Location: Children’s Fountain Park, North Oak Trafficway and NE 32nd Street, Kansas City, MO
Owner: KCMO Parks & Rec
Artist/Designer: Tom Corbin/Bowman Bowman Novick Inc. and Larkin Aquatics
The City of Fountains Foundation holds an endowment for this fountain.
Playful, happy, challenging, thoughtful – all are terms that can be used to describe Kansas City’s Children’s Fountain. The fountain was designed to celebrate children and Kansas City children were used as models for the figures. Local sculptor Tom Corbin created the six figures: Joy posing happily on one pedestal; Meeting Challenges represented by a boy with crutches; a ballerina; a boy playing soccer; a boy standing on his head and a girl wading into the pool of the fountain. They are each 8 to 9 feet tall and were based off of children that lived in his neighborhood.
Fundraising began in 1991, led by Anita Gorman, Northland resident and tireless Kansas City booster, who was President of the Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation Board at the time. The $1.7 million was raised by public and private donations and the sale of dedicatory bricks for placement near the fountain. The fountain was designed by Larkin Aquatics and is one of the largest fountains in Kansas City.
On June 21, 1995, the fountain was turned on. The dedication plaque says: ”The bronze figures represent children everywhere to whom this fountain is dedicated and the activities that shape young lives making childhood a joy.” In the winter of 2015-16, the fountain was renovated and the sculptures were cleaned, giving new life to the fountain and park.
The fountain is located in the small park formed by North Oak Trafficway, NE 32nd and Burlington Street on the land that was donated by the Missouri Department of Transportation. There is parking available on 32nd Street that gives easy access to the fountain.