An old friend of mine is taking his eight-year-old daughter to Alton Towers at the weekend for what he believes is the 12th time in as many months. I have a feeling this might be an exaggeration on his part – but, true friend that I am, I promised I would come up with a few theme park-alternatives and run them by him to inject a bit more variety into his family leisure time.
So in the spirit of my ongoing quest to find weird and wonderful attractions for people to enjoy, I’ve been looking for weird theme parks across the world – and, surprisingly, I’ve found quite a few in the UK. For starters, there’s Bewilderwood, a very jovially named adventure park located near Norwich. This looks like an amazing place to take children that love the outdoors, with tree houses, zip wires, jungle bridges, boat trips and marsh walks to enjoy. According to their website, they also have “Crocklebogs, Twiggles and Boggles” – but I have no idea what those are!
Another UK theme park that I find a little weird – though I know plenty of boys that would disagree – is Diggerland, which is an amusement park based on the theme of diggers and JCBs! There are four in the country, in Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire, so wherever you live, you’ll definitely be able to get to one of these. Of course, it’s probably something that will, in essence, appeal to boys more than girls – but I’m sure when they’ve had a go on one of the many crazy rides, many kids will want to go back again and again.
Last – but certainly not least in my eyes – is DickensWorld in Chatham, Kent. I think this opened a few years ago and I’ve always wanted to go and visit, but haven’t managed to – although, had it existed when I was young, I’m sure I would have dragged my parents there on the first day! The first Dickens book I ever read was A Christmas Carol when I was 12; I loved it and devoured as many of his other novels as I possibly could. Today, my favourite Dickens novel is Hard Times – I know it sounds desperately boring but believe me – it’s a Victorian soap opera. Anyway, if you love Dickens but your family aren’t sold on the concept of DickensWorld, just tell them about the Great Expectations Boat Ride or The Haunted House of 1859 – I’m sure they’ll come around :).
That’s all I’ve got so far but if anyone has any other weird theme parks they’d like to share, I’d love to hear about them – and I’m sure my friend (and hopefully his Alton Towers obsessed daughter) will too!