6 Modern Playgrounds That Will Make Your Inner Child Jealous
To a kid, happiness is directly tied to location: The playground is all right, Chuck E. Cheese's is pretty good and Disneyland is amazing. And yet every single one of the following places will make those childhood paradises look like a trip to the dentist's office via Grandma's house (and not the cool one, either; the racist one with the peppermints).
Model trains are like breasts: They're meant for children, but grown men have a pretty good time playing with them, too. And if that metaphor holds true, then Miniatur Wunderland is the Playboy Mansion of model trains. This nerd paradise is the crowning achievement of twin brothers Frederik and Gerrit Braun, pictured here power-tripping-balls on top of a miniature mountain range.
That uncomfortable smile is because a train has driven into his crotch.
The epic model train set the brothers have created is not only a world record, it's also basically a world. It ain't just trains: Cars drive themselves through the cities, only to be pulled over by police; fire engines race through the streets to fight the fires that break out; planes take off and land from the fully functional airport and boats -- even a giant 4-foot scale model of a cruise ship -- sail its seas. There's even a functioning spaceport!
"Apollo Tiny to Ground Control -- we have discovered extremely large, smelly aliens. Let's never do this again."
And if you ever get bored of watching an entire tiny Earth spin around while you pretend to throw lightning bolts at those who incur your wrath, Miniatur Wunderland also has thousands of hidden Easter eggs to find -- from superpowered girls to fire breathers to bank heists to horny couples boning in the fields.
It's OK, they're both plastic and nonliving. Safety first!
It's like a giant, living, occasionally smutty Where's Waldo? book.
According to the Miniatur Wunderland website, when it's finished in 2020, the mammoth model will cover more than 24,000 square feet and feature 13 miles of track, 1,300 trains, more than 20,000 carriages and wagons, 400,000 individual figures and more than half a million lights, which are necessary because the entire set runs on a day/night cycle of 15 minutes.
That's right: The whole thing lights up.
And as we all know, the only surefire way to improve an already bitchin' toy in a child's eyes is to slap some LEDs on that sucker. And slap they have:
But don't worry, there's something for the adults here, too: That smut we mentioned before isn't all tastefully hidden. Why, there's an entire red-light district for the inappropriately randy grownups among us.
Sadly, her STDs are normal-sized.
The Obliteration Room, the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art
Imagine a beautiful, pristine white room. Now imagine that room exists for one purpose and one purpose only: for you to vandalize it to your felonious little heart's content, with no repercussions. Well, such a heaven exists, and it is located in Queensland, Australia.
It begins ...
... the end times approach ...
... lo, the color apocalypse is upon us!
If you've ever been yelled at for coloring on the walls, the Obliteration Room at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is where you take your revenge. You can smack that anger right up on the wall in the form of colored stickers and know inside your heart that they can take your crayons, but they can never take ... your freedom. This childhood masterpiece was the brainchild of Yayoi Kusama, who unsurprisingly looks like she's been color obliterated herself ...
If they ever need an aged, colorblind Leeloo for the Fifth Element sequel, this is the woman.
Finally, we've figured out how to mass produce head injuries.
Trampolines. Just saying the word can make a grown man giddy. They're the closest a kid can get to either walking on the moon or becoming a Naruto, depending on the respective fantasy. Although, as with all things, a child's love for trampolines is exponential, the great tragedy is that nobody ever has more than one of the dang things. You get 10 circular feet of bounce, and the rest of the world stays stupidly, boringly inert. But that's not the case at a trampoline park, which is amazingly a real thing and not just the doodle that takes up the entire back cover of our Trapper Keeper:
The other wall features a crudely drawn penis and boobs.
In a trampoline world, no child has to ever, ever, ever, ever stop flipping. Indeed, it seems that once you start, you actually might not be able to stop:
That video was taken at San Francisco's House of Air, an intricate matrix of 42 wall-to-wall trampolines. But the truly fantastic thing is that unlike most of the rest of this article, trampoline parks are not unique locations: The idea has since spread throughout the Southwestern United States, to the delight of both children and bitterly disappointed astronauts everywhere.
Who's "too stupid for space" now, NASA?
Wherever the World's Largest Skateboard Rolls Next
That's not a Photoshop by somebody who loves giant vehicles and/or tiny children: That's the World's Largest Skateboard. Unlike a lot of Guinness World Record props, this thing wasn't shelved somewhere after the record; it's still touring the country, and it can be enjoyed by everyone from overgrown children to toddlers with dangerously irresponsible parents.
Here we see the skateboard in its natural environment: Douchebag Boulevard.
The skateboard was designed and built by Joe Ciaglia and Rob Dyrdek, who took the project very seriously. How seriously? Well, we meant it when we said that wasn't just another Guinness Records prop, because it's not a prop at all. This right here is a fully functional skateboard, 36 feet and 7 inches long, 8 feet and 8 inches wide and 3 feet and 7.5 inches high that you can and, if God is truly good, will one day ride:
All the danger of skateboarding, and all the smells of public transit.
Alhough, as documented below, the board is a bit of a monster, and riding it is kind of like trying to steer a semi-truck by leaning on the roof. But hey, what skateboard experience would be complete without somebody doing something they shouldn't and damn near getting killed for it?
Hey, when God wants to play, you better well let him play.
The San Alfonso del Mar Resort
Pools are instant backyard vacations. If you had a friend with a pool as a kid, it is very possible that the pool was the only reason he was a friend. A lot of character flaws have been forgiven thanks to a liberal application of diving board. And the good people at the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Chile understand that: They're sorry they built it right next to the ocean, and they're sorry they had to put a stupid hotel all up in its business, but that doesn't change the fact that they own the world's largest swimming pool.
Just imagine all the pee that this thing can hide.
How large is that, exactly? It's "more than 1,000 yards long, covers 20 acres, holds 66 million gallons of water and has a 115-foot deep end."
To figure out how insane that is, here's a handy Cracked chart.
We all understand that the fun of a pool is directly proportional to its deep end: Who hasn't felt the sting of a building poolgasm, only to have it thwarted at the last second by the "4 ft." label mocking us from the so-called "deep end." But 115 feet almost seems like too much. Who could even dive that far? You'd need a damn submarine to even see the bottom, so it's pretty lucky that they totally have a submarine in their pool.
Its torpedoes have been the trump card in many a water gun fight.
As you can see from the picture, the world's largest pool has its own inflatable rafts, kayaks, small boats and oh, God, yes, trampolines!!!
"Marco! ... MARCO! MAR- ah, screw it, he's probably drowned."
OK, bear with us, because we're not even sure how this would work in theory, but what if you could bounce that submarine right off that trampoline and into the open ocean? Would that be cool? Do you double dog dare us to try? Because if you did, then we'd have to.
(Captain) Zach's Bedroom
We checked his plunder, but it was just picked-off scabs and baby teeth.
This is at once the best and worst entry in this article. It's the best because, holy crap, imagine being a kid and living in a pirate ship! And it's the worst because that kid is not you. Unlike the rest of these places, you probably can't visit this particular Wonder of the Childhood World, unless you're prepared for some stalking and/or child endangerment charges. But let's focus on the good, shall we?
His closet is accessed by rope bridge. Mothers, take note: That's how you get a kid to hang up his coat.
Zach's father turned his son's bedroom into a pirate ship because, sadly, he missed out on much of his own childhood, and he wanted to make sure that Zach didn't wind up in the same -- wait for it -- boat. But make no mistake, Zach's father isn't foisting his own dreams off on the kid here. Zach was given a choice of any theme -- from space to race cars -- and he chose to focus on his own burgeoning maritime criminal career. So once the theme was settled, Zach's dad hired designer Steve Kuhl to execute the single most awesome bedroom any self-respecting boy in the post-Goonies era could ask for:
And if you put our vegetables in the crow's nest, we'll eat those bastards, too.
Because no good pirate story is complete without at least one secret passage, Captain Zach's bedroom also comes with a seemingly ordinary locker that opens into a Tube Slide Room. You read correctly: A whole room, just for a tube slide. It even comes with a motion-controlled light that flips on from deep within the slide itself ...
Asked whether he actually had a child, this guy replied: "WHEEEEE."
You know, just in case there's some dead-inside child who needs any kind of encouragement to take a strange slide to an unknown destination.
Jacopo della Quercia is the author of "Go @#$% Yourself!" - An Ungentlemanly Disagreement, by Filippo Argenti and "The Sound of Laughter" in Wordplague's The Four Humors.
For more places that bring out our inner child, check out 5 Amazing Abandoned Wastelands ... Within Walking Distance and 6 Fictional Places You Didn't Know Actually Existed.