Friday, June 24, 2011

MONSTER PARK III: The Battle for Atlantis - This Time it's Personal

It seems that my initial declaration that surviving, innovative, mid-century parks were few and far between was perhaps a tad premature.  More ubiquitous than I had imagined, parks of a wacky tacky nature are just waiting to be sought out.  Nestled behind an unassuming, public park and high school in Garden Grove, CA stands yet another monument to the genius of the apparently-prolific artist Benjamin Dominguez.  In many ways, Atlantis Play Center might be the best of Dominguez' offerings to Southern California's cultural heritage.  First, the park is well-maintained.  Second, the park includes a literal ocean theme that is carried over hill and dale throughout the entire grounds.  Third, there is a water feature!  Nothing screams wacky tacky like 60's water features!

Unky and Baby wishing they could get in and splash!
(photo by Bea White)

Everywhere you look there are amazing playgrounds
the likes of which they just don't make anymore.

It's not what it looks like
(photo by Bea White)

Mary, Queen of the Starfish
(photo by Bea White)

Not quite as brave as Mary
(photo by Bea White)

Sea Serpent

Taming the Sea Serpent
(photo by Bea White)

Viking Ship

Bea tries out the dragon slide
(photo by Bea White)

Inside the jaws of a killer

Shark Rider
(photo by Bea White)

All of the water fountains in the park are giant clam shells.
(photo by Bea White)

(photo by Bea White)

Tilly Twin Heads
(photo by Bea White)
(photo by Bea White)

(photo by Bea White)

The dismount: 6.3 - she didn't quite stick the landing
(photo by Bea White)

Whale Slide
(photo by Bea White)

 Do I spy Jonah?

Neptune's Kingdom


There are areas for picnics and parties

The sweetest words I've ever read

Atlantis Play Center
13630 Atlantis Way
Garden Grove, CA

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday-Friday  10am - 2pm
Saturday  10am - 4pm
Sunday  12pm - 4pm

Admission: $1.00

*Keep in mind that adults are not admitted to the park unaccompanied by a child.  It is a good policy to protect kids from creeps!  They couldn't keep our motley crew out!

Our ticket in

All of the good photos in this post are courtesy of Bea White at In My Parent's Car; check out her blog for an interesting perspective and skillful photography.


Mr. Tiny


  1. Oh my goodness! That is AWESOME!! What a cool park! I really can't pick my favorite from the photos! Cutest ticket ever! LOL

  2. This is one of my favorite childhood places. You need wax paper to get the dragon slide going. The best was when my dad took us there, it was closed, and then he let us take the wax paper on one of those old giant rocket ship towers and go down those slides. We only did that once.

    It looks like they've spend some cash on the park! I'm glad that they are taking care of such a wonderful place. Thanks for this post!

  3. I need to borrow a kid stat! This place looks like so much fun.

  4. Greg, Thank you for answering a question I have been wondering since we left!! I saw a sign that said we would be kicked out if we had wax paper, I had no idea why!! That makes so much sense now!! haha

    Chris, I think that I deserve more than a 6.3! The judge is biased....don't be jealous!!

  5. Thanks Greg! It's all so clear now. We couldn't for the life of us figure out why wax paper was forbidden.

    Trixie - I need to venture out and find more cool parks! My favorite on the Cetral Coast is Dennis the Menace park in Monterey. Although, I've heard that it's changed a lot in the last several years.

    Reagan - That's what we did. We kidnapped our nephew and had a play date. I highly recommend it.

    Mary - You're absolutely right. I have revisited not just your score but the entire scoring system. From a totally objective viewpoint your new score is 3.5!

  6. I loved going to this park as a kid! It is so sad that they had to replace the dangerously cool rocking horses with the safer kind. They kept the original rocking animals but the animals used to be on pipes curved submerged pipes with an animal on top of each...this made for a super scary cool teeter totter experience...but I can see why they have replaced this with the safer variety.