Park Service Playgrounds Close During Shutdown, to Kids' Dismay

Tuesday, Oct 1, 2013  |  Updated 7:46 PM EDT
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Parents in D.C. were disappointed on Tuesday to discover local playgrounds were locked, keeping them and their children off of the equipment. News4's Chris Gordon has more to another side of the shutdown that some say is unfairly punishing kids.

Chris Gordon

Parents in D.C. were disappointed on Tuesday to discover local playgrounds were locked, keeping them and their children off of the equipment. News4's Chris Gordon has more to another side of the shutdown that some say is unfairly punishing kids.

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As families grappled with the larger issues of a government shutdown -- missing paychecks, closed day care -- another problem emerged: In and around the District of Columbia, many of the playgrounds that their children play on are on federal land.

Which means those playgrounds are closed.

Viewers sent photos in to NBCWashington and News4 of their kids staring at locked gates and "sorry for the inconvenience" signs. "Wasn't expecting our local playground to be chained and closed this morning," tweeted one mom.

Karen Handsfield, a furloughed federal employee, wanted to let her children play at Lincoln Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, but was stopped by a large padlock and sign.

"For my kids, I'm very frustrated. They're being punished for something they're not responsible for. I think we lose sight of what the impact is of a government shutdown. This is important to my family from a salary standpoint and our day-to-day lives."

The government shutdown disrupted many children's activities in the D.C. area. Field trips to the Smithsonian and national landmarks had to be canceled or postponed. The National Zoo was closed.

Children who attend day cares located in federal buildings had to be moved to other facilities -- or stayed home with their furloughed parents.

But it was the pictures that generated the most reaction on social media.

"Welcome to the wacky world of politics at its worst kiddos!!!" wrote one commenter on NBCWashington's Facebook page.

The parks will remain closed until the shutdown is over. For more on what is open or closed during the shutdown, click here.

 

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