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Unusual Playgrounds around the World



Melbourne is blessed with some great playgrounds but there are plenty of imaginative playgrounds around the world. We sent the sniffer dogs out in search of those playgrounds. Apart from finding a few caches of illegal substances, they sniffed out some fantastic playgrounds. We are going to progressively explore these playgrounds and a new playground will be added each week.

National Arboretum Playground, Canberra, Australia
National Arboretum Playground, Canberra, Australia



The pod playground features banksia cubby houses and acorn-shaped pods connected by rope tunnels and tube slides, discovery trails and climbing nets. Customised play items include portholes with insects, thunder sound panels, rain and hail tubes, wind chimes, kaleidoscopes and boulder climbing walls.

More photos of the playground


Tadpole Playground in Boston, USA
Tadpole Playground in Boston, USA



The highlight of this playground are the whimsical bronze frogs created by local artist David Phillips.

More photos of the playground


Miners playground in Chuquicamata, Chile
Miners playground in Chuquicamata, Chile



These surreal, industrial inspired play structures are in the former mining town of Chuquicamata in northern Chile.

More photos of the playground


Seward Street Slides, San Francisco
Seward Street Slides, San Francisco



Grab some cardboard, hang on to your hat and go for it. These slides are built into the hillside of one of San Francisco's steepest hills and it's a hair-raising ride down to the bottom. The slides were the result of a playground design competition won by a 14 year old girl and have been terrifying locals and visitors alike since 1973.

More photos of the slides


Parc de la Villette, Paris, France
Parc de la Villette, Paris, France



The park has ten thematic gardens such as the dragon garden, mirror garden and bamboo garden. There are also 35 "follies" - buildings designed strictly as ornaments. The highlight for kids though is the Dragon slide with a 26m long tongue slide.

More photos of the playground


"Mifletzet" (Monster) Park in Jerusalem
Mifletzet (Monster) Park in Jerusalem


The "Mifletzet" (Monster) Park in Jerusalem has existed since 1972. The "Monster" is a black and white concrete structure with slides. You climb a dark internal stair case and emerge at the top of the Monster's three long red tongues.


Fantasy Playground in Hoenderloo, The Netherlands
Fantasy Playground in Hoenderloo, The Netherlands



Fantasy playground which looks like it came straight from the pages of a Fairy Tale.

More photos and information about the playground


Playground in a Cemetery, Rhinebeck, USA
Playground in a Cemetery, Rhinebeck, USA


Space must be at a premium in Rhinebeck where a playground has been built in the local cemetery.

More photos of the playground


Octopus Playgrounds in Japan
Octopus Playgrounds in Japan


There are a large number of these giant cement octopi playgrounds in Japan. They were constructed by Maeda Environmental Art Co and apparently each one is a unique design.

More photos of the octopi playgrounds


Playground at Khmelnitsky, Ukraine
Playground at Khmelnitsky, Ukraine


Bizarre and colourful playground in Ukraine which even has a touch of menace about it.

More photos of the playground


Zodiac Playground, Russia
Zodiac Playground, Russia


Delightful playground sculptures representing the signs of the zodiac.

More photos of the playground


Ornithopter Playground, Germany
Ornithopter, Germany



Ornithopter at Children's playground in Germany which can even flap its wings!


Teardrop Park, New York City, USA
Teardrop Park, New York City, USA





Teardrop Park is a 1.8-acre public park in lower Manhattan.

More photos of the playground


Nashville Zoo Playground, USA
Nashville Zoo Playground, USA





The Nashville Zoo features the largest community built playground in the United States and includes a snake tunnel.

More photos of the playground


Tom Luckey Climbers
Tom Luckey Climbers





These climbers which are designed by Tom Luckey are typically located in Children's Museums across America. They seem so dangerous but are actually safe for kids to clamber up and down but anyone with a fear of heights would be well-advised to stay clear.

More Photos of Tom Luckey Climbers

Article on Boston.com about the Climbers


Breakfast Playground at Cherry Creek Shopping Centre in Denver
Cherry Creek Shopping Centre in Denver, USA





The indoor playground, designed around a breakfast theme, features slides that resemble bacon strips alongside enormous plastic eggs and other food items.

More photos of the playground


Lighthouse Slide at Wellington, New Zealand
Lighthouse Slide at Wellington, New Zealand





Fantastic lighthouse slide at Frank Kitts Park on the Wellington waterfront.

More photos of the slide


Saber Jet Playground, California, USA
Saber Jet Playground, California, USA


The F-86 Sabre was the first swept-wing jet fighter and carried a single pilot. This jet fighter is spending its retirement years in Palm View Park Playground in West Covina, California.

More information about the Palm View Park Sabre Jet


Monstrum Playgrounds, Denmark
Monstrum Playgrounds, Denmark


Monstrum, a Danish company, design absolutely brilliantly imaginative playgrounds. I want to visit every one of them!

More Photos of Monstrum Playgrounds, Denmark


Noguchi Playscape, Atlanta, USA
Noguchi Playscape, Atlanta, USA


The Noguchi Playscape was designed by world-renowned artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Completed in 1976, Playscapes is the only Noguchi-designed playground completed in his lifetime in the US. This Playscape familiarises children with shapes, colors and textures.

More Photos of Noguchi Playscape


Giant Robot Playground, Benbrook, Texas, USA
Giant Robot Playground, Benbrook, Texas, USA






Fun playground which includes a giant robot with slides for arms and some classic equipment such as a giant bug eyed beetle.

More information about the Giant Robot Playground


City Museum, St Louis, USA
City Museum, St Louis, USA
This may be a museum but it is also an unbelievable playground for kids (and adults). Includes two Saber 40 aircraft fuselages, school bus, fire engine, castle turret, cupola, indoor ball pit, wrought-iron slinkies, slides, mazes and heaps more!

More Photos of St Louis City Museum, St Louis

St Louis City Museum Website


Takino Hillside Park, Japan
Takino Hillside Park, Japan


The basic theme of the playground is nests of living things and includes a huge anthill with slide, Rainbow Nest Dome, maze, huge cushion and more.

More Photos of Takino Hillside Park Playground


Boadilla del Monte, Spain
Boadilla del Monte, Spain





There are no simple shade sails for this playground which is located in the Mirabal Primary School, Boadilla del Monte, Spain.

More Photos of the Playground

Article on design of the Playground


Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Playground, London, UK
Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Playground, London, UK


A huge wooden pirate ship with a crows nest in a sea of sand is the amazing centrepiece of this playground which was constructed in memory of Princess Diana. There is also a sensory trail, teepees and various play sculptures.

More Photos of Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Playground


Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, USA
Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, USA


This playground is located on the rooftop of a building and includes a hedge maze, huge slides and 100-year-old hand carved carousel.

More Photos of Yerba Buena Gardens


Clemyjontri Park, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
Clemjontri Park, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA







A two acre playground where children with and without disabilities can easily play side-by-side. Includes four outdoor "rooms" - The Rainbow room, The Schoolhouse & Maze, The Movin and Groovin Transportation Area and Fitness & Fun. The name Clemyjontri is made up from the initials of the playground benefactor's children.

More Photos of Clemyjontri Park


Gulliver's Park, Valencia, Spain
Gulliver's Park, Valencia, Spain, California

An enormous sprawling figure of Gulliver which forms an a wonderfully imaginative playground of climbing frames and slides. It is so large that kids really do look like Lilliputians as they scramble over Gulliver.

More Photos of Gulliver's Park

Google Map View of the Park

YouTube Video of Gulliver's Park


Laguna de San Gabriel (Monster Park), California, USA
Laguna de San Gabriel (Monster Park), California



The playground has large cement sea creatures which form slides, climbing structures and other fun play elements. The playground was built in 1965 and is called "Monster Park" by the locals. Thankfully the "Friends of La Laguna" group have managed to avoid demolition of the playground.

More Photos of Laguna de San Gabriel Playground

You Tube Video - Monster Park in San Gabriel


Nishi-Rokugo Tyre Park, Tokyo, Japan
Nishi-Rokugo Tyre Park, Tokyo, Japan


More than 3000 recycled tyres have been used to make an array of fun play equipment - robots, dragons, bridges, swings, slides, tunnels and mountains are all constructed from tyres. It's certainly hard to imagine a more fun use for old tyres.

More Photos of Nishi-Rokugo Tyre Park


Kowhai Park, Wanganui, New Zealand
Kowhai Park, Wanganui, New Zealand

A playground full of giant animals and fairy tale creatures with quirky equipment like a writhing green octopus, slide inside a shoe, snow capped mountains, castle, pirate ship, pumpkin shelter, whale and Antarctica with penguins. Some (but not me) might argue that New Zealand has weather like Antarctica and so why not the wildlife.

Blog article on Kowhai Park

More Photos of Kowhai Park Playground


The Fruit and Scent Playground, Liljeholmen, Sweden can be enjoyed by kids irrespective of whether they like fruit or not. The fruit bowl includes a banana slide, an orange segment see-saw, cherry swings, strawberry spinners and a watermelon jungle gym. Thankfully there isn't a durian spinner! The playground is located in the south of Stockholm.

The Fruit and Scent Playground, Liljeholmen, Sweden
Information on Playground from Stockholm 4 Kids

More Photos of the Fruit and Scent Playground


Tom Otterness Designed Playgrounds
Tom Otterness Playground
My favourite playground equipment is the huge bronze sculpture which was designed by Tom Otterness. The brass sculpture, named 'Playground' is in a park in a luxury residential development in New York City on West 42nd Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. This sculpture is the fourth in a series of six. The others are in the homes of art collectors who are obviously very rich and have a big back yard. One installation in a private residence in Cape Cod, Massachusetts has two water slides being formed by the legs. I even have this sculpture as my Google background image!

More Photos of Tom Otterness' Playground Sculptures
Blog article on Manhattan's Bronze Guy



Cheese Grater Slide
Cheese Grater Slide











A Cheese Grater Slide in Kaasstad, Holland (close to Photoshop Land). Very handy if you have a block of cheese in your back pocket and want some cheese sandwiches for lunch!




  Reader Feedback  

John Gallanders      Posted:    9:34 PM March 30, 2014

Hows these for unusaul- recently classed as 'The strangest playground in the world' https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/playmovie/back-to-the-land-an-adventure-play-documentary http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/03/hey-parents-leave-those-kids-alone/358631/ http://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/22109977/the-strangest-playground-on-earth/
playmap.jp      Posted:    4:53 PM January 30, 2014

Nice collection, for thousands of cool playgrounds in Japan please visit http://www.playmap.jp
james      Posted:    8:45 PM February 16, 2013

Really like the collection, this has just been built in a school near me http://grassrootsplay.com/projects/playground_equipment
holly      Posted:    9:06 PM November 22, 2012

We have been to the one in NZ. It is really neat.
Bridge Timber      Posted:    9:35 PM September 6, 2012

Wow!!!! Can I have them all please?! I work for a playground equipment designer based in Yorkshire and we are all in love with this post!
Let      Posted:    9:57 AM May 17, 2012

Love these! Thank you for sharing!
Mandy      Posted:    9:10 AM May 17, 2012

Very nice list!
Dawn Pedersen      Posted:    9:00 AM May 17, 2012

Might I add Adventure Playground in Berkeley, California? http://kidsbusybook.com/?place=adventure-playground
winterreifen      Posted:    5:15 PM February 3, 2012

I found your site through search, yours site is a nice and excellent website.. contents are nice.. will grow higher in future
sheya      Posted:    7:52 PM January 1, 2011

The cheese grater slide has to be the best!!

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