The World’s Coolest Playgrounds
The World’s Coolest Playgrounds
Do you have any beloved playgrounds where you live? Our boys are always begging to try out new ones, and these 14 incredible parks around the world (with wild slides, castles and even airplanes you can climb on) would be worth a trip…
Above: Neptune Park Playground, a 30-foot climbing pyramid in Saratoga Springs, Utah, is taller than most two-story houses, and is one of the biggest playground structures of its kind. The woven ropes that stretch across each level are for climbing — and catching anyone who falls. Plus, what a view!
This coiled snake, in the Danish woods, is meant to be discovered by families walking through the forest. There are lots of little spots where you can climb in and out, during a game of hide-and-seek.
The Fortress City in Denmark is an adventure land — with a castle, streets and town — where children can run, play, hide and pretend. I love the way the company Monstrum envisioned kids using the space: “The houses around the castle are connected in such a way that the children can crawl from house to house without being seen and suddenly appear in a new place.”
Japanese fiber artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam has created several playgrounds with her colorful crochet structures. The best-known one is in the “Woods of Net” pavilion at the Hakone Open Air Museum, west of Tokyo. She hand-knitted the climbing and swinging structures over the course of a year.
Kolle 37, a construction playground in Germany, might make some parents a little nervous. Kids can play with hammers, saws, nails, wood and shovels — as well as pottery kilns, a blacksmith forge, rabbits, guinea pigs, gardens, and a bike rental shop where the older kids can work. Since the playground is being built by the kids, it’s always changing. There are a few craftspeople to keep an eye on things (like building fires!) but otherwise kids are encouraged to come and hang on their own. (P.S. Remember this?)
Nishi Rokugo Koen is a creative vintage playground in Tokyo. Kids can play with sand and more than 3,000 tires – including Godzilla, spaceship and robot sculptures.
This four-story play sculpture outside the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri, is made from reclaimed materials with the city’s borders. There are sky-high tunnels, fire trucks, airplanes, long slides and two enormous ball pits you can dive into.
Brumlebyen in Copenhagen has three crooked houses, a bakery and ice-cream shop for kids to climb around. Plus, swings!
How gorgeous is this mountain slide in northern Takatsuki, Japan? It has rollers, and you sit on a little pad to slide down.
Architects Eric Höweler and Meejin Yoon created Boston’s Swing Time with 20 swings illuminated by LED lights. When they’re still, the swings give off a soft white light that glows at night; when they’re in motion, the light turns purple.
“Playground,” an adorable brass sculpture by artist Tom Otterness, doubles as a jungle gym in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.
At Virginia’s Clemyjontri Park, kids of all abilities can play together. The Liberty Swing can accommodate wheelchairs, lowered monkey bars provide easy access, and braille and sign language are featured around the park. Bravo.
Have you been to any of these? Do you have any beloved playgrounds in your neck of the woods? At the end of the day, my kids also love the quiet and simple Cobble Hill Park. Just a slide, a sandbox and a spider.
P.S. Parenting around the world, including Italy, Iceland and Japan. Plus, a hidden playground in Manhattan, and an AMAZING slide in Gothenburg, Sweden.
(Kolle 37 photo with girls by Elizabeth Donius. Japan rainbow slide photo by Jeffrey Friedl. Monstrum playground photos from Monstrum’s site.)