*********Readers, one of you asked us to start a list of parks that still have merry-go-rounds. Does yours? If so, please tell us where it is!*********
Readers, did you grow up with a merry-go-round at the park? And now?
Interestingly, I couldn’t find any laws that state merry-go-rounds mustÂ go, only reams of regulations as to how high they can be, Â how fast they can spin, etc. So maybe their near-extinction is simply due to a combination of excess rules, along with the specter of lawsuits. From one law firm’s website:
If your child was severely injured from playing on a merry go round, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering if the equipment is not up to code. For a free playground accident lawsuit case evaluation, fill out the simple form below and your case will be reviewed within 24 hours.
Which brings us to modern-day merry-go-round design. In order to abide by regulations and stave off suits, this companyÂ created a merry-go-round Â that “encourages children to sit down while the ride is in motion.”
And then there are the do-good groups trying to keep kids safe (possibly by immobilizing them). As this site Â notes:
“It only takes a second to collide with a moving swing, merry-go-round or teeter-totter.”
Isn’t that also true of a wall, by the way? Or a refrigerator? Or a giant (really giant) squirrel? Why make it seem like playgrounds are so dangerous? And it goes on to warn:
“How kids use the monkey bars, swings, merry-go-round,Â slides, etc., and the way they interact with others on theÂ playground determine whether or not they will get hurt.Â Because childrenâ€™s imaginations run wild, kids are at high risk,Â especially around their peers. Left alone, kids are apt to takeÂ chances, too.”
Gracious! That means, I guess, that we should NEVER leave them alone with their peers! That sounds dangerously like…playing!
Finally, here are instructions for how to dismantle a merry-go-round (with GREAT comments). And a lovely post at Think Banned Thoughts about a pre-k’s fight to save its 25-year-old playground equipment SUDDENLY deemed too fun to endure.
Er…too dangerous. – L.
I’ve seen this video couple of days ago. Thats the exact thought that passed my mind first time i saw it 🙂
I think merry-go-rounds were already disappearing when I was a kid. I was a teen before I got a chance at one. It was in an almost disused park in town. A huge all metal behemoth. There were just enough flecks of paint to indicate that it had once been painted, and some rust. But for mostly bare metal it was doing well, no doubt a result of skin oil rubbed over every surface. I got it going by myself then jumped on… I promptly was flung off. I tried again, and was able to hang on, and found that frankly terrifying. I clung to it for what seemed like an eternity, as it incrementally began to slow I was able to crawl toward the middle and found the middle less nausea inducing. Once it seemed slow enough to safely get off, I started moving out and once again found it two fast, which is how I wound up sprawled out on my belly waiting for the thing to stop.
It was a sense of fright I hadn’t experienced since my dad suddenly stood up from the other side of the really huge teter-totter (my first introduction to one of those) some years earlier.
After I got off the merry-go-round of terror, I decided to go for a relatively relaxing climb on the highest play ground climbing structure I had ever seen. I was just a bit too scared to jump down when it was time to go.
It was all a lot of fun, and a great challenge, at an age at which I though myself far beyond finding challenge and adventure at a playground. The fact that these are generally viewed as toys for young kids, and their ability to scare an inexperienced teen, seems to be an indicator of how much our ability to handle a challenge, have good situational awareness, and understand the effects of centripetal force, a lever, etc are all a result of playing with the right toys; the big, heavy, scary toys.
I am always on the look out for see-saws and merry-go-rounds at parks for my kids. And while see-saws seem harder to find, I have been able to find some merry-go-rounds and other things that go around for my kids. One of my kids has sensory needs that these fill, so we have been known to detour and stop so we can experience them.
Places I have found them: US Santa Cruz has one a physics teacher had installed for his students to do experiments on. Snowmass, CO has a ring shaped one on a slant that is probably supposed to be sat on, but all the kids were walking on it to see how long they could stay up. (After seeing the day camp kids do this, with no comments from staff, even I tried it!) I have found one in West Richland, WA that is designed so that the kids hang from it. There are traditional designed ones in Prescott and Waitsburg, WA.
I will continue to applaud any town that has them, in any variation.
Oh, and that one that is supposed to be hung on? My youngest immediately climbed up and clung like a spider about 5 feet up in the air while his brother and sister ran as fast as they could to see if they could fling him off.
We all had a great time!
Actually, it means we should never leave them alone OR with their peers! At least one parent for every child, constantly! No school! No teams! One or two-on-one parent-child ratio, 24/7!
No more than two kids per family!
Our local park recently had a major redesign, spearheaded by a group of parents. This was a very expensive project, involving park designers and landscape designers and several giant new structures and a zip line. However, the entire project was planned around the existing, old merry-go-round and swings. These items were no longer up to code so would not be allowed NEW, but since they were there they could stay. And it was worth keeping them because they are FUN! The merry-go-round is fast and metal and exciting, and the swings have very long chains so they go really high. The new, sanitized versions are simply more boring.
One child per adult is a good rule to follow. With all the fear, paranoia and stress that an adult feels towards normal childhood activities, they could use the comfort of a child’s outlook. We need the children to keep the adults in check.
Thanks for the pingback – and thanks for keeping up the fight to keep fun equipment where it belongs – at the playground!!
(Can I just whine for a second about how much I miss teeter-totters… So much fun mixed with so much pain – and so many important life lessons…)
I haven’t seen a teeter-totter since I was in grade school myself, and good riddance; to make the things go at all you had to have two kids almost the same weight and half the time the kid who “invited” you to play was hoping you wouldn’t like it because the little jerk thought it was funnier that way. But the main playground in town still has an enormous steel merry-go-round. It’s understood that if there are little kids on it, an adult has to be there to remind the bigger kids that the little kids don’t like to go as fast and need help getting on and off. And whenever it’s in motion, from all over the playground you hear parents calling, “Sit down! Sit DOWN!”
â€œIt only takes a second to collide with a moving swing, merry-go-round or teeter-totter.â€
Not to mention having your throat torn out by the vicious dog seen in the picture.
I remember falling on one of these when I was a little kid and scraping my knee. It was really no more than a normal scrape, but a tiny pebble embedded itself in my skin and so I’ve never forgotten it.
That didn’t stop me from letting my son climb aboard the one in our town now, though. At 4, he sometimes loves it and sometimes hates it … but we all got a pretty good laugh when Daddy was the one who got dizzy and fell off. No massive injuries, trauma or lawsuits necessary.
IN THE FUTURE:
Sociologists will analyze our time period and talk about the power insurance companies held over a passive milk-toast populace.
Historians will compare the “easy life” we had compared to the real, life-threatening dangers and risks colonial settlers faced every day.
Psychologists will hypothesize an inner need by humans to face hardship. “If no real hardship exists, humans have the unique ability to create them and live out their fantasy.”
In earlier times, people like this were institutionalized, but today the inmates really are running the asylum.
Merry go rounds are so much fun. My daughter at age 2 cried at her first one. It was so small I was able to walk next to her as it turned. From ages 3-8 they were favorite ride at Wildwood Boardwalk or anywhere else we found one.
never seen one here in Europe where kids did not have to sit down…
And they still have fun, or had before they all disappeared not so much because of fear of lawsuits and ever more impossible regulations but because cities and towns reduced the maintenance budget for parks to nothing, leaving them to rot and rust to where they really were unsafe (together with all the other play equipment).
Now of course, no new playgrounds are constructed because of the increasing incidence of gangs of bored and violent teens hanging out on them, using such places as bases from which to harass, attack, and sometimes seriously injure or even kill people living nearby (or just happening to pass on the way to the stores).
I guess that I am the only one glad that merry-go-rounds have all but disappeared. Not because I fear injury but because I’m glad for the many, many hours saved that I haven’t had to push the darn thing!
That said, the US totally needs the zip lines found in most playgrounds in New Zealand. My daughter fell madly in love with them and has since graduated to 50 ft high zip lines. We spent a day over Thanksgiving doing a tree top obstacle course. Definitely pushed my fear of heights and physical conditioning to the limit, but she had a blast.
Can we start a list shared list of existing merry-go-rounds? Does anyone know of any near Orange County, CA? That sounds so much fun.
Of course I remember playground merry-go-rounds!!! They were a lot of fun, even if they were a little nausea-inducing, and they taught kids co-operation. Since they were so heavy, they often required several kids holding onto the bars and running to get them started. Since most smaller kids weren’t capable of that, they were exempt, and just got to ride, but it was understood that they’d help push when they were older–again, another life lesson, in that fair and equal treatment doesn’t always mean identical treatment. The operation of the merry-go-round also required a mutual consensus on speed, depending on the age and motion-sick-proneness of all the riders, and more co-operation when someone wanted to slow down or stop. It was just sort of “understood” that it wasn’t nice to keep someone “trapped” on a moving merry-go-round against their will, so usually, we’d stop it and start it again. However, by the same token, the person who asked to stop couldn’t keep getting off and then on again, and prevent the others from gaining any real speed, if they knew their tolerance was much less than that of the other riders. Anyway, as vividly as I remember all of these lessons in co-operation, communication, and compromise from various merry-go-rounds at various playgrounds of my youth, I don’t remember sustaining or witnessing any serious injuries while riding them.
I lost a tooth on one that looked that the one in the video. My sister was spinning it super fast and I decided to jump off. Unfortunately I jumped up then out, so the bar moved underneath me and I flipped and landed on my face. As my mouth was bleeding, I went to find my mom (no where in sight, she was inside a building nearby helping with a luncheon). She helped me stop the bleeding. My sister and I went back to see if we could find my tooth but we were unsuccessful. Thankfully it was just a baby tooth…I think I was only 6 or 7. So, that night I wrote a letter to the tooth fairy explaining what happened and I still got my money. All was well. Rode more merry-go-rounds after that.
“â€œIt only takes a second to collide with a moving swing, merry-go-round or teeter-totter.â€
Isnâ€™t that also true of a wall, by the way? Or a refrigerator?”
Can I conclude from these questions that in your house the walls and refrigerator move?
“Or a giant (really giant) squirrel?”
Or a parent? They move, too… (Ah, NOW I understand why you want to leave kids at the park by themselves – less collision danger!)
I have some vague memories of merry-go-rounds on playgrounds at campsites and in big playparks you had to pay a fee for, but I’m not aware of any mgr anywhere today. The seesaw on the playground at my old elementary school is gone, but so are most of the other things that were there when I was a student, so maybe that doesn’t mean anything.
I honestly don’t know how NL compares to other countries when it comes to ‘dangerous’ playground equipment. I do know they’re not afraid to place playgrounds near open water, so they can’t be too afraid for the children…
Our city park in Cheboygan, Michigan has a merry-go-round. Two actually if you count the one where you ride the little horses around.
Cedar Lane Playground, Cedar Lane & Beach Drive, Bethesda, MD
Centennial Beach Park in Barrie, Ontario, has one of these:
It’s probably the most popular piece of play equipment there, but it’s NOT THE SAME THING as an old-school merry-go-round. The Dynamo Playground website says that the “rotating climber” has a “special bearing system [that] controls the rotation speed so that children can safely enjoy the same exhilarating experience.” Umm….oxymoron much? The old-school merry-go-rounds were exhilarating because the rotation speed WASN’T controlled.
There’s one at the Battery Park City playground in NYC (and this playground was only built about 10 or 12 years ago, too)—but it’s got seats attached to bicycle pedals that the kids use to make it go, OR, some kids can ride while others stand on the ground and push it around in the good old-fashioned way. I used to take my daughters there, and believe me, most of the kids enjoyed the pushing as much as, if not more than, the riding.
So, one day, another mother approached my kids and a few others who were having a great deal of fun making the merry-go-round go as fast as they could manually, and started scolding them that they were “using it wrong and could get hurt.” I ended up having an argument with her, telling her that it was fine, and that’s how merry-go-rounds had always been used. She insisted “it wasn’t meant to be played with that way” and that if a child “got caught” somehow while pushing it, they could be seriously injured. Also, they were making it GO TOO FAST.
This is when I got all free range on her (didn’t know that’s what I was at the time!), listing all the things that can happen in any playground: getting bashed in the head with a swing, falling off a swing, falling off monkey bars…well, you get the idea, but she didn’t. Turns out her child was one of the kids riding the merry-go-round and the mother was anxious that one of the hooligan children like mine were going to make it go so fast with their insane pushing that they’d hurl her daughter off into the stratosphere. I finally just told my kids to stop pushing until her daughter got bored and went off to do something else that was undoubtedly safer…
The Dr. Phillips Community Park in Orlando, FL.
The entire playground is unconventional to start with, but the merry-go-round is wild. Sloped on an angle, no handles, and fast as lightning. Totally “dangerous” and totally awesome. The kids know what they’re getting into with this thing. No one ever gets hurt or complains, they just hang on and shriek to go faster. When one loses a grip he usually drags three more off ending in a jumbled heap. The kids always have a great time.
8249 Buenavista Woods Blvd
Orlando, FL 32836
For what it’s worth, that dog probably isn’t supposed to be having that much fun either. Seriously, most dog rescue places these days make you sign paperwork to the effect that you will never ever ever allow the dog to be off leash except in a highly secure fenced in area with at least 4 foot fences and certainly never ever ever unsupervised or in the dark. If you have a dog, and let them out into the fenced back yard (or even the unfenced one) to pee at 1:00 AM and you don’t go out there with them and with full flood lights illuminating the pee zone, you’re a bad dog owner. Interesting that the more we consider our dogs like our children, the more we treat our children like dogs.
We have a merry go round at a newly refurbished playground here. It’s not just a merry go round, it has a climbing web of ropes that fasten to the outer edge of the base disc and convene at a point at the top of a centre pole, about 10 feet up. So not only are the kids not sitting when the thing goes around, they are climbing, hanging off by their ankles, whatever. At this same park there is a zip line, and that thing can really get going, especially if a strong adult revs the kid up at the starting end with a big push. When they hit the stopper at the other end, they swing wildly up in the air, sometimes inverting completely.
I LOVE IT.
We have at least 2 merry-go-rounds in Frederick, MD: Baker Park at Bentz and 2nd St. and Carrollton Park at Center St. and Prospect. Carrollton Park also has a very high double-twisty slide. Love them!
West Fenwick Park in Kent, WA.
We have one at a park in Campbell, CA near downtown Campbell. Or it was there as of a few months ago, we haven’t been to that park in awhile.
Trenton, UT still has a merry-go-round. It’s a little tiny town, 20 minutes from where I live, but I take my nieces & nephews there when they come visit.
I hold a feeble, flickering hope that some of this might get better when more people have health insurance. I posit that there’d be less incentive to sue the nearest entity with money in the bank if people could just go to the doctor and get their injuries attended to instead of risking bankruptcy.
@ank: We must be neighbors! I was just about to mention Campbell Park in Campbell, CA! One of my favorite pictures of my son is on that merry-go-round (where he’s perfectly clear, but the background is spinning. Love it!) It is, unfortunately, a not-very-interesting park with the exception of the merry-go-round.
Until about 3 years ago, there was a merry-go-round at Belgatos Park in Los Gatos, but they redid the playground, and took it out. I think Campbell is the only one local with a merry-go-round now.
If you’re interested in meeting up sometime, you can email me at lefty at sonic dot net. My kids are elementary aged.
I live in a very small town in Western WA and our park not only has a merry-go-round, it also has one of the big old slides that all playgrounds used to have. I haven’t heard of anyone trying to get rid of our playground equipment yet.
I’ve seen many merry-go-rounds at local parks but they are a modified and smaller version than the one above (and that we grew up with). They tend to a smaller circle, divided into four parts with handles. They really are supposed to hold four kids but I find that it tends to be an attraction so you’ll see about six kids crammed on and three kids running and spinning.
I don’t remember seeing a merry-go-round anywhere here in my cold little bit of Canada. But they’re in all our favourite parks near Granny’s house in England – my kids just gravitate to them, the faster and more dangerous the better.
Our local park was recently redone, with a great new splash pad/water park. Unfortunately, they also replaced the old playground equipment with new stuff so safe my 5 year old is bored, and my 8 year old prefers to climb the trees. Much to the horror of the other parents around me.
Our local playground has one that I know of. Actually two in the same park. A little kid one that has horses you sit on while it spins and a big traditional one. The problem is they are often excessively muddy and get stuck or are just way too muddy to use without getting totally soaked. But we have used them when we go and its been dry and they are fun.
We live in Soddy Daisy Tn
I have been SO happy that we still have at least one in Livonia, Michigan (suburb of Detroit). It is at Rotary Park, so my son thinks it’s because there’s a rotary there….. It was broken most of the summer a year ago, and I was afraid the orange fencing meant that they would take it away, but I called and found out that they were waiting for some repair part.
The only merry-go-round I have seen out here is in Thousand Oaks, California (Ventura County. It’s called Old Meadows Park. http://www.crpd.org/parkfac/therapeuticrecreation/oldmeadowsparkfac/default.asp I have another gripe when it comes to Parks. The sand has disappeared from most of the parks at least where I live. At the time my oldest who was a bit scared of heights only wanted to play in the sand. It seemed like every time I took him to the park he was totally disappointed because they only had wood chips. I call the parks & no on seemed to know why. I got a lot of assumptions about cleanliness, animals using the sand as a toilet, needles being hidden in the sand, etc. It turns out that the playground equipment must be handicapped accessible & that means wood chips or rubber mat leading up to the equipment. I found out that wood chips are cheaper & that is why most have wood chips. Luckily the parks in the next district over mostly have sand, but what a PITA.
The so called safer merry-go-round looks like a cheap copy of the Disneyland tea-cup
I grew up in a large midwestern city. There were no merry-go-rounds in our playgrounds. This might have had something to do with the fact that the ground was blacktop.
Now we live in a suburb of that same city. Our favorite nearby park does have a merry-go-round. The ground around it is softer than blacktop. Wood chips or something. Kids can still get a little hurt at times, but I haven’t seen anyone freak out about it. There have been many times when I thought some kid was going to be injured, but good instincts won out.
We have a merry-go-round, see-saw, and large metal slide in Miles City, MT. All my kids love, love, love the park. We spend hours upon hours there in the summer.
Two merry-go-rounds I know of:
Caboose Park in Lake Villa, IL
(It’s even listed as equipment on the township website! http://www.lakevillatownship.org/lvtpark.aspx)
the unnamed playground at the beach on Lake Shangri-La in Bristol, WI
State Road Elementary School in Fenton, Michigan has a great playground including an old merry-go-round, new climbing structures, tire swings, etc.
Lake Eola Park in Orlando, FL has a new-fangled merry-go-round type thing. It isn’t as great as the old kind, but it’s still pretty fun. And it’s a cool playground in general.
I know of one city park merry-go-round. I remember when we were in Iowa a few years ago, small town, agricultural community, they had this park that was all old playground equipment including see-saws, a merry go-round, and a couple of very tall metal slides. I was so excited for my kids.
“I honestly donâ€™t know how NL compares to other countries when it comes to â€˜dangerousâ€™ playground equipment. I do know theyâ€™re not afraid to place playgrounds near open water, so they canâ€™t be too afraid for the childrenâ€¦”
Given that most parents in the Netherlands traditionally teach their children to swim by the time they’re 4 or so (and most will have had organised lessons and a diploma when they’re 7), risk of drowning is much reduced.
As mandatory (yes…) swimming classes in primary school for all those who didn’t have that diploma by then are being dropped to save money on the education budget (and because muslim parents are screaming they’re being discriminated against because swimming lessons aren’t segregated) the percentage of kids that can’t swim is going up.
And with it the calls for “safety measures to prevent drowning”, mostly by those same parents who refuse to teach their children to swim in the first place.
IOW as usual, people unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions demand “the government do something” to make it impossible for anyone to be responsible for their own actions.
I grew up in Kentucky but live in England now. Most playgrounds over here have merry-go-rounds, and I didn’t realise they’d grown scarce in America. I remember when I was 7 years old, I broke my leg while playing on the merry-go-round during school recess. My parents (my dad was the town doctor) took me to the hospital to have a cast put on my leg. Nobody sued anybody, and I’m sure my story was used by teachers for years afterwards: they had told us children repeatedly not to jump on the merry-go-round while it was going.
There is a park in Frenchtown, NJ that a friend and I refer to as “metal death trap park.” It not only has a merry-go-round, but metal climbers and slides. And just off of one edge is about 2 feet of woods that leads to a 7 foot drop off into a creek. It’s a wonderful playground and my four year old loves it. I have also encountered one in a playground in Lambertville, NJ. I don’t know the names of either park, just where they are. I will add that we live in an overly free range part of NJ. Kids are still sometimes expected to WALK to school in my town.
The only place I know of that has one is a little campground in the mountains that we go to on occasion. I have a lot of fun on that thing when we’re there!
When I was in 4th grade, I think, my elementary school had one. I remember there must have been 30 kids on it, half sitting and half pushing (running around the make it spin) and I fell off and got trampled. I got right back up and back on the merry go round, though, although I had to spend the rest of the school day with footprints all over my shirt.
We also had a large wooden barrel inside a large wooden box that looked a bit like a huge hamster wheel. You’d get 20 kids in at once and make it go, and wow, it could go fast! I got a lot of slivers on that things but it was fun.
I am pushing for my husband to make a merry go round for my kids. So far, though, he has not found the correct parts at the scrap yard. He did make a decent sized see-saw for them, and all the visiting kids LOVE it. I do instruct all newcomers on how to properly ride it (with feet out from under!)
The Washington Terrace, Utah city park still has one (right around the corner from where I grew up, didn’t even have to cross a low-traffic road) and the Romer Park of Riverdale, Utah.
I googled it and found one in Orange County at Tamarisk Park in Lake Forest, I may have to make a trip down there.
Heartland Park in Park Rapids, MN still had one last time I looked.
I found this list pretty intriguing a couple years ago when I found it and I bookmarked it. http://www.examiner.com/article/ziplines-dragons-and-more-unusual-toys-at-eastside-playgrounds
There’s a merry-go-round at Poindexter Park: 500 Poindexter Avenue in Moorpark, CA (Ventura County). We only discovered this park this year and it also has a skate park (unsupervised!) and some other really cool play structures and “ride-type” things to play on. I was surprised to see the merry-go round when we arrived the first time as I hadn’t seen one since I was a kid. Even then only one park that I know of had them.
We just started taking our kids to a park my husband went to as a kid that has a merry-go-round, seesaw AND ten foot tall metal slide. My 3.5 year old and 2 yr old twins happily play on all three. In fact, they have more fun at this park than any other that we go to. This is the Pine Island Ridge neighborhood in Davie, FL.
Berkeley, CA. There’s a little park owned and managed by Alta Bates Hospital that has not only a merry-go-round, but also ancient teeter-totters, AND a very steep and scary twirly slide! They are all very old, made of metal. The merry-go-round barely even spins anymore, but kids still love it.
In terms of windows are concerned; check the drop route
in the silll for any clogging. Try to take away the brick in one single whole piece so you can reeplace it later.
Loook into my web blog: Mold Testing Boston
Avon, NY has a great merry-go-round. They almost decided to remove it when recently preparing to build a new playground, but the insurance company told them it didn’t make a difference in their rates.