10 WTF weird theme parks that you’ll either love or want to avoid forever.
- Harmonyland, Japan If hanging out with a whole bunch of life size versions of Hello Kitty is your idea of a good time, then read on! There are Hello Kitty live shows, a “rhythmic rollercoaster” the Kitty Castle and something called the Hello Kitty Black Wonder. We think this definitely deserves a place the weird theme parks list.
- Grutas Park, Lithuania You won’t find any rollercoasters, or even a swing ride, but you will find a gulag experience and lots of Soviet era sculptures. It even has its own zoo, complete with ostriches, while every April 1st there’s an annual comedy festival with impersonations of Communist party bigwigs. Grutas Park’s founder built the park to remind people of past oppressions.
- Loveland, South Korea If adults only is your way of thinking, then this park is for you, it’s completely based around “enjoying a harmonious sex life.” It’s easy to see why it’s becoming more and more popular with honeymooners. Prudish types need not apply as this park takes the hands on approach, with attractions like Breast Mountain; huge intimate works of art and ahem, DIY exhibitions.
- BonBon Land, Denmark A few miles south of the Danish capital you’ll find this park, which is home to some delightful amusements like the Farting Dog rollercoaster and the Skid Mark. Not only that but dotted throughout the park you’ll find lovely cartoons characters like giant rats, half naked cows, hungover turtles and seagulls pooping on alligators. So, that’s nice.
- Tayto Park, Ireland (Disclaimer!) We Irish are known for some mad cap ideas, but how about a theme park dedicated to crisps? Tayto are synonymous with the potatoey-tasty treat and the company has set up its own crisp theme park. In the wilds of county Meath you’ll find a factory tour to see how the crisps are made, visit the animals (which may or may not be fed on crisps) or have a go on a Tayto jumper or Mr Tayto’s Wacky Rodeo.
- Shijingshan Amusement Park, China It might look a bit like Disney, it feels a bit like Disney but it’s definitely not Disney. The park blatantly rips off some of Walt’s greatest creations with the odd change here and there. So watch out for an extra tall Snow White or a strange looking Mickey Mouse.
- Hacienda Napoles, Colombia At the entrance to the Hacienda Napoles, you’ll find an area decorated with an old plane. But, it’s not just any old plane; it is actually the one that transported the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar’s first batch of cocaine to the USA. The whole park is found in the grounds of the former drug baron’s ranch. Before he was shot and killed in 1993, Escobar filled his home with life size dinosaurs, old cars and a bunch of hippos. A group of businessmen came together to turn it into a tourist attraction and it draws around 50,000 visitors per year.
- Dollywood, USA Yes, the Queen of Country, Dolly Parton has her own theme park and what else would it be called? A proper extravagance, you can ride Dolly’s Demolition Derby, meet wild eagles, go on the Barnstormer or visit a replica schoolhouse from the 1890s. Even Dolly herself says her theme park is “one of the greatest dreams she’s ever had come true.”
- Dig This, Las Vegas Ok, Dig This is not really a theme park, more of a huge sandbox, where you can live out your Bob the Builder fantasies. Once you get in there, you can choose between hulking bulldozers or excavators, you get an introduction to how to use it and you’re off. The park centres around challenging you in cab, so you’ll get to indulge in a little Excavator Basketball or Bulldozer Teeter-Totter.
- Zero Gravity, USA For around $30 you can have a go on a ride so scary, that it’s been used by scientists to simulate near death experiences. The ride goes up 16 stories, then you’re dropped, with no tie lines, completely unattached for a 130 foot free fall. Lucky for you a huge net is there to stop you from going splat.
Kate Power is community manager for Purple Travel.