Playgrounds You Have to See to Believe
When was the last time you took your kids to the park and wished that you were still able to monkey around on the playground equipment without pulling out your back? While your days of playground romping may be a thing of the past, kids nowadays are lucky to have some awesome play structures at their disposal. Check out these jaw-dropping playgrounds that really make us wish we were kids again.
Open-Air Museum, Hakone, Japan
This brightly colored netting was hand-handcrafted by by artist Toshiko Horiuchi Macadam and is suspended within a dome comprised of over 500 timber logs. Designed to imitate animal nests, the Rainbow Nest Dome offers tons of room to climb around like a spider. Scattered throughout the enclosed space are large cushions and even a maze.
The Blue Whale, Gothenburg, Sweden
Designed and built by the Danish company Monstrum, this 50 foot blue whale has a netted “baleen” mouth that little shrimp can crawl through and explore the pink and white painted interior of the whale’s belly.
Magic Mountain Playground at Coyote Point Park – San Mateo, Ca
Little knights and princesses will be beside themselves as they storm up the steps of this massive 2 story castle complete with a moat, slides and tunnels, and even a giant purple dragon! They can survey their kingdom from the lookout tower and peer down into the secondary play area right next to the castle. The smaller play area is great for the littler set (ages 1-3).
Nishi Rokugo Koen (Tire Park) – Tokyo, Japan
Ever wonder what happens to old tires? At Japan’s Tire Park, they are transformed into a unique playground that’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before. This park boasts over 3,000 tires organized into different play areas and structures including a tire Godzilla, a giant tire robot, tire swings made out of huge tractor tires, and a tire slide.
Adventure Playground – Berkeley, Ca
Imagine a place where kids have free reign to design, build, and create their own playground, mix in a little creativity and paint and you’ve got Adventure Playground. Everything at this park is the result of kids’ imagination, that means there’s no shortage of cool structures to climb up, slide down, or jump on. The park is designed for kids over the age of seven, but younger kiddos are welcome with an adult by their side.
The Fruit and Scent Playground, Liljeholmen, Sweden
You may tell your kids to not play with their food, but at this Swedish park, kids can play with food to their heart’s content. Located outside of Stockholm, this playground has cherry swings, an orange see-saw, and a banana slide. An hour or two here might make everyone a little hungry.
Jungle Gym at The Nashville Zoo, Nashville, Tn
This 35 foot wooden behemoth is the centerpiece of the playground at the Nashville Zoo. Toted as the largest community-organized playground in the country, it has over 66,000 square feet of free space where kids can run wild in between animal feedings and zoo shows. The Jungle Gym also has hidden slides, a cargo net area, rope swings, and even its own bat cave.
Fantasy Playground in Hoenderloo, The Netherlands
This whimsical playground looks like it emerged from the pages of a fairy tale story, with its cottage-like play structures and wavy architecture.
Bible Story Park, Parker, SD
Maintained by the First Baptist Church of Parker, South Dakota, Bible Story Park features play structures that are based on passages from the Bible including Jonah and the Whale, David and Goliath, and the 10 commandments. They even have a music installation for those kiddos with rhythm.
Teardrop Park, New York City, NY
We’re all about finding hidden gems in our cities. Teardrop Park is quietly nestled between residential buildings in Battery Park City and isn’t very busy because it’s not so easy to find. Little explorers can traverse the park’s rock outcroppings, wander along the secret path, or fly down the giant slide. For the more low key kids, there are sandboxes, a water play area, and a reading space with rock seats.
Parque Gulliver (Gulliver Park), Valencia, Spain
Lilliputians of all sizes can play across this giant depiction of Lemuel Gulliver, the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels. His entire body is an interactive playground, from the hidden caves in his sleeves to the staircases in his legs and slides in his hair.
Pier 6 Playground, Brooklyn, NY
Residents of Brooklyn are lucky to have this awesome playground in Brooklyn Bridge Park. There’s the Sandbox Village with log cabin-style hideouts and a wooden train to spur the imaginations of kids ages 2-5. The more adventurous set can explore the mountain playground with its sloping drop slide and climbing structures. And kids of all ages will happily splash through the levels of fountains and sprinklers of the Water Lab, open all summer.
Helen Diller Playground at Dolores Park, San Francisco, Ca
The newest addition to accompany the stunning views of the city at Dolores Park, this playground is the hotspot for both kids and parents. It features the traditional swings and sandbox, a forty foot long “super” slide, climbing spots, and even musical instruments.
Franklin Square Park, Philadelphia, Pa
Not only is this park full of fun things to do, but you’ll learn a little about local history too. The park boasts it’s own Philadelphia-themed miniature golf course, a classic carousel, a burger joint serving the usual summer staples (hot dogs, burgers, milkshakes), a picnic area, and a marble fountain. During the summer months they host a storytelling bench where a member of Once Upon a Nation will sit down and share engaging tales of the park’s past and surrounding areas.
Diana Memorial Playground, London, UK
Located next to the late Princess’ Kensington Palace home, the Diana Memorial Playground is a magical wonderland for kids who love to play and explore. Throughout the park are teepees, a nature trail, and even a beach with a fantastic-looking pirate ship.
Monstrocity at City Museum, St. Louis, Mo
This metallic mammoth of a playspace is aptly called “Monstrocity.” Reminiscent of a Mad Max, post-apocalyptic-inspired playground, Monstrocity is comprised of wrought iron slinkies, fire trucks, stone turrets, airplane fuselages, slides of all sizes and shapes, and a pair of ball pits designed after, what else? The Thunderdome. Adventurous kids can scramble their way to the very top of this four-story structure.
Which one is your favorite? Got another jaw-dropping playground to share? Leave us a comment below.
– Scott Wardell