Following our feature last week on 5 Most Unusual Parks, we present the quirkiest theme parks around the world. Who cares about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Most of us have been to theme parks but perhaps there’s only so much cotton candy, Disney (or other commercial) characters and roller coaster rides that one can stomach. We need more, or more quirky sights and experiences to satisfy our curiosity or thirst for adventure.
We’ve cast our net wide to round up a list of the quirkiest theme parks around the world. Just a word of warning: You might need therapy after.
Jeju Loveland, South Korea
Looking for a kinky experience or a different honeymoon? Jeju Loveland in Korea is for you.
This unique theme park certainly stimulates your sexual imagination (at least). Jeju Loveland features over 140 erotic sculptures of people and animals in various sexual trysts.
In the Korean “Honeymoon Island” of Jeju, couples can learn the conjugal basics through explicit giant statues and even phallus-shaped door handles. Educational sex films are also screened throughout the park.
The park breaks traditional taboos surrounding sex and is the best place for couples to appreciate the natural beauty of sexuality. This is certainly not a place for young kids.
Dwarf Empire, China
This is another unique theme park. At Kingdom of the Little People, or Dwarf Empire, be greeted by dozens of little people dancing in unison! The 2 ft to 4 ft residents perform various shows such as acrobatics and break dancing, and also engage in sport contests.
Dwarf Empire is a village full of colourful mushroom-shaped houses, a la The Smurfs. It runs like a country of its own, with an Emperor and Empress.
This rather controversial theme park has been criticised for treating dwarfism as a humorous condition. However, a person with dwarfism is usually subject to widespread discrimination in the Chinese society. The owner of the park points out that the employees enjoy a stable wage and a safe working and living environment.
Išgyvenimo Drama & Grutas Park, Lithuania
Išgyvenimo Drama (or Survival Drama) is housed in an ex-Soviet bunker. Here, be transported to Communist-era Lithuania.
I know, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
Here, you’ll be ordered to wear gas masks, eat typical Soviet food, learn the Soviet anthem and undergo a Gulag-style interrogation by authentic former Soviet army soldiers! Those who survive the ordeal are given a celebratory shot of vodka.
Similarly, at Grutas Park, also known as Stalin’s world, step into the Soviet occupation of Lithuania. The park is enclosed by barbed wire fences and guard towers for the authentic Gulag prison camp feel.
Gawk at the aptly-named Terror Sphere, featuring statues of the former Communist Party leaders.
Wunderland Kalkar, Germany
Once an abandoned nuclear power plant, the cooling tower in Wunderland Kalkar, Germany has been converted into an amusement park. It boasts more than 40 rides, including the whirligig “Flying Carousel”, the vertical travel “Jumping Star” and the “Merry Go Round” carousel.
The premises also house a 437-room hotel, numerous restaurants, and a bowling alley.
The star attraction is the cooling tower, painted to resemble a snowy mountain landscape. Rock climbing trails snake up its outer wall. You’ll also find a swing ride and an area named “Echoland” inside.
Dickens World, England
Dickens World in England, a 75,000 sq ft theme park, brings the characters and lifestyle of the famous works of Charles Dickens to life. Enter the world of Victorian-age London in the 19th Century, complete with signs of poverty, filth and smells.
Visitors will see famous landmarks and favourite characters from Dickens’ novels, encounter disease-ridden beggars [that’s right], tour the Marshalsea Prison and more. Don’t miss the most popular Great Expectations river boat ride, attended by staff decked out in full Victorian garb, and with accompanying accents.
Haw Par Villa, Singapore
A walk through Haw Par Villa in Singapore is filled with a mixture of curiosity, fear and perhaps a little humour. This strange theme park contains numerous giant dioramas depicting gruesome scenes of the afterlife, according to Chinese mythology.
Journey through the Ten Stages of Hell and see statues of people being maimed, crushed by boulders, drowning in a pond of blood, etc. Apparently, all these fates are punishments for the misdeeds committed in one’s lifetime.
You might need to talk to someone after this experience.
By Lim Wan Ling