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The McDonald's Playground Maps

McDonald's: East Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette


Weird T-shaped layout.

Ah, the McDonald's location I'd play at more often than any other. Such good memories. This was the only McDonald's I knew of with a bizarrely-shaped layout. While most were either a boring rectangle or square, this one was a capital T! A capital T with too much weight on the left and not enough on the right, anyway. Still, it was a unique playground shape, giving it some value.

As for the playground itself, it was nice. Big Mac is a big plus. You could climb to the top, too, though it was kinda' pointless without holes in his hat. It had a Captain Crook slide. And an excessive numbers of bouncy things. I was always partial to the blue Fry Kid in the back, though, tucked away in an odd little corner. Just so lonely....

Grade: B


Arf, ribbit, arf, ribbit, something's missing!

It's the case of the disappearing Big Mac! Where did he go? Who knows. But he was no longer on the playground, and in its place, just a cement slab. So what was left? Captain Crook, and an excessive number of bouncing things. Whee?

In other news, the fence was changed from black to white. That actually happened in 1987 or 1988, though. Around the time they got rid of Big Mac, they also got rid of the tables. Must suck if you were an adult. Couldn't tell you why the fence changed color, or why they got rid of the tables, but for a kid who just wanted to play, the fence color or tables didn't really matter. Actually, I don't think parents really cared about the fence color either. But what mattered to a kid? The lack of Big Mac.

Grade: C-


The best ball pit addition ever!

Oh no, the ball pit and random tube assortment of doom! But really, it didn't hurt this playground. It just took up the room where parking spaces used to be, so all the classic equipment was still around! Well, except for the lonely Fry Kid, who was replaced by an extra table. And oh yes, the tables were back.

Generally, I didn't like when the ball pits moved into the playgrounds, since it meant a lot of old, better equipment was going away, but considering all that was lost this time was a bouncy thingie--which got replaced by a second hamburger bouncy thingie anyway--and we actually gained--yes, gained!--the spinning hamburger, it was a rare upgrade where we kids came out ahead! Yes! Have to love the spinning hamburger! Makes up partially for the lack of Big Mac.

Grade: C+


They can't seem to decide what to put in that one spot, apparently.

By this time, I wasn't playing on the playgrounds anymore, anyway. But if I were, I wouldn't have liked this change: replacing the spinning hamburger with yet another bouncy thingie! Apparently, you can't have too many boring bouncy thingies! Blah.

Grade: C-

And after 1994? Indoor playplace. We don't care about that. Or I don't, anyway.

McDonald's: West Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette


From a distance.

The second-closest McDonald's playground to my home as a kid, and not surprisingly, the one I'd been to second-most-often. This was a rare one, though. Rare in the huge distance between the playground and the restaurant itself. Seems like it would've been really easy for non-customers to sneak in. And instead of weird neon tables in the playground area, they had a few tables outside, on the walkway between the restaurant and the playground. Kinda' "metal wicker," for lack of a better way to describe them. They also came with umbrellas! Cool!

But how about the playground itself? Simply awesome. Big Mac was there--you couldn't climb to the top, though. But then, he didn't have hat holes anyway, so it didn't really matter much. And there were both slides! Fun for playing fort with friends! And the spinning hamburger! Man, this one had just about everything! Yes, including the requisite bouncy things, but with everything else going for it, I can't complain about that!

Grade: A


How to get rid of half the equipment without most kids whining about it.

Ooh, this was ugly. One of the dreaded ball pits with assorted tubes. Back when the ball pit was the main attraction, and the tubes were secondary, anyway.

So what was left... Big Mac was still there, as well as the Captain Crook slide and a bouncy thingy. So what we had was essentially the previous McDonald's before it took out its own Big Mac. Except with much fewer bouncy thingies. Still fun, but nowhere near the level it was.

And ooh yeah... back in '87 or '88, all the tables were gone from the walkway between the restaurant and playground. Maybe they got rid of them. Maybe they were stolen. I mean, they had to be easy targets for that... we may never know.

Grade: B


No one remembers Captain Crook anyway.

And one day, for no apparent reason, they took down the Captain Crook slide. Why? Who knows. Oh, and the fence was painted red. Guess to go with the new color scheme for the building itself. You don't care, probably.

But still... Big Mac! Right?

Grade: C+


Uh... yeah.

Well, Big Mac was no more. Only a few months later, that news story about Big Mac being dangerous and removed from all McDonald's would come out. This was probably one of the very, very last to remain. Kinda' sad. As it is, they completely redesigned the playground, moving it much closer to the building, getting rid of the brick pillars, and adding a small stretch of road between the playground and street. There was still a lot of unused room they could've used for a larger playground, despite the extra road. Maybe get some classic equipment back! That would've been cool. Course, I was too big by this point anyway. My siblings could've always enjoyed it. Ah well.

Grade: F

McDonald's: General Meyer Avenue, Algiers


This one was better than it looks.

One Big Mac. Two slides. About as basic as it gets. This particular McDonald's location was very close to the main road, so they didn't exactly have a lot of room for the playground. Surprisingly, there were no bouncy things! Most playgrounds seem fairly littered with several, but this one had none.

But let's take a closer look at what we've got here. Big Mac has holes in his hat! But then again, if this one's got one of the metal plates that prevent kids from climbing to the inside of the hat and looking out through the holes, then it makes little difference. But there was no metal plate! Yes! That means that, yes, as a kid, I most certainly could climb to the top of Big Mac, look out the holes in his hat, and bask in the wonder of being high up while looking down at the world below through a cute little hole! Having both slides certainly didn't hurt, either. A spinning burger would've been nice, but I'll gladly take what I got here. As a kid, this was the McDonald's I most wanted to go to. It didn't happen often, but boy oh boy, did I love those rare occasions!

Grade: A+


Only the slightest of setbacks.

They took one of the slides down, and added two bouncy things. Guess this location buckled down to peer pressure: all the other McDonald's were flashing all their bouncy things around, so this McDonald's felt left out, and got a couple of its own, at the expense of the Hamburglar. You know, more than anything else, I'm curious how the store decided which of the two slides to remove. Guess the owner was nostalgic for Captain Crook. The cooler-than-usual Big Mac makes up for the loss of the Hamburglar slide, but still, it was cooler when both the slides were around, really.

For reference, I don't remember the bouncy things as well as other equipment at most McDonald's that I'd been around more rarely. I'm pretty sure the two bouncy things were what I have pictured, but if I'm wrong... well, I don't see you trying to map these things out, so cut me a little slack, please! Or e-mail me politely.

Anyway, around 1996 or so, this McDonald's took out the playground completely, and put in an indoor playplace. Yeah.

Grade: A

McDonald's: Chef Menteur Highway, New Orleans


Pretty nice, once you get past the initial disappointment.

First, the ship bouncy things were definitely ship bouncy things. I'm less confident I have the seesaw right, and even less that the Frykid bouncy thing was a Frykid, that may or may not have been a pink one. Yup, haven't been to this one very often, either.

But anyway, another Big Mac! With holes in his hat! Yay! Or... maybe not quite that much. For he may have holes in his hat, but you could not climb up to the top. Yup, it was another "metal plate blocking the way" Big Mac, so the holes were pretty much just there for show. Sorry. As for the rest... got a seesaw, Big Mac, one slide, and a few bouncy things. A lot like the first McDonald's playground we showcased. A few things made this one a little nicer, though. For one, the ground: notice it's red instead of green, like the first three McDonald's used. A few locations used red instead of green, and since red was rarer, that automatically made it seem cooler. And also, the brick posts for the fence always makes it look a little nicer. I dunno'... just seemed a little cooler, anyway.

Grade: B+


Some of the strangest, most pointless changes ever.

At first glance, this may look the same as the above. But if you look hard enough, you'll notice a couple of differences. First, Big Mac. For no known reason, he got a new hat, one without holes. Since you couldn't climb to the top anyway, I'm not sure why it made any difference, but for whatever reason, he had the new hat.

That's not even the weirder change, though: look at the Hamburglar slide. Notice the coloring I used. That's not an accident: the slide was repainted to use the Captain Crook slide colors on both the slide part and the stairs part! Hamburglar's bust was still on the top, but the slide was now mostly in red and yellow, instead of black and white. Why did they change it? I'd love to know... I'd love to know....

Grade: B+



A lot of McDonald's were adding ball pits at the time, and this location was no different. Unlike a lot of other locations, though, this McDonald's got rid of everything! Well, except the Ronald statue, but all the old equipment you could play on, gone! At least they kept the old fence with brick pillars, I guess... I'm obviously grasping. I guess everyone wanted to boycott the new playground or something, since only a few months later, this McDonald's closed down. It's currently a We Never Close Po-Boys. Or it's a Krispy Krunchy Chicken. I'm not really sure which one is the name of the place: the signage is confusing. I know that to this day, they're still using McDonald's classic drive-thru speaker, though. I'm kinda' going off on a tangent here, though, aren't I? This playground wasn't very good.

Grade: F

McDonald's: Pontratrain Boulevard, Slidell


Insert witty comment here.

First, the usual disclaimer: the specific bouncy things used may not be accurate. Especially the Fry Kid one. That out of the way, at first glance, this looks a whole lot like the layout for the McDonald's on West Judge Perez Drive, really. But the ground is red! Red ground, so this one's better, right?

Not necessarily. I mean, the red ground is cool, but I always liked that the other playground was a distance away from the actual restaurant, with the quaint little umbrella tables. This playground is nice--don't get me wrong--but it's lacking a bit of the other's charm. Even though I'd only gone here rarely, it didn't really do anything that the one on West Judge Perez Drive didn't do better.

Oh yes--for the record, the Big Mac here did indeed have the metal plate so you could not climb into his hat. Not that it mattered much, since he had no holes this go-round.

Grade: A-


We've seen this before....

Dang, this looks really, really similar... oh yeah, it's because it's essentially the same as when the McDonald's on West Judge Perez Drive put in its ballpit! The only difference is that this one took out the Captain Crook slide instead of the Hamburglar slide. Big difference.

Grade: B


To drive the point home further.

And just like the McDonald's on West Judge Perez Drive would do eventually, this McDonald's too got rid of its slide. Yup. Sad.

Grade: C+

McDonald's: St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans


Small, but possibly very cool.

For once, I'm pretty certain about the bouncy thing being the ship. Yay! I've never actually been on any of these other playgrounds, so this gets harder. Like I have no idea whether Big Mac there had the metal plate or not. That could change the grading. As it is, this playground was small, but probably awesome. Only one slide, but it did have Big Mac with holes in his hat! Dunno' whether you could actually climb into it here, but why assume the worst? Plus, this McDonald's had the rare Grimace... thingy! Sure, I had no idea how you played on it, or in it, or whatever, but it just looks cool! That counts for something, right? Around 1992, it was changed to an indoor playplace.

Potential Grade: A+

McDonald's: East Judge Perez Drive, Meraux


Not overly impressive, is it?

On one hand, this wasn't very good. It's a newer McDonald's, so this one started out having the ball pit as soon as it was made, with only a single piece of classic equipment. Just a seesaw, at that. And both ends had the hamburger guy! Lame. If there's a slight positive, it's that this McDonald's location is the last one around here to actually hold on to a piece of classic equipment. Least that I know. And as can be seen, no Ronald McDonald statue, either.

Ooh... another semi-interesting note. When this McDonald's was being built, they actually had a few other pieces of equipment: a bouncy thing and a Hamburglar slide. Seems that they were originally interested in putting in more equipment, but decided not to. Sad. Just sad.

Grade: D


Must I comment?

You all know how I feel about this by now.

Grade: F

McDonald's: Lapalco Boulevard, Gretna


The Big Mac imposter.

Never been on the cake thing, so I can't say for sure how it was, but it was probably pretty fun, since it looks a lot like Big Mac, except with the ladder outside the unit instead of inside it, and a slide. And that this thing was square instead of round. Pretty similar, anyway. Also had a bouncy thing for good measure. Probably fun just because of how cool it would be, playing in such a rare piece of equipment.

Probable Grade: B


This image based on an actual McDonald's playground.  Until 1989, anyway.