15 ways to fix Navy Pier
A pie-in-sky makeover that locals and tourist will love.
5. Transform the front lawn into a kids’ “sprayground.”
Navy Pier can get in on the splish-splashy action of Millennium Park’s Crown Fountain by turning its front lawn turf into interactive surf. Gateway Park already boasts an interactive granite fountain with dozens of spouting jets: Why not make the lawn even more kid-friendly with water-blasting minireplicas of old schooners and freighters that once sailed Lake Michigan? The maritime-themed playground could feature ladders and slides, plus helms for “steering” and binocular scopes for “spying.” Attached buckets, water cannons and motion-censored sprayers jutting out from the spongy, water-absorbing ground would keep sea dogs cool. Every 20 minutes, the park could be at “high seas”—with all the sprayers coming on full blast to drench little sailors. In cooler months, it could still be used as a playground, sans the soaking.—Joanna Batt