Is Mickey Mouse a little too mundane? Maybe the traditional theme park, with its cheesy shows and rollercoasters, just doesn’t entice?
Then this list is for you. Everything from the offensive to the sexual to the macabre, here are five weird amusement parks from around the world:
1. Haw Par Villa (Singapore)
Mythology aficionados and lovers of all things hell-related…rejoice! Haw Par Villa is a Chinese mythology-based theme park, that has over 1000 statues depicting various Chinese myths and folklore, as well as the Ten Courts of Hell. Along with colourful statues of such things as a human-headed crab, monkeys carrying guns and an old man, suckling from a woman’s breast, you can enter into the Ten Courts of Hell and see what fate will befall you, based on a variety of transgressions. These depictions come complete with graphic statue representations.
Who this park is good for: Children, who need to be scared straight. Johnny won’t be cheating on any tests, once he sees that cheaters get disemboweled.
Visiting Orlando and Disney just ain’t bringing it? Then perhaps the Holy Land Experience is for you!
The Holy Land Experience is similar to Disney in many ways. You get to pose for pictures with your favorite characters – except instead of Cinderella and Goofy, it’s Pontius Pilate and everyone’s favourite Biblical whore, Mary Magdalene. Oh and instead of watching a parade of your favorite movie characters go by on floats, twice a day you can watch that nice guy named JC, get beaten to a bloody pulp, before being hung up on a cross to die.
But don’t worry! After Jesus dies for your sins, you can go to the Smile of a Child Adventure Land to dress as your favorite biblical character and “sing and dance with Mary, her guardian angel and her animal friends.”
Who this park is good for: People who have experienced a lapse of faith and want to be traumatized back into it, and people who enjoy their crucifixions with a side of ice cream and Jesus-based karaoke.
One thing we can all agree on and that’s revisiting life under Soviet rule offers a fun, relaxing and a great way to spend a family vacation.
Okay, maybe not. But if you are of this mindset (and really, who isn’t?), than Išgyvenimo or Survival Drama in Lithuania, is for you! Enter into a real Soviet bunker and hand over your belongings, change into some nice, threadbare Soviet coats and prepare to spend the next few hours wearing a gas mask, learning the Soviet anthem under duress and, of course, undergoing an interrogation via the KGB.
If you are concerned that this experience doesn’t sound authentic, have no fear: most of the actors were actually in the Soviet army. Naturally, you will be treated with a shot of vodka before you exit.
Who this park is good for: People who think basic rights and freedoms are highly overrated, gas-mask fetishists and school groups. No really, they routinely make school-groups go through this so that they can experience their country’s past first hand.
Dwarf Empire (Kunming, China)
Capping off the list as the most offensive park, is Dwarf Empire in China. Here, visitors can gape at individuals with dwarfism, as they sing and dance in costumes, pretending to live in mushrooms. It’s sort of like Munchkin Land, but with shitty paycheques and lost dignity.
Amid controversy, park owner, Chen Mingjing, justifies his park as an act of charity that employs people who would otherwise be “unable to work”. Naturally the people who work for him are treated with the utmost respect, as they act out two performances a day for onlookers, recreating fairy tales and sometimes doing hip hop dance routines.
Who this park is good for: The soulless. In all seriousness, I can’t decide if you should visit this park to support these people in their jobs, or avoid this park at all costs, because it is so terrible!
Love Land (South Korea)
Exactly as it sounds, this park features sculptures of couples in various sexual positions, stone phalluses and sex education videos. After the end of the Korean War, Jeju Island in South Korea, became a popular honeymoon destination.
What’s a couple to do when they are newly marriage and need to break the ice? Watch sex education videos during their honeymoon, while walking serenely through a garden depicting sex acts, of course! For the sake of being historically accurate, the sex sculptures were not added until 2004, but I still love the idea of a young couple going to learn about sex through the use of visual aids in a garden and antiquated sex education videos.
I feel the need to add the disclaimer that Love Land acknowledges that they are meant to be a humorous and lighthearted theme park, for those that enjoy “the natural beauty of sexuality.”
Who this park is good for: Better question is who is this park NOT good for? Truthfully, I imagine couples who met at the Holy Land Experience coming here, after a courtship of hand holding, so that they can learn how to make their future family of 19 children. There is also a handy play area for minors, while adults enjoy the main park.