Playful Penguin Race Turns 32!

If there was ever a reason to feel old, this month’s 32th birthday of the Playful Penguin Race is ground zero.  Yes, according to some top notch research, it was on this month in 1983 that the iconic Playful Penguin Race was first appeared on the sidewalks of Canal St. in New York (where I first got mine).  The Penguin Race concept is simple and yet brilliant. One oscillating mechanism inside makes the clear plastic sidings on either side of the stairs goes up and down.

The blue, red and black penguins are on rollers with little pegs on the bottom.  When the clear plastic stair walls go up and down, they hook onto the pegs on the penguins sides and that’s how the penguins are carried up the stairs.  When they reach to top gravity simply takes over and down they slide only to start all over again.  Weeeee!!!! Goes all kids 2 – 6 years old since 1983.  That’s a lot of kids.  The race does have a  fairly annoying squeaking noise which incidently only seems to annoy adults.  Thankfully, the noise does fade with use and time to more palatable decibels. I use to advise parents to turn the race on and lock it in the garage or a closet overnight to get the noise to fade away.  In time all you’ll here are the oscillating gears.raceThe whole concept of a Penguin Race or even calling it a game is very debatable.  It’s not really a race as the penguin can’t pass each other, although that doesn’t keep kids from picking up the penguins and switching their positions, and it’s not really a game.   But, it is a very timeless toy that has been entertaining kids for over three decades.

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