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8 Badass Versions Of Your Childhood Summer Activities

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Growing up ain’t easy. This is never more evident than during summer, when memories of backyard fun remind us just how lame it is to wake up, commute, and look forward to Game of Thrones night as the most exciting part of our week.

Sadly, there’s no way you can join in those childhood activities without getting your name added to a federal list. Unless you do what these people did, and take those activities to the next level.

Horace Burgess built the world’s largest treehouse

Treehouses were magical for everyone. You got to pretend you were in Swiss Family Robinson, your dad got to pretend he was an engineer, and everyone got to pretend that this structure was safe.

Horace Burgess, a minister from Tennessee, decided he wouldn’t let something as ridiculous as growing up prevent him from having that type of fun.

(Okay, he actually claimed to have received a message from God. So, basically, the plot of Field of Dreams?)

Beginning in 1993, Burgess built a 97-foot-tall treehouse (that also served as a church) and opened it to the public as a tourist attraction. Sadly, it closed in 2012 due to safety concerns, but to be fair, all treehouses should be closed due to safety concerns. You can take a tour on YouTube.

A 1,000-foot-long Slip 'N Slide

If you didn’t have a pool growing up, a Slip 'N Slide was another way to cool off, as long as you weren’t too concerned about grave injuries. As an adult, though, launching yourself down a wet strip of plastic is a good way to get arrested for public intoxication.

Now, thanks to Slide the City, you can recapture that joy and discomfort on a 1000-foot-long Slip 'N Slide that travels to cities across the U.S.A. As long as you’re able-bodied enough to survive the trip down, they'll let you join in. We'll wait while you check out their touring schedule.

The largest water pistol fight ever

Water pistol fights allow kids to participate in the cherished childhood activity of simulated murder. However, with games like Call of Duty now available to anyone with overly-permissive parents, water fights don't really scratch that itch.

That is, unless you participated in the record-setting water pistol fight held at the University of California, Irvine, which involved 3,875 participants, half of whom (probably) filled those guns up with vodka when the administration wasn’t looking. We don’t have any evidence to prove that, but it seems like a reasonable assumption to make.

And they say higher education is overrated!

Laser tag while skydiving

For the more tech-savvy kid, home laser tag kits allowed for the fun of water pistol fights combined with the fun of making your parents spend more money than necessary. Also, lasers.

Nitro Circus, realizing that a bunch of grown men running around the lawn with fake battle equipment might look suspicious, decided to amp up the intensity by playing laser tag while skydiving. Because growing up sometimes simply means having access to someone with a pilot’s license.

World’s largest underground trampoline

If the Slip N’ Slide failed to send you to the emergency room during a given summer afternoon, your trampoline could still do the trick. Honestly, even for adults, these things are dangerous. There’s no way to make them much more extreme, is there?

Well, you could do as Bounce Below did, and convert a massive cave in North Wales into a gigantic network of interlinking trampolines and “bouncy nets” that’re larger than St. Paul’s Cathedral. Basically, this is the type of trampoline that Bruce Wayne would build for himself. In other words, the best type.

The giant jungle gym that doubles as an art installation

No childhood summer break was complete if you didn’t spend entire days exploring your backyard jungle gym. Monkey bars! A slide! And maybe swings, if Mommy and Daddy were feeling generous.

And, well, that’s about it, really—your imagination filled in the gaps. But as an adult, even if you were to covertly waste some time on the jungle gym, you would be disappointed.

Unless you visited City Museum in St. Louis. This gigantic art installation, featuring enough architectural artifacts to make your steampunk friend’s head explode, doubles as the world’s coolest jungle gym. Navigating it can involve working your way through treehouses, climbing a giant Slinky, and taking a trip down one of the many, many slides throughout the museum.

So, basically, the only vacation destination that can legitimately claim to please parents and kids in equal measure. See for yourself.

The greatest bouncy castle ever

If you didn’t have a bouncy castle in your backyard at some point during your childhood, you either wanted one, or you didn’t have a backyard. Simple as that.

However, the disappointment of not getting to play in a giant eyesore doesn’t need to follow you throughout your entire life. Industrial design studio Numen / For Use has created what is essentially a 32-foot-tall inflatable cube filled with ropes which you can climb around in to your heart’s content. If you ignore the fact that it’s a pretty pretentious excuse for “art,” you’ll have all that fun that you didn’t have as a kid. Take a look.

The world’s largest water balloon fight

When water pistols and laser tag no longer quenched your juvenile thirst for combat, you capped off the humid summer months with a water balloon fight, letting loose all your aggression in an epic final showdown.

Hey, you may have gotten older, but you’re by no means less aggressive. Students at the University of Kentucky knew this fact well, resulting in a water balloon fight consisting of nearly 9,000 participants, setting the record for largest water balloon fight ever, as well as the record for most envious children on the planet at a single time, probably.


Joe Oliveto is still disappointed he never had a bouncy castle in his backyard. Follow him on Twitter.

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