Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I’m not sure if many people have noticed, but old metal playground equipment is disappearing quickly and is being removed because of safety concerns due to government regulations. OSHA has been sending out safety violations to towns and schools around the country for the past few years. This has changed the landscape of most playgrounds and has turned them into “soft” playgrounds with plastic equipment replacing the old metal equipment.

A few years ago I decided to take some photos of my elementary school playground, but unfortunately I was too late as the playground had just been torn down a few days before. Luckily, the kindergarten playground was still there so I snapped a few photos of that one. It has since been torn down.

My Kindergarten Playground

The main reason for this post is to inspire others to venture out and take photos of any old metal playground equipment before they’re all gone. Some of these are real works of art! There’s a nice photo group on Flickr called Old Playground Furniture where you can see and add old playground equipment photos.

I’m amazed on how fast the 20th Century is fading away. Here we are in just the 7th year of this new century and many things that have been standing for 30, 50, 100 years are quickly being razed. Wonderful old buildings, signs, and landmarks are wiped out everyday for a Applebees or a Kohls store. Every town and city in America is starting to look the same. Ug!

Ok, I better stop or I could easily get on a soapbox here.

Here’s some photos I’ve taken of neato playground equipment I’ve found in the past few years. You can see more of the ones I've found at the Neato Coolville Municipal Playground.


Mike Middleton said...

I just drove by the playground with the capsule and bug and it's all gone except the bug and swing set.

zbkat said...

Wow, thank you for this post (and blog - I love it!) I grew up with a great elementary school playground (and yes, it is no more). It had the coolest jungle gym shaped like a giant spider. There was also a big old metal robot who had a disc-like hat - it was a mark of coolness to be able to climb to the top and sit on his head! There were also these cement tubes big enough to sit in (and conk your head on, but hey, it was the late 60's). Those tubes also served as weekend doobie dens when we were in high school. Good times!

Waffle Whiffer said...

Nice pictures and great memories!

Reminds me of the old McDonald's playgrounds. The last one I saw in use was in 1989.

Jenna said...

I became so nostalgic after seeing the snaps. It reminds me of my childhood days. I got no idea how my park really look in these days, as my graduation exams are knocking at the door. But today, I am going to visit it by any means.

Jeff Sparkman said...

Awesome post. Makes me wish I'd taken pictures of my childhood playgrounds. I met up with some friends from elementary school a few years back, and when we went to check out the playground we'd loved so much, it had been replaced by a plastic abomination. I just showed my 3-year-old the pics in the Flickr set, and he was going crazy over them.

Scott said...

Awesome pictures. I've noticed this for years. No more see-saws or teeter-totters, merry-go-rounds, fiberglass slides like the bumpy slide and tornado slide. Geez, even our playgrounds were cooler back then. Looks like I'll be carrying my camera in the car a little more.

Todd Franklin said...

Mike - I'm sorry to hear that :(

Zbkat - I bet that giant robot was cool! Glad you're enjoying the blog and thanks for your comment!

Waffle - Yeah, I loved those old McDonald's playgrounds.

Jenna - Thanks for commenting and I hope your playground is still there.

Jeff - There's a lot of stuff I wish I would've taken photos of too. Thanks for stopping by and this blog will always be for all ages.

Scott - That's a good idea. I saw the other day a tiny digital camera as a keychain. That would be handy.

Nessa said...

Wow, I was just thinking about this today! What a loss.. the playgrounds from when I was a kid have all been torn down.. no more fun stuff to play on anymore! Poor kids today, no wonder they don't want to play outside. There are a few old ride-on metal animals around though, I'll have to go visit them and take pics.. How could you resist a giant metal caterpillar? And I love that spacey slide, too.

Anonymous said...

I love to play with my kids......& to shop for them at Kohl's......!!

Anonymous said...

Thank the plaintiff's bar for disappearing playgrounds, and parents who buy into the lie that if a child gets hurt they should automatically get rich. I enjoyed the pictures.

Anonymous said...

You are right. This truly is becoming a thing of the past. I started looking about a year ago for some of the old playground equipment to purchase for my back yard. I had this vision that I would watch my grandchildren play like I had watched my sisters and even my own children. To my surprise and disappointment it is no where to be found. I makes me sad.

Annie said...

I grew up at a park with lots of metal playground equipment - snails made of spiral ladders, caterpillars, etc. They were lots of fun, and challenging!

If anyone goes out and takes photos of these old playgrounds before they vanish, be sure to add them to the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder, an online database of playgrounds, ballparks, tennis courts, parks, etc. Then you can share them with the world and help others find those great places to play!

Annie Lynsen
Manager, Online Content and Community Development