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Sweatpants & Sanity | Fantasy Break: Adult Playgrounds

By Emily Parker

No, not THAT kind of “adult”! But who says that playground equipment is just for children? Around the world, playgrounds for grownups are springing up as more of us look for fun ways to blow off steam and stay in shape that don’t include going to a dreary old gym. Heck, in my hometown, a local gym has even sponsored an outdoor gym in one of the downtown parks, with fun, bright workout equipment as permanent fixtures that any visitor to the park is free to use. On this week’s Fantasy Break, we’re exploring five of the most fun adult playgrounds around the world. Enjoy, and vote for your favorite in our poll!

Mount Mitte, Berlin, Germany

Mount Mitte is an adventure park right on the beach featuring six high rope climbing and obstacle courses on three levels of difficulty. The man-made beach is the largest inner-city beach in Europe. The architectural masterpiece of an attraction, according to one report, has nearly a thousand different activities you can do, and has been compared to a real-life Super Mario world. Because it’s for adults, it’s also home to a bar. Sign me up! It’s probably best to enjoy the three-story obstacle course and THEN enjoy a drink or two, not the other way around. Also features SkySwing and SkyFall, a 43-foot free-fall attraction!

City Museum, St. Louis, Missouri

This 10-story former shoe factory has been transformed into the ultimate urban playground! From the website: “Housed in the 600,000 square-foot former International Shoe Company, the museum is an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. The brainchild of internationally acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly, a classically trained sculptor and serial entrepreneur, the museum opened for visitors in 1997 to the riotous approval of young and old alike.” Features a 10-story slide you can ride!

Pursuit OCR, Toronto, Canada

Billed as “10,000 square feet of awesome”, this is an obstacle course in a club-like atmosphere. With a tagline like “Bring back recess”, how could you go wrong? This indoor course features a giant ball pit and fuses recreation with strength training and physical therapy. It’s part playground, part gym, all fun. Plus, what better way to work up an appetite for the beer and wings waiting for you at the end?

Area 47, Tyrol, Austria

If the snow-covered mountains of Austria weren’t enough adventure for you, just visit Area 47! In addition to countless other attractions, the park features a high ropes course strung 88 feet over the the Otztal River, a hydrospeed slide so fast (27 miles an hour!) that you’re required to wear a helmet, and a guided spelunking adventure 1,500 feet deep in Amberg Mountain. Area 47 is the largest outdoor recreation park in Austria. Where else can you whitewater raft, climb, swim, hike, spelunk, and zipline, all in the same place!

Dig This, Las Vegas, Nevada

Was playing in the sandbox more your speed as a kid? Well, this one is definitely for responsible(ish?) adults only, but at Dig This, they actually let you rock a hard hat and drive heavy construction equipment! Seriously. You can spend the day pushing dirt around with a bulldozer, excavating, digging, building, and more. Best of all, the bulldozers are climate-controlled! How cool is that? (Yes, pun intended.) No need for training, just pass a breathalyzer, take a quick orientation, and you’re off to the races! And if you happen to run over a mannequin likeness of your ex that you brought from home with a steamroller, well, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?

Monday, Aug. 29, 2011 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Emily Parker is a musician, writer, and avid reader who started Bucket List Book Reviews, the ‘1,001 Books to Read Before You Die’ project. For Sweatpants & Coffee, Emily hopes to inspire the reading of the classics by a whole new audience by only reviewing the really good stuff.

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