6 Modern Playgrounds to Make Your Inner Child Lose Its Mind

Childhood never really dies -- it just gets repressed. So while we're grinding away in an office from 9 to 5, we may allow ourselves some video games in our spare time, but we have to give up the really fun stuff -- the climbing, the jumping, the pretending to be at war with the Nazis in our backyard.

That is, unless you know where to look. Maybe it's time to reclaim your childhood at ...

#6. The World War II Paintball Re-Enactment (Oklahoma)

sgtmyers88

When we talked about playing war above, some of you immediately said, "Well, we have paintball!" But it's just not the same when it's a dozen guys running around behind some hay bales. No, we were picturing something more ... large scale.

Fortunately there's Oklahoma D-Day, the massive paintball war in which you can get shot by a goddamned tank.

sgtmyers88
And this thing is much more durable than a real Sherman.

Oklahoma D-Day is, quite simply, the largest paintball game in the world. It's a recreation of World War II in paintball form, and it draws nearly 4,000 people annually. That's more than the British brought into the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Skirmish
It also contains significantly more giant American flags than Bunker Hill.

By taking the idea of war re-enactment to its absolute legal limits, Oklahoma D-Day faithfully recreates battles and scenarios from the Normandy landings in which participants go head to head against paintball tanks, paintball air raids, and paintball machine guns.

3rd Ranger Battalion
As well as hundreds of paintball bayonets* (*brushes).

The contestants are divided into Axis and Allied teams, assigned to units, and invited to experience the hell of war in a mostly non-lethal environment. Luckily for all involved, the organizers opt not to end the tournament each year by detonating a paintball atom bomb.

#5. The Wanton Destruction Club (New Jersey)

Dan Callister / Pacific Coast News

Admit it: How many of you play a game like Grand Theft Auto purely for the chance to just roam around and wreck shit? For most of us, there is a primal satisfaction in destroying things, an impulse that society is really big on suppressing, for some reason. Well, friends, we want to tell you about the Destruction Company of New Jersey, a private club that enabled its members to go medieval on any item they wanted, more or less.

Dan Callister, PacificCoastNews.com
We'd kinda like to sledgehammer that kid on the right. What the hell is with his neckline?

There are a few rules: You can't kill anything (or anyone) or destroy any documents, and you can't use firearms, because that would just be dangerous. Apart from that, pretty much anything goes. Want to destroy a piano with a chainsaw? Take a crowbar to a Chevy? Just tell the Destruction Company what turns you on, and they'd set it up for you. If you're not sure, they even had a menu that included flat screen televisions, couches, guitars, and something that looks like what Victorian-era women kept their undergarments in.

Dan Callister, PacificCoastNews.com
And an antique statue, because you can't fake the thrill of destroying art.

The club had access to an old warehouse and rooftop space where the orgy of destruction took place. They report that their most popular items were technology, like computers, laptops, and iPads, which seems completely reasonable for anyone who's ever wanted to chuck their bricked PC out a four-story window.

Dan Callister, PacificCoastNews.com
"Eat concrete, guitar. That'll teach you to make me play badly."

Perhaps surprisingly for those who assume this madness is fueled by an overabundance of testosterone, the club also claimed that 40 percent of their members are women, including one who signed up so that she could destroy a bunch of her ex-husband's stuff.

Dan Callister, PacificCoastNews.com
Smash all you want, that vase won't turn into genitals.

Apparently, wanton destruction does have a therapeutic benefit, as therapists from Spain have already known for years. "Destructotherapy" is a legitimate form of therapy that lauds the curative power of beating random objects to a violent pulp, which proves that psychology is finally catching up to what we've been telling them for centuries.

#4. The World's Biggest Climbing Wall (Switzerland)

Robert Bosch / Barcroft

Kids like climbing things. It's another passion that decades of spirit-crushing office work tends to squeeze out of you, but the popularity of climbing walls at gyms attests to the fact that dragging our bodies up a vertical incline is still something we yearn for. Why not take it to the limit and visit Switzerland, where you can tackle this bastard? (Note: Those tiny dots are people.)

Robert Bosch / Barcroft
The reservoir below holds enough fear urine to keep all of Germany in water sports.

Holy shit! The Diga di Luzzone is the closest you'll ever come to climbing the wall from Game of Thrones. The largest artificial climbing wall in the world is actually built into the side of a dam above a pants-soiling free-fall drop of 540 feet.

Robert Bosch / Barcroft

Robert Bosch / Barcroft
Voted Worst Place to Scratch an Itch 2013.

The plastic climbing pegs that scale the dam begin several feet above the ground to discourage random tourists from attempting the ascent, because Switzerland doesn't need that on their conscience. For around the price of a sandwich, experienced climbers are outfitted with climbing gear and a ladder and sent on their way.

Robert Bosch / Barcroft
And for $500 an hour, you can fire paintballs at these people.

The climb gets more difficult as you slowly ascend into the stratosphere -- beginning at an incline, the wall eventually turns vertical and then bends back a little so that you're on an overhang and feeling like Stallone in Cliffhanger. At this point, you're up so high that you can feel the weight of your own safety rope dragging on you. Really the biggest challenge is not emptying your bowels on the poor guy below you.

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