Amusement parks, they hold a special place in a lot of people's hearts. Often the destination of family trips, day outings and Super Bowl victories, amusement parks well... amuse us. Influenced by age-old events like fairs, gardens open to the public known as "pleasure gardens" and carnivals, amusement parks have been bringing joy to people since, the 1800s.
What makes a good amusement park? Rides of course which include roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, bumper cars, and so many other things. Games of chance where people are willing to drop stacks of cash worth more than the stuffed toys they're playing for, and food that's in no way healthy but it's a delicious novelty that most people don't get to experience often. And places like Disneyland have set the standard for other attractions like shows where characters perform whimsical musical numbers. Yes, when one thinks of amusement parks these things often pop up into their head.
But not all amusements are made the same way. Sometimes the theme of a park can go outside the norm, could really get into what most people would consider "bizarre". Might even leave some people scratching their heads wondering "who would pay to see this". Today we've brought a list of 13 amusements we think defy all "logic" and 12 that are worth every penny spent on them. Of course, it goes without saying that what "amuses" someone is all a matter of personal opinion, and we'd like to say that there is nothing wrong with amusement parks that go outside the "norm". We're just saying don't expect anthropomorphic mice singing and dancing for some of these parks.
25 Defies All Logic: Haw Par Villa
To start off we have an amusement park in Singapore called Haw Par Villa. It used to be named Tiger Balm Garden and it's certainly a "one of a kind" amusement park. The whole park and all of its attractions are based on Chinese folklore, history, mythology and legends with over a thousand colorful and intricate statues depicting the many tales integral to Chinese culture. Built lovingly for a business man's brother in 1937, this park's major attraction ( and what puts in on our list) is its attraction that depicts Buddhism's pretty scary interpretation of Hell.
24 Defies All Logic: World Joyland
World Joyland is the only World of Warcraft inspired amusement park in the world, though it has no official licensing with Blizzard Entertainment at all! To any guests familiar with WoW they'll recognize several aspects taken from the game including the park's Silvermoon area, which is a blatant ripoff of the capital of the Blood Elves in WoW. World of Warcraft isn't the only franchise with a case for copyright infringement, Transformer, Marvel, Hello Kitty, and many others have "official" merchandise sold and attractions featured in the park.
23 Defies All Logic: Crocosaurus Cove
Most people know that Australia is home to some pretty tough (and sometimes scary) creatures. It is also home to some of the largest Saltwater Crocodiles on the planet and an amusement park in Darwin Australia puts these fearsome creatures in the spotlight. Crocosaurus Cove allows its visitors to hold baby crocs and go "fishing" for juvenile crocs in two of its attractions. But the main one that puts it on this list is the "Cage of Death", which puts visitors up close and personal with the massive reptiles!
22 Worth Every Penny: Universal Studios
With both Disney and Universal studios right in Orlando Florida, anyone making a trip has probably had a tough decision on which park to visit. If someone can't do both, Universal might just be the amusement park to pick with all of its amazing attractions!
There's something for everyone with its eight themed areas where a person can go from watching Marilyn Monroe perform to enjoying a Krusty Burger.
And of course, there is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that brings the Harry Potter series to life as guests can explore a real-life version of Diagon Alley. Butterbeer anyone?
21 Defies All Logic: Suoi Tien Amusement Park
Ever wonder what a giant waterfall with the face of a famous Vietnamese ruler would look like? No, well no one has to imagine what it might look like, as they can go to the Suoi Tien Amusement and found out for themselves. Not only does this amusement park feature the out of the ordinary (but impressive) waterfall, but a man-made beach as well. Suoi Tien isn't just any water park, it's inspired by Buddhist and Vietnamese culture with its landscaping and attractions. It also has a place called the "Crocodile Kingdom" where guests are allowed to feed the crocodiles.
20 Defies All Logic: Parque Jaime Duque
Ever wanted to see the "The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World", but don't have the time or money for that kind of globetrotting trip? This amusement park in Colombia just might be the solution for that very situation! The Jaime Duque Park features replicas of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World as well as the Taj Mahal.
It also features a male rendition of the Statue Liberty!
This amusement park doesn't feature any roller coasters or rides (unless you count the monorail) and every attraction can make a guest feel like they're in a completely different place.
19 Defies All Logic: Diggerland
Anyone with kids knows that most kids love all sorts of trucks and trains. There are loads of kids television with talking machinery that makes working construction and other blue collar jobs seem fun. But no one would actually allow kids to operate construction machinery, right?
Wrong, because at Diggerland kids get to operate real construction machinery.
The construction theme park is available in both England and the U.S. and offers attractions like "Big Diggers" where guests can learn how to operate real digging equipment. There are even mini versions of construction equipment, just the right size for kids.
18 Defies All Logic: The Holy Land Experience
Singapore and Vietnam both have religion-themed amusement parks and Orlando Florida joins them on the list with its Christian themed amusement park, The Holy Land Experience. The park offers a number of Christian themed attractions including a museum for biblical artifacts. The Holy Land Experience Scriptorium is the 4th largest collection of biblical artifacts in the world. It hosts a number of other exhibits and live-shows as well including a Roman soldier training camp and reenactment of the Crucifixion. A very detailed reenactment of it.
17 Worth Every Penny: Europa Park
Europa Park is Germany's largest and Europe's second most popular amusement park. One of its biggest draws is its 12 rollercoasters sure to please any thrill seeker. Its Euro-Mir coaster is a big crowd pleaser and a one of a kind spinning, high-speed coaster influenced by the Russian space missions. It has several globally themed areas, and also a fairy-tale themed one known as Grimm's Enchanted Forest. Guests get to meet trolls and elves during this magical ride. There's also a huge tree that guests can interact with, listening to it speak and tell stories!
16 Worth Every Penny: Dollywood
When "Dolly Parton" comes to people's mind one of the first things they think of is country music or one of her hit songs like "Jolene". And for other people, especially if they're from Tennessee, they'll think of the amusement that is jointly owned by the famous performer.
Dollywood is an amusement park that not only has a number of amazing rides, but it features traditional music and crafts of the local Smoky Mountains area.
It received both a Golden ticket award in Amusement Today for the Best Food and was ranked the 6th Best Amusement Park by USA Today.
15 Worth Every Penny: Hershey Park
There are few things in the world that are better than chocolate, but a whole amusement park themed after chocolate might just top that. Hersheypark is an amusement park in Hershey Pennsylvania and first began as a recreation area for the employees of the Hershey's Chocolate Factory. The park has a number of rides and attractions, including the world's longest mat racer water slide, the Whitecap Racer. There's also the Chocolate World attraction where guests can do a number of fun things including participating in a taste test of Hershey's chocolate to creating their own candy bar, sweet!
14 Defies All Logic: Ferrari World
Anyone who has been lucky enough to travel to Abu Dhabi knows that it is a center for not only rich culture but luxury as well with its lavish malls, and the popularity of Motorsports.
So, it may not come as a surprise that the city houses the first Ferrari based amusement park in the world.
Yes that Ferrari, the luxury Italian sports car. Ferrari World has a number of rides and attractions based on the sports car, including a roller coaster called Formula Rossa which is the fastest roller coaster in the world!
13 Worth Every Penny: Tivoli Gardens
Denmark might host one of the more weirder amusement parks on our list but it also hosts one of the best and oldest ones in the world. The Tivoli Gardens have been around since 1843, attracting locals and tourists from all around the world to Copenhagen. Guests to the park can enjoy attractions that have been around since the parks founding like its Pantomime Theatre and more recent thrills like its roller coaster named "The Demon" that features not one, not two but three thrill elements during the ride.
12 Defies All Logic: Republic Of The Children
The Republic of the Children, or as it is also known, the City of Children is a city that is entirely scaled down to better suit the size of a child. It has everything a real city has, from government buildings to restaurants and hotels. It even has an airport! It is used to both entertain kids and teaches them about the government. There is even an annual event on the anniversary of the park's creation where the Youth Government of the park gets the chance to actually make laws within the city of La Plata!
11 Worth Every Penny: Beto Carrero World
Beto Carrero World is an amusement park in Penha, Brazil and is the largest one in the Latin world. There are tons to do for families and thrill seekers alike with the park's seven themes, including "Animal World" where guests can bottle feed baby animals, and a place called "Extreme Adventure" which houses the park's most radical and adrenaline pumping rides and attractions, like the Fire Whip which reaches speeds of 100 km per hour. The park also has a partnership with DreamWorks and Universal Studios which allowed them to create a car show inspired by the Fast and Furious movie.
10 Defies All Logic: Wunderland Kalkar
It's always a good idea to try and reuse and repurpose things. Though it might be going a little far when the thing being repurposed in a nuclear power plant.
Germany has an amusement called Wunderland Kalkar that is the only amusement park built on a former nuclear power plant.
The site never exactly went "live" due to construction issues and protests but several of the plant facilities were built, including the cooling tower. Said cooling tower has been painted with a pretty tranquil mountain scene and features a swing ride and climbing wall.
9 Worth Every Penny: Lotte World
Lotte World is one of South Korea's major recreation complexes and has the world's largest indoor amusement park. It's a great place for guests with a park filled with attractions including rides, an indoor ice skating rink and a folk museum which displays items backdated in Korean history as long as 5,000 years! There is also an outdoor section of the park called "Magic Island" that houses one of Lotte World's newest attractions called the "Gyro Drop". Guests wear VR goggles that depict a futuristic area as they are lifted up to the top of a tower and then dropped.
8 Worth Every Penny: Cedar Point
This amusement park in Ohio is the self-proclaimed "roller coaster capital of the world". And we think they just might have a reason to call themselves that with their record-breaking 71 rides, which include 17 roller coasters. It is the only amusement park in the entire world with six coasters taller than 200 feet and is the only one with coasters in all four height classifications. It won the Golden Ticket Award for "The Best Amusement Park in the World" from 1997 to 2003 and has been described as an "adrenaline junkie's paradise".
7 Worth Every Penny: Ocean Park
This amusement park in Hong Kong includes three different areas of attractions including a zoo and a marine park. Once thought to become shadowed by Hong Kong Disneyland, it managed to become the 13th most visited amusement park in 2013 and is one of the largest amusement parks in Asia. It has a number of thrilling and fun rides including four roller coasters and two water rides. One of Ocean Parks' key elements is its animal exhibits and the way it mixes fun and education as its animal attractions teach guests about wildlife conservation.
6 Worth Every Penny: Canada's Wonderland
Canada is host to a number of fun and wild amusement parks, and Canada's Wonderland sits towards the top of that list. It is the country's largest and most well-known park with over 200 attractions including the adrenaline fueling Leviathan roller coaster, which is the fastest and tallest coaster in the country! The park features many different areas, including a waterpark called Splash Works with the largest outdoor wave pool in Canada, and a children's area themed after the Peanuts comic strip called Planet Snoopy.
5 Defies All Logic: Zero Gravity Amusement Park
This Texas amusement park is n the list for being the only, self-proclaimed, "thrill amusement park" in the world. What makes it a "thrill amusement park"? Its five rides that the Zero Gravity Dallas websites boast are "high-intensity".
It has a seven-story Bungee tower, a ride called the Skycoaster which is a 110-foot high hang-gliding ride that reaches speeds up to 60mph.
The Nothin' But Net ride that lets guests freefall into a net from a sixteen-story tower, and the Skyscraper pictured above, which pulls an insane 4Gs as it spins guests of the park around and around.
4 Worth Every Penny: Efteling Park
This amusement park is considered to be a "hidden gem" with the Netherlands. Efteling Park offers a unique combination of amusement park thrills, the natural beauty of nature and fairytale wonder. There is fun to be had for people of all ages, from kids to kids at heart.
For thrill seekers, the park's Baron 1898 dive coaster is the perfect ride with its 90-degree drop into a mineshaft.
And those wanting to experience the whimsical fairytale wonder of the park should visit the Fairytale Forest and ride the Droomvlucht, a dark ride through an enchanted forest.
3 Defies All Logic: Bon-Bon Land
The name of this Danish amusement parks made us think it was themed after the delicious chocolate covered candy bonbon. And well, we were sort of right. BonBon-Land was originally a small candy factory created by a Danish sweets maker to allow the public to see how his candy was made. The candy factory got a lot of notoriety for the strange (and sometimes gross) names it gave its candy, like Ear Wax and Hundeprutter which means "dog farts". The totally family friendly park continues the legacy of crude bathroom humor with the names of its rides and attractions.
2 Worth Every Penny: Disneyland California
And our list wouldn't be complete without putting at least one Disney park on it. Disneyland, or rather Disneyland Park is the first of two amusement parks built for the franchise. It was built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney himself, inspired by the amusement parks he visited with his daughter in between the 1930s and 1940s. It has eight themed lands that take its guest on a whimsical journal from the past to the future with rides and attractions featuring many of Disney's iconic and lovable characters.
1 Defies All Logic: Dickens World
Charles Dickens is considered to be a literary genius. He's made a number of notable works, including Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. His writing has been enjoyed for years and still is today, and apparently is enjoyed enough for an amusement park to be made based off his work. It included a water ride inspired by his Great Expectations book, a haunted house, and a few other attractions. As creative as his books were, we can't think of many people who would want to experience Dickens' London first hand as it was often depicted as dreary and dirty.
References: FamilyTraveler.com, HuffingtonPost.ca, HollywoodReporter.com, Huffpost.com, TravelChannel.com, Fodors.com