Monday, October 20, 2014

Would You Let Your Child Play in Hot Lava?

I'm taking a little mental break today - this post was inspired by one of the most awesome people on Facebook, the actor and activist George Takei.

It's been a long time since I've visited Seattle, Washington.  I was there before I had my son, and my son is grown now. Until I become a grandmother, I won't have much reason to visit a playground, because I have no nieces and nephews.

But if I did need to visit a playground, I might just visit this one.

I wonder if this is for real.  Readers?

According to a post on Reddit, a playground (Cascade Playfield) in Seattle, Washington has a "Hot Lava Survival Game" posted on the playground equipment.  So, if a child gets bored of the swings, slides, and other regular equipment, they can play "Survive a Mt. Rainer Eruption!" Yes, when there is an active volcano in your city's backyard (and it is an awesome view if you've ever flown into Seattle on a sunny day-which I had the pleasure of doing once, many years ago), you might as well turn that scary fact into a childhood game.

Strangely, though, the website for the City of Seattle parks does not feature anything about the Hot Lava Survival Game. 

At least, there is no real lava on the playground - not yet, anyway.

Another blogger even took pictures of some of the "landmarks" in the instructions on how to play the Hot Lava Survival Game.

Here are some facts about Mt. Rainier, which is about 60 miles from Seattle. 

It is the fifth tallest peak in the 48 "lower" United States (not counting Alaska and Hawaii) and the tallest mountain in the state of Washington.  It measures some 14,411 feet tall.

It last erupted in the 19th century, in 1894.

It was first climbed (that we know of, of course) in 1870.

And, it is expected to erupt again, someday. When it does, it really isn't hot lava, but a mud flow called lahar, that may spell doom for thousands of people, if they can't get out of the way.

Considering its proximity to Seattle, a city of about 650,000 people, "when" becomes an important question.  There is a lahar early warning system in place, but we may only find out how effective it is when the volcano erupts.

In the meantime, I do wonder about that playground.  Is it in the path of the expected lahar flow? Do children really play that hot lava game?

Do you have an unusual playground near you?


  1. What a hilarious idea for a playground! Kind of like a high-end, organized version of what we used to do as kids, jumping from one piece of furniture to another to avoid touching the floor. Too fun!

    1. My son (now grown) would have loved that playground. Maybe, if ever I become a grandmother, my spouse and I will have to take our grandchildren to Seattle.

  2. My kids just played that at the park yesterday! And then created an obstacle course in which I had to count 1 Mississippi - 2 Mississippi - 3 Mississippi to decide who the winner was. We had a blast! ;-)

    1. I'm happy knowing that playground really exists. That truly has to be one of the coolest playground in the United States.

  3. Maybe the game will help to take the fear out of children's mind. There's nothing better than surviving against all odds. All over the world, there are dormant volcanoes of cracks waiting to open up. I guess it doesn't do much good worrying about them. But that's an amazing playground.

  4. The hot lava game has been around for as long as I can remember. I'm guessing the school posted official rules to prevent arguing.

  5. Combining a splash of science and local geography into a playground activity? I would definitely take my son there.

  6. As a granny who spends quite a bit of time at playgrounds, I have discovered that kids are happy with things to climb on: ropes, jungle gyms and walls. Playgrounds don't have to be exotic of fancy. What they need to be are - shady, soft and safe ground to land on, and spacious enough to cater to a lot of children at once. We recently visited such a playground at the new Sarona Center/Park in Tel Aviv. HUGS <3


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