World's Strangest Theme Parks

  • slide 1

    Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, UAE

    Give the kids a mini-lesson in world economics with a visit to Ferrari World, the world's largest indoor theme park and home to the world's fastest roller coaster. The exotic car-themed attractions will give you a glimpse at what owning one of these much coveted vehicles might be like and practice your driving skills just in case you strike it rich one day.

    Photo courtesy of Farrari World Abu Dhabi

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    Diggerland in England

    If you've ever dreamed of digging a trench with a piece of heavy-duty construction equipment, there's a theme park for that. Four of them in fact. Each Diggerland location in England allows adults and kids to dig dirt with a full-sized, 6-ton digger, compete in digger-related challenges and ride on various construction site-related attractions. The Diggerland closest to London is in Strood, Kent.    

    Photo courtesy of Karl Baron

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    Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo

    Get ready for a pink explosion when you walk through the doors of Sanrio Puroland, one of Tokyo's stranger theme parks. This indoor amusement park celebrates all things Hello Kitty; you can tour Hello Kitty's house, purchase some Hello Kitty gear or take a boat ride through the homes of several Sanrio characters culminating in a party thrown by the famous cat herself.

    Photo courtesy of Barbarella Buchner

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    Har Paw Villa in Singapore

    You won't find any roller coasters or Ferris wheels at this theme park! Singapore's Har Paw Villa is home to some 150 life-sized dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese folklore, many of them rather grotesque, like the popular Ten Courts of Hell, where scenes of punishment found in Chinese Buddhism come to life before your eyes.

    Photo courtesy of Cory Doctorow

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    BonBon-Land, Denmark

    The overly cartoonish BonBon-Land in Denmark was inspired by a candy maker gone wild, which somehow translates into statues of defecating dogs, puking rats, lactating cows and peeing ants. The most popular roller coaster in the park, Hundeprutterutchebane, translates roughly to "the Farting Dog."   

    Photo courtesy of Martin Lewison

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    Suoi Tien Cultural Amusement Park in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    If you're having an existential crisis, maybe you need to spend a day at Suoi Tien Cultural Amusement Park in Vietnam -- a theme park fashioned after the Buddhist concept of heaven ... sort of. Attractions include Crocodile Kingdom where you can dangle raw chicken carcasses over the snapping jaws of 1,500 crocodiles, and the seemingly innocent Unicorn Palace, which is in fact a macabre house of horrors.

    Photo courtesy of rhoelilagan

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    Shijingshan Amusement Park in Beijing, China

    If you've ever been to Disneyland, you're sure to be perplexed and more than a bit underwhelmed by Shijingshan Amusement park in Beijing. You'll notice less-than-dazzling replicas of Cinderella's Castle and Epcot's Spaceship Earth, as well as creepy versions of Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse roaming around greeting park-goers. Things get a bit mixed up when you start noticing, Hello Kitty, Shrek and the Looney Toons thrown into the mix.

    Photo courtesy of Shang Ning

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    Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana

    In a town called Santa Claus, it's only fitting to find a theme park called Holiday World. In addition to the area dedicated to Christmas, you'll also find sections for Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. You'll find an Edgar Allen Poe-themed roller coaster, a Freedom Train and Plymouth Rock Cafe, serving Thanksgiving favorites like turkey, green beans and stuffing.  Santa Claus is 160 miles north of Nashville.  

    Photo courtesy of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

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    Parque Jaime Duque in Bogota, Colombia

    Built by Colombian aviator Jaime Duque Grisales, Parque Jaime Duque features a mighty strange assortment of attractions, including a bizarre sculpture garden, Dante's Inferno boat ride, models of the Seven Wonders of the World and a nude male version of the Statue of Liberty looming over the park.

    Photo courtesy of FRANZ LOPEZ

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    Dickens World, Kent UK

    Dickens World attempts to recreate the feel of eighteenth century England through the perspective of the works of Charles Dickens. Things get a bit too literal with fake raw sewage in the streets and grimy pickpockets and beggars haggling visitors. The highlight? A Great Expectations Boat Ride that recreates an escape from prison through a sewer.  Dickens World is 35 miles southeast of London.

    Photo courtesy of Oast House Archive

About Lydia Schrandt

Lydia, photo editor and Readers' Choice Production Manager for USA TODAY 10Best, has traveled to more than 30 countries in Europe, Asia and North and South America, and has lived in Albuquerque, Galveston, Austin, Thailand, Korea, China, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and now Spain. When she's not at her computer in a cafe, she's out photographing the city, writing fiction or cheering on Barça.

Read more about Lydia Schrandt here.

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