Last week after dinner, Ivo told me to grab my coat– we were going somewhere that was a surprise. The surprise turned out to be The Magical Water Circuit, which is appropriately named: The Guinness Book recognizes the “park” as “largest complex of fountains in the world in a public park,” and it is, indeed, downright magical.
When we first entered, we walked right into a stunning view of the first fountain, which turned out to also be the biggest in the park. The park consists of 13 fountains, each one with a specific name that reflects its “theme.” Admittedly, there wasn’t much depth in terms of theme; the analytical capacity of the park overall could be summed up as “that looks super cool!” That said though, they really did look super cool.
Our walk through the park more or less followed this pattern:
1. Fuente Mágica (Magic Fountain): The biggest fountain in the park. It can shoot the central jet of water over 87 yards (260 ft) into the air. Ivo and I learned this the hard way… Later in the evening, we asked some poor guy to take a photo of us together. A split second after the photo was taken, the fountain shifted into another visual cycle, effectively soaking the photographer and almost soaking both of us.
2. Fuente de la Fantasía (Fantasia Fountain): The longest fountain in the park. It’s used as the backdrop for a projection show each night at 7:15 pm, 8:15 pm and 9:30 pm. By itself this fountain is pretty, but not the best one there. The way they use it for the water show in the evening though is ingenious– rather than making the water “dance” to music, the coordinators have set the fountains to fill the air with mist at the designated times. What you watch is not really a water show, but a light show. It features a combination of green lasers that twist and warp into different geometric shapes, and several recordings of Peruvians performing various traditional dances. Personally, I could have done with less (to no) green laser nonsense and more projections of the recorded human dancers; in the mist, the projections of the dancers is stunning. The light seems to tether them to the projector point even as their giant forms move across the water’s surface; the combination of light, water, and the grace of the dancers is beautiful to see, and adds a touch of culture and history that slightly deepens the more shallow “super cool” attitude of the park.
While working our way deeper into the Circuit, we wandered past several very viable proposal spots (which later in the evening other young couples creatively opted to employ as make out spots), a selection of Dr. Seuss trees, and an impressive view of the National Football Stadium.
3. Fuente Tangüis (Tangüis Fountain): The story behind this one is more interesting than the fountain itself: The bursts of water are meant to be flowers, which give thanks to Fermín Tangüis (1851 to 1930), a Puerto Rican agriculturist who developed a seed that saved Peru’s cotton industry.
4. Cúpula Visitable (Walk-in Dome): This fountain began the patten of water structures that actually encouraged you to interact with them. Jets of water arc towards the misty center of the fountain to form a dome; the spaces between are wide enough that you can inside the dome without getting wet.
5. Fuente de la Ilusión: (Fountain of the Illusion): This fountain was simple but elegant; as a child, I wouldn’t have stopped to look at it. As an adult, I enjoyed watching the misty color changes for a few minutes before letting Ivo pull me along to the next attraction.
6. Fuente de la Armonía (Fountain of Harmony): A pyramid formed by four bars and the lines of water that flow from each one. The illusion is a semi-solid pyramid; so far as capturing harmony goes, this one did quite well. The concept was simple, but the final effect was very peaceful. This one made my top three favorites!
7. Túnel de las Sorpresas (Tunnel of Surprises): Speaking of my top three favorites, this was number two. Again, the concept is simple, but the effect is fantastic. This “fountain” is row of water arcs that create a tunnel of water you can walk through while staying (relatively) dry.
8. Fuente del Arco Iris (Rainbow Fountain): A set of vertical water spurts of different heights, each lit up with color, to create a water rainbow. This one definitely tends toward the “that looks super cool” concept, but I have to admit, it accomplishes the goal.
9. Laberinto del Ensueño (Labyrinth of the Dream): Although the overall experience makes the Water Circuit worth the first visit, this fountain makes me want to return again and again. Especially in the evening, when white lights make the Labyrinth glow and shimmer like something in the middle of a fairy glen, this interactive fountain is a must-see. The “goal” (besides just enjoying the view or, I imagine, cooling off in the summer) is to dance and hop your way to the safe, dry center of the fountain before the jets burst up again, either soaking you or forcing you to stand rod-straight in a cornfield of head-high glowing jets of water. Ivo tried his best to get me to join the screaming girls in the center, but they were soaked, and on my first attempt to hop into just the outermost ring I almost got blasted. On a warmer day during the summer though, I would gladly brave the Labyrinth.
10. Fuente de la Vida (Fountain of Life): “Life” bursts forth from this fountain at all angles, surrounding a spotlighted central spiral sculpture. I was surprised this one wasn’t featured more prominently or wasn’t a bit bigger, given that the uniting idea behind the water park is, accurately enough, “water” (a museum-like tunnel in the center of the park gives viewers a walk through of all the ways water is essential to life).
11. Fuente de las Tradiciones (Fountain of Traditions): In comparison to the others, this fountain was apparently already in place in the original park here. Though it was modernized in order to hold its own in the new park, its structure and location is essentially the same as ever. On a related note, there was apparently some heated discussion over the value of a $13 million water park, especially one that would charge visitors a fee (albeit just $1.50) to enter what was originally a public space. However, the place seems to be a huge success; in 2008, the park received its 2 millionth visitor.
12. Fuente de los Niños (Fountain of the Children): Although the Labyrinth is the superior attraction, this would offer a world of fun for children visiting the park too. Gentle jets of water erupt randomly from a grid of lighted panels.
13. Río de los Deseos (River of Wishes): The river does not stand out among the fountains; in fact, I would say it doesn’t stand out enough period… I about wandered straight into it while walking past the Fountain of Traditions. This would have been highly unpleasant, since it looks to be about thigh deep.