A Bale of Playground Turtles

A group of turtles, I have just learned (thank you google) is called a ‘bale’!  The inherently playful form and friendly mien of the turtle means it vies with the elephant (my personal fave) as the most popular playground animal, with the giraffe coming in a distant third and the playground octupi of Japan serving as a surreal also-ran.

So today, a bale of terrapin inspiration:

via the Tommy the Turtle facebook page:  In Union Township, NJ  Mayor F. Edward Biertuempf “designed and helped build these playground turtles out of recycled sewer pipe in order to save the town money.”See also the community gameboard he installed.  What a mayor!

Turtle Fountain, South Korea [source]

Ancient, monumental turtle photographed by bertrandom in Honduras. Do you see how the ‘ancient artifact’ detailing of both this and the South Korean turtlecan inspire the child to create their own narrative for play?  Of course you do.

Fieldstone turtle sculpture by Linda Hoffman at Old Frog Pond, Massachusetts…

Reminds me of this turtle sculpture by Colorado’s Robert Tully, a playscapes favorite

A similar interpretation, in grass and reclaimed granite by Lourdes Cue for the St. Paul Parks and Rec Department, is accessible for DIY…just make a playground hill and appropriately place your boulders!

Turtle fountains at the Dinosaur Park Playground in Laguna Hills, California [source]

What I think of as the ‘skinny turtle’ is a variety made by the Londino Stone Co of New York.Its appearance in New York playgrounds is documented in a flickr group:  Turtles of New York.This photo is by CaptainKidder

also via the Tommy Turtle facebook page, this lovely, more ornamental versionon a decrepit playground in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia

But nothing beats the Turtle Playground in Forest Park, St. Louis MO by the late Bob Cassily–one of the great playmakers, gone too soon. [source]

If I’ve missed a playground turtle you love, tell me in the comments, and if you know of a vintage playground turtle worth preserving, be sure to add it to the turtle map!


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