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Theme Parks – Love them or hate them?
I admit I have a love/hate relationship with theme parks or any kind of entertainment venue of a similar description. As a parent, I feel somewhat obliged to be positive about theme parks and I understand they are purely designed to place elements of fun in the one location and wrap a fence around it! Oh and charge you a lot to get int.
Whether you love them or hate them eventually the thought of visiting a theme park will turn into a conversation and before you know it, you find yourself on a shuttle bus saying “look at this, wow look at that” and lining up for tickets only to then line up longer to for a ride or show that apparently you are going to love.
I’m sounding a bit of sceptical and bitter aren’t I? Well, I shouldn’t because I can appreciate the value they give to families and especially children. And let’s face it when you are travelling and the thought of entertainment being provided by someone (or something) other than you is appealing. I do however hate certain aspects of theme parks. Usually they do cost a fortune (and I get, it must cost a lot to run and yes I want the rides to be safe!) however even after you pay a lot to get in, usually, everything else inside is also highly inflated! It’s a strain when you are on a travelling budget and have to draw the limit somewhere.
In our time as parents we have visited a few from the likes of Movieworld in Queensland – to Legoland in Denmark. All are different and all offer something unique and when the balance is struck and you see your children’s faces light up with delight or excitement (or even both) it is hard not to appreciate a good theme park. The food situation is almost guaranteed to be hit and miss (so my advice is to always bring your own) and the inflated cost of anything whether it is a souvenir or bottle of water will cause the eyes to roll back into your head. If you come prepared for that then I think you can approach almost any theme park with a sense of amusement (ha! see what I did there?)
Our most trip to Denmark we actually ended up at three theme parks. This was not planned and one that was most anticipated by the children was Lego Land in Billund. We not only visited but stayed onsite in their family room and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with how much all of us enjoyed our time. Our family suite was decked out with lego inspired decor, a box of lego for the kids to play with and it whole centre seemed to cater well for children of all ages. Our stay included two-day access to the Legoland theme park and that allowed us and kids on pretty much any ride without extra payment (thank goodness for that!). What I liked most about Legoland was that it isn’t just about the rides. There is the chance to wander around the Lego City – an incredible collection of mini-cities, world monuments etc to marvel at the ingeniousness of all things Lego! There were lego building competitions, and given Lego has been around for so long that I could see the parents were just as into all the lego structures as the kids. I was quite happy walking around Lego City marvelling at the work involved – It was quite a nostalgic experience.
After visiting Legoland we crossed the road for a visit to Lalandia – an indoor water/sports and games centre. Whilst it was fun to zoom down the water slides with my kids perhaps the Australian in me couldn’t quite comprehend the appeal to an indoor water park when we have such glorious summers to spend at the beach. The kids couldn’t care less, in fact, the idea was so novel to them, I think it only enhanced their excitement. What I did like was the time spent in childlike activities like mini golf, indoor tennis and Miranda even had a go at ice-skating. It was good to have good old fashion fun with the kids. And let’s face it – that’s what theme park is all about hey?
Our third theme park visit in Denmark was the historical Tivoli in the centre of Copenhagen. Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world operating since 1843. The grounds are spectacular and we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon and evening strolling around and enjoying the entertainment and amusements. We dined at one of the many restaurants in the park which was pleasantly better than I had anticipated, however, the rides are additional unless you purchase a ride pass ticket which we didn’t which does cause some frustrations navigating the ticket booths and working out which how many tickets you need for each ride and which ride go on! Basically, we let the kids go on the rides themselves as we were happy to observe and enjoy the ambience of the grounds.
As a family that love to seek out less explored and diverse paths our focus has not tended to lean toward Theme Parks as a must do for our holidays and there are many holidays that have not included theme parks. I would happily say, a visit to a theme park for us is more a side step and a way of being able to enjoy a light-hearted moment together as opposed to the purpose of the trip. Love them or hate them Theme Parks can certainly add to a family travel trip and provide a boost to the fun factor or a shift in focus for all involved. As a parent, I know I need a accept a certain level of frustration and a lighter pocket at the end of the day!
What are some theme parks you and your family have loved? And what are some that perhaps weren’t all that great? Do share