15 of the World’s Coolest Playgrounds Photo by: Mark Ahsmann via Wikimedia Commons

15 of the World’s Coolest Playgrounds

It seems that right now is a pretty great time to be a kid, considering the abundance of innovative playgrounds that are popping up around the world. Gone are the typical plastic slides, normal swings and metal monkey bars. Instead we are seeing huge tire structures that you can actually climb, pirate ships that feature hidden nooks and crannies, zip lines, trampolines and slides that require helmets! From Japan to Nashville, Tennessee, to down under in Australia, here are 15 playgrounds that we wish were around when we were a kid.

15. Jungle Gym -Nashville, Tennessee

Not only is this playground located inside the incredible Nashville Zoo, but it features over 66,000 square feet of total fun! This primitive wooden playground looks like something right out of Pirates of the Caribbean and features the infamous snake tunnel, a huge net to climb that connects the bridge and tower and a huge hippo to chill out on. The numerous nooks and crannies throughout provide perfect shady hiding spots for a fun game of hide and seek. Kids love to climb to the top of the 35 foot tall treehouse and slide down one of the super slides. With its accessible swings, soft padded floors and smack dab location in between the African Savannah and the Jungle Loop; Nashville’s Jungle Gym playground is the perfect spot to let the kids run out some of their energy.

14. Clemyjontri Park -McLean, Virginia

At this all-inclusive playground, kids of all abilities are encouraged to play side-by-side. The park is a whopping two acres and is cut into four distinct spaces that surround the center carousel. The park is full of bright colors and swings that are specially designed for children in wheelchairs, Braille throughout and maps and mazes. The ground is soft and squishy, washrooms are on-site as well as vending machines and a water fountain to keep the little ones hydrated. There are tons of slides, ride able characters, swings and jungle gym structures to keep the kids running all day long. Covered picnic areas provide shade and we suggest packing a picnic and spending the whole day here. Trust us, you won’t run out of things to do.

13. Adventure Playground -Berkeley, California

This playground actually doesn’t look like much but this may be why it’s so notable. The playground sits on a dusty half-acre and was inspired by the European Adventure Playgrounds that originated after World War II. It is here where children are encouraged to play and build things using their creativity. The structures here such as the boats, forts and towers have all been designed and built by kids. Favorite things to do include the zip line and rolling down the hill in a piece of pipe. There are hammers, saws, nails and paint that are provided, but parents must be present while kids are creating and playing. The park is recommended by ages seven and up and kids should wear closed toe shoes. Weekends are very busy here and we suggest checking out this awesome playground mid-week when the kids can really let loose and get their creative juices flowing.

Adventure Playground, California

12. Nishi-Rokugo Park -Tokyo, Japan

This much loved vintage playground combines used tires with playground material to make one awesome playground. The sculptures throughout the park are made from recycled tires and kids love to climb the Godzilla and Robot ones. There are more than 3,000 tires throughout the playground creating tunnels, bridges and of course the famous tire swing. The park can get quite dusty and hot as there is not a lot of shade so it is advised you head there early in the morning or at dusk. Along with the thousands of tires, there are slides, regular swings and a jungle gym. Adventurous kids will love the steep concrete slope that is used for tire tubing. Located between central Tokyo and the city of Kawasaki; this is the perfect outing for the whole family.

11. St. Kilda Adventure Playground -St. Kilda, Australia

This is truly a playground where kids are encouraged to be kids by letting loose, exploring and challenging themselves. What you won’t find here are the typical American plastic play structures and slides. Instead this playground has used a collection of recycled materials to build a constructed shipwreck, wooden castle, flying foxes, numerous slides and trampolines. It has been open since 1982 and continues to get upgrades that make it suitable for any ages. Favorites include the rope ladders, trampolines, go karts and tunnels. The really nice thing about this park is the area set out specifically for parents, where they are encouraged to sit back, have a coffee and relax while the kids go be kids, in the best of ways.

10. Blaxland Riverside Park -Sydney, Australia

It is hailed as the largest playground in Sydney, open 365 days of the week and located right beside the water. The playground is spread over seven acres and offers everything from water play to steep climbs to moving elements. The 170 fountains alone could keep the kids occupied for hours and proves to be the biggest outdoor water play facility in the state. Along with water the kids will find a multi-level treehouse, tunnel slides, climbing wall and futuristic-looking swings. Adults are encouraged to join the fun here and you will find many racing down the slides and challenging their kids to a climbing race. There is also plenty of shade to be found here so bring a picnic and explore this gigantic park that is fun for all ages.

9. Takino Hillside Park -Hokkaido, Japan

The playground that exists in Takino Hillside Park can best be described as half adventure park and half natural wonderland, and in the winter transforms into a Snowy adventure park. The park is divided into many different sections and each zone contains a different element of play. Giant concrete slides await visitors and helmets are provided free of charge for all children, in fact it is mandatory that they wear one. The most gorgeous attraction in the whole park is a colorful rainbow nest dome to play in. Other highlights include the bouncy hills made from plastic and foam, the giant sized playhouses to climbs onto, the ponds and slow water slides and the giant ant hill, which is not for the faint of heart. There is enough climbing, jumping and exploring to fill an entire day or two here and it promises to be fun for the entire family.

8. Boadilla del Monte -Madrid, Spain

This playground is not just an incredible place for kids to expand their imagination but it is a stunning piece of architecture as well. It was designed to give children inspiration to pursue their dreams in an airy and cool environment, resulting in an absolute masterpiece in shades of blue and white. What can be referred to as a castle in the clouds, the structures are open, light and designed to cast shadows that encourage the kids imaginations. Of course along with these innovative structures are common playground features. There are hills to climb, sand to play in and bikes to ride along with enough shade to keep everyone cool. This is certainly not your typical playground but one of the most incredible to open kid’s imaginations and one of the prettiest for parents to look at.

Playground

7. Yerba Buena Gardens Rooftop Playground -San Francisco, California

This innovative urban playground is located on the rooftop of Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco. Besides the awesome location, only steps away from the Children’s Creativity Museum and the King Carousel, this playground offers endless amounts of fun. Whether your little ones are sliding down the 25-foot long tube slide or building something great in the sand circle, we promise they won’t be bored. Other notable attractions at this playground include the play stream, fountains of water, child-size hedge labyrinth and ever popular jungle gym. Watch them as they pound on the xylophone or participate in the story hour that happens often. With a nearby outdoor amphitheatre hosting family performances, there is no better way to spend an afternoon with the kids.

6. Belleville Park -Paris, France

France seems to be one step ahead of the world in terms of innovation and imagination when it comes to playgrounds. Taking it to the next level, the designers of this playground asked both kids and adults alike what they were looking for in a playground. The result is somewhat of an abstract structure that has been built into the landscape. Depending on how you look at it, it can resemble a pirate ship, flying carpet or something in-between. The main elements of the playground are the playhouse and the climbing course, which features different inclinations for different levels and ages. The best part of this park may just be the incredible view of the city and the Eiffel Tower that you get from the top of the structure. You won’t find any colorful plastic slides here, just enough of a structure to spark anyone’s imagination.

5. Woodland Discovery Playground -Cordova, Tennessee

Bold, innovative and tons of fun are all ways to describe this urban playground that set out to offer something entirely unique and different to the world. This playground is a work of art, as much as it is a place to play and kids all over the world are going wild for it. Some of the favorite activities here include the giant nest to climb, the tree house, innovative swings and the large tube slide. There are six different nests throughout the playground, each featuring a different type of play and surrounded by a huge arching leafy arbor. The separately designed nests make it perfect for any age group and parents can sit at the tops of each section and watch their children play below. A huge sandbox, washrooms on-site and more than likely a food truck or two complete this awesome innovative playground.

4. Ghost Train -Lima, Peru

One of the most unique playgrounds on this list is located in Lima, Peru. The playground is actually made out of constructed recyclables and is actually located underneath the support columns of an abandoned train track. This is one of our favorite unique playgrounds because the creators of Ghost Train took the time to turn an otherwise forgotten about place into something very special for both kids and adults alike. It comes across as a very DIY project but the climbers, zip lines, horse shaped tire swings and climbing walls had a lot of thought put into them. One of the greatest aspects of this park is the abundance of swings, as we all know that the swings are always taken up first. Bright colors give this industrial looking park a boost and at any time you can find both kids and adults having a blast here.

3. Lake MacQuarie Variety Playground -Speers Point Park, Australia

This all abilities playground is known for being one of the best in all of Australia and offers enough things to do to keep the kids entertained all day long. Make sure to pack a picnic as there are many barbecues, tables and sitting areas around the playground. Spread over five acres this park offer such activities as a 40 foot climbing tower complete with metal tube slide, a double flying fox, tons of spinning toys and a maze. Along with all of this comes lots of water and sand play areas, a sensory garden and bike circuit with two intersecting tracks. For those kids who need a little quiet time there is a specially designed retreat just for that. Little ones will love the mini amphitheater and performing stage and parents will appreciate the washrooms right across the road.

2. Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground -London, United Kingdom

Tucked into a corner of Kensington Gardens is an awesome playground in memory of the late Princess Diana. At the center of the park sits a huge pirate ship for kids to explore, surrounded by a beach, teepees and numerous play structures. This playground was inspired by the stories of Peter Pan and thus is geared towards kids exploring and following their imagination. Slides, swings, a water play area and a specially designed area for children with disabilities make up the park. It is important to note that children will not be allowed in without an adult and there are plenty of places in the shade for parents to watch their little ones. Do note that this playground gets really busy, especially during the weekends and there will most likely be a line to get in. Don’t let that scare you off though; this incredible playground is worth the visit, kids and adults alike.

1. MonstroCity -St. Louis, Missouri

This interactive playground/sculpture opened in 2002 and many argue it is the coolest playground in the whole world; and we have to agree with them. The playground itself is built of reclaimed materials including two Sabreliner aircraft fuselages that are suspended in the air. Other notable things this playground offers are a fire engine, castle turret, four-foot wide slinkies, two ball pits filled with large rubber dodge balls and numerous thrilling slides. This playground just isn’t for kids though and adults will feel the excitements as they climb through sky-high tunnels and race down the 10 story metal tube slide. In fact many times here you can actually see more adults than children playing. Located outside of the City Museum, families can spend an entire day exploring both this playground and the museum; which inside houses a shark tunnel, human sized hamster wheel and more.

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