Moms spend a lot of time sitting around at playgrounds, and this mom has often wondered about who designs the playground equipment the children spend so much of their time on. Is it really safe? Who screwed in that bolt? Can I trust them? What exactly were these designers thinking when they settled on certain structures that seem a little odd, or are just not that appealing. Oh. You’ve never wondered about that? Just me then.
I’ve also pondered whose idea it was to put in that newfangled (safe but boring) jungle gym, or why this park doesn’t have any swings. My kids and I debate the merits of particular parks based on their fun ratio. For example: That park has swings—but that park has a rock wall. That park is closer to our house, but it has the scratchy woodchips. That one is a little farther, but has sand to build sandcastles.
After mulling all this over, my kids and I will cross certain parks off our list as fails. But think about it—someone—some parkitect, designed all of this equipment, and oftentimes the design feels a bit subpar.
I have encountered some strange play equipment over the years; some structures that didn’t seem quite safe to me. I’ve even run into playground themes that were a little garish, and even parks that are a little outdated. However, nothing I’ve ever come across in the many parks I’ve frequented, has been anywhere close to the playground fails in this list.
Whoever designed the following 15 playgrounds either hates children, doesn’t understand them at all, or is playing a sick joke on the young people of the world. Thank goodness my children have never encountered any of these terrifying, dangerous, or hilariously inappropriate playground atrocities.
15 Coming Out Of Where?
Oh my. I can't decide if this hilariously disgusting slide was an accident, or was intentionally created, but it just doesn't seem like appropriate play equipment for the young and impressionable, in my opinion. Animals are often used in the design of play equipment, and children do love elephants, but what genius thought this was a good idea? Elephants are, without a doubt, one of the most interesting of Earth's creatures, and I can certainly see a splash pad elephant with water coming out of it's trunk, but this slide? And even after this monstrosity was erected, did everyone just stand around thinking, "Meh. Nothing we can do about it now. Our kids will have a blast playing play games like 'Elephant Turds' and 'Give The Elephant an Enema'. Even though this is clearly the grossest slide ever built, I have to admit I’m over here thinking, "Meh. Still funny."
14 Ring Around The Rosie, We All Run Away Screaming
Ring Around The Rosie is a strange game anyway, whether you believe the whole 'bubonic plague' nonsense it's associated with, or not, but this very special structure is downright disturbing. These brightly painted animals and naked humans are playing Ring Through the Anus and Out Through The Mouth, and with that impressive design idea you've got yourself a recipe for some childhood therapy sessions. Where are we anyway, The Land of Oz? I don't even understand what you are supposed to do with these critters, ride them like Seabiscuit? They don't even go anywhere! At least this frightening structure is near the ocean. That way when the flying monkeys come to carry off your children, they'll fall into the water. The designer of this play equipment must have been on shrooms. That's the only explanation for this creation. Or perhaps the designer is ‘an artist’, and this art piece is supposed to mean something profound, like The Circle of Life. I’m not as bright as these statues, so I don’t get it.
13 That Is One Happy...Banana? With Hands.
I've never met a designer of playground equipment, so perhaps I’m not familiar with the requirements for building them. Maybe there are rules about how inviting your park must be. Whatever the case is, this banana is seriously happy that you have come to slide down his chute. He's not only flashing his brightest smile, but he's giving you two thumbs up, for being brave enough to approach him. I can see many children running away from this playground like: "What is it with grownups? They think we can't enjoy something, unless it has a face on it?" Playground designers, I'm talking to you now. Not everything has to be grinning creepily, or have bright colors to be fun. I know, I know, talking animals and cars with faces have been hits with children in the past, but be careful with your design. There is a fine line between friendly and horrifying. In case you were wondering, the above banana slide is in the later group.
12 Murder At The Local Playground
Everyone loves a cheerfully painted mural, and they certainly can brighten up a building, making a place more artsy and inviting. There is no accounting for taste, and this would not be the first painting to have me scratching my head. But. Suggestive imagery is a real thing people, and you might very well be molding the mind of the next Hannibal Lecter with this appalling image. Here we have a hot dog (sausage?) who has just murdered his friend. As if that weren't bad enough, he is getting ready to eat him. And that's an awful lot of blood pouring out of that hot dog. I didn't even know hot dogs could bleed?? Paintings like this are certainly going to be putting a lot of questions in the minds of young children. "Why is the hot dog eating his friend?" When you get home and your kid stabs his sister with a fork, you won't need to wonder why. He was inspired.
11 When The Child Suddenly Comes Home With Nightmares
Can this structure really exist? Witches are very popular in folklore, and certainly kids love a good scary story, but I don't think they will be able to unsee this playground witch. Not only is she a giant witch who someone has depicted as being buried in the sand, but she has also got her witchy talons around a little girl. What, pray tell, is this witch about to do with her? I’ll give you three guesses, but you're only gonna need one. The designer of this witch went all out, there is even a giant wart on her chin, a long nose, and crooked teeth. Apart from climbing on the evil witch's head, what kind of play can a child do with this structure? Shove their fists up her nostrils? What kind of lesson is that? I'm guessing the children who frequent this park sleep in their parents’ bed. There is no way they could leave this park without nightmares. Yikes!
10 Was There Really A Time When Clowns Were Not Terrifying?
Someone once told me there was a time when clowns were thought of as friendly, funny people. I'm just young enough not to have ever known a time when clowns were anything except scary. I suppose we all have Stephen King to thank for that. This clown structure is not only big, it's creepy. And with a yellow slide coming out of the front of his overalls, all I can think of is the designers thought he needed to take a leak. Whenever I see a stream of yellow, I don't consider that an invitation for fun and games. I'm guessing this relic is a holdover from the friendly clown days, but still, when was it ever appropriate for a clown to pee at a park? One can only hope that clowns will: A. Disappear from our world forever. or B. Somehow be changed to actually be appealing again. As things stand now, I think I'll select A as my preference. For this park, at least.
9 Mommy, What Is That? Er--It's A...Dragonfly. Let's Go With That.
Of course I know exactly what you’re thinking, that’s because I’m thinking it, too. Let's be honest, most of us have dirty minds. Our brains will often conjure boobs and other genitals in drawings, in structures, or even in our tea leaves, when they really don't exist. Shapes will remind us of these taboo body parts, and then we can't help laughing. It's funny. Sometimes a designer might unintentionally create something that adults will construe as something inappropriate. Or, it's possible the designer intended to make something that would give moms and dads a good chuckle. We can't possibly know for sure what the designer's intentions were with this 'dragonfly', which so closely resembles male genitalia. Whether the designer did it on purpose or not, the moms and dads who frequent this park can't possibly help but giggle. Your children will be looking at you sideways, since they won’t understand what’s so funny. Unless they are twelve-year-old boys, and then just thinking the word 'penis' is funny.
8 When You View The World Through Rainbow-Colored Glasses
Some people just see the world as filled with rainbows and butterflies. They want to share their love and positive outlook with others. Nothing wrong with that, right? We all need a little more light in this world, to outshine the darkness. When you combine all that positivity and light, and put it into a designer, you get this. Well, this designer is a true optimist—a double rainbow kind of guy. He has clearly decided that in order to fight the doom and gloom of the world, he is going to blind the darkness out of our children with color overload. These naked, rainbow-colored toddlers are sure to brighten your day, and naturally, they urinate rainbow streams for you to stroll under. It's only logical. Not creepy or weird, at all. I'm glad we have a frontal view of these statues, because I'm guessing they poop skittles on the other side.
7 I Brought You Into This World. And I Won't Let You Forget It.
We moms just love to hold over our children's heads the fact that we created them, and they came out of our very bodies. With all the times we remind them how much they owe us—their very existence to be exact—we are still not content, and must illustrate it in their play equipment. At this amazing park, a child can be enticed into being born and born again, over and over and over. In fact, this poor mother can't stop giving birth...to multiple children...on any given day. The designer of this equipment must have been a mother, who wanted children to be thankful for the hours their mothers spent in labor with them. At least the woman pictured above this slide has a very peaceful expression, her hands over her solitary bosom. Maybe it’s because she has a very wide birthing canal for the children to slide down. No pushing or tearing involved.
6 Little Children, Come Sit On My...Lap.
Surely this interesting fellow is being taken out of context. Can there be context at a park? I'm guessing that there is some kind of polka dance theme at this place, and we just can't see the other equipment in order to understand what in God's name is going on here. I think (and it's hurting my brain) this fine, concrete gentlemen is executing a jolly jig of some kind. I really dig the shirt and collar, but all I can think of is: I don't want my children to sit anywhere near his lap. I just get this feeling that those arms are going to peel away from that strange body and wrap themselves around my child. This bench would be right at home with the witch whose body is buried in the sand, because it's nearly as frightening. Is there some kind of Disney park I don't know about, with the theme: How To Terrorize Children In 10 Seconds Or Less?
5 A Warning To Keep The Kids Close. You're In Bear Country.
I'm not real big into camping in general—too much dirt, too many bugs, and way too many wild creatures. Some people just can't get enough of the great outdoors, though. They love the adventure, and dare I say the danger, that is inherent in being 'away from it all'. Sure, there is a communion with nature that can be had in the wild. That sense that you are a part of something bigger, something grander—an untamed landscape. Well, that is exactly what this colorful, somewhat startling, statue is warning us about. Keep your kids close folks, because I don't think this is the kind of bear hug your kid wants to wake up to. Or maybe I'm just misinterpreting this roughhewn carving. Maybe this is Goldilocks, and she just stumbled into the wrong cabin. That's probably it, ne'ermind. Just tell the kiddos not to eat other people's porridge.
4 The Lazy Tin Grasshopper Man
Another themed park, I'm sure. Lots of old parks seem to have really been big on themes and characters from stories. I'm not quite sure who this character is, but he looks like a tin grasshopper. Those leg slides look like a lot of fun. Your kid might get tetanus from a rusty cut, but that's what they get that tetanus shot for, anyhow. We moms don't want to waste the money on that shot, so best to use it, before it expires. Honestly, I think this is a very interesting way to use the shape of slides, and turn it into something truly unique. I'm getting a little nostalgic for the playgrounds of old, the ones with no handrails, no nets, and a whole lot of leaps of faith. Playground injuries are no joke, so I'm sure historical ones like this are going to be pretty hard to come by. Makes me kind of sad, in a way. The new parks are so much safe, so much more boring.
3 Children Are Such Risk-Takers
Most of these playgrounds we have been admiring were just a bit odd, but this rooftop playground is on another level. Here we have the penthouse of playgrounds, and it comes equipped with a gazebo, and two slides that will give those little daredevils of yours the slide of their lives. Only one side note, it will be the last slide they will ever ride.
Sure, you may live if you don’t ride it, but: 'If you could trade all your days, from this day to that, so you could come back here for one chance, just one chance, to tell your enemies, that they can take our lives, but they can never take...our PLAYTIME!' And...I'm out. Try as I might, I simply can't come up with an explanation for this equipment to be on the top of this roof. And how did it get up there, anyway? A helicopter? I'm flummoxed. Moving on.
2 Get A Rush, And A Concussion, At This Playground
Sometimes nature just takes over, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Do we stop using our homes when a tree grows through the middle of it? No. Do we stop using our park, just because a couple trees happen to grow up around it? Of course not. We just risk it, duh. This equipment has clearly been around for a good long while, but you know what, it's sentimental. I don't like it when people come to my park, and rip out my favorite slide either. I don't blame this community one bit for leaving this rusting, deathtrap in place. That's not dangerous at all. Besides, we coddle kids too much these days. So they get a concussion, big deal. So they lose a couple teeth falling off that seesaw, it'll build character. Helicopter parents need to loosen their death grip on their kids. This park looks like a good time, to me.
1 Is That Play Equipment, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?
Our last piece of equipment is another throwback to days gone by, a small slide that appears to be designed in the image of a camel. I'm not sure if it’s a camel but that’s what it looks like, what do you guys think? Long neck, with a small head at the tip. Definitely a camel. What? Did I say something funny?
I'm sure glad we made it through this list of crazy, interesting, funny, and sometimes dangerous (possibly deadly), playground design fails. I don't know about you, but I'm going to be paying extra special attention to the parks my kids play on from now on. Once you see these kinds of oddities, you can never go back. I’ve also developed a real appreciation for the people who design our children’s playgrounds. They seem like some really special people. Especially the person who designed this camel. Really quite special.