live musical entertainment on the weekends. If you are on a budget, pack a picnic and enjoy it by the lake!
The Fountain is dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day!
Every year a St. Patricks Day Celebration is held at Fountain park, either on St. Patricks Day or on the nearest weekend day. During this event the Fountain is dyed green twice during the day, usually at noon and 5 p.m. The water plume is amazingly green and delights the thousands of onlookers gathered.