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"Play. That's the best way kids learn -- doing something they enjoy." Trish Thomas, America's Most Playful Family Contest winner
A windy day. Hard white sunlight. A lone swing creaking back and forth... Why are abandoned playgrounds so downright spooky?
Perhaps it's because a playground is much more than a collection of structures. A playground depends on playing children and a caring community to thrive. Empty playgrounds that have fallen into disrepair seem haunted by the ghosts of the children who once scrambled, screamed, and scurried around there.
We have scoured the web for photos of the world's spookiest playgrounds. The soundtrack from a scary movie of your choice will enhance the viewing experience:
TOP: An abandoned elementary school playground in the toxic town of Picher, Okla. Photo by Jeremy (cc). LEFT: Ash Fork, Ariz. Photo by moominsean (cc). RIGHT, BELOW: The Catarina Community Park, in Catarina, Tex., is a sad testament to a fading community. Photos by Matthew High (cc).
These photos depict the playground of a school in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl, Ukraine, where the world's worst nuclear accident occurred in 1986 at a nuclear power plant. Photos by Timm Seuss (cc).
A playground at the deserted North Shore Yacht Club on the Salton Sea in California. Photo by thomas_sora (cc).
An abandoned playground in Belcarra, Vancouver, a village on a narrow peninsula that is accessible by a single winding paved road or by water. Photo by Kimli (cc).
An old carousel deteriorates in Port Moody, British Columbia. Photo by Hayley Bouchard (cc).
Photo by Jason Rogers (cc).
The Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, N.H. once hosted almost 5,000 people. It closed in 1989. Photo by Patti Gravel (cc).
LEFT: The abandoned children's play park and ferris wheel in Chernobyl, Ukraine, site of the world's worst nuclear accident. Children have not played here since 1986. Photo by Doug Murray (cc). TOP RIGHT: A deserted school in Macon, Georgia. Photo by Mark Strozier (cc). BOTTOM RIGHT: Mission San Vicente in Baja California, Mexico. Photo by David Cohen (cc).
Detroit, Mich. Photos by Michael Greenlee (cc).
A playground in a deserted settlement in Galicia, Spain. Photo by Peter Pick (cc).