If what happens in Vegas is that you get to drive a climate-controlled Caterpillar bulldozer while rocking a hard hat, you should tell everyone you know about it. At the Dig This Heavy Equipment Playground you can do that, plus lift 2,000-pound tires, build a giant mound of dirt, and rip deep ravines into the earth using your choice of heavy machines. (How about an excavator?) And there's no need for training — just pass a breathalyzer test, take a quick orientation and go.
Forgive us for our lack of surprise that in design-forward Copenhagen even the parks are museum-worthy. The owners of the Superkilen urban park found inspiration in the vast variety of the 60-plus cultures that live in the neighborhood to create their play space. There's an alfresco boxing ring from Thailand, a hulking black slide shaped like an elephant, from Chernobyl, and workout machines from Santa Monica, California (where else?).
Ever dreamed of climbing the Matterhorn? This is your chance. At the climbing center Mount Mitte, in Berlin, the six rope courses are named after famous summits. As you make your way to the top, you'll jockey through punching bags and try your luck crossing a rickety suspension bridge. Just don't get so nervous you forget to look up — the view is jaw-dropping and includes the 1,200-foot Fernsehturm tower.
Rock climbing walls alone aren’t worthy of inclusion on a list like this. But a harness-free climbing wall that towers 50 feet over a 12-foot-deep turquoise pool? That gets our attention. It's the first of its kind built stateside, at the Utah Olympic Park, in Park City. And listen, if you make it up only a few feet, we won't judge — falling into the cool water is the best part.
With their snowcapped peaks and glacial valleys, the Austrian Alps should be adventure enough. But no: Hidden between mountain ranges, the Area 47 adventure park features, among countless other diversions, a high ropes course strung 88 feet over the rushing whitewater of the Otztal River, a brand new 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.
General Entertainment in New York, NY, United States
The 30 fiberglass fish on rotation in the new $16 million SeaGlass Carousel, which opened in August in New York's Battery Park, include crayola-bright threadfin butterflyfish and siamese fighting fish illuminated from the inside with color-changing LEDs meant to mimic bioluminescence. What else would you expect from the set designer of Broadway's Little Mermaid? You'll have to contend with lots of little people waiting in line to see the show, but it's worth it.
At St. Louis, Missouri's City Museum you'll find 600,000 square feet of salvaged materials, including two abandoned planes, that have been turned into a playground for adults. Take a ride down a 10-story slide, catch a pop-up circus, go for a spin on a Ferris wheel (on the roof!), wander through man-made caves and order bespoke shoelaces made on a sewing machine that dates back to the 1800s. Insider tip: The best time to visit is Friday or Saturday night, when the place is open only to adults.