My childhood was filled with eating, crying, and going to playgrounds. I talk about food way too much on this blog and I’d say half of the posts I do involve me crying. For the sake of being different, I’m going to write about how cool playground equipment used to be.

Bumpy Park:

This was a park with a slide near my dad’s work that was very bumpy. It had these weird spinning things that whenever you rode down it you’d need preparation afterwards. I’m pretty sure at least 1,000 girls tore their hymens riding down this. Other awesome dangerous things at this park were a random platform you could climb up. It was basically a lookout tower. I remember using this to climb up then throw those prickly things you always find at parks at my dad. He’d throw them at me too so don’t think I was a bad kid.

bumpy slide

(It was like this only not as incredibly way too high. Seriously, that kid is never going to have children)

Veterans Park:

This was a local park across from my high school. It’s really big and the equipment used to be badass. There were three different pieces to it. One didn’t have anything all too dangerous. The only thing cool they had near it was a zipline like in Home Alone. Seriously, they would NEVER put a zipline anywhere in a public park these days without an adult present to help them. This always scared me and I never made it more than halfway across what looked to be 500 feet. Another piece of equipment was made all out of wood which meant I was always getting splinters. It had a slide that was incredibly high and made of steel which meant in the summer it could burn your flesh off. There were also these tunnels you could climb up in which I always thought was scary because if you fell no adult would be small enough to crawl to save you. Perhaps the most dangerous thing though was a balance beam held together with only one chain in the center. It wasn’t too high off the ground yet somehow I still managed to fear it every time my mom made me walk across.

doom_bridge

(My mom was always mean when it came to playground equipment. I’m not sure why. I think she had a secret life as a playground equipment designer and didn’t want to see it going to waste)

That Park Near the Retarded Kid School:

This park didn’t last very long. It didn’t have much dangerous because it was the playground for a school of mentally handicapped children. They had better things than my school did and I was always tempted to stop studying so I could end up there. The most dangerous thing at this park wasn’t even a real piece of equipment. There was a random round tube always lying around, think water slide. My sister and I would climb inside and my dad would push it down the hill. The problem with this is there’s no way to stop the tube until you smash into something. How have I never had a concussion?

isaac newton

(Sir Isaac Newton thinks I belonged in that retarded kid school for ever thinking it was a good idea to go against his laws of motion)

Satan’s Park:

This was the only park within walking distance to my home. It didn’t have anything too dangerous other than the broken glass all over the place. There was also a small sewage system nearby so the place smelt like shit. They eventually put in some nicer equipment but nobody seemed to notice because this was still the place where kids went to smoke pot. Now they had a new slide to do it underneath.


SouthPark12-Satan

My Elementary School:

I’d have to mention my elementary school equipment simply because I broke my leg there. Of course I broke it on probably the safest equipment too, the monkey bars hanging 6 feet off the ground. There was also a dangerously high slide that was at the center of the equipment. I’m talking scary dangerous. A kid a grade lower than me actually got pushed off and they had to fly a helicopter in to rescue him. The kid who pushed him ended up becoming a gay Puerto Rican. I think he was always Puerto Rican or maybe you don’t become one until you nearly break a child’s neck.

west-side-story-image-1

(I know when you’re a Jet you’re a Jet for life. I’m not sure how the Sharks work though. There weren’t as many songs about them)

Dangerous Park:

The name my family says it all. This park was so dangerous it was called such. Located at Long Beach Island at the Jersey Shore (that’s not why it was dangerous), this park had me crying on several occasions. First of all everything was made of wood which is never safe. Second, everything was incredibly high up. The main scary thing about this park however was a fireman’s pole that you’d have to inch off the edge of the jungle gym to even reach. If you could manage to do that you’d have to quickly wrap your arms and legs around it then pray the paint chipping off and flying into your mouth on the way down wasn’t too poisonous. The last time I went to dangerous park my mom called me a pussy for not going down the pole. There’s a little bit of irony in that sentence if you want to think of it dirty-like. I eventually did get the courage and I slid down the pool for the first time ever. It felt good and it was like I had beaten the Grim Reaper as his own game.

StripperPole

(This was my biggest fear, trying to slide down the pole and landing on my head. Wait, she’s doing this on purpose? It’s supposed to be sexy? No. I just feel dizzy now)

There were many more awesome parks that I’d go to with lots of cool things and dangerous equipment. If you were to go to parks today you’d think this stuff never existed. Everything is about safety and being colorful. When my parents were kids I bet they played in toxic waste dumps instead of on jungle gyms and rather than sliding down slides they’d go off with a strange for a car ride.

Do you remember any awesome playground equipment from your childhood? Do you also feel like going sledding after reading this like I do?

Comments
  1. joehoover says:

    Satan’s Park sums up the ones in the UK. That bumpy slide is pretty cool, though. I feel like I missed out.

    • Mooselicker says:

      Indoor playgrounds were really big in the 90s and there were some of the most gigantic bumpy slides ever. I never heard about anyone getting hurt on them either surprisingly. I think the places started closing down because they’d find snakes in ball pits.

      • joehoover says:

        Are their snakes in your area? Or were they placed there? Pretty neat trick if they did

      • Mooselicker says:

        I don’t think it happened so much in my area as much as it happened 2,000 miles away in the same country so we assume there’s a nut in every town ready to toss a snake into a child’s play area. Looking back I’m amazed more kids didn’t break their necks on things. Life was all about diving off ledges.

  2. Pen says:

    Aw, I miss bumpy slides. I also spent a lot of time on that big metal disk with the bar that was kinda like a merry-go-round. We’d all make the big retarded unpopular kid grab onto the bar from the ground and run, spinning us around super fast. I know it sounds really mean because he wasn’t allow on the merry-go-round because he was too fat, but really he was just lucky we let him hang out with us at all.

    I miss real playgrounds.

  3. Dude… parks used to be like a Marine boot camp training course. And it was all just cement… no sand or tanbark or rubber mats. It was like they knew if you could survive at the parks, you were fit to grow up. This is the last time we had natural selection working for us. We made the parks safer and ourselves stupider.

  4. SingingTuna says:

    Satan’s Park?
    Wow.

    Anything that can’t possibly hurt a kid is going to be boring, as far as playgrounds go. Not that I ever liked playgrounds. I was a library kid. Teachers had to push me out the door to recess. And there weren’t any playgrounds near my house, just trees and grass. So they’re foreign to me, except for that terrifying metal ladder (horizontal) on 4 poles, that kids would hang from and then move from one rung to the next. Marines use the same thing to train their biceps. That ought to be a clue that kids would love it.

    “If you could manage to do that you’d have to quickly wrap your arms and legs around it then pray the paint chipping off and flying into your mouth on the way down wasn’t too poisonous.” LOL…!!!!

    • Mooselicker says:

      No playgrounds??? You missed out. I think the late 80s and early 90s was the biggest time for kids to run around and play on cool stuff. Have you ever heard of Discovery Zone? There were a bunch in the area and a few other similar places. Basically it was a Chuck E. Cheese but less about the video games. Kids are fat because they have nowhere to go.

      I say this while eating a giant bag of peanuts.

  5. SingingTuna says:

    Discovery Zone… Chuck E. Cheese? I’ve heard of them. Haa! I just figured that Discovery Zone was a store owned by the Discovery Channel. :O
    Chuck E. Cheese: I narrowly escaped having to go to a friend’s’ kid’s birthday party in one of those. ::shivers::

    “I say this while eating a giant bag of peanuts.”
    LOL!

  6. tinkadele says:

    Nice post, very nostalgic. All of these parks sound like a challenge. I have to say though, I am a little envious of your “bumpy park” with the spinny slide, that looks like the best invention ever – I know where to visit on my next vacation!

  7. rae says:

    We used to take wax paper to the park to wax the slides down before using them. Is this strange? Do other people do this?

  8. The Waiting says:

    This post could not have come at a better time because I finally took C to a playground with a jungle gym today. I put her on the smallest slide there which was like three feet tall and held her while she slid down. She did not like it at all. Poor babes. Born to be mild.

    • Mooselicker says:

      Three feet seems pretty high for such a youngin’. I’m sure she’ll enjoy to love playgrounds eventually. I can’t imagine a child who hates running around on shiny plastic things.

  9. josefkul says:

    Don’t kid yourself about the monkey bars they are death traps! My brother also broke his leg on some monkey bars when he was younger and the resulting damage made him prone to many future injuries, keeping him out of college ball. Liability and injury lawyers should hang around at every park they can find passing out business cards to bleeding kids and their moms. I feel like this same strategy could also be effective at getting dates.

    • Mooselicker says:

      You have some good ideas there. I got a lot of girls paying attention to me when I broke my leg. The time I broke it playing baseball the umpire said “Don’t worry kid, chicks dig scars.” Too bad it was an internal fracture.

  10. Lily says:

    Wow you had a lot of parks around you. I only had my elementary school park, but it was around the block from my house, so what I’m trying to say is that I basically owned that park. My favorite thing was this metal rainbow looking ladder thing and I would do flips of it. Nothing too crazy. We also had one of those parachute looking metal things where you could go in the center or climb on top. You know what I’m talking about?

    There is a huge wooden park by my mom’s house called Kid’s Kingdom. It’s pretty awesome. But again, wooden, so that means splinters.

    • Mooselicker says:

      My dad actually pointed out I forgot a few major ones, the one I pooped my pants at included.

      I know exactly what you’re talking about with the parachute thing. Those were fun and pretty safe. At what age did we lose our ability to do flips? I used to do them all the time and I had no athletic ability. I think it’s fear that stops us. I answered my own question.

  11. There were no stripper poles in the playground when I was a kid. I feel cheated. Playgrounds back then were really superior to these namby-pamby ones kids have today. We didn’t have mats or padding or anything, if you fell from the top bars of the jungle gym, you landed on 100% concrete, son. No safety precautions on the swings or anything—just rusty chains hooked onto the top bar, holding up a metal bench that you sat on. No harness, no nothing. Kids today are going to grow up to be pussies and it’s all because those playgrounds are too cottony soft.

    • Mooselicker says:

      I think I would be dead back then. It was still only really recent when things began to change. We don’t give our bodies enough credit for how strong they are. I broke the same leg falling from monkey bars and having someone slide into me when I was playing baseball. Should I just live in a bubble?

      The only thing manly about young adults these days is that they grow beards. Too bad they wear suspenders and breathe irony. It kind of ruins the whole warrior look.

  12. I’m in agreement with Weebles, here. When we were young it was hard core. I chipped my tooth in Hartsdale, NY, on a metal pole between two swings. At the top of the swing set was a giant Lion’s head. I thought I heard him laugh/roar when I had my mishap.
    We had nothing. Our playgrounds looked like an ROTC training camp, like a gauntlet from hell. The only thing missing was enemy fire. Splinters? I laugh at splinters! Bwahaha!
    Is it any wonder why I still get anxious around playgrounds?
    Great post, Tim.

    • Mooselicker says:

      Getting injured is part of growing up. You never see a kid with a cast anymore do you? I broke my one leg three times and I wasn’t even that big of an adventurer.

      I almost think playground equipment was designed originally as a training mechanism. Where’d highways created for planes to land on during war time? That might just be an urban legend.

  13. Pete Howorth says:

    There’s a park up the road from me; just near the primary school. It doesnt look too bad now but when I was younger the swings would be wrapped around the top bar so no one could use them; we had some really shit roundabout and a small slide. I did see one girl use the framing of the swings as a stripper pole once though. That ended in tears.

  14. [...] pooped my pants. Thought I’d throw that in there because I totally forgot to write about it in my Playgrounds [...]

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