14 Totally Bizarre Amusement Parks Around The World

Amelia Acosta

Amusement parks have been a family favorite for years.

The roller coasters. The Ferris Wheels. The illegal border crossings.

Yes, there's a park based around that theme.

There's a huge assortment of bizarre amusement parks around the world.

From mermaid performances to a Soviet era-themed world, we rounded up the world's strangest amusement park attractions.

Diggerland, in the United Kingdom, is an aspiring construction worker's dream.

The ultimate hard-hat zone, Diggerland has four locations throughout the UK. The park allows children and adults alike to drive real, full-sized construction vehicles, no license necessary. 

Beyond the attraction of operating giant machinery and riding in tractor-shaped carnival rides, Diggerland features special events like the annual Car Smash and Dress-Up days, where pint-sized park-goers clad in construction gear earn free admission.

Learn more about Diggerland >

Weeki Wachee Springs in Spring Hill, Florida, is a "City of Live Mermaids."

Weeki Wachee Springs sits on top of a hot spring. Weeki Wachee has been holding underwater shows since the late 1940s, where mermaids swim with strapped on tails to routines such as Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.”

In addition to daily performances, the park also has a white-sand beach, lazy river boat rides, animal shows, and instructional camps for aspiring mermaids.

Learn more about Weeki Wachee Springs here >

Tierra Santa in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the "World's First Religious Theme Park."

Visitors can stroll the streets of Biblical Jerusalem in this mock town. It's divided into events from Jesus's life, from the Nativity to the Last Supper. Belly dancers perform in the town square, where you can grab a table at the Baghdad Café and munch on some pita bread.

If you go, make sure you stick around for at least an hour. A 40-foot tall plastic Jesus statue rises from behind a rock on the hour and visitors claim it solidifies your experience, whether that be a religious or kitsch-y one.

Learn more about Tierra Santa >

Dwarf Empire in Kunming, China, has over 100 dwarfs who live and work at the park.

Lots of amusement parks have a height requirement, but not many are like Dwarf Empire: every employee at this controversial theme park in China must be under 4'3". 

The entire park is staffed by dwarfs, who serve as singers, acrobats, dancers, vendors, and guards. There's even a dwarf king, who gives a special speech for visitors each day. 

Many have expressed concerns over the park's exploitative nature, but Dwarf Empire owners insist that their employees get a fair wage, as well as guaranteed housing.  

Republic of the Children in La Plata, Argentina, is an entire city shrunk down to child-size.

The Republic of the Children has everything: parliament and government buildings, a theater, restaurants, an airport and more. The park was designed to teach children about exercising their rights and responsibilities in a democratic society but it's also an opportunity for adults to feel like giants. 

Child visitors can engage in all the best parts of adulthood, from electing government officials to securing loans. There's a local myth that the Republic served as Walt Disney's inspiration for Disneyland, but beyond the similarly brightly colored buildings and impressive architecture, the evidence is thin. 

Išgyvenimo Drama in Vilnius, Lithuania, re-creates life in the Soviet era.

Who doesn't long for the days of gas masks and military interrogations in Soviet occupied Lithuania? 

Išgyvenimo Drama, or Survival Drama in a Soviet Bunker, is the result of some enterprising Lithuanians and a modern curiosity about life in the USSR. Located in a real bunker from the Soviet occupation, the theme park offers a recreation of the Soviet lifestyle for those brave enough to give it a try.

Visitors will give up their phones, wallets, and cameras to don thin Soviet-style coats, learn the Soviet national anthem, and undergo interrogations from real former Soviet army members in recreated Stalin camp.

It's no Disneyworld, but you will be treated to a shot of vodka after making it through.

Learn more about Survival Drama >

Jeju Loveland in Jeju Island, South Korea, has an entirely sex-based theme.

By far the kinkiest attraction on this list, Jeju Loveland is a monument to the erotic, featuring over 140 statues of men, women, and animals in various sexual trysts.

Jeju Loveland has a reputation as an amusement park-sized sex-ed class: the practice of arranged marriages is still common in South Korea, and young, inexperienced newlyweds can visit "Honeymoon Island" to learn the basics via giant statues bearing their nipples (and more) and phallus-shaped bathroom door handles. 

The park isn't large — it takes less than an hour to get through it, but visitors are free to take their time — but it definitely packs a punch. Older couples should feel welcome, too; there's day care provided for the kiddies.

Learn more about Jeju Loveland >

Dickens World in Kent, England, brings Charles Dickens' writings to life.

Dickens World aims to bring the characters and lifestyle of prolific British writer Charles Dickens off the page with a physical reconstruction of Victorian London, as well as performances featuring popular Dickens characters.

Visitors will see landmarks from Dickens' novels, avoid pickpockets, and inhale the same scents of the author's London, thanks to "smell-pots" filling the nasal passages with cabbage and offal. They can board the Great Expectations river boat ride with the help of staff decked out in full Victorian garb and accents. 

Ironically, the park fell onto serious hard times after opening in 2007, just before the recession hit. For a while the park really was just as poverty stricken as the worlds Dickens wrote about, but it relaunched in 2013 with a revamped image, hoping for better luck this time around.

Learn more about Dickens World >

Hacienda Napoles in Puerto Triunfo, Colombia, is the former home of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar may have long since vacated his enormous estate, but Hacienda Napoles was prime real estate for a theme park. Today it snags almost 50,000 visitors a year.

Even when Escobar was in residence, the estate featured an exotic private zoo and race track. Today, visitors enter through an archway decorated with pieces of the plane he used to make his first U.S.-bound cocaine run to see vintage cars, dinosaur sculptures, and roaming hippos.

Dream City is located in one of Saddam Hussein's former military bases in in Duhok, Iraq.

Ferris wheels, waterslides, and arcades aren't exactly unique at theme parks. What sets Dream City apart is its location, in northern Kurdish Iraq, an area known more for its conflicts than its tourist attractions.

The park sits on a former military base of Saddam Hussein, but is now a fully integrated theme park. Its the place to be on a summer night, when locals can finally come out of hiding from the daytime's scorching temperatures. 

Entrance costs 1500 Iraqi Dinar (IQD), or about $1.30.

BonBon Land is Denmark version of Willie Wonka World.

The park started out as a popular, zany candy factory that began offering tours to the public and evolved to the numerous rides and attractions available today. 

Not known for it's maturity, some of BonBon Land's top attractions include the "Farting Dog" and "Skid Mark" rollercoasters, as well as several statues depicting canine flatulence and other cartoon mishaps.

Learn more about BonBon Land >

Parque EcoAlberto in El Alberto, Mexico, simulates illegal border crossings.

Immigration has been a major topic of discussion this summer, but Parque EcoAlberto's not going to wait for the U.S. Congress to fix things.

The park's solution is to offer locals the opportunity to experience a simulated border crossing, in hopes it will discourage them from trying the real thing. Parque EcoAlberto's main attraction is a seven mile "Night Walk" that mimics crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, complete with barking dogs and run-ins with the border patrol.

The hike takes four nights and guests get their own coyote-esque guide. But with no actual border crossed, there's no crime committed. Just good old fashioned family fun.

Learn more about Parque EcoAlberto >

Shijingshan Amusement Park in Beijing, China, is a knock-off version of Disneyland.

Caring about copyright violations is for suckers. 

Shijingshan Amusement Park insists that it's marked similarity to Disneyland's layout and characters is completely incidental. But their slogan — "Disney's too far, please come to Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park" — suggests otherwise.

The park has been in a constant licensing feud with Disney over the last few years and reportedly underwent a huge overhaul to change its reputation as an illegal copy of the Magic Kingdom. 

Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin, Australia, brings visitors face-to-face with crocodiles.

Thrill-seekers abound at this Australia attraction where visitors can be lowered into the "Cage of Death," an underwater cylinder alongside giant saltwater crocodiles.

For park-goers who aren't ready to swim with the big guys, Crocosaurus Cove features tons of other reptilian attractions. You can "Fish for Crocs" that literally leap out of the water in search of food or get your picture taken holding a baby croc.

Learn more about Crocosaurus Cove >

Then there are some parks that just seem downright wrong.

They're Making An Amusement Park In The Town Where Osama Bin Laden Was Killed >

See Also: