Siege of Stalingrad: Grutas Park is better known by its much more depressing name, ‘Stalin’s World’. Nestled into that barrel of laughs of country known as Lithuania, the park’s unfortunate theme is the half-century Soviet occupation of the Baltic state. For those unfamiliar with Eastern European history, that basically means big on education, short on amusement.
The park is a two-mile trek across wooden walkways, enclosed by barbed wire fences and guard towers to help give tourists that authentic Gulag prison camp feel. And then there’s the variety – visitors can choose to observe the glowering stone face of Lenin or the sullen, unflinching stare of Stalin. So much to do!
All at sea: The Japanese have a thing for technology. Take the Seagaia Ocean Dome, for example, which was listed in Guinness World Records as the largest indoor water park – a great achievement from a publication that also dishes out the honour of having the most snails stuck on your face for 10 seconds.
We have to admit though, the beauty of this theme park is undeniable. The dome featured waves for surfers! A volcano that had hourly eruptions! And a retractable roof that could replicate a blue sky when closed! Wow! Amazing!
But this water wonderland was to be undone by a single fatal design flaw – its fake ocean was literally built right next to the ocean. The real ocean. One that also has waves and sand, and doesn’t charge a B2,000 entry fee.
Oh my Buddha! While the Japanese can certainly do technology, nobody does distasteful like Vietnam. Located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Suoi Tien Cultural Amusement Park has it all: water parks, go-karts, rides and parades. It also taps into the oft-overlooked amusement park theme of Buddhism, because we all know how much Buddha loved go-karts. Of course, there’s always the meditative relaxation of the duck pond, where you can hand-feed live ducks.
Of course at Suoi Tien they call it Crocodile Kingdom, and instead of ducks it features over 1,500 live crocodiles. And instead of tossing in bits of bread you can tease the crocodiles with raw meat dangling from fishing poles, exactly the way Buddha wanted.
Feeling the love: Love Land was opened in 2004 on Jeju Island off the coast of South Korea. It is an outdoor park featuring 140 sculptures, sex education films and, just for the hell of it, a gigantic stone penis. If the enormous phallic images are putting you off, try watching a mountain pleasure itself with its giant green hand. Is that stone labia getting you down? Then how about simply enjoying the many sculptures of couples enjoying their partners' company. After all, it doesn't count as porn if it’s carved in stone.
Trademark pending: China, the land of wonderful, completely original ideas that no one has stolen from anywhere. Take Shijingshan Amusement Park, for example, which in no way resembles Disneyland. Its central characters include “Duck” and “Girl Cat”, which Disney apparently used as their inspiration to create their derivative Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse characters.
Other characters can be seen throughout the park including a goofy dog, a peasant girl turned princess in glass slippers and a sleeping beauty. But the amazing creative visions apparently haven’t just inspired Disney. Popular Japanese cartoon characters are also seen parading around the park.
The park’s owners say everything in the park is original and based off of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which seems to be a contradicting sentence, but who are we to question such creative geniuses?