Top 10 Bizarre Theme Parks

Script written by Craig Butler When it comes to amusement parks, it's not just a small world; sometimes it's a weird one. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Bizarre Theme Parks. For this list, we're looking at parks with an unusual theme, design or other element. They must be actual parks, not just ideas that haven't made it past the planning stage. But they don't necessarily have to be open for business anymore. Special thanks to our users ViolaCello and urbanwatch69 for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Bizarre Theme Parks


When it comes to amusement parks, it's not just a small world; sometimes it's a weird one. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Bizarre Theme Parks.

For this list, we’re looking at parks with an unusual theme, design or other element. They must be actual parks, not just ideas that haven’t made it past the planning stage. But they don’t necessarily have to be open for business anymore.

#10: Abashiri Prison
Hokkaido, Japan

So you’ve got an abandoned prison and don’t know what to do with it. Why not make it into a fun-filled theme park? The Meiji-era Abashiri Prison was one of Japan’s most notorious jails, known for its cruel treatment and inhumane conditions. For tourists and vacationers just wishing they could have experienced this, Abashiri Prison is now a museum/theme park that features animatronic inmates and guards recreating a somewhat sanitized version of those days gone by. It sounds like a good time for all ages if you ask us!

#9: Wunderland Kalkar
North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Abandoned prisons are one thing, but what abandoned unfinished nuclear power plants? That just screams “family fun” to us! And it does to a lot of other people, too: Germany’s Wunderland Kalkar, built just outside of Düsseldorf, attracts more than a half a million guests annually. Visitors can scale the old cooling tower and hope nobody decides to put it in operation before they reach the top. The site was abandoned before any nuclear materials were ever delivered, but parents might want to make sure their kids don’t start glowing – just in case.

#8: Action Park
New Jersey, USA

Although this park reopened under its original name in 2014, multitudes of folks that lived in the New York-New Jersey area during the original park’s heyday from the late-‘70s to the mid-‘90s remember it well. Hey, who could forget a park that produced six fatalities among its guests and was known for its unsafe rides and stoned or drunk employees? Accidents at the original park were so frequent that the nearby town had to invest in new ambulances to keep up with the demand. The new Action Park seems to be a much safer environment, but memories of the original are still attached to the name – as well as its nickname, “Class Action Park.”

#7: Jeju Loveland
Jeju Island, South Korea

South Korean honeymooners have enjoyed Jeju Island for decades – especially those that are the result of arranged marriages and therefore need to both relax and learn a thing or two. So it makes some sense that in 2004 an enterprising developer opened a special sex education theme park there. Now these newlyweds – and anyone else who cares to – can view a variety of “how to” sex films, explore interactive artwork and stroll past sculptures of sexually inclined people. Note to the guys: the phallus statues may raise some expectations that most men will find hard to live up to.

#6: Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park
Beijing, China

Here’s a dilemma for a government: How do you give your residents the joys of Disneyland without forcing them to travel too far – and without paying for the rights to the characters? If you’re China, you just build your own and claim everything is based on public domain fairytales. Shijingshan Amusement Park near Beijing features a Cinderella-like castle and characters that are somehow very familiar. Although some reports indicate that the questionable characters have since been removed, this is still an infamous bizarre theme park. Well, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Disney, take comfort.

#5: Išgyvenimo Drama [Soviet Bunker]
Vilnius, Lithuania

Ah, who can forget the good old days of communist occupation? Apparently not Lithuania. The country’s Grūtas Park, also known as Stalin’s World, features sculptures about the Soviet era. If that’s not enough, anyone can visit Išgyvenimo Drama, which recreates life in an actual Soviet bunker to remind people how rough life was in those days. Your two-to-three-hour tour allows you to live a genuine gulag experience complete with gas mask, guards, dogs and real prison food. Yum! This may be your idea of a good time, but if it is, don’t smile; the guards don’t like prisoners to look too happy. And, yes, you do have to sign a waiver before going in; why do you ask?

#4: Kingdom of the Little People
Yunnan, China

Founded in 2009, China’s Kingdom of the Little People has been mired in controversy almost from the start. Also called the Dwarf Empire, it features dozens of little people on display in a village of quaint, mushroom-shaped houses. The many opponents claim that this exploits the workers, who are presented as, essentially, zoo animals to be stared and laughed at. Supporters, however, point out that the park gives employment opportunities to a population with fewer job prospects.

#3: Dismaland
Somerset, England

Few theme parks can also claim to be art, but Dismaland can. Created as a pop-up exhibition by famed street artist Banksy, “Dismaland Bemusement Park” features work by 58 artists. Banksy has called it a “family theme park unsuitable for children.” During its 36-day existence in 2015, visitors could watch a book burning, witness a pumpkin coach catastrophe, or ride a merry-go-round with a disturbing figure holding a knife. This Dystopian wonderland may have been ghoulish, but it also made visitors think – like all art should.

#2: Haw Par Villa
Singapore

Originally founded by the brothers who developed the heat rub Tiger Balm, Singapore’s Tiger Balm Gardens became the odd Haw Par Villa Dragon World in 1988. The description may not sound unusual, as the park is intended to explore Chinese and Confucian mythology and history. But in practice, it’s another story. Many of the numerous dioramas simply depict historical events. But then there’s the big event: The Ten Courts of Hell, which is every bit as lovely as it sounds as it illustrates traditional depictions of Hell in Chinese mythology and Buddhism. For those hoping to give their kiddies nightmares, it can’t be beat.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Parque Jaime Duque
Bogotá, Colombia
- Harmonyland
Ōita, Japan
- World Joyland
Jiangsu, China
- Republic of the Children
La Plata Partido, Argentina

#1: Holy Land Experience
Florida, USA

Orlando, Florida is overflowing with world-famous amusement parks, so it may not be surprising if this one has eluded your attention. However, if you’re in the mood to watch a daily recreation of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Holy Land Experience is just the ticket, as it’s a recreation of 1st-century Jerusalem. In addition to its church serves and bible studies, the park also has some interesting artwork - anyone up for a painting of Jesus in the boxing ring? But wait, there’s more! Kids can also get a photo op of themselves walking on the water or riding a motorcycle with Jesus. Who says religion has to be boring?

Do you agree with our list? What other weird and unusual theme parks should we have included? For more enthralling top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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