Watch Some Of The Scariest Playgrounds In America Get Transformed


Photo: KaBoom

Want to know a frightening fact? In neighborhoods without a usable park or playground, the incidence of childhood obesity increases by 29 per cent.As part of our recent Scary Playgrounds! Let’s Find ‘Em and Fix ‘Em contest, my national nonprofit KaBOOM! asked folks across the country to submit photos of rundown, decrepit playgrounds that are in desperate need of fixing up.

See pictures of the scary playgrounds →
By entering, contestants helped further our effort to create a nationwide Map of Play, which charts the locations of thousands of playgrounds across the United States. It should be a joyous geography, showing where our children climb and run, laugh and shout, learn and grow.

But alas, scary playgrounds don’t do children much good. Knowing where they are helps us find the Play Deserts — that is, areas where children have no viable outdoor play opportunities within walking distance.

The winners of our Scary Playgrounds! contest are committed to turning these decrepit playgrounds into vibrant community playspaces that encourage healthy, creative, unstructured outdoor play. We at KaBOOM! know it can be done.

The slideshow also includes “before” and “after” shots of scary playgrounds that, with the help of community volunteers and funding partners, we have transformed over the course of just one day.

Do you live near a playground that’s overrun by rust, weeds, and disrepair? A playground that seems haunted by the ghosts of the children who once scrambled, screamed, and scurried around there? Add it to our Map of Play by downloading our free mobile app or visiting We offer construction grants and an online playground project planner so you can get started transforming your own neighbourhood playground.

FREDONIA, ARIZONA: The grand prize winner, Ponderosa Park, sits rusting and forgotten

the playground's basketball net sways in the breeze

the playground's jungle gym has been taken over by weeds

JULIAN, CALIFORNIA: The second place winner was this not-too-special special education playground at Julian Elementary School

GARRISON, IOWA: A 135 MPH windstorm swept through this community playground

RAMSEY, MINNESOTA: Children don't dare venture into Shawn Acres Park

ODESSA, NEW YORK: But we can make these playgrounds great again. Look at this scary playground

KaBOOM! transformed Odessa's playground in just one day

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: and we turned this overgrown lot into...

...this sparkling playground, in just six hours

BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI: This barren, muddy stretch of land became...

...this bright, shiny playground

Long Beach, California: Here's a time lapse of a six-hour playground build in action

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