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Los Arboles "Rocketship" Park
5101 Calle de Ricardo
Torrance, CA 90505

In the 1960s, following the launch of the Soviet Sputnik satellite, rocket ships were blasting off at playgrounds all over the United States. These classic conical metal structures whizzed children into the vastness of outer space from the comfort of their neighborhood park.

Today, most metal ships have gone the way of the scrap yard, but some, including the Rocketship at Los Arboles Park, have found a permanent launch pad.

Installed in 1964 and then restored in 1992 (residents complained loudly when park officials removed the structure earlier that year), this four-level spaceship provides one of the best views of the entire L.A. basin and now features an official plaque from the Torrance Historical Society.

You'll lose count how many times you hear "4, 3, 2, 1, blast off!" as astronauts in training scale a ladder inside the ship from bottom to nose top. The metal slide is long, fast, and best for older kids. Nearby, a metal replica of a lunar module, with firefighter poles, ladders, and controls, is ready for battling aliens and saving planet Earth.