6 Modern Playgrounds to Make Your Inner Child Lose Its Mind

#3. The Temple Where You Play With Actual Tigers (Thailand)

Tiger Temple Thailand

Forget regular zoos, where, if you're lucky, you can cuddle a koala or touch a conveniently defanged snake. At Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, aka the Tiger Temple in Thailand, you can cut right to what you've always dreamed of doing and snuggle a full-grown tiger, rocketing you instantly to the status of Beast Master (or at least top-tier Cat Person).

Just don't break out the laser pointer. It'd be the last mistake you ever made.

The temple was commemorated in 1994 as a forest monastery and a sanctuary for a variety of animals, not just tigers. If you're lucky you can also sometimes ride elephants or play with bears, because why limit yourself to one potential near-death experience in a day?

Tiger Temple Thailand
Now, shout "BOO!" and goose his belly.

The tigers are allowed to roam about freely once a day, which is when tourists get a chance to interact with the animals. The monks are currently trying to gather up some more cash to upgrade the facilities and create an atmosphere for the tigers that's as similar as possible to what they would experience in the wild. Biologically, tigers are just really huge kittens, so if you treat them right, you can belly-rub them without too much risk of them removing your face with a single playful swipe of the paw.

Tiger Temple Thailand
Honestly, half a swipe would probably do it.

At the Tiger Temple, you can even hand-wash a tiger cub or have some fun with one with a variety of tiger toys that the temple will provide you. Or just put your baby on it, whatever.

Tiger Temple Thailand
It's probably cool to just leave him there if you need to visit the gift shop or something.

The temple's utmost dedication to the welfare of these animals was rewarded with a Golden Jubilee Buddha Image, a statue in Buddha's image made of 80 kilograms of gold. Incidentally, the statue went missing the same week one of the more senior monks bought a new Audi.

#2. The Inflatable Water Park (Germany)

Wibit Sports

At some point in adulthood, the beach becomes less about splashing around and laughing your ass off and more about sitting quietly and working on your tan. And a German company called Wibit Sports says fuck that shit:

Wibit Sports
Or ficken that scheisse, whatever.

Yep, they sell giant floating inflatable play sets that allow you to set up an impromptu water park wherever you damn well please. The structures can accommodate anywhere from 10 to 100 people and inflate fully in a couple of hours, depending on size and level of pimpery. You can order individual pieces and completely customize the layout of the final product.

Wibit Sports
"Wait, what if we make it look like a dong?"

The company's catalog comes with literally dozens of components for you to build your own version of Wipeout right in your swimming pool, including swings, trampolines, slides, and climbing towers. Or, if you like, a balance beam where you can make your sexy female friends battle for your amusement.

Wibit Sports
Note the body language on the only man in that picture.

The feature that's sure to cause the most unintentional belly flops, however, is the flipper, which is basically a combination catapult and seesaw. You stand on one end while your fattest friend jumps on the opposite end, flinging you up into the air.

You can even order a lifeguard outpost, which is available in Wibit's product list due to drunk people's propensity to accept dangerous bets.

Wibit Sports
"Hey, you guys think a Jet Ski could tow this?"

#1. The Real-life Mario Kart Track (Texas)

Waterloo Labs

If Grand Theft Auto taught us the joy of going on a rampage of vehicular destruction, Mario Kart showed us the joy of cruelly sabotaging fellow drivers. It's not the sort of thing you could ever do in real life, of course. Yeah, you can get some go-karts and drive them around until everyone gets bored, but it's not like you can shoot projectiles at each other and make your best friend fly into a rage by nailing him with a blue shell right at the finish line.

Or can you?

Jeff Wilson / Popular Science
No way this goes more than 10 minutes without a fatal stabbing.

A bunch of engineers at Austin's Park in Texas wanted to figure out if they could put their nerd knowledge to good use and jury-rig an ordinary go-kart game to follow the rules of Mario Kart, complete with power-ups. That meant they had to alter the kart mechanics so that, for example, the brakes would fail if someone lobbed a turtle shell at your face. And you know what? They pulled it off.

If this isn't the new national sport inside a decade, we don't know America.

By installing RFID (radio frequency identification) chips into a bunch of plush power-ups and some ordinary go-karts, they managed to program the karts to respond to making contact with certain items. So, just like the game, you collect a power-up from a floating box ...


... and drop a banana peel to watch your opponent's brakes fail ...

The digital version of those yellow bastards ruined more fraternal relationships than the American Civil War.

... fire a turtle shell out of a built-in cannon to lock the steering and brakes of an opponent ...

Or their head. Probably their head.

... or pick up a golden star to give your kart a boost of speed:

"Ow! Was that ... a syringe full of meth?"

Unfortunately, this was a one-time project, and they haven't put their gadgetry into use in the form of a real-life Mario Kart park we can all enjoy (because they have something against becoming instant billionaires, we guess?). Still, we're holding out hope.

Follow Jacopo on Twitter and pre-order his upcoming novel, The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy!

Related Reading: Ready to drive your inner child insane? Click here! The obliteration room is heaven for any kid who loved to draw on the walls. One awesome thing about our future full of old people is playgrounds for the geriatric. If you're ready to behold the most terrifying playground in history, click this link.

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