If visiting a real Jurassic Park is high on your bucket list, then listen up? Ok we wouldn’t exactly call Palmersaurus a real Jurassic Park, but it’s the next best thing.
Image via @ PalmercoolumResort
Newly opened, the Australian dinosaur theme park is home to 160 life size robot prehistoric delights, ranging from 22 metres long, to 10 metres tall. There are velociraptors, T-rexs and lots of other ancient carnivores come to life.
The dino theme park is the work of a billionaire mining boss, who’s recently been elected an MP. Clive Palmer is also responsible for an exact replica of the Titanic, aimed at tourists from China. The park rubs shoulders with a luxury golf resort and spa next door, so it really is a culture clash!
What does it say about the human race that we are prepared to pay good money to scare the wits out of ourselves? We have our bodies thrown around the sharp corners, tunnels and twists at high velocity, while strapped in with little more than a glorified seat-belt. The adrenalin rush that each trip provides is surely addictive, and with coaster designers becoming ever more innovative in their sadistic desire to scare us half to death, the roller coaster stakes are higher than ever. Here are the world’s top six scariest roller coasters.
This Russian roller coaster was supposedly designed to make its passengers throw up on themselves. Located at a theme park set deep into woodland, it spins, flips and rocks passengers in all directions for the ultimate stomach-churning effect (just make sure you don’t eat too much before boarding). The ride is one of Vekoma’s Waikiki Wave Super Flip rides (of which there is another in Mexico and one in Australia). The roller coaster can bend in all directions, allowing for diagonal twists and turns rather than just horizontal. One side of the ride moves in a clockwise direction, while the other moves in an anti-clockwise direction, meaning passengers are swung back and forth, hung upside down and tossed around in a vomit-inducing random fashion.
Batman The Ride has a particularly dark history. A teenager on a church trip was decapitated after entering a restricted area below. The 11-story-high ride was closed after the incident, but re-opened a few days later, only to take the life of a 58-year-old park worker in 2002, when he was in a restricted area while the coaster was operating. The man was kicked in the head by a passenger, who herself was hospitalised, though she ultimately survived the accident.
Shambhala at PortAventura, Spain
As well as being the tallest ride in Europe, Shambala is also the ride with the tallest drop (78m) and longest hyper coaster track (more than 1,650m). Its drop is enough to turn your stomach inside out and choose some of the other roller coasters around the world.
Formula Rossa at Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi
Formula Rossa is currently the fastest roller coaster in the world, reaching a staggering 240km per hour in less than five seconds. The velocity is such that passengers in the front seats are required to wear goggles to protect their eyes from the potential damage caused by a high speed impact with a flying insect.
Expedition Everest at Disney World, USA
This relatively new and relatively tame roller coaster at Disney’s Animal Kingdom still managed to kill a passenger, at least indirectly. A 44-year-old Florida man was unconscious when his cart pulled into the unloading station, and an employee and a park guest immediately tried to revive him. He was later pronounced dead, the victim of a heart attack, at a local hospital. Disney officials determined that the ride was operating normally when the man died. Maybe the surprise near the end of the coaster’s run startled him to death?
Cobra at Tivoli Friheden, Denmark
This amusement park in Aarhus, Denmark opened its new Cobra coaster in June of this year, only to shut it down eight days later after a section of track fell apart, sending a car off the rails and injuring four passengers. The ride’s now closed, as the park decides what to do: scrap it entirely or rebuild it. If it does re-open, we don’t think we’ll be signing up to ride it.
With its luscious jungles, dazzling seas, and exotic mangroves, the string of islands that make up the Florida Keys is this year’s hottest destination. Attracted by its stunning coral reefs and the bountiful coloured fish that make them their home, thousands of tourists return to as the charming communities of Key West and Key Largo every year. Choosing which islands to get to while you’re there is difficult when you’re not in the know, so we’ve put together a travel guide to help you along the journey. Welcome to Florida Keys Holidays.
Bahia Honda Key | Tropical Bahia Honda Key centres mainly around its eponymous state park, known for its pristine beaches, wonderful snorkelling opportunities and perfect sunsets. Take a picnic with you to the beach and spend a relaxing day, dipping into the sea and enjoying the balmy breezes that caress its shores. This remote island is an excellent place to see shorebirds and other wildlife, with a nature centre dedicated to the island’s plants and animals.
Big Pine Key | Big Pine Key is a refuge to rare and endangered animals. Its authentic back country atmosphere and National Key Deer Refuge, make it a beautiful place to holiday. Big Pine is also the jumping off point for numerous snorkelling and diving charters to Looe Key reef, the perfect remedy if you feel like taking an offshore adventure.
Conch Key | This stretch of Florida Keys is dominated by the fishing community, and home to both rustic fishing villages and boating elite. Conch Key itself is a tiny fishing village, but you can quickly hop across to Duck Key, if you’re looking for a more upscale community.
Duck Key | Small, secluded, yet central to Miami and Key West,
Duck Key is known for its beautiful sunsets. Also home to Hawks Cay, one of the region’s most popular marina resorts, Duck Key is the ideal destination for those looking for a relaxing getaway.
Grassy Key| Legend has it that this remote little key was not named after its abundant vegetation as the name would suggests, but after an early settler who went by the name of Grassy. However, this doesn’t take away from its greenery – the Key is fileld with shrubs and native trees.
Islamorada | Isla Morada is Spanish for Island Home, named so by the early settlers who immediately found this island to be cosy and homely. This well-known fishing village is the perfect place for snorkelling, sunbathing and swimming.
Key Largo | Key Largo is the first of the Upper Keys that can be reached by car, and at 30 miles long, it’s also the largest island in the chain.
Key West | Close to Miami, and just 90 miles from Havana, this end-of-the-line community is like nowhere else on earth. This is the land of eternal holiday, where no one has a care in the world and all you have to think about is what you want for lunch or which cocktail you’ll choose.
Little Torch Key | Little Torch Key and its neighbour islands, Ramrod Key and Summerland Key, are good jumping-off points for divers headed for Looe Key Reef. The islands also serve as a refuge for those who want to make.
Long Key | Long Key is the ideal destination for those looking to avoid the masses and enjoy some ecological history.
Marathon | Marathon is a busy town – or at least busy when compared to other communities in the Keys. However, the island also lacks a certain charm when compared to its counterparts…
A guided tour of Ernest Hemingway’s home is filled with amusing anecdotes of the writer’s life. Built in 1801, Hemmingway lived in the house between 1931 and 1942, writing about 70% of his life’s work, including classics like For Whom the Bell Tolls in its rooms. You can even see some of his belongings including some books, with photographs along the way to help you visualise his day-to-day life.
Audubon House and Tropical Gardens
See the works of ornithologist John James Audubon in this three-story house, which was built in the 1840s for Captain John Geiger. Today, it commemorates Audubon’s 1832 stop in Key West while he was travelling through Florida to study birds. The self-guided tour of the house and gardens and the art gallery of lithographs of the artist’s famed portraits, is one you’ll never forget.
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Construction of Fort Zachary Taylor began in 1845, but was halted during the Civil War. Finally completed in 1866, the fort was also used in the Spanish-American War. Guests can either take a 30-minute guided walking tour of the redbrick fort, a National Historic Landmark, at 12pm and 2pm, or self-tour anytime between 8am and 5pm.
Fast, furious, thrills and spills, if there is one park that is the epitome of thrill seeking then it has to be Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. The first of its kind in the world, it tells the story of Ferrari on a series of exhilaration rides and educational journeys.
Image via @ Ferrari World
The iconic red roofed park houses over 30 vintage and modern Ferraris, the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa, which hits speeds of 240 kmph and its own G-Force experience that blasts you to a height of 62 metres. Not for the faint hearted that one.
Image via @ Ferrari World
For kids there is the chance to get behind the wheel of a scaled down 430 GT Spider as well as Speed of Magic, a 4-D adventure through jungles and volcanoes. Definitely a must see on any holiday in Abu Dhabi.
Not only does the US have more theme parks than there are cows in Wales (well not exactly…) but each and every one of them have a little piece that make them quite alike, particularly in regards to food, fun, and roller coasters. We’ve narrowed down a list based on which theme parks USA offer the most for your money and are the most popular of the year.
#1 Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio
Known as the best amusement park in the world, it’s no wonder Cedar Point makes it to the top of our list. With 75 rides, ten shows, a water park and seventeen roller coasters, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio packs more thrills per square foot than anywhere else on the planet, let alone America.
No list of theme parks would be complete without a mention to the largest, most-attended recreational complex in the world. Home to some of the most iconic landmarks, characters and imagery on the planet, Walt Disney World is an American favourite.
#3 King’s Island in Mason, Ohio
As the largest amusement park in the Midwest, King’s Island is humongous, with 364 acres of park grounds boasting over 80 rides and attractions. The all-new Soak City water park alone offers more than 50 water activities, including 30 slides, tropical lagoons, rushing rivers and surfable waves.
Featuring three incredible parks (for one admission), more than 40 rides, 17 slides, nine tube chutes, uphill water coasters, three lazy rivers and more than three miles of tube rides, Schlitterbahn is a huge, thrill-seekers paradise. Home to the longest water park ride in the world, The Falls, Schilitterbahn is one of Texas’ main attractions.
#5 Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California
For hundreds of thousands of theme park fans, Disneyland could never be anything but #1, but even in fifth position there’s no question that Disneyland Park and the larger resort, with 20 million annual visitors combined, is simply one of the best.
#6 Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia
Well-maintained with a unique design, this African themed adventure park offers something for everybody. This year, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has built an electromagnetic multiple-launch roller coaster on the former site of the Big Bad Wolf called Verbolten, which opened in May.
Arguably even more exciting to than Disneyland or Six Flags Universal Studios in Orlando is a must-visit for all age groups.
#8 Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Knoebels offers free admission and parking, with more than 50 rides available either a la carte or through an all-day pass. Enjoy the Grand Carousel, two world-class roller coasters and The Phoenix, voted the second best wooden coaster in the world.
#9 Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois
Six Flags is a dependable brand for thrill-lovers. Chicagoland’s own Six Flags Great America features eight themed areas, each highlighting a different aspect of Americana.
#10 Legoland in Carlsbad, California
This theme park takes you right back into childhood, amusing both the children and the adults. It’s known for its sculptures made of Legos, from rides to cars, from the New York skyline to Mount Rushmore.
Still struggling with ideas for a family getaway this summer, or even for next? Surely every child’s (and we’re sure some grownup’s) dream holiday is to a theme park. Whether it’s Mickey or Minnie Mouse, a space adventure, more water slides than you can shake a stick at, or becoming a giant for a day, we’ve put together our top choices for this year. As always, if we’ve missed some great theme parks for kids, let us know in the comments below and for more information or to book great family holidays, visit our Purple Travel cheap holidays website.
#1 Were you a fan of Asterix and Obelix when you were a nipper? Now you can introduce the kids to the same fun, at France’s Parc Asterix. Found just outside Paris, you can travel through six worlds of wonder, including ancient Greece and Egypt. The piece de resistance must be the Ozlris; an inverted rollercoaster that will leave your little ones shouting for more!