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The World’s Most Amazing Playgrounds

crochet playground nest

Crochet Playground Nest in Japan

Kids + Playgrounds = Awesome.

It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do with my kids. I climb up on that rock face, squeeze my butt down the slide and deke around the poles right there with them. Okay, part of the reason is that I’m worried my 2 yr old is going to hit a gap and go for a tumble, but still – I love it.

We try to explore different ones all around our neighborhood. There’s Yellow Park, Secret Park, Round Park, Tricky Park, Superhero Park, Windy Park, and more. Every single one we go to is different, with a fun theme that my sons investigate with reckless abandon. Then, on the way home, each new find is christened with a name – which it makes it easy to determine which park they want to revisit. (Kids don’t do well with “you mean the one on 85th St?”)

Still, despite all the great parks we’ve found in our area (especially during this Screen Free Week), none come close to matching the genius and creativity of 18 of the World’s Most Amazing Playgrounds.

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  • Playground – Spain 1 of 18
    Playground - Spain
    This modern playground in Boadilla del Monte, 30 minutes outside Madrid was the brainchild of Spanish architects Eduardo Navadijos and Csaba Tarsoly. They wanted an airy and cool place for kids to play.

    Image Credit: Navadijos Tarsoly Arquitectos
  • Blue Whale – Sweden 2 of 18
    Blue Whale - Sweden

    The History Museum in Gothenburg has a large collection of blue whales. This playground, in Gothenburg, used the collection as inspiration. Kids can climb right inside or hide in the ‘weeds' behind the whale.

    Image Credit: Monstrum

  • One World – Germany 3 of 18
    One World - Germany

    The Britzer Garten is 90 acres of gardens containing several playgrounds. Playspaces include a labyrinth, and a giant world map, "One World," which kids can play and walk.

    Image Credit: Rainer Warzecha

  • Brumbleby – Denmark 4 of 18
    Brumbleby - Denmark

    The area of Brumbleby used to be in the countryside, now it's a part of Copenhagen. The idea of the playground is to create a piece of the old Brumleby with the 3 playground houses designed to look like the surrounding buildings.

    Image Credit: Monstrum

  • Tower Playground – Denmark 5 of 18
    Tower Playground - Denmark

    This playground features slides, stairs, and bridges based around five of Copenhagen's famous towers: Town Hall Tower, Our Saviour's Church, Round Tower, the Marble Church and the Exchange Tower.

    Image Credit: Monstrum

  • Dragon’s Garden – France 6 of 18
    Dragon's Garden - France

    Parc de le Villette in Paris has a collection of ten themed gardens each with a different architectural theme. Le Jardin du Dragon is home to a large sculptural steel dragon that has an 80 ft slide.

    Image Credit: Paris Walking Tours

  • Parque Gulliver – Spain 7 of 18
    Parque Gulliver - Spain

    Parque Gulliver is what you would think - a giant Gulliver lying down in the sand in Valencia, Spain. The scale of the lying figure is such that kids climbing all over him are perfectly sized Lilputians, just as Johnathan Swift would have imagined.

    Image Credit Vivar Valencia

  • Teardrop Park – USA 8 of 18
    Teardrop Park - USA

    This is a New York City gem. It may not look like much, but this Manhattan secret is hard to find amongst the residential buildings in Battery Park City. It features rocks to climb, secret paths and one of the longest slides I've ever seen in a playground.

    Image Credit: edenpictures

  • Nishi-Rokugo – Japan 9 of 18
    Nishi-Rokugo - Japan

    In Japanese, Nishi-Rokugo means Tire Park. This Tokyo masterpiece is comprised of more than 3 000 tires assembled as robots, dragons, monsters, bridges, slides, and swings.

    Image Credit Koji H

  • Giant Spider and the Mushrooms – Denmark 10 of 18
    Giant Spider and the Mushrooms - Denmark

    This giant spider in Hillerod is big enough for kids to climb inside the body like a treehouse. The mushrooms have slides, and there are ropes strung around to act like spider webs.

    Image Credit: Monstrum

  • Rasmus Klump Land – Denmark 11 of 18
    Rasmus Klump Land - Denmark

    This Copenhagen playground is themed on the stories of Rasmus Klump (a Danish comic strip series). Rasmus and his friends sail their ship Mary to discover new land, solve problems for new friends they meet, build things, trade, and play together. At Tivoli, you can become part of the adventure.

    Image Credit: Monstrum

  • Fantasy Playground – The Netherlands 12 of 18
    Fantasy Playground - The Netherlands

    This playground in Hoenderloo's Landal Miggelenberg park (a bungalow / campground / resort type place), looks ripped from the imagination of Dr Seuss.

    Image Credit Marco Raaphorst

  • Clemyjontri Park – USA 13 of 18
    Clemyjontri Park - USA

    This 2 acre playground in Mclean, Virginia is very special, as it is totally accessible to children of all abilities. The name CLEMYJONTRI is derived from the donor's four children: Carolyn (CL), Emily (EMY), John (Jon), and Petrina (Tri)

    Image Credit Fairfax County

  • Forest Snake – Denmark 14 of 18
    Forest Snake - Denmark

    This giant coiled snake is actually in the Meldgård Forest. Not in any towns, it's a great find for kids to climb inside and was meant to be a great discovery for families exploring the forest.

    Image Credit: Monstrum

  • Lighthouse Slide – New Zealand 15 of 18
    Lighthouse Slide - New Zealand

    Frank Kitts Park is on the Wellington waterfront and home to this fun lighthouse slide.

    Image Credit: Jemsweb

  • Takino Hillside Park – Japan 16 of 18
    Takino Hillside Park - Japan

    Which came first, this place or the Teletubbies? Built perfectly into the side of a hill, this playground in a National Government park outside Sapporo is a creative gem.

    Image Credit Takano Landscape Planning

  • Rainbow Nest – Japan 17 of 18
    Rainbow Nest - Japan

    This is just one area of the Takino Hillside Park outside Sapporo. The rainbow nest by crochet artist Toshiko Horiuchi-MacAdam allows kids to climb into a unique environment and turn their world literally upside down.

    Image Credit Playground Designs

  • Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Playground – UK 18 of 18
    Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Playground - UK

    A huge wooden pirate ship is the focal point of the playground next to her Kensington Palace home.

    Image Credit Royal Parks

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