Most of us go to theme parks to experience thrill rides and fun attractions. But there are theme parks that go beyond simple attractions – from the interesting and eclectic to the downright bizarre. There is the theme park called The Republic of Children, which basically is the embodiment of what a republic of children would look like. While rather creative, it is somewhat odd. There is the adult theme park called Love Land, whose sole purpose is to school newlyweds in the art of love. There is Harmony Land, an amusement park dedicated to the very popular character Hello Kitty and her friends. Bonbon Land in Denmark is a theme park centered around – you guessed it – bonbons. World Waterpark in Canada is one of the largest indoor water parks in the world. Crocosaurus Cove puts visitors pretty much in direct contact with crocodiles. Diggerland makes what could seem like a boring thing – construction – into a fun filled park of attractions. Dollywood is centered on the imagination of the popular entertainer Dolly Parton. Ferrari World is centered around Ferraris, believe it or not. If your interest is piqued, keep reading to find out more about the world’s most bizarre theme parks.
15. The Republic of Children
The Republic of Children is a theme park based on, well, a fictional republic of children. It is filled with features designed to make it look like an actual city/republic, with landscapes of nature, a city, and countryside. It’s pretty sizeable, played out on a 52 hectare plot. The buildings are set up to resemble neo-gothic or Moorish architecture. This may not sound very fun, but the point of the park is to teach children about republican ethics. There are even legislative buildings, which gets its look from the British Parliament; the Municipal Bank is designed like the Child Doge’s Place in Venice; the Palace of Culture mimics the Taj Mahal.
14. Love Land
This is an…interesting theme park. Love Land is located right of the southern coast of South Korea. The park opened back in 2004 on Jeju Island in South Korea. And no surprise given its name, it is a sex themed park. Its purpose is to teach newlyweds all about marital love. Interestingly enough, its a popular honeymoon destination for couples. The park is filled with sculptures, exhibits, and even films on sex education. The monthly exhibit rotates and is filled with works from Korean artists. It is no surprise that visitors must be aged 18 and older, with a play area dedicated for minors while the adults explore the park.
13. Harmony Land
Most of us are very familiar with the popular character Hello Kitty. But did you know that the Japanese children’s character has her own theme park? At this park, visitors can take boat rides through underground apartments and explore Hello Kitty’s castle. They can take a ride on a Ferris wheel in the design of character heads. There’s also a show filled with 3D and special effects complete with scented seats; it is called the “Time Machine of Dreams.” There is a “Fantasy Night Show” that is filled with laser beams, fairies and songs. So if you’re a fan of Hello Kitty, there’s a place for you.
12. BonBon Land
This theme park is found in the southern part of Zealand, outside of Copenhagen. It is an incredibly popular park, with nearly half a million visitors each season. It opened in 1992. It consists of a shop, cinema, mini candy factory, and duck shaped boats in a pond. Though there are adult content as well, the park is definitely one of the most popular parks in Denmark. It is the brainchild of Michael Spangsberg, who wanted to make candy with fun sounding names like tissebleer, mågeklatter, and hundeprutter. Children of course wanted to see the place where these creatively named candies were made. And so Bonbon Land was born.
11. World Waterpark
Located in Edmonton, Canada, World Waterpark is one of the world’s largest indoor water parks. It is actually the second largest, right behind the Tropical Islands Resort in Germany. It can hold up to 5000 guests. There is also a simulated surfing attraction called the Tsunami. There is another ride called the Blue Bullet. Interestingly, this massive waterpark is the setting for the novel The Phoenix Index: Never Rain by author James Cummins. The park also contains the largest indoor wave pool — in the world. Its capacity is 12.3 million liters. It consists of insanely high slides — Twister and Cyclone, with heights of eighty three feet.
10. Crocosaurus Cove
This park houses hundreds of crocodiles and includes the largest saltwater crocodiles — in the world. It also has an aquarium type underwater viewing area for people to get up close and personal with the crocodiles. It opened in 2008. There is a terrifying attraction called tin Cage of Death, which is Australia’s only crocodile dive. Dives include a very scary 15 minutes where you are enclosed near a crocodile. The crocodile handlers feed them regularly, and visitors get to see the crocodiles face to face. The Cage is operated by an above head monorail. 1 or 2 people are then lowered into the pen with crocodiles. Photographers take photos of the brave souls inside the cage.
This may not seem very fun, but Diggerland is a popular construction themed park in West Berlin, New Jersey. It consists of dozens of attractions. These attractions are actual full sized construction equipment. Not to worry — each piece of equipment has been modified for the purposes of public safety. Children as small as 36” can operate the equipment. Visitors can dig holes with excavators, drive backhoes, and operate actual construction machinery. This includes ARGOs and skid steers. There are also rope courses and off roading in military trucks, not to mention rock walls or watching stunts involving the equipment.
8. Suối Tiên Amusement Park
Suối Tiên Amusement Park, located in Vietnam, opened in 1995. It focuses on the nations history and legends. These include the Battle of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh (The Mountain God and The River God) Au Co and Lac Long Quan. There is a faux seawater pool on the premises. Visitors will even find a dinosaur garden and a roller coaster called — wait for it — Roller Coaster. On the Tien Dong beach, visitors will find an emperor’s face sculpted into a massive waterfall. You can also find enormous dragons that are in orange and blue pastels. There is also a zoo on the premises.
We all know who the entertainer Dolly Parton is, but many forget that she has her very own theme park. It is owned jointly by Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment, and it is very popular, receiving over 3 million visitors during a season. In Dollywood, you’ll find the typical amusement park rides, but it also includes music and crafts from the Smoky Mountains. Musical appearances from Parton and other performers are the norm. There is even a waterpark — Dollywood’s Splash Country. The park is split up into ten themed areas — including the Owens Farm and Adventures which delve into Parton’s imagination.
In Hershey, Pennsylvania, you’ll find Hersheypark. It was set up in the 1900s by Milton S. Hershey for the employees of his Hershey Chocolate Company. Unsurprisingly, the park is privately owned by the Hershey Company. The first rollercoaster of the park was opened in 1923 and it was called the Wild Cat. It was redeveloped in the ‘70s, and the park was expanded and included new rides. There are now over 100 acres in the park with 70 rides and theme park attractions. Believe it or not, there is even a zoo. Fans of chocolate can even head over to Hershey’s Chocolate World.
5. Dickens World
Dickens World was the brainchild of Gerry O’Sullivan-Beare. He was behind Santa World in Sweden and Andersen World. Dickens World was a theme park that perfectly reflects the Victorian England of Dickens’ time. If you’re a Dickens fan, this is definitely the theme park to check out… even if it wasn’t your typical amusement park. Designers worked hard to maintain authenticity, from the storylines, streets, courtyards and even the alleyways to make sure that everything was accurate. The park was centered on the life of the author Charles Dickens. Dickens’ novels featured locations that were based on the people, places and buildings of the Medway Towns.
4. Ferrari World
Are you a fan of Ferraris? If so, you’re in luck. If you ever are in Abu Dhabi, there is actually a Ferrari theme park, which happens to be the largest indoor park in the world at over two million square feet. It includes the speediest roller coaster in the world, going at over 130 mph, fitting for a theme park centered around the Ferrari. There is also the biggest Ferrari logo in the world — 200 feet long. Visitors can even race each other in replicas of the Ferrari F430 Spiders. This park is also the first Ferrari branded theme park.
3. Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park
The fittingly named Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park is located in Dallas, Texas. It includes some gravity defying rides. There is the Ejection Seat — a seat the shoots riders 150 feet into the air. There is the Bungee Jump, a seven story Bungee tower designed specifically for bungee jumpers. There is the Nothin’ But Net, where visitors are lifted just above their 16 foot tower…and then let go. There’s no harness or straps involved. You are simply dropped with only a net to catch you at the bottom of the fall. There is also the Skyscraper, a towering propeller that pulls 4Gs. This park is definitely for the thrill seeking visitor and not for the faint at heart. It has been around for 16 years, and visitors flood this daring theme park.
2. Soviet Bunker
Believe it or not, this is actually an attraction in Lithuania. Visitors shell out $200 to experience life in a Soviet era bunker. This takes place in an actual bunker, with guards who are authentic former members of the Soviet army. Visitors learn the Soviet anthem and wear a gas mask. They even participate in intensive interrogations, medical check, and eat a Soviet meal. This bizarre experience includes getting ambushed and blindfolded. It starts with an ambush by the Red Army and then visitors are taken into the bunker to endure three hours of the experience.
1. Hacienda Nápoles
Hacienda Nápoles is the former estate of Pablo Escobar in Colombia. It is massive, covering over seven square miles. After Escobar died in 1993, the government eventually took it over, turning it into — a theme park. The park includes a guided safari attraction, water park, aquariums, and even replicas of the caves from the country’s Cueva de los Guácharos National Park. There is also a museum centering on Escobar, which includes his burned private car collection. The abandoned ruins of his house are also available to the public. There is also a bullfighting ring and a private plane and airstrip.
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