Thursday, September 23, 2010

Irvine's Adventure Playground Needs a Bulldozer

OK, that's a misleading headline.  Somebody might read that and think I'm really proposing the demolition of Irvine, CA's Adventure Playground.  The playground looks more like a vacant lot than a fancy new playground with brightly colored equipment, but that's the point, really.  With mud, fort-like structures, movable parts, rope bridges, and the like, it sounds very much like a playground for creativity, an Imagination Playground on the cheap (not to mention more than 60 years ahead of its time, since the concept's been floating around since the 1940s).

Now there are moves afoot to tear down the playground, which has led supporters in the community to create their own Defend Adventure Playground website.  (I particularly appreciate the seige mentality implied by the use of the verb "defend.")

I'm not going to get into who's right and who's wrong here -- I've seen more than enough of these situations to know that it's very gray, not black and white, and even if you disagree, it's often a matter of perspective.  (I'll also note that it's not exactly a new issue.)

But I do wish that they had one of these near us.  There are just 3 (and since AP's been closed for a couple summers, just 2) of these in the US, as opposed to a thousand or so in Europe.  Wouldn't it be cool to see your kids tromp through the mud, construct a fort (repeatedly), and cross a rope bridge?  Maybe even -- we can dream, right? -- pretend to operate a bulldozer?

(Hat tip: KaBOOM!)

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