Ever since we moved to our current address, there has been a rumour in the neighbourhood that an adventure playground was going to be installed ‘soon’ down at the local park. Having an impending playground-tester made us very eager for the impending installation.
Just yesterday, a big truck rumbled into the park, and dumped a huge load of logs. Not nice, trimmed, straight, pine logs, but rather gnarled, huge, oaky-type logs. Today we bailed up the official-looking men who were perusing a plan and climbing all over the logs. I asked hopefully (and in this modern, bubble-wrap times, somewhat doubtfully), if they were going to use the logs to build a traditional adventure playground.
Alas no. They are waiting for the ‘adventure system’ to arrive from overseas…
On the upside, they are going to use the gnarly logs to form a perimeter around the playground, and they are going to cut seats and steps into the logs so the kiddies can climb all over them. I think the plans were to make sure that no one log-climby-thing allows a child to get more than 1 metre off the ground without a safety rail.
Another bonus was that they mentioned they were also going to install a Rocktopus. Woooohoooo a ROCKTOPUS!
For the unenlightened, a rocktopus is a very, very non-bubble-wrap apparatus. It is an insane mix of swing, seesaw and CIA torture device. Designed solely to create nausea and remove the limbs of those who lack concentration and agility.
OK, so I’m exaggerating slightly, but in these days of 5-point-harnessed, silicone-floored, rubber-coated, ground-level playgrounds, the rocktopus is sweet release. If you are close to Cornwall Park in Auckland, you will find a rocktopus installed in that playground. For everyone else I will attempt to describe it.
Imagine if you will, a tall central pole with a gymbal on the top. Atop this gymbal is a central hub, onto which four poles are spaced evenly (at 90 degrees to each other). These poles decend at an angle, finishing with seats just above the ground. The whole device can spin around the pole like a 4-seated roundabout, but it can also swing. With all the seats connected rigidly, you can imagine that if one person swings inwards, the person opposite them swings outwards, while the people either side of them will swing to the side. Very hard to describe, but you can imagine with several degrees of freedom, the nausea-inducing properties are very good. Additionally, there is nothing stopping a wayward user (I’m using user/person here, because ‘child’ is not really appropriate for someone who would use this device), from crashing headlong into the central pole.
Except for a used car tyre. Gotta love that kiwi ingenuity.