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Where to get backyard play equipment?

Fonda is seeking any thoughts or experiences you have with backyard play equipment:

I would like to buy a fairly basic but good quality play structure that will last a long time and won't overwhelm our backyard (swings, slide, some climbing features like monkey bars perhaps).  Does anyone have any suggestions on models and where to get them?  I've heard of The Kid's Backyard Store in the SW, are there any others? How much should I expect to spend on such a thing?

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We just went to a Birthday party at Rainbow Park in NE. They rent out their indoor showroom for kid's parties -- what a blast and the parents get to check out all the play structures close up (and in use). They also have a bunch of demo units set up outside. The prices seemed to range from about $1800 on up. http://www.123playground.com/portlandparties.htm

My husband is a parks professional and on this topic he says to keep very strongly in mind that you get what you pay for. And stay away from equipment made from treated wood. He recommends looking at Rainbow Play Systems. They have a showroom in NE.

We just bought a play structure this summer. We purchased it off of Costco.com. (If your not a member, it's probably worth the $50.00 fee) It was $1700.00, and it's awesome. We have a small yard, and it has 3 swings, a slide, a fort, a picnic table, a climbing wall and monkey bars. Rainbow had almost the same exact unit for twice the price. The best part was, when it was delivered, the delivery guy told me, it's a Rainbow structure, they just change the name (I think it was Sunray) to sell it thru Costco. The invioce said "Rainbow" all over it. Also, it it made out of cedar/redwood....just like all the rainbow structures. Only down fall......we had to put it together ourselves, but the instructions were awesome!
I would highly recommend! Good Luck!

We got one of the Costco systems (Sunray is the brand name they go by) this summer ourselves. I don't know who was more excited - the kids or my FIL who got to put it together! It was really easy for someone with building skills to put together. In some areas there are people that make a living out of putting them together so I am sure there is someone in Portland that does that. They do not have them in the stores now but will have the 2009 model in after Christmas. You save money if you pick it up yourself (fits in the back of a Ford Ranger pick up truck) and there are often coupons around March or so. So if you buy a Costco membership and go to the store you will save several hundred dollars if you have a truck or access to one. We got ours for $1200.

We are happy with it and the kids love it. They have been on it everyday since Memorial Day with the exception of when we are out of town. You get a lot for your money and we were able to fit it into our small inner NE yard. We liked that it included some of the high end Rainbow features (such as great monkey bars) that other systems did not.

While it is made by Rainbow it is not quite the same. The chains on the swings are not as thick, the monkey bars are not as wide, for example. My FIL is a retired engineer and frugal German - he thinks it is very well made and will do the average family well. Like many things it is one of those items that if you take care of it it will last longer. This past weekend we stained and sealed it which we plan to do annually. We looked at used Rainbow systems that were 10 years old and not cared for - they really looked beat up.

I went to the Rainbow showroom in NE. For the same type of system we would have spent around $4000 to $5000 installed. It might have been the sales person working that day but the sales tactics really upset me. I really do not like someone implying that if I love my kids I will not worry about spending the money. He told me that only really cheap people would buy the $1800 model. I think they have that there to pressure you into buying something higher end. I think that is one of their main sales tactics - do you want your child to fullfill all of their dreams? If so spend lots of money with us! We actually decided against having a birthday party there after talking with this guy.

Now we are looking for a recycled tire swing shaped like a horse. Has anyone seen one locally? I can find them online but would prefer to buy local.

If you want something quite inexpensive, try a used one on Craigslist. I got a great one for $300.

Also check out Kettler (the ones who make the great tricycles) They have metal swingset structures that are not too pricey. We have a friend with one and it seems to be much more substantially built than the generic metal swingsets you usually see.

We recently purchased from Cedar Works. They are definitely the top of the line but it is made from white cedar and isn't treated and naturally doesn't rot. You don't ever have to treat it so you save that way. It is completely customizable and expandable. Our gilrs (2 & 3) love it and the neighbor kids all congregate in our backyard, it is great. Our friends had one for over 10 years and it was still in great working order. Check it out. You are welcome to check ours out as well, just let me know. :)

I think if you need to have some good stuff in your backyard then have a look on this: http://www.greenproindia.com/

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