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Where’s the best old-school playground equipment in Atlanta these days?

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Have all the tunnel slides and crazy rockets gone extinct?

Not in Atlanta: this playscape dinosaur that looks exhilarating but risky.
Not in Atlanta: this playscape dinosaur that looks exhilarating but risky.
Care 2

Most Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and even older millennials probably recall the tunnel-slide shuffle.

That’s when you’d wait until your parents weren’t looking, climb outside the mouth of the tunnel slide, and proceed to shimmy up the slide on top of the metal tube, clinging to the riveted lips where sections came together until, at last, you’d defied serious injury and arrived safely—or not—atop the splintering wooden fort that held the big tube.

For better or worse, little ATLiens of today are deprived of such thrills.

At least that appears to be the case, following our exhaustive research and persistent badgering of the City of Atlanta Parks and Recreation Department, in hopes of answering a simple question: Is all the old-school playground equipment in Atlanta gone?

The Vintage Aztec Playground in Los Angeles ... probably not up to 2018 safety standards.

As we learned earlier in Play Week 2018, Piedmont Park still counts one whopper of an architectural playground relic, and metal monkey bars are in abundance around town, but what about merry-go-rounds that zip at a zillion miles per hour, crazy rocket-ship play sets, and monolithic slides of piping-hot metal?

“We have aggressively worked to replace aging playground equipment to ensure safety and sustainability,” a city parks and rec official wrote to Curbed Atlanta. “Unless the equipment is unique or a piece of art, dated structures are usually replaced with safer equipment.”

Bummer. But all is not lost.

This Space Age rocket-themed playground set in Colorado was still active in 2009. Have Atlanta’s gone away? Did they ever exist?
Photo by Brenda Biondo, via Collectors Weekly

The rep points to tucked-away Winn Park, in the middle of tony Ansley Park, which along with a lovely pond and garden features “old-school but newly renovated playground equipment [with] a unique corkscrew metal slide and a four-person teeter-totter.”

Beyond that win at Winn, playground sentimentalists will find restored, vintage equipment at the Enota Place Playlot in Westview, a unique swing set design at Adair Park, and vintage metal slides at Barbara A. McCoy Park off Cascade Avenue and Noble Park in Morningside, the city official points out.

Another good bet is the main play space at 55-acre Candler Park, where heavy metal rings lend an American Ninja Warrior-style experience—and, speaking from experience, cause black eyes among parents who aren’t watching where they’re going.

But if you’re privy to a bona fide tunnel slide, ye playful Atlantans, please share in the comments.