#980 Old, dangerous playground equipment


Slides used to be dangerous.

After climbing up those sandy, metal crosstrax steps you got to the top and stared down at that steep ride below. The slide was burning hot to the touch, a stovetop set to high all day under the summer sun, just waiting to greet the underside of your legs with first-degree burns as you enjoyed the ride. It also smelled like hot pee, years of nervous children with leaky diapers permanently marking it as their territory. Lastly, to top it all off, there were no cute plastic siderails or encapsulated tube-slides, which meant that if you went too fast or aimed your legs poorly, your shoes would grip-skid on the metal, and you’d spill over the side, landing face down with a sickening thud in a bed of pebbles, cigarette butts, and milk thistles.

World of Unimaginable DizzinessIt wasn’t just slides, either. Everything in the playground was more dangerous. And they were different and unique, seemingly put together by the neighborhood handymen who in a burst of creative energy one Saturday morning emptied their garages of old tires, 2x4s, and chains and just nailed it all together.

There were wooden tightrope beams suspended high in the air, daring the confident, athletic kids to attempt a slow, heart-pounding highwire walk while other kids encouragingly showered them with handfuls of sand and pine cones.

There were fire poles two stories high — just a cheap, simple pole planted deep in the ground. It was popular, and educational too, quietly introducing children to concepts like gravity, friction, and badly sprained ankles. There was a certain Fire Pole Form too, a kind of arms-on, cross-legged-spider-wrap maneuver that was both awkward and majestic at the same time.

PerfectAnd of course, there was my favorite — the Big Spinner, also known as a Merry-Go-Round, but not the kind with lights and plastic horses going up and down. This was just a giant metal circle that laid about a foot off the ground and could be spun, usually by someone standing beside it. If you were lucky you’d get a pile of kids on there and somebody’s mom or dad would kindly whip you into a World of Unimaginable Dizziness. A couple kids would fly off from the G-forces but most would hang on, teeth gritted, eyes squinted, cheeks flapping wildly against the wind, until the Big Spinner reluctantly came to a slow stop and finally let you off. Then you’d all walk away in different directions, some kids hitting tree trunks head on, others falling down nearby hills.

These days those classic playgrounds sure are hard to come by.

Safe and aloneEverything is plastic now — unaffected by temperature, easy to disinfect, and bendable into all kinds of Safe-T-Shapes, the sharp, rusty nail heads of yesterday replaced with non-toxic washable adhesives poured from a cauldron of polymers and Purell. Now not only are our kids getting lame baby-approved fun, but just think what we’re doing to the tetanus shot industry.

Seriously though, new playgrounds sure are terrible. This guy agrees. They say that playgrounds have gotten too safe and become so sterile and boring that kids just walk away from them, preferring instead to hang out in the weeds by the railroad tracks or throw bottles in the alley behind the pizza place. Kids could actually be placed in more danger by these lame plastic netherworlds that encourage more video game time instead of fresh air and bruising. Another blow to childhood struck by overprotective parents and pesky lawsuits.

Going nowhereWell, we can’t change the world, so let’s just enjoy the good news: old, fun, dangerous playgrounds are not completely extinct. Yes, the Safety Conglomerate hasn’t killed all the buzz with their rocking horses two inches off the ground, pillowy-soft imitation sand, and stationary, bolted-on steering wheels. Old, dangerous playground equipment can still be found. They’re out there.

So please — when you find monkey bars taunting you from ten feet off the ground, extended see-saws that allow for maximum elevation, and rickety, sagging rope bridges with planks missing, please, run around like crazy, bump your head a few times, and twist your ankle. Because tell me something– is there anything quite like it?


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518 thoughts on “#980 Old, dangerous playground equipment

      1. I was on one of the old – fashioned one that go 10 feet in the air and aren’t even connected to anything, just a board and a metal pole, and the guy i was on it with leaped into the air, full force, and we totally dislodged the entire see- saw, and flew we 5 feet off the ground. We both broke bones, but I think it was the most fun I’ve ever had at a park.

        1. Classic and wonderful. I wish I’d been there to watch you, him and the see-saw go flying. I SWEAR I wouldn’t have run to tattle!

      2. Teeter-totters? Known as a see-saw anywhere else in the non-American continent English-speaking world. Yes, they can be dangerous. In the early 70s I went forward on one when it went back. Knocked out my remaining front tooth and hurt like hell.

        1. “Teeter-totters? Known as a see-saw anywhere else in the non-American continent English-speaking world.” Yeah–so? What’s your point? Got issues with the word “teeter-totter”? It’s known as “teeter-totter” here. Get over it.

      3. A: it is called a sea saw, but thats not what the problem is here. B: learn what their, there, and they’re are

    1. Duh!….then unwrap it!…but then I was more worried about getting hit in the face……then remember to duck next time. Get a grip, everyone…and get out of this nanny state mentality.

  1. Nothing like sliding down that frying pan chute wearing shorts. 3rd degree burns in then span of about 6 feet. Wouldn’t trade those memories for the plastic bore of today.

    1. amen to that, although plastic does get hot it’s just not the same. I will disagree on one point, sand, I hated sand as a kid and like the weird feel of the rubber stuff, so keep the metal slide and put down some rubber stuff…

    2. I miss those tall slides-sometimes double-those swings,merry-go-rounds,tether ball,monkey bars,swings that swung to the stars–drive ins,those horse-swings that sweeked,etc..where are they? are they anywhere to be found? Can we just create them for ourselves to enjoy?!

      1. I am a 64 yr. old kid at heart & am always on the lookout for a very tall old fashioned slide. Our lake had them in the water, what a trip to travel on. So fast and a great splash at the end. Yup, my favorite childhood memory.

  2. Those old aluminum swingsets that pulled halfway out of the ground when you really got the swings going.

  3. You westerners are soft. When I was kid, my playground was broken T64 tank and we play hopscotch around anti personel mines!

    1. On the grand tour of east Germany with the family, we came across a rest area with a HUGE slide, the likes of which my young American backside had never slid. So we climbed up the two stories of rickety stairs, hit our heads a couple of times on splintery 2x4s and waited in line to go down a slide so curvy and steep 2 of us almost went over the side and one of us actually did. And then we all piled back in the rental car and drove on, never to see so awesome a slide again.

      1. Hi Bucky,
        I’ve been googling for an hour now and just found your blurb. My brother and I (born in the 50’s) were discussing this exact playground piece of equipment, but I was unsuccessful finding much at all about the ‘flying merry-go-round’!!! I’ll keep researching the manufacturer (which I’m certain is out of business)!!! Let’s be glad we survived!!!

        1. Hiya Julie…

          Those are called ” GIANT STRIDES ” and the best time a kid could have… for me at least… I would wrap my chain across the top of the other kids chains as many times as I could… put my elbow through the chains and hold on with my armpit on the bar and my hand on the chain… The other kids would take off running…and I would take off flying !! The only danger I had was coming back down into the chains and bars the other kids jumped off of… Sometimes a trip to the nurses office…But always … Back to the GIANT STRIDER !!

          1. I used to play on the Giant Strides also. I am looking for a photo of one can you help and also a May Pole.

          2. Supposedly Sunrise Park in Paris, Illinois, still has them (unless they were removed after the 2008 ruling that any park with them automatically loses any lawsuit related to playground injuries, regardless of the scope of the injury and regardless of what equipment actually caused the injury)

            Here’s a link: http://www.parisillinois.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128&Itemid=148

            If they’re still there, anyone care to go and take a video for Youtube?

          3. I would go with!!(I’m from Illinois! Loved the Drive-in movies they had too!!–Why not bring some of this back?? (that’s why we don’t have Merry-go-rounds (with the horses) much anymore either;-unsafe–sad!

          4. The best was the unsafe playground at the drive in! AWESOME! I’ve been looking for a drive in theater to take my daughter. What could be better as a kid? A night of swings, slides and merry-go-rounds, followed by hot dogs, popcorn, and coke and a double feature.

        2. I do have photos of the giant strider… But now that you know what it is called…You can probably find it under old playground equipment…

        3. Julie,
          What you’re calling the “flying merry-go-round” may be what’s called the “Giant Stride”. We had one on our elementary school playground, but we didn’t call it that. Can’t remember what we did call it, though. I hope you find what you’re looking for. Do check out the Giant Stride.

    2. Man–I miss hopscotch even…Sorry about your playground!! War is awful—But your never too old to play! We can still!!

  4. I guess I’m not the only one who hates the current crop of soccer mom approved playground equipment. I’m currently building a 200 foot long zip line from the top of my property to the bottom (large LARGE hill). It’ll also require climbing up a 30 foot ladder to get to said zip line as well. There’s also a tree house, standing 30 feet up as well.

    All dad approved. Fuck these fucking soccer mom pussies who think little Johnny is too fucking lame to play on “dangerous” playground equipment. WE SURVIVED THEM.


    1. I bet you never experienced a severe head injury that almost took your life, the experience of seizures, never being able to play in sports, and having to learn so much over again in order to succeed in school. Spending too much time in and out of the hospital. Life long trauma experience of falling from a 12 foot slide on to the surface of cement!

      To those parents out their who lost their child because the equipment was designed poorly and stranguled to death or had several broken bones from falling in between monkey bars or having their jaw shoved up into their skull from this equipment. Recently, a 3 yr old climbed up on the horizontal ladder at a preschool and got his neck stuck in between the bars. How long did it take before some one noticed this? How about reading the daily injury reports that come across the director’s desk because improper use of equipment, risky behavior, or children not using age appropriate equipment causes emergency medical attention? There is over 200 thousand injuries a year. Highest rate from falling from obsolete equipment onto improper surfaces. Read up on this buddy!

      1. Does anyone remember that suspended-ring contraption that you grabbed onto, ran, and pulled your legs up to send you flying in a circle? There was a pole with a metal cap that rotated and had chains radiating down from it that led to a large circular metal bar (Imagine a big umbrella without the canvas). When there was an imbalance of kids, those on the light side would be tilted high up (I remember actually going into tree branches one time). My friend lost his grip and flew off into a fence – he needed several stitches – but they kept the thing up (it may still be there). I cannot believe this thing was ever deemed acceptable! Does anyone know what it was called?

        1. I think it was called the Octopus. Just this summer we came across one in a little country park in North Central Montana located in the Sweet Grass Hills. My 87 year old father took pictures of his 50 something year old kids trying to hang on for dear life and ride it. It was great!

          1. Jim,
            I would love to see the pictures! Do you know the name of the equipment? I grew up in the Midwest, but all of the playgrounds have been replaced.

          2. Our elementary school in Kansas had two of those. On one, the center pole was only about 12 feet high; it was for the little kids. The second one had a center pole about 18 feet high, and nearly a foot in diameter. The chains hung down with two hand grips, one placed above the other.

            It was fun to ride alone on summer days, but all the loose chains would keep circling too, so you had to be sharp not to get hit in the head by five or six of them when you stopped.

            We always called them “Giant Strides” because that’s what you were doing.

          3. Julie–I grew up in the midwest too– do you know if the equipment in the park in Centralia, Salem, or any of those towns has been replaced?

          4. yup it was called the octopus…..you had to have some strong arms to hang on as the centrifugal force pried your fingers off the hard metal handles..they had an octopus in the rich neighbourhood park….we had painted dump truck tires……sweet.

        2. Can you or anyone, tell me the name of a piece of back yard play equipment…it was metal, had 4 “spokes” with seats attached and we would pump with our arms and feet and go around and around…this is driving me nuts…hope someone can answer:)

          1. we are trying to find photos of this ride, did anyone know what it is called. i know it as the puke a lator.

          2. It was a merry-go-round of sorts, right? And you ultimately needed 4 people all pushing and pulling in unison to make the contraption go round, or at least two people sitting across from each other to balance everything out. My parents actually have one in the backyard! It still works to this day, and is as disorienting as always. Best ride ever!

          3. Could take a picture of it if your parents still have it, pleeeeease? I’m looking for a photo of one to no avail, but then I don’t know what it is called either. We had one when I was growing up. I don’t know of any other kids who had one.

          4. I have pictures of our old one, can’t remember what it was called either. Let me know where to send them if you still need them.

          5. I have been looking for this also! I loved it as a kid. I think my mom bought it with Raleigh stamps or Buckeye stamps. Did you get a picture? I would love to have a copy.

          6. The flying dutchman or the flying Jenni? I am looking for pictures of these. Can’t find any on internet so far.

        3. I don’t remember what this contraption was called but the 6th graders used to give the other kids what they called “high-rides” which Becky describes above.

          The ring was jammed up against the pole with a several of us hanging on for dear life on the other end while they spun the thing around at top speed. It was a process of elimination, they would keep going until only one of us remained. I think there was woodchips around the immediate base but of course by the time you were thrown off the top end of the ring, a good 15 feet up, the centrifugal force would throw you well beyond any soft landing onto the rough asphalt beyond.

          1. Ian,
            Be thankful that you had wood chips!!! I remember asphalt! There are a group of us that want to know the ‘name’ of this playground equipment that I call the ‘flying merry-go-round’!!! Keep in touch!

        4. Here in NH, we had one of those many, many years ago and we called it the Witches Hat. We loved that thing!

          1. At my elementary school in the early 60’s we had a witches hat- I wish I could find one for all the kids that come over to my house. I’d buy it now! That witches hat made my childhood 50 times more fun.

          2. We had one in Ohio, Washington Elementary School in Tiffin. I loved it! I’d buy one now too, if I could find one!

          1. I googled it at google images – “witches hat” – that’s how I found photos of it – AND – there are some different models there; they look a little different than what I remember…some actually look VERY safe! and doable! Maybe I’ll build one too for my grandsons! (I thought it was called the Hurricane, all these years.)

        5. Yea–I remember!!Yea–it was fun!!! When I was too little to ride those–I didn’t…or any other playground equipment that was for the bigger kids. But you hold on tight!! And yea– I had afew band-aids on my knees!

        6. I remember those!!! I was standing next to it and my friend leaned her head back and her head slammed into mine…..ah, my first concussion….

          1. Yes….remember this playground “contraptiion” very well………I think it was called the Monkey Rings but not sure….been so long ago…like 60 years. It was fun but very challenging including not getting hit by the rings. I had forgotten all about that one……..thanks for the memory

        7. I don’t remember what name it had but I remember it…. the chains would clink in the wind. It could be a lot of fun to do with people who liked to go around together, like a kind of dance. Wasn’t so much fun when someone just wanted to run into everybody else.

        1. Ed Your Loose lips and insults basically show your witts. 😉 To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! Good one buddy.

      2. Sounds like the people who build a gigantic slide on top of cement should be responsible for those types of injuries…. not the slide manufacturers themselves or the children who enjoy them. Why don’t you just put your kid in a giant plastic ball for the rest of her/his life? Then they’ll be safe and we won’t have to listen to you bitch. People get hurt and *gasp* even DIE on a daily basis, possibly including you or your kids. So in the meantime, have some fun, eh?

        1. And another thing: Don’t we pay people to watch kids at play in playgrounds? For instance, at school there are recess “aids”. and at parks/other the…uh, what do you call them…. Parents? Yeah parents… they’re in charge of making sure their 3 year old isn’t playing on playground equipment not suited for their age, and getting injured. In fact, since the dawn of man, I believe “parents” are what has kept kids in line and the species alive! Until now apparently. We’re just going to rely on our new cheap plastic playground equipment to do it for us.

          In my day, I ran around in the fucking FOREST all day long. You know what kind of carnivorous hazards lie in wait in the forest? Certainly not a slide or the monkey bars. Sheesh people.

          1. Yes, Bevin. We do know. Most kid’s still played outside in the woods and fields when the metal equipment was around. Before you open your mouth and make comments that are not factual put a sock in it buddy.

        2. People like the schools where the teachers then and now don’t watch the children at preschool or elementary school.

      3. if those parents paid any attention to their children it wouldnt have been a problem. the big issue is that most parents prefer to dump their children in a pit of dirty balls to go eat a cheeseburger.

      4. Well, with all due respect, as for the 3 year old who got their head stuck at the preschool…don’t blame the equipment, blame the preschool staff that was not watching a 3 year old on such a piece of equipment. You know, any child could get hurt on playground equipment, plastic or metal or rubber or wood. My 2 year old was going down the slide (plastic) at the indoor playground of our church. I was standing right next to it. He came down out of the tower thing, and started down the 3 or 4 foot slide, and toppled right over the side. I went to his side, helped him up, kissed booboos and said to him “You fell right over that, didnt you! I’ll hold your arm going down next time…” and I did. Children of a certain age should be supervised, with someone who knows the child, determining whether or not the child is coordinated enough for a particular piece of equipment. If a 3 year old tried to ride a 10 speed and fell of and got hurt, would you blame the 10 speed? Or would you blame the person who SHOULD have been watching them, telling them “noooo, you’re not quite ready for THAT yet…”.You just mentioned the “children not using age appropriate equipment” There you have it! A child should not be allowed to go to the park, unattended by an adult, until that child is old enough to have sense enough, to know what they are and are not capable of doing. A 9 year old likely would not get their head stuck in a ladder, for example. If your 9 year old is prone to happenings such as this, perhaps he’d best be supervised. Accidents will happen, but a sterile event free environment is not the answer…why? Because as adults, the world is not going to cater to us and keep us from bumping our heads, or from backing into the garage door, or from slamming our thumbs with a hammer. You learn, as a child, with the help from a parent, there are times to be careful, and if you are not, bad things may happen. If that is not the world for you, maybe a nice, safe, padded piece of property would do for you. But even that could hurt you, if you fell over your property line. And that little sweet thing in Garanimals is one day going to be hanging out with their friends when you are not around… the government wont be padding and sanitizing that world for them. The problem is, new and improved things (they say) come out and there are so many parents who act like that is the ONLY way to go, not stopping to think about the fact that they, themselves, did just fine with the old and inferior…. and lived to whine about it.

      5. Where were the so-called adults when the 3 year old got his “neck’ stuck between the bars……I assume it included his head. When I was a kid we suffered our lumps and bumps….they didn’t have to ban everything for everyone because of a careless few……….seems to be the trend now..even for adults. If parents were paying attention to their children they would know to what degree their child can go in playground activity. Probably have their faces in their Iphones.

    2. It wasn’t just “lame” moms that insisted playgrounds become safer, it was government and angry parents whose kids got hurt. You must be some kind of woman-hater (and soccer-hater) to assume playgrounds are boring now because of “soccer mom pussies.”
      The real tragedy is that there are kids out there with redneck dads that pass on such misogynistic views.
      but I agree, playgrounds are overly safe now. Too many people sued.

      1. Me ? a woman-hater ? hardly!!! I was brought up and raised by my mother, grandmother and grandfather. Even my mother and grandmother told me if i got a skinned knee that it was NOT going to kill me, geesh !!!!

      2. I’m a woman and I hate “soccer mommies” who are whiney, overbearing & overprotective pussies. You don’t have to be a misogynist to hate THAT. I hate EVERYONE who is trying to turn everything here into a frickin’ “nanny state”, or in this case, “mommy state”.

      3. P.S. Nothing wrong with soccer. I like it. And the term “soccer mommy” doesn’t only pertain to actual soccer moms. Basically, it’s any overprotective, play-date obsessed helicopter parent that schedules every waking minute of their child’s life.

    3. Hey Greg–can I come n play? I’m serious!! Sounds like awesome fun!! And I agree–this playground equipment today is soo lame–kids hardly even play on them..

    4. hell, we didn’t just survive them Greg, we savored them, now they’re all replaced by a bunch of plastic crap that is nothing but junk. It’s all pussified now !! One misses being able to drop sand down the metal slides. For those that do NOT like the metal slides, there are something that they can use to help out with that, it’s called a towel, or a pair of pants !!!!!

  5. I could not agree more.
    Some of my more fond memories from childhood involved injury on (and off) the playground. It was the worst thing in the world when it happened; however, today I am proud of every knick, scrap and bruise.

    One incident I will never forget was when I managed to get a 2″ splinter in my right leg while playing unattended and having to walk the block and a half to get home and help.

    1. I “rolled” down a slide—head first…somersault,after somersalt..maybe a scraped knee..at 5,or 6 yrs. old…mostly embarrassment….(kids at school laughing!)….(my mom liked to dress me in dresses alot at that age–so I “flashed” everyone my panties..( I cried…{being a dang girl}…..but the tears were mostly for big time embarrassment!!!).Oh..and the slide had a “hump ” in the middle of it too,if it matters.. P.S.Does anyone remember sitting on wax paper to make the slide faster?!LOL!!!

  6. Oh yeah. My local playground had one of those big spinners. It was definitely awesome. It’s gone now, but the 10 foot long old-school teeter totters and the seriously high bar swing set with thick metal chains are both still there! (You gotta love small towns!) We always used to stand on the swing seats and try to swing so high that we’d get horizontal. There were 6 swings, so it was a real competitive activity. Good times!

  7. The best part of the merry go round was the kid (usually me) who would get the thing spinning, then try to jump on, miss, and just hang on for dear life getting dragged round and round getting dirty and destroying his clothes (and legs) because of the dirt, rocks, and hard mulch that made up the playground back then.

    And we’d get scolded by our parents…
    And we’d get bruised, cut, and scraped…
    And we’d cry when we got hurt…
    And the next day we’d do it all over again…

    And we had fun!

  8. My elementary school playground boasted metal jungle gyms, see-saws and rickety swings (on which the chains had all but broken off and were attached by a half-hearted wrap around the bar above us), all firmly sprouting from rock-hard cement.
    There was no padding except the little fat on our butts to protect us if we fell.
    Knees were scraped, ankles were sprained, heads were bumped, arms were broken, and not a single parent sued.
    Those were the days.

  9. As a kid, I got the chance to play on both the wood and metal playgrounds, and those plastic pieces of shit. and all I have to say is shit sux.

    But what’s it matter? kids aren’t going outside anymore.

    1. Hey, so, all I have to say is THOSE PLASTIC THINGS STINK. I’m jealous, honestly. Oh, how to wish. The only thing that was any good that we had (we don’t even have swings at playgrounds any more…) was the bar that held the monkey bars up. We’d run as fast as we could toward that bar, turn to the side, grab on to the bar, and be swung around about 4 times. That’s it.

    2. Agreed – my cousin’s kids (from TEXAS mind you) wouldn’t play outside with my kids (IL) a couple summers ago because they said it was too hot.

  10. In my small Texas town growing up we had an older kid named Jerry who’d been kicked by a mule or something. A little touched, but big, friendly and tard-strong, like something out of John Steinbeck. He could make a Spinner full of first graders pull 4 Gs. And while I suspect that those early merry-go-round buzzes may have led me to seek out the harder stuff later on, I still die a little inside every time I see some poor kid spinning a faux steering wheel.

  11. I was taking my nearly 2 year old to the playgrounds in our town and I found one that had the old merry-go-round, metal slides and sky high monkey bars. I never had so much fun in my life, and neither did he! I wish those parks of old were still around in more places.

  12. The kids in my neighborhood carry buckets full of water from the sprinkler to the top of the curvy slide. Then 3 at a time, they attempt to slide down the slide as one of them tosses the water, followed by the bucket, down the slide.

    They do not tire of this. Who cares the slide is almost dry by the time they make it to the bottom?? They don’t mind having to drag their butts on the hot metal the last couple of feet to get off the slide and repeat the entire process all over again.

    That’s the Ghetto Water Park.

  13. I was on the “Playground Testing Committee” as a kid and got to travel around trying out the deathiest of the death traps and offering up my opinions.

    A recent trip home revealed that my playground has been replaced by a middle school, sans playground.

    Gone are the sharp-edge pea gravel pellets and metal bars suspended far over our heads on which the gymnastic girls made everyone feel inferior and require a trip to self-esteem camp.

    1. Dude you were on the “Playground Testing Committee” or are you just playing? Cause that would be AWESOME!

  14. What about homemade swings? Usually just an old tire attached to a tree with rope? Those were great. And dangerous! At least once a day you’d end up hitting the tree…LOL! Also, when I was kid, my older cousin set up a “tightrope” between the slide and swings on a backyard set and made me and my younger cousin “walk the tightrope.” When we refused to do it (after falling a few times) he twisted our ankles. Thanks, Cousin Howard!

    1. Hah! My neighbor had one of those for his kids. He suffered a serious concussion. It came down when he recovered.

  15. I still remember going down that hot metal slide, putting my feet down and lifting up because it hurt so bad, then of course my shoes would grip and I’d fly face first down the slide and face-plant onto the gravel, usually still with half my body still on the slide.

    1. the good old days, used to miss those metal slides. there used to be one around the corner of my house which my sister and i walked almost each day. the metal slide was HUGE! on the hot days we used to take our shoes off and walk up it. it was so grippy. and hot. just recently they replaced with a plastic bendy slide, and i have to admit. the old metal slide was safer, this one is just a 30cm by 4m tube thing. its horrible. there used to be a wood fort and sand and a smaller mustard yellow slide for the younger people. that soon went also, and was replaced by plastic. now theres 2 swings, the wierd slide, a metal fort with ropes going in any random direction ( we call spiderman ) and a hippo. i dont get the meaning of this hippo exactly. its a blue hippo about 1m long and 1m high, and has a cut out in the back, where you can go inside, on the bottom theres body parts and i guess its trying to make people learn. thing is. its in french. and this is in Australia. BRING OLD PLAYGROUNDS BACK.

    2. We had one of those near our house, just up the road! I was scared of it until I was about six or seven because it was steep, and on hot days I usually steered clear of it.

      But I cannot describe to you the sadness I felt when that awesome slide was removed and replaced with plastic crap.

      RIP, my old playground. I miss you so.

  16. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I’m 41 now and really miss the old playgrounds. Monkey bars, jungle gyms, tall tall slides, all made out of steel. The see saw! What fun! I played on all of it, I also climbed trees constantly, and you know, the only time I got injured enough to go the hospital, it was indoors (slipped in socks on a floor, fell and cut my head open). I learned to hang on tight when I was off the ground, and I learned how to fall, I learned how to prevent my butt from banging on the see saw, I learned to stay off things that I wasn’t capable of handling. And I played outdoors ALL THE TIME!

  17. When I grew up we had two GREAT pieces of extremely fun “dangerous” equipment not listed here so far: The Eggbeater and the Octopus. Sure we had the slides that caused 3rd degree burns, teeter totters that could hoist you up 7 feet in the air, metal monkey bars 10 feet high and Big Spinners.

    However, the Eggbeaters and Octopus were out of this world. The Eggbeater can best be described as a Big Spinner that is only 2.5′ in diameter and holds 3 people. All three kids would get the thing spinning as fast as they could and then pull themselves in to the center of the eggbeater to increase the centfical force. A good team of operators could get an eggbeater going fast enough that it was sure to cause vomitting and certain collapse from the dizziness…that is if you didn’t loose your grip and wind up chin-first on the cement surrounding.

    The octopus was even more frightening. It was basically a sturdy 12 foot tall pole with a pivot on the top. Attached to this pivot point was a octagonal framework that was approxoimately 10 feet in diameter. At each point of the octagon there was a chain hanging down with a hand grip at the end. 8 kids would grab a hand hold and start running in the same direction as fast as they could. Eventually when you got the thing going a proper speed the centrifical force would cause you to start to lift up off the ground as you started to become more horizontal than vertical in your orientation. I saw kids loose their grip while at full speed and fly a good ten feet before landing on a piece of cement, a patch of gravel, or hitting a swing set support beam. Throughout all of this I only remember there being one broken bone, no deaths, and numerous scrapes, cuts, and bruises.

    FUCK PLASTIC PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT! Give our kids the good shit!

    1. Jim,

      Thank you for answering a question on my mind about 4 years — trying to identify the name of the Octopus. I lived in the suburbs but a playground near my grandparents on the west side of Chicago had one and it terrified me (in a good way!).

      1. I wonder if what you call the “octopus” was also referred to as “strides.” Boy, that was so dangerous. Half the thrill was missing the pole.

        In another elementary school I went to next to the big slide there was an equally tall “slide” but the whole middle was omitted and the sides were round steel poles that you were supposed to wrap your legs around and slide or whatever. Nothing between you and the ground beneath. And if you were a girl wearing a skirt it was murder because your skin was stuck.

        Ah, memories!

        Also, at the first school I was able to talk my tiny little friend into being my teeter totter partner and when I got my feet firmly planted on the ground I could take ahold of the board and cause her to flip over. She fell for it every time. Then she moved to Australia and I think I know one reason for her moving away.

        1. Ah, June that’s so mean but cool, poor tiny friends!

          I think the best see saw ride I have ever had was when I went to Dominican Republic, and the see saw was several feet off the ground. Every time I went up I lifted my legs up and it was so thrilling, I could never forget that day, that was one awesome playground!

    2. thats exactly like the ride occasionaly found at fares and themeparks. the octapus. holds around 15 people, has a pivot and is replaced with seats.

      1. Yeah I’ve seen that, like in Play-land or something, but I was too terrified to ride it, having just got off a ride that made me so dizzy I dropped!

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