October 28, 2011 Kerala Taylor

Top 10 Scary Playgrounds

As part of our recent Scary Playgrounds! contest, we asked folks across the country to submit photos of rundown, decrepit playgrounds that are in desperate need of fixing up. 

By entering, contestants helped further our effort to create a nationwide Map of Play, which charts the location of thousands of playgrounds across the United States. Knowing where the scariest playgrounds are helps us identify the Play Deserts—that is, areas where children have no viable outdoor play opportunities within walking distance.

Congratulations to our three winners and seven runners-up!


Grand Prize Winner Dan Watson submitted Ponderosa Park in Fredonia, Ariz. The playground, which is adjacent to the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indian Reservation, had been forgotten for years, but is now going to get some much needed attention.


Second Place Winner Tricia Elisara nominated the “Not So Special Education Playground” in Julian, Calif. This playground at Julian Elementary School is adjacent to the special ed building. The school has ambitions to make it a special ed garden with multi-sensory play features.


Third Place Winner Mandy Fisher shared this community park in Garrison, Iowa, which was destroyed by a 135 MPH windstorm last June.


Runner-up Wendy Lee of Ramsey, Minn.



(Left) Runner-up Carrie Boyce of Santa Rosa, Calif. (Right) Runner-up Lisa Crane of Wakefield, Mass.



(Left) Runner-up Sarah Fong of Millis, Mass. (Right) Runner-up Susie Dice of Tecumseh, Mich.



(Left) Runner-up Kris Wren of Kris Wren of Portageville, Mo. (Right) Runner-ups Scott Brandes & Michael Cleghorn of Jacksonville, Fla.


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? Download our free mobile app or visit our website to add it to our Map of Play.

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