Playgrounds for Seniors Popular in Europe, Asia and North America

Although they're already constructed on four continents, so-called "playgrounds for seniors" are making news as a potential worldwide trend.

A strange-but-true story can be hard to resist, and one such story emanating from England last spring proved irresistible to many news organizations, bloggers and readers. It involved the opening of London's first outdoor playground for senior citizens, located in the city's popular Hyde Park, and the story went viral although its subject was neither completely accurate - it is more fitness park than playground - nor all that strange. England had already opened its first playground for seniors (in Manchester in 2008), an event that hardly penetrated the world's collective consciousness. Likewise, a story from 2006 in The Guardian on the forthcoming debut of Nürnburg's Seniorenspielplätze (senior citizens' playgrounds) failed to find legs.

Hyde Park Senior Playground eventually made 500 newspapers, but as the references to "swinging London" multiplied in print and online (despite no swings installed), it was easy to miss the wider story. Over the past six years, senior playgrounds have been constructed on at least four continents and are becoming more abundant - even in the United States, where they may well be about to bust out of the confines of senior living facilities.

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