The Case of the Missing Monkey Bars

(Sharon’s Notes from the Playground)

I took my daughter to the park today – pretty typical excursion, baby swings, watching other babies, waving at shadows. All fun stuff for a 7 month old. After maybe fifteen minutes or so, we meandered around the big play structure and I was struck by something, or maybe more accurately, a lack of something: there was a big void where the monkey bars used to be.

At first I thought I had just missed them. Or maybe that they had moved somehow? But alas, the monkey bars were definitely gone. Almost stranger than their disappearance was the fact that I hadn’t even noticed until now. How weird is that? Another parent that was there said he noticed it about it a week ago. He’d heard third hand that someone had pointed out a crack in one of the beams, and POOF, the next day the whole thing was gone.

While I’m hoping for the safe and quick return of my son’s favorite arced climbing structure, it struck me that the designers of the playground really understood the concept of optimizing space. Maybe they took a cue from Sarah Susanka, the woman who featured those beautiful spaces in the book “Not so big house.” The various pieces of play equipment blend into each other so naturally and things seem pleasantly cozy without feeling all crammed together. Even now, with a void where the bars used to be, the space seems to have a sense of flow.   

That said, if  anyone knows the whereabouts of the missing monkey bars, give a shout out. We’d love to know when they’ll be coming back. We miss them.

  1. greg said,

    We noticed the arch climber missing during a walk in the park on Oct 16. I, too, did not notice at first. My wife pointed it out to me. With our kids being older, we do not visit the playground as often as we used to, but my youngest recalled that the climber was still in our present dimension the weekend prior, when she walked to a friend’s house.

    I emailed our contact for North-end Parks Resources only to find that Linda had moved on. I have not heard back from her replacement. I sent him another inquiry today. Thank you for the reminder.

    The arch climber was a very well-received design element at the playground and, I believe, is still under warranty as it is only six years old. Hopefully it has simply been removed for warranty service and eventual replacement. Any news others may have would be appreciated. I will be sure to post to Wallyhood when I hear something as well.

    Greg Flood
    Friends of Wallingford Playfield

    Tue, November 3 at 11:23 am
  2. Sharon said,

    Thanks Greg!

    Tue, November 3 at 3:34 pm
  3. greg said,

    Here is the reply I received today from the North Parks Resource Manager:

    “I checked with staff and the piece of play equipment was removed due to safety concerns and the structural integrity of the climber. The climber had demonstrated areas of rot and was at risk of failure. Staff was pro-active and removed the piece of equipment. At this time, we do not have an immediate replacement, but will explore the options of replacement through our Playground Improvement program in 2010.”

    I followed up by providing Parks with contact information about the supplier to see if Parks might be able to replace the arch climber under a warranty claim, as it is only six years old. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.


    Wed, November 4 at 12:31 am
  4. Nancy M said,

    Thank you for being such a great looker-outer for our park Greg.
    Nancy Merrill

    Wed, November 4 at 8:36 am
  5. Caleb said,

    It was made of metal.
    It is a classic, low-tech, fun climber, I defintely hope a replacment is possible.

    Wed, November 4 at 11:34 am
  6. Ben Sanders said,

    My kids have had a much harder time using the invisible arch of late–hanging upside down just isn’t the same when they’re lying on wood chips. Still, I had noticed some “filler patches” in the wood frames over the past couple years, and I’m glad that a “preemptive strike” was made before structural failure (my kids got good acceleration when falling from the structure before, but I never worried about it falling on top of them!) It looks like there is unanimous support for a replacement arch; there are no arch enemies posting yet, anyway.

    Thu, November 5 at 9:57 am
  7. Sharon said,

    Hi Greg – have you received any updates on the structure? If not, would you mind sending me a good contact name/info so I could follow up? Thanks!

    Mon, November 30 at 1:35 pm
  8. Gabriella said,

    Hi, I live in Colorado and have worked on a couple of playgrounds in our area. I was in Seattle recently and my kids absolutely loved the monkey bar arch. I was just googling to try to find it on line, but have not yet managed to find it (but I found this site!). Could you please tell me who the manufacturer is so that I can look into getting one put in where I live. Thanks!!

    Thu, October 28 at 9:33 pm
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