As mentioned in Road Trip Report 4 and discussed in the comments, the old dangerous playgrounds are some of the most loved playgrounds. One of my favorite playgrounds had a rocket ship slide – it was three “stories” with ladders and the slides were incrementally longer on each level. It was so much fun and so tall that the biggest slide was scary for a little kid! It’s long gone now and the last time I saw it was in a parade in my hometown. On Flickr try typing in “rocket ship playground” and you’ll see what I mean by rocket ships.
I don’t know much about dating playgrounds or playground history in general, but the blog Playscapes is an excellent resource for reading about design, landscape, and history of playgrounds. The author of the blog posts as Arcady. The blog is worth more than a few minutes of your time. It’s fascinating. If you click on the “Playground History” label, you’ll find pictures, diagrams, and historical information about playgrounds in NYC in the early 20th century, McDonald’s playgrounds in the 1970s and many international ones as well. Scroll through those posts and see how many playgrounds you wish you could visit!
While most of us prefer the 1970s era playgrounds, not all modern playgrounds are built for younger children and boring. Circular slides, tube slides, tunnels, movable balance beams – all of these are fun. There are many newer playgrounds that children love. An article in Cookie magazine by KellyAlfieri lists the best playgrounds in major cities. Click on each playground name to see a picture. They look like so much fun! However, these are just from a few major cities. What about small town America? What are the best playgrounds everywhere else? One that I have heard about a few times is Camelot Playground in Pinehurst, NC. It is a wooden playground with bridges, castles, ropes, and so much for the imagination!
It seems as though playgrounds are loved for different reasons. Are they metal and old and dangerous, wooden and magical, modern and safe, whimsical, the bare minimum, etc.
What’s your favorite? How would you categorize playgrounds?