Theme parks aren’t always about classic roller coasters and pleasure beach icons. Across the globe you’d find bizarrely themed attractions focusing on the kind of stuff that only nightmares are made of. Whimsical, weird and a tad gross, we bring you 5 amusement parks that’ll leave you scratching your head in bewilderment.
# 1: South Korea’s Toilet Theme Park
We’ve read, if not experienced first-hand, our fair share of utterly bizarre theme parks. Just when you think you’ve seen every last bit of weirdness mankind has to offer – we see this: A slightly disturbing theme park in the city of Suwon, South Korea – based on the last place anyone would want to be caught in: The toilet.
It’s known as the Restroom Cultural Park and it’s a gigantic complex dedicated to the humble pissoir. The main exhibition hall itself embodies a large toilet bowl shape, demonstrating bronze figures of humans, squatting halfway. Say, what?
Legend has it that the vicinity was originally home to the former Mayor of Suwon, Sim Jae-duck. He died in 2009 but it didn’t stop the fellow locals from regarding him as their very own ‘Mr. Toilet’. It is said that inspiration for this concept was drawn upon the fact that he significantly improved South Korean’s toilet system. Not to mention that the late gentleman himself was born in his grandmother’s loo.
There is a moral behind all this bizarreness however. Although the idea of excretion may be humorous to some, the theme park was made to spread awareness about the conditions of public toilets in developing nations.
Mr. Sim apparently founded the World Toilet Association in 2007 and told delegates – “The toilet is not merely a place for excretion. It can save humankind from diseases. A place of relaxation and purging, the toilet is a place for introspection. The toilet is also a central living place that possesses culture.”
If you ever find yourself in South Korea’s most populous province, why not give the ol’ potty park a shot?
# 2: Egypt’s Desert Theme Park
To inject a ‘happy force’ in Egypt and to keep Chinese workers who work in the Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone of Cairo entertained (working in a desert doesn’t come with many perks, you know), China built this super surreal amusement park called TEDA Fun Valley where a “mashup” of China’s pop culture themes like Hello Kitty collide with Westernised features such as Jurassic Park.
Imagine being greeted by Hello Kitty while she schmoozes a sharpshooter – right smack in the middle of the desert!
Emerged from the wide deserts of Ain Sokhna in 2015, it’s said to attract tourists from all over the world with its kitsch-Chinese propaganda theme. According to Wired, “It looks like if you did a Google search on popular kids’ entertainment and mixed it together… it’s quite a bizarre compilation”.
# 3: South Korea’s Erotic Theme Park
Ah, Korea… a land filled with strange museums, quirky cafes and… a sex theme park?? For a reserved and conservative nation where children stay with their folks till they say “I do” and where sex is regarded as an offensive topic, having an entire theme park dedicated to sex seems pretty far-fetched.. Or not?
Jeju Island Loveland, as it’s called, is a leading candidate for the world’s kinkiest theme park. Ever since its establishment in 2004, Jeju Loveland has been arousing the curiosity of visitors due to its collection of more than 140 obscene statues and erotic exhibitions that explicitly shows all kinds of sexy exchanges between humans, animals and humans and animals! Jeez.
The park is about the size of two soccer fields and takes about an hour to see — less, if you just want a quickie.
Like every tale, this one too has a story behind the lorry. Apparently in 2004, a group of “art” students from Hongik University (Seoul) produced these sculptures in an effort to “break the traditional taboos surrounding sex” and highlight “the natural beauty of sexuality”.
Noble? You decide.
# 4: China’s Kingdom of the Little People
Chen Mingjing of China in 2009 designed this “Dwarf Kingdom” to give people with dwarfism a second chance. However it begs the question – Is this theme park a type of freak show where visitors can pay to gawk at performers with dwarfism or is it really a rare opportunity for people with this condition?
While human rights activist call this exploitation, performers say it makes China better. Participants often defend themselves and protect their rights when faced with “humanitarian” attention – “If a little person can fight a bull, he can do anything,” said one bullfighting dwarf.
Whatever it is, it sure isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill theme park.
At Kingdom of the Little People, there are only three requirements to come on board according to Chen – “No infectious diseases, no one older than 50, and no one taller than 4 feet 3”. Fair enough.
# 5: Singapore’s Theme Park from Hell
Much like Malaysia’s Chin Swee Cave Temple with statues and sculptures illustrating the ‘chambers of hell’ as depicted in Buddhist and Taoist teachings, this bizarre theme park located in Singapore – Haw Par Villa, originally known as the Tiger Balm Gardens, is a Chinese mythological theme park that is home to some of the most gruesome and dioramic statues ever, portraying illustrations from aspects of Confucianism.
The park was built by brothers Aw Boob Haw and Aw Boon Par in 1937 to commemorate Chinese legends and culture but later sold it to the Singapore Tourist Board who renamed it Haw Par Villa aka Dragon World.
According to numerous sources, hardly anyone pays a visit to the park from hell anymore and many sections have been closed down. Eerie…