Photos by Hillary Ehlen
The Carlsrud family understands the importance of spending time outside. Their two youngest members, Brooklyn and Gavin love playing on their play system. Luckily, their father, Ryan Carlsrud, is the owner of Rainbow Play Systems in Fargo. We sat down with Carlsrud to find out more about the endless possibilities that these structures provide, from pirate ship to airplane, in the mind of your child.
About Rainbow Play Systems
Established in 1985, Rainbow Play Systems is based out of South Dakota. “There’s a store in all 50 states, but everything is distributed out of Brookings, South Dakota. It’s about as local as it gets today,” said Carlsrud. In 2013, Carlsrud became the owner of the Fargo location after working as the manager for many years.
What Is A Play System?
A play system is essentially a wooden swingset combined with elements commonly found in a jungle gym. The play system pictured here is the Monster Castle Package Two, which is one of the most popular models at Rainbow Play Systems. It is also what Carlsrud chose to install in his own backyard. “It’s got a little bit for everyone – a rock wall for older kids, a step-ladder for younger ones, and, of course, everyone likes the swings and the slide.”
Designing Your Dream Play System
When seen in stores, play systems can seem oversized. Homeowners sometimes postpone installing a play system for fear that it will take over their whole backyard, but this concern is easily put to rest. Carlsrud often points out that he and his family have an average-sized backyard and their play system comes in at 5-feet-10-inches tall. Still, they have plenty of room for a trampoline, pool and patio.
Though play systems come in various models, they can also be customized. For example, they can range anywhere from 5-feet to 7-foot-2-inches tall. Once you choose your basic set, you can add or remove features from that set. These play systems can last for decades, even generations. Carlsrud explained, “I just had a customer order a new canopy. He bought his play system in the 1980s and it’s being used by his grandkids now.” These canopies are available in a wide selection of colors.
Rainbow Play Systems also supplies rubber mulch. “Rubber mulch has become more and more popular because there’s more cushion to it as opposed to rocks or wood mulch. It’s about 50/50 between people who put their play systems on grass and people who landscape around it,” he explained.
Installing Your Play System
Though some homeowners set up their play systems without professional assistance, many trust Carlsrud’s team with the installation. “Most people have us install it. We go out to the person’s backyard and set it up in a day. Then the kids are ready to play on it when they get home from school,” he said. In fact, the best part of Carlsrud’s job is watching those kids light up when they see their new play system for the first time
Rainbow Play Systems
5226 51st Ave. S, Fargo