More Theme Parks and Water Parks
There are many more theme and water parks that I have visited, but haven't pictured or reviewed on the site. Either my visits date back prior to 2007 or I was simply too lazy that day. Time to catch up! Here is the missing list, plus my short opinions:
Total: 91 and more...
Visited 2012. A little funfair world of color with awful rides in a grey, but special city.
Visited 2005. Permanent funfair installation, not really a amusement park. Appeases the hunger of Eastern Europeans who, as of 2012, don't have any theme parks in their countries. Tired-looking, expensive and lots of bad attractions. Not really recommended.
Visited 1995. Very cloudy memories. I was a kid. It was raining. There was a river rapids ride. I liked it. I liked lots of things when I was a kid. Therefore, no rating.
Visited 2013. China's first Atlantis resort will be located on a stunning beach that I found to be surprisingly empty.
Visited 2010. Consists of an old section that's terribly depressing, with lots of Disneyland rip-offs including Epcot's Spaceship Earth structure; and a new section with lots of theming on the surface, but not much behind. Rides in the new section are contemporary and worthwile.
Visited 2012. Don't skip the savage, mad-scientist roller coaster 'Dinoconda', if you dare. Besides that, the park offers lots of theming and the latest ride technology, but nothing too spectacular.
Visited 2013. Located in Qingdao, between Beijing and Shanghai. Brand-new, huge and noisy Disney/Universal rip-off with localized versions of the Indiana Jones and Transformers rides. Has budget, but lacks all the heart and soul it needs to survive and while already empty today, will be entirely unsustainable once it has to compete with Shanghai Disneyland.
Attempted visit 2013. Hyped indoor water park housed in former Olympic building that was closed for six straight days in a row when I was in Beijing in September 2013. Smaller and less spectacular than internet pictures suggest. Consists of two slide towers and multiple giant jellyfish shapes (that look like purchased from IKEA) hanging from the ceiling. The water park only occupies 1/3 or less of the Water Cube structure, the rest is pools and restaurants. No match for Germany's Tropical Islands.
Happy Valley Tianjin
Visited 2013. Another apocalyptic theme park whose purpose is to serve as a sales pitch for the property developments surrounding it. The theming is a terrible throw-whatever-together patchwork that can in fact serve as a role model as to how to NOT design theme parks. As of 2013 this is the newest, but also smallest and unfortunately worst of the Happy Valley chain of theme parks.
Visited 2009. Minsk World is marketed as a theme park, but it's a docked battleship with a few lost tourists and lots of dancing Chinese teenage girls inside. Spookily exotic, but somewhat irritating and totally amiss to call it a leisure attraction.
Visited 2013. Located in Sanya, Hainan. Hyper-themed, yet not a theme park, so don't expect any rides inside! Romance Park is a collection of shows, which I skipped.
Visited 2009. Built by the same people who created now-defunct Splendid China Florida. The park has no real rides, but makes for a great walk with few other people around. An oasis of calm and peace in Mainland China.
Visited 2010. Just another Legoland park. Clean, and good for kids and parents. Lack of creative theme park spirit. Please see my other Legoland reviews.
Visited 2010. Very small but charming little amusement park nestled in a little valley. Nothing special, but does the job for the locals.
Visited 2010. Absolutely depressing. A rotten, operating little amusement park in the backyard of a building. Terrible. Awful.
Visited 2013. Very small indoor theme park inside Addis Ababa's Edna Mall, featuring a "7-D" cinema and carousels.
Visited 2007. Expected so much more here! Where were Asterix and Obelix? Where was the Gallic charm? It's just a standard theme park, and this one is packed with exceptionally rowdy teenagers. Came with high expectations, left very disappointed.
Visited 1995. Was a kid. Loved the huge, dark indoor water slide jungle. Raced through the dark, didn't know where I'd come out. But then again, everything was cool when I was a kid. No rating.
Visited 2004. Was the first major theme park in the eastern part of Germany, but felt as inviting as an outdoor version of IKEA's storage floor - lacked spirit and heart.
Visited 1994. Good childhood memories. Recalling roller coasters by the sea and ever a good atmosphere. No rating since my last visit dates nearly 20 years back.
Visited 2011 Just another Legoland park. Clean, and good for kids and parents. Lack of creative theme park spirit. Please see my other Legoland reviews.
Visited 2000. From a theme park perspective, Octoberfest is noisy and disgusting. Lots of fun for those who don't go there for the rides, but for the beer and barbaric dating atmosphere in the tents. Expect vomiting Englishman right next to gorgeous smiling girl in traditional Bavarian dress.
Visited 1995. Recalling a moldy, rattling roller coaster and a munchkin clown called Bimbo with a monkey. The park was always empty when I visited as a kid, and that was back in the 90's. Magical that it's still operating!
Visited 2009. Interesting indoor theme park concept with focus on families. Nice dry slides.
Visited 2004. Abandoned theme park in the eastern heart of Berlin. The owner was involved in drug trafficking, which gives this venture an evil spirit. Plans to revive it have failed so far.
Visited 2002. The water slide dome 'Galaxy' wasn't in place back in 2002. Well-kempt and close to Munich airport. Probably a good idea to visit now. No rating.
Visited 1993. Childhood memories here as well. Loved the warmth and love for detail in the park. Recalling a long slide in a vintage tower. Wouldn't be fair to rate since it's all clouded by recollections from the schooldays.
Visited 2011. Desolate, old funfair in the center of Budapest. Prides itself on having on of the world's oldest operating carousels.
Visited 2013. Expansive, gated and dated amusement park with some seriously scary, rusty crap coasters. Packed with visitors it was, though (at least that was the case one day before Adlabs Imagica opened)
Visited 2013. Essel World's water park adjacent to the amusement park is not bad in fact. Featuring nice tube rapid slides leading through the jungle (this is the way Equarius Water Park should have been done), Swiss-made slide towers and a busy, small, themed wave pool. This one will keep Essel World alive after Adlabs opens.
Visited 2012. Part of Ancol Dreamland. Less well-kempt than Waterbom Jakarta. Offers the usual lost city theming and features a big pool in its center. Ok to visit.
Visited 2012. The premier destination within the boundaries of Ancol Dreamland. Roller coaster, flume ride, river rafting ride, Wild West town, all included. Well-kempt. Lowest point: an incredibly dreadful, slow and long 'It's a Small World' rip-off that will give you plenty of time to reflect on the past or think about the future.
Visited 2014. Newly-opened, small outdoor amusement park that primarily serves as a venue for festivals and concerts. Main features are a Ferris wheel and about a dozen small kiddie rides.
Visited 2014. 2013-opened theme park in the southern outskirts of Jakarta. Boasts a China-style grand themed entrance, but there is almost nothing behind it except a collection of low-rise standard rides, randomly scattered around an ancient-looking temple. Who designed this, please?
Visited 2012. Part of Ancol Dreamland. This is the equivalent of the American/Australian SeaWorld/Sea World parks. Enjoyed the messy hippopotamus feeding show, hadn't seen something like that before. Not bad.
Visited 2014. Small, mall-attached indoor family amusement center, inspired by Disneyland's Toontown, and equipped with coaster, carousel and video games.
Visited 2012. Part of Ancol Dreamland. Small oceanarium, but better than expected. Attractive interior design. Not to be confused with the American and Australian brand, nor with the neighbouring 'Ocean Dream Samudra' that has all the animal shows.
Visited 2014. Smallish, snow-themed water park, equipped with Canadian-made water slides. Not worthwhile for tourists, but certainly appreciated by the locals.
Visited 2014. Colorful and well-landscaped water park 1 hour drive south of Jakarta. Equipped with solid slides, a wave pool, and even a bird park. It's no match to the great Waterbom parks found in Bali and Jakarta, though.
Visited 2012. Stylish, well-kempt water park with lush greenery but much fewer slides than at Waterbom Bali. The ticket price I consider a bit steep for the locals. Halfway between the airport and Ancol Dreamland.
Visited 2011. Rundown funfair next to shopping mall. Given that everything in Iran looks a bit rundown, it's not a disturbing sight. I really love the Iranians. What wonderful people they are. What stupid government they have. Oh, my review gets clouded. No rating.
Al Sha'ab Leisure Park
Visited 2009. A mixture of defunct and rotten, and I counted more employees than visitors. Do I need to say more?
Visited 2009. Is this sufficient in size and scope to be called a water park? Visit Aqua Park Kuwait instead, a short drive away.
Visited 2009. Basic non-themed water park in the suburbs of Beirut. Does the job in summertime.
Visited 2014. Expansive, desolate faiground with two small coasters and a Singapore view.
Visited 2013. Terribly tasteless, casino-powered amusement park planted on a spectacular mountain top setting. Many rides old and rusty, with quality ranging from average to abysmal. Divided into an indoor and outdoor section, the latter being slightly more bearable. Highlight is the awe-inspiring cable car ride to the skyscraping casino perched on the mountain edge.
Visited 2013. It's impressive what PR agencies and departments dare to call 'theme park'. This three-storey indoor entertainment center is not a theme park. I'm not even sure if you can call it FEC (Family Entertainment Center). It's more of a merchandise store extension, with the absolute minimum of space, rides and experiences. Boo!
Visited 2011. Badly managed, small theme-free water park south of Marrakesh. Skip it and visit close-by Ouarzazate instead, a true inspiration for theme park fans and designers!
Visited 2014. Charming and colorful small farm-themed outdoor amusement park, with an emphasis on kiddie rides. Comes with an arc-themed zoo called "Avilon" and aquarium adjacent to it.
Visited 2009. Given that this oceanarium just opened, I thought it was quite disappointing. Seen superior oceanariums, e.g. in Osaka, Dubai and the Bahamas. Just does the job, nothing special.
Visited 2012. Must not be confused with Resorts World Singapore and Genting, since this casino/hotel hybrid across Manila airport hosts nothing close to a theme park.
Visited 2014. The upper floors of Cebu's landmark Crown Regency hotel house a whole little theme park: there's a 4-D cinema with passable Steven Spielberg film-inspired 3-D movies made in China, black light mini golf (sweet!), a zip line between skyscrapers, and the neat 'Edge Coaster', a slow moving vehicle orbiting the outer edge of the building's 38th floor. Leaning over the brink of the city's tallest skyscraper at an angle of up to 55 degrees, with only the lap bar restraining you from falling, is REALLY thrilling. When gazing down, I recalled that until recently all Philippine air carriers were banned from flying into the EU due to safety concerns. When you ride, try thinking that, too. Even though the ride looked new and felt safe, it adds to the experience.
Visited 2014. Charming, small, well-landscaped water park that makes the best of its awkward location merely 20 meters (!) off a major highway. Highlights are two slide towers with lots of slides made in the 90's, and a wave pool facing a sandy beach with themed cabanas.
Visited 2009. Very desolate, mainly indoor theme park with lots of scary-looking Disney characters painted on walls. Old ride equipment and unpleasant stares by staff. Strongly not recommended.
Visited 2014. Apocalyptic-looking indoor/outdoor theme park on a mall's roof south of Manila. Sports a hilariously scary suspended monorail that looks like made in North Korea.
Visited 2014. Part of SM City Cebu mall. One of those drab, dark, indoor family entertainment centers located in the basement. Feels like the end of civilization.
Visited 2014. Part of SM Fairview Mall. Compared to its local competitors, a rather clean and bearable family entertainment center/amusement arcade cum roller coaster.
Visited 2014. Unkempt indoor amusement park located in Sta Lucia East Grand Mall. Has a small roller coaster and a hilarously short ghost train with a duration of 50 seconds (20 seconds of which are in the dark.)
Visited 2014. Shopping center amusement arcade equipped with a gentle Dutch-made (Vekoma) roller coaster.
Visited 2011. Part of Villagio Mall. Small indoor theme park that hosts an awful coaster and a number of family rides. Dark, dull, depressing, but probably fills a market niche.
Visited 2013. Depressing small funfair by the Pacific, starring Caucasians.
Visited 2011. When I went, this legendary Moscow city center funfair was in the process of being demolished. A local told me that Gorky Park was going through a complete revamp and would resurrect as a modern public park for families. Given that Moscow will probably get a Universal Studios theme park, perhaps it's a good idea. Yet, it is sad to see a piece of Soviet history destroyed. Instead, I would have knocked down Lenin's Mausoleum in Red Square and laid to rest the preserved mummy of a ruthless seducer who cut his country off from the rest of the world for the bulk of the 20th century.
Visited 2008. Small amusement park that's now closed. Recalling a flume ride with a long chute. Was pretty pitiful a theme park for a place like Singapore.
Visited 2012. Same operators as Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. Located in the western outskirts, a bit far away from the city center, but worth the commute and much more fascinating than the name suggests. Impeccable landscaping and theming throughout.
Visited 2013. What happened here? River Safari's anchor attraction, Amazon River Quest, is a catastrophe. Compared to the spectacular, classic Night Safari, this much-touted river water ride is utterly pitiful in every respect: picture a creaking, slow log flume, barely moving, inching forward through meandering, narrow channels on a short ride, with only a few animals, and landscaping as lush and inspiring as a Burger King playground. Amazon Quest aside, this park is a great extension of the Singapore Zoo, with the focus on fresh water/river dwelling animals such as snakes, otters, pandas and manatees. The huge aquarium at the end, accentuated by gentle classical music, is the true highlight.
Visited 2010. Beautifully manicured jungle island with the feel of a Disney resort, packed with independent attractions. Highlights include Images of Singapore (great themed museum), MegaZip (zip line sending you down to the beach), iFly Singapore (indoor skydiving) and Songs of the Sea (created by Yves Pépin, the same guy who masterminded the ingenious night show at Futuroscope in France).
Visited 2011. Comparable to the safari attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom, but by night. Really well done. Nearly impossible to spot the fences or moats separating the animals from the safari tram. Thoughtful lighting creates an atmosphere of surreal beauty. Pathways through the jungle lead to themed grottos. Awesome!
Visited 2012. One of the world's best zoos, so good that some call it a theme park. Don't miss the boat ride - it's an oasis in the heart of the city!
Visited 2008. I am a very small, non-themed water park adjacent to former Escape Theme Park, close to Changi airport. Ignore me.
More of a swimming pool than a water park. Depressing location and atmosphere.
Visited 2011. Standard theme park with the commonplace Wild West town, roller coasters, carousels and water rides. However, being one of the few places where Johannesburgers and tourists can walk outside without being in grave personal danger, this theme park fulfills a higher function than solely entertainment.
Visited 2009. The only question I had was: where is world-class Siam Park Tenerife? The answer I got: around the corner! How do they manage to survive?
Visited 2011. Classic theme park built around a central lagoon with all the standard lands and attractions. Solid for the locals, but doesn't justify boarding a flight for it.
Visited 2011. Visible love went into creating this well-themed venture. Extremely few visitors. Probably struggles to survive. No on-site hotels. Ride quality varies: the wooden roller coaster is outright awful, while the 'Labyrinth of the Minotaur' dark ride is impressive given that this is not a Universal or Disney theme park. Thumbs up!
Visited 2014. Disneyland-inspired theme park, ruled by moronic-looking monkey characters. Features four lands grouped around a central square, themed after Africa, Arabia, Polynesia and the Wild West. Equipped with the usual thrill and water attractions, including a sizeable safari zoo and an elaborately-themed Indiana Jones Ride rip-off. Does the job for the locals, but won't baffle overseas visitors.
United Arab Emirates
Visited 2012. Cheesy, small family entertainment center inside shopping mall. The most exciting part is its proximity to the abandoned Universal Studios Dubailand site. Drive past Chuck E Cheese's to your right up on an unpaved desert road, then turn right. Don't get stuck. There it is.
Visited 2013. Hooray! Here is an example of how to launch a leisure park the right way. Start small, then adjust, then expand. This beautiful, locally-run theme park/zoo hybrid is a marvel. Lots of theming, lots of attention, a place worth coming back to. Located near the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway, a few miles short of the Yas Island exit.
Visited 2012. Located in Al Ain, 90-minutes drive from Abu Dhabi. Recently rebuilt theme-free amusement park. Might work for the locals, but for a tourist it's just deplorable to spend your time in such a mediocre funfair given the presence of the stunning, red desert all around whose gracious sand hills allure you to climb, run, roll and board, or just sit on them and wallow in thoughts.
Visited 2012. Only worth it if you go frequently and manage to control your movements inside the wind tunnel. Try real skydiving instead!
Visited 2013. What a great idea to prepare kids for real work life through a miniature city full of branded tasks. Plus, I believe it's a great business model, as well. KidZania spreads like crazy around the world these days, and in a couple of years there will probably be very few global metropolises without one.
Visited 2012. Located in Al Ain. Features a massive wave pool against the stunning backdrop of Jebel Hafeet mountain, plus rafting and kayaking on artificial rapids. An absolute must-visit, even though I have moderate safety concerns with the rafting part.
Visited 2009. Part for Alton Towers. Very small indoor 'water park', I would rather call it a themed splash ground with the occasional slide. Only worth visiting in conjunction with the theme park next door.
Visited 2009. Theme park in the south of London. Can get very busy on the weekends. Not worth the trip given that London has a direct train to Disneyland Paris!
Visited 2009. Will this ever end? Everlasting, monotonous, thrill-free attraction that makes you starve for the emergency exit.
Visited 2004. Huge theme park, 90-minutes drive from Orlando. Lots of coasters and thrill rides. African theme. The majority of guests are challenged by puberty. You just can't beat Disney World and Universal Studios.
Visited 2008. Theme park south of San Francisco. Standard assortment of coasters, carousels and flume rides. Nothing special. Indifferent staff (they think the same). Wouldn't come back.
Visited 2007. Witnessed the old, run-down Coney Island pre-resurrection, so can't comment on the new version.
Visited 2007. Disney's worst 'theme park'. A giant, multi-storey, loud, dark, claustrophobic video arcade. Wonder if this building would prove safe if a fire broke out. Probably yes. But it doesn't feel like. Happy when I left. What a flop.
Visited 2010. Beautiful, family-run crocodile farm that allows for very, very close encounters. Croc feeding is a lot of fun. Well-manicured and themed. This is how you do it when creating an attraction on a budget - you do it like Gatorland. A zip line has been added since my visit. Bravissimo!
Visited 2007. Ancient amusement park close to Disneyland. Wild West theme. Probably went through too many revamps. Lacks idendity. Lacks warmth. Has some thrilling coasters. A far cry from what Walt Disney created just around the corner.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Visited 2013. Well-equipped and well-known roller coaster paradise north of Los Angeles. Lacks a bit of heart and soul, however. Best coasters: Full Throttle (innovative!), Tatsu (flying!) and X2 (crazy!)
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Total: 91 and more...
Other countries visited (but without the theme parks):
Chile, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Vatican City
...and it's much less expensive to travel than you think