Who doesn’t love a good theme park? After all, some theme parks are even said to be the happiest places on Earth. From Gold Coast’s Dreamworld and Sydney’s Luna Park here in Australia or the Disney resorts and Universal Studios parks of America, you are definitely spoiled for choice when it comes to planning a theme park holiday.
However, there are a number of theme parks around the world that don’t exactly fit the standard mould. There are some pretty unconventional and downright strange theme parks out there, some of which like South Korea’s Jeju Loveland are a bit too NSFW to detail here.
Strap yourself in for a ride on the crazy train as we take you on a journey to some of these whacky theme parks around the world.
They say life isn’t a merry-go-round, rather it’s a roller coaster and travel is often the same. Travel won’t always be smooth and you can be assured of ups and downs, which is why making sure you have travel insurance along for the ride is so important.
Ark Encounter is an evangelical theme park located in Kentucky that features a life-sized reconstruction of Noah’s Ark. At over 150 metres in length, the ark is said to be the world’s largest timber-frame structure.
The ark features three decks of exhibits that detail how Noah, his family, and the animals of the world are said to have survived the biblical flood that was created as punishment for man’s sins. The exhibits include very lifelike animal sculptures that were said to be on the ark as well as dioramas of the living quarters Noah and his family lived in.
You will learn about the various systems that were supposedly used to feed and care for the countless animals onboard and can take part in an immersive virtual reality experience that will allow you to see the ark being built and experience the great flood for yourself.
Outside the ark is a giant two-story buffet restaurant that offers great views of the immense wooden ship. The park also features real-life animals in its Ararat Ridge Zoo which offers up camel rides, a petting zoo, and even a few of our very own kangaroos from Australia.
If you have a passion for construction equipment and machinery, you will love England’s Diggerland. There are actually four Diggerland theme parks scattered throughout England including Kent, Durham, Devon, and Yorkshire.
The theme parks are largely designed for younger ages, but all ages seem to have buckets of fun as they take part in unique rides and activities that all revolve around various excavator machines.
You can drive a full-size backhoe loader, stack giant tyres with a four-wheel-drive loader, and get treated like dirt as you get flung around in the giant bucket of a large excavator. Kids can also operate smaller excavators to scoop and dump dirt, making it the ultimate sand box experience.
Kids that meet the required height restriction can also get behind the wheel of a 4WD police SUV and drive around a course. There are also go karts and many other rides that will have you being hoisted or jostled around by heavy machinery.
We would usually not recommend booking travel to nuclear power plants, but in Western Germany just north of Düsseldorf is a rather unique theme park that is situated on one. The SNR-300 was a nuclear power plant that was fully built but never went into operation due to a mix of protests that followed the Chernobyl disaster, public safety concerns, and expected operating costs.
So, what do you do with an abandoned power plant and nuclear reactor cooling tower? You make a theme park of course. A Dutch investor and entrepreneur turned the site into a popular theme park that is now visited by over a half a million visitors annually.
The power plant’s facilities such as its cooling tower have been utilised to create a number of the rides within the park. There are around 40 different rides and attractions throughout the park, but it is the ones inside the cooling tower that are the most popular.
Inside the cooling tower is a giant vertical swing ride as well as climbing walls and an entertaining Echoland area where you can listen to your voice getting bounced off the interior walls of the tower.
Things start to get a bit more Disney-like outside the tower with rides like roller coasters, tea cups, a flying carousel, and Ferris wheels on offer. There are a number of restaurants and hotels onsite as well, with all-inclusive packages available for holidays to the park.
Recently having been sold and coming under new ownership, there are potential plans to expand the park to include an indoor winter-themed area as well as a wellness park.
Bogotá’s Parque Jaime Duque hasn’t made up its mind what it wants to be. It offers a hodgepodge of various attractions split up into distinct areas across roughly 70 acres. You’ll find a replica of the Taj Mahal as well as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, mixed in with a random large plane and dinosaur sculptures.
Part of the park is a zoo where you can observe many captive animals native to South America including anacondas, tapirs, and Andean Condors, as well as a section devoted to African wildlife. Many of the animals here have been rescued from illegal wildlife trafficking.
There is a section featuring mechanical rides designed for children such as boats, bumper cars, and aerocycles. Then there is a collection of random old Colombian war ships.
An outdoor stage hosts big-name music acts which have included our very own Kylie Minogue, and there’s a museum that details the history and achievements of mankind. You can even learn a bit about Colombian history and its struggle for independence within the park.
Peacocks freely roam the park as you make your way through the different sections. You will come across a lake where kayaking is available, and an eco-trail that takes you through the Ecoparque Sabana Natural Reserve to search for local endemic wildlife.
So whether you’re interested in history, animals, amusement rides, or a bit of outdoor recreation, Parque Jaime Duque has a bit of everything for everyone and its profits are donated to the conservation of local habitats and endangered species.
For something a bit closer to home, you’ll find a theme park devoted to adrenaline junkies in Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island. It is a place where you can take part in many of New Zealand’s most popular outdoor adventure activities all in one place.
There’s a 43-metre high bungy, jet-boating at 100 km/h, and a 40-metre-high super swing that will have you soaring at 130 km/h. You can also climb into a capsule and ride the world’s only human-powered monorail racetrack known as the Shweeb Racer.
The park is also home to the only outdoor open wind tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere, where you can simulate the feeling of skydiving as 220 km/h winds keep you suspended above the ground. There’s even a giant airbag that allows bikers to perform a variety of freestyle tricks off a series of ramps.
InsureandGo travel insurance policies cover a wide range of sports and activities including bungee jumping at no additional cost so you can fully enjoy this adventure-filled holiday across the ditch.