Would You Ride This 40-Foot Tall Giant Slide?

Back in the day, kids played on very different playground equipment than what exists today. Except in Detroit. In that city, the aptly named Giant Slide is a 40-foot-tall metal slide that opened in the 1960s still stands. After being closed due to Covid, the slide re-opened on August 19. And it closed down again just four hours later. Riders were going way too fast. Videos of children and adults alike catching air and landing hard made the rounds on social media and late night talk shows. The slide has now reopened, but would you ever go on it?

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources runs the park and the Giant Slide. Park rangers released a video showing the proper way to ride the slide without injuring yourself or picking up too much speed. Apparently the trick is to lean forward. The rangers also said they are spraying water to slow things down in between riders, but we’re not quite clear on how the physics of that works. 

We saw news of this cursed object thanks to DesignTAXI.  It harkens back to a simpler time, before rampant personal injury lawsuits took all the fun out of childhood. Or addressed legitimate safety concerns, depending on how you look at it. The Giant Slide makes the world’s longest water slide and a 360 degree rotating slide look tame in comparison.

View from the top of the Giant Slide, a 40 foot tall metal slide in Detroit
Belle Isle Park – Michigan

Slides are having the last laugh this week. A Dodgers reporter broke his hand, wrist, and some ribs live on TV while riding a two-story slide at the Milwaukee Brewers’s baseball field. Maybe we should just all stay off slides for a bit.  

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She grew up riding down the concrete slide in Codornices Park in Berkeley, California—which is still there. Melissa also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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