Friday, January 21, 2011

MONSTER PARK: The Laguna de San Gabriel Playground

On the advice of our friend Janet Klein, who just happens to be one of the best performers on the Southern California music scene (maybe in the whole world!), we motored north to San Gabriel to find the “Monster Park.”  The Laguna de San Gabriel Playground, a small part of the larger Vincent Lugo Park, is the brainchild of Benjamin Dominguez who completed construction of the park in 1965.  This kind of wacky tacky is becoming harder and harder to find as parks are being retrofitted with “safe,” modern, plastic playground equipment.  In fact, this playground was set for demolition when local activists banded together to save it from the wrecking ball.  Constructed mostly of cement, sea creatures of all kinds – whales, dolphins, snails, sea serpents – create a crazy, and yes, somewhat dangerous place to knock out your front teeth.  But what is the fun of being a kid if you can’t climb up a snail’s butt and slide out his mouth? 

What can I say?

 Inside the jaws of a killer.

You may insert your beached whale joke here. 

She only had to push seven kids out of the way to get her turn 

 Sadly, the little red dolphin died later that day from acute spinal trauma and two collapsed lungs.

 We also found Fosselman’s Ice Cream, est. 1919.

This would have been really exciting if some of us weren’t lactose intolerant.


Mr. Tiny


  1. I love it! I remember seeing giant cement playground equipment- but nothing quite that cool.

  2. Really every children get pleasure in the playground place for playground equipment.

  3. Oh my gosh, I love you! Thank you for finding these, my son will love them. I have a challenge for you though. When I was a kid we lived in Orange County and at some point the adults took us kids to this park that had cement slides everywhere. I remember lots of sea creatures and just tons of fun. Would it surprise you that not one of the adults remembers this trip (mind you there were at least 6 of them in attendance since it was a birthday party) so they can't tell me where this was let alone what it was called. I have had no luck finding it...can you help me????

    1. Hiya! It is Atlantis Playground in Garden Grove. The creatures were built by the same artist; we covered it here:

      Thanks for stopping by and happy park hunting!!!

  4. Does anyone remember a pink whale similar to the one in this pic. But I believe the park was either in Whittier or Santa Fe Springs. Thank you.