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Vintage Kiddo :: The 70s Retro Playground.

As you guys all pretty much know by now, I am crazy about the 60s and 70s. I kind of thought I’d seen and remembered it all, until a friend sent me a few photos of a playground that still had swings and slides from the 1970s. And lawdy did it ever take me back! I had TOTALLY forgotten about most of these, but seeing them again made me smile. I know they don’t make them like this anymore for fear of accidents (the metal designs are begging for injuries) but at the same time it makes me a tad sad that we are a generation who bubble wraps their kids. Look HOW MUCH FUN these things are….I am especially fond of the rocket ships and space themed playgrounds. Just think how many space missions went down on these cool things:



And what kid didn’t want to spin around at a zillion miles an hour on one of these dealies??

Aw, look at these guys. I ask you, what’s wrong with them? They’re totally cute. So much more fun than the plasticky stuff on playgrounds today.


Oooh, yeowtch! Remember sliding down one of these babies on a hot hot day?? Yeah. Butt burner for sure.

OK, who came up with this one? The sliding wall of doom. ["Frank, got an excellent idea for down at the playground. We take a 10-foot tall piece of metal, stick it on an angle and let that sucker bake in the hot afternoon sun. The kid's will love it!"]  I guess it was still pretty fun—when it wasn’t giving you burns on your hands or blinding the hell outta you.

I vaguely remember these McDonalds playgrounds—pretty hilarious. Love the Big Mac police guy climber dealie. And the Mayor McCheese spinner was the best! For some reason these seem way less germ-laden then the current McPlayhouses I see. I’m sure it’s all in my imagination, but still…

OK I don’t know what the hell this thing is….and even I have to admit it looks like it’ll slice yer head off:

Ahh, the ol orange juicer!  How I loved these!

The capper, however is this guy. WOWZA! Never tangoed with him on the playground, but imagine how cool it would have been??

Oh Giganta, how we miss ya. Do you guys have modern playgrounds in your area or are there still some remnants of the glory days??

IMAGES: Props to scotamus on Flickr, who has THE BEST vintage playground photos, please check him out.
And thank you to neatocoolville for the groovy MickyDees shot.

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Posted in Best of Alix, Vintage Childhood, Vintage Kiddo Photos.

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27 Responses

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  1. emily b says

    Those are great! We were just reminiscing about the old playgrounds last week! It’s amazing we survived out childhoods…isn’t it?
    Thanks for sharing! -e

  2. Yvette says

    Here in Sacramento, CA we have Fairytale Town which hasn’t changed much since it first opened. One of the reasons I’m excited about having this baby is because I can actually go to Fairytale Town now. They have a no ADULTS ONLY rule, which makes sense.

    Awesome post!

  3. Dottie says

    Giganta is KILLING me! I love the little kid just kicking it on Giganta’s foot. Maybe she thinks Giganta will kick her into the sea or something. Or you could hang out in the head jail. Why is this so darn funny to me?

  4. lishyloo says

    i love these so much! i keep saying i need to take pics of the park in my home town, there is a spider. will do this for you alex!

  5. Amber Liddle says

    We have an old timey merry go round at our local park, Ingrid loves it! Our cottage has three parks still kickin’ it old school, we’re going next week so I’ll have to take some pictures. My favorite are the metal horse swings, but I love the metal rocket slides!

  6. heather says

    we still have a few old school parks down where i go thrifting and i too have been saying i need to take pip there for a photo shoot!

  7. Kickcan & Conkers says

    wow ! This is fantastic!

  8. flo says

    alix, i love this blog…brings back great memories! kinda along the same line, i suggested to lisa last monday about taking wolfie and emmy to our local storyland and playland, but it was closed!! i know you will love it, because it has all these great 50s sets of children’s stories (like the women who lived in the shoe)…which brings the tales to life for the kids!! come back to fresno soon!! http://www.storylandplayland.com/default.asp

  9. Alix says

    Flo that sounds awesome!!

    Yvette, we have “Fairland” here. I wonder if it’s like what you and Flo are talking about? I’m down for some vintage fieldtrips

  10. kodie says

    yipes! i do remember the blistering metal slides! how could i not?!? however, i think the reason most of these have gone the way of the dinosaur might have something to do with my hubby and his “little accident” when he was 8. he fell from a metal jungle gym at school, broke his head and took a “long nap” for several days. so feel free to blame him! (sorry for the Debbie Downer…it’s what i think of every time i see these types of playground equipment!) in other news – i do remember those outdoor McD’s playgrounds! feeling very nostalgic now!

  11. becky says

    OH my god this made my day, I still have a goofy smile plastered to my face!

    It’s sad, park designers can only pick from pre-approved boring equipment most of the time b/c of those pesky insurance companies and safety requirements keep us from rocketing back to butt burning slides!

  12. kristin says

    What a great post! I remember Giganta from back in the day! We used to play on him on our family trips to Lake Chelan (WA). We just started going back there with Sayer and I was really sad to see Giganta gone. Thanks for the flashback! :)

  13. Alix says

    WHOA you actually rode/slid etc on GIGANTA?!?!?!? I’m so jealous Kristin!!!

  14. Katie Stephenson says

    What a fun post! I had that rocket ship at my grade school playground. Kids were forever getting their heads stuck between the bars. I also had that slanty metal thing. I don’t think anyone really knew what it was for, and it would make a horrible sound as kids slid down it. How funny, I had completely forgotten about that thing.
    I was also a casualty of the metal jungle gym. Took a nice digger and landed a concussion. I still remember waking up on a cot in the office. Ah well, I think I came out okay.

    • Alix says

      Glad you guys enjoyed looking at these photos as much as I did.
      I think I was scared of the Big Mac jail too Ryan (I have a fuzzy memory of it….)

      haha, Katie I totally remember the sound that slanty Sliding Wall of Doom made when kids tried to slide down it….I’m jealous you had the rocket. (but sorry about the concussion!)

  15. helen rawlinson says

    I love the rocket and the giraffe swing, but that sliding wall thing just cracks me up! Oh and the orange juicer too….haven’t ever seen any of those in the UK, brilliant!

  16. emmylou says

    Growing up our park had a rocket slide. I wonder if it’s still there. Ahhhh, the memories. Now parks are all concerned about safety & such nonsense.

    http://emmylouhart.blogspot.com/

  17. Ryan says

    The Big Mac policeman thing was the scariest thing in the world to me. I would have panic attacks every time I went up there. It was always packed with kids crawling around the circle and I thought I was going to fall between the bars. Awesome post!!

  18. Kayanna says

    Oh my goodness, what an amazing post! I TOTALLY remember that McDonald’s hamburger cage thing, Hilarious!

  19. LeighB says

    The Cone shaped play thing is called a “witches hat” – We had one in my small town in Ohio and I loved playing on it. Should have a rubber tire around the pole in the middle and then the whole piece bounces off the tire. I wish I could find one somewhere…been looking for years! I would so buy it!

  20. KEWG says

    I grew up in Cincinnati, and the playground at Lunken Airport at Wilmer & Beechmont Avenues had the Atomic Rocket Slide! It was so much fun and has long since been taken down. :+( Very sad about it but your photo brought back all those memories! Thanks!

  21. Kim says

    I have an old 70′s giraffe I’m selling . Anyone interested?

  22. General Recreation Inc says

    Look HOW MUCH FUN these things are….I am especially fond of the rocket ships and space themed playgrounds. Just think how many space missions went down on these cool things.

Continuing the Discussion

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