Tired of all the fun roller coasters, the train rides, the gift shops, the licensed characters and all those other ho-hum sights you’ll find at amusement parks all over the world? When you want amusement that’s much more adventure than park, don’t go to some place that’s known for being the best. These are the worst theme parks in the world, and they definitely aren’t like any of those parks you’ve already been to before. At other amusement parks, you’re screaming because of the thrilling rides. These theme parks give you a whole different set of reasons to start screaming.
Why go to Disneyland when you can go to a park that’s famous for being a fake? Why play it safe at a regular park when you can literally get chased by dogs and fake DEA agents instead? When personal safety is no issue and you don’t mind a park full of broken rides and offensive stereotypes, go to a terrible theme park and have a really memorable experience. You’ll forget all about those pristine and polished parks you’ve been to in the past, because in some cases, you may have permanent brain damage from going to one of these much more questionable parks instead.
These theme parks are the absolute best… at being the worst in the world. They’re unique, and a lot of those ordinary amusement parks can’t say that.
Diggerland is the perfect place to go if you’ve always dreamed of using farm equipment. That’s right; this entire park looks like something out of John Deere’s recurring dreams. This theme park is for kids and adults who want to operate a backhoe or drive around in a truck. Because they’re rides and not equipment, you can enjoy yourself even without a driver’s license. Kids can play construction worker all day here on a massive scale. Doesn’t that sound way more fun that a trip to a park with real roller coasters and Ferris wheels?
It all sounds and looks pretty strange, but Diggerland is very popular. It began in England and has expanded to four locations. There is even a Diggerland USA in New Jersey.
9. Shijingshan, China aka “Fake Disney”
A lot of people know this Chinese amusement park by its slightly more mocking name: Fake Disney. Everything here is going to feel a little bit familiar, but none of it is exactly right. The characters of your favorite Disney movies are here… sort of.
That’s not all. Other well-loved American characters wander the park to create an odd pop culture mishmash. You might see Jaws, Bugs Bunny, Shrek and Batman all hanging out together at Fake Disney. There are even elements of Jurassic Park at play in this theme park. Despite what look like glaring copyright issues, the park has been open since 1986. Many of the characters were destroyed in 2007 under pressure from Disney, but you can still find many references to the famous animated characters throughout the park.
8. Dickens World, England
Visit Kent, England to find a whole theme park dedicated to Charles Dickens. The park is a recreation of Victorian England and an ode to the author who wrote “A Christmas Carol.” While you’re there, go to the haunted house based off the famous holiday tale. You’ll see Dickens characters around the city streets. You can even ride a log flume through the rat-filled London sewers.
There are pickpockets, of course, and the whole place is lit with the flicker of gas lamps. Yes, the park even has an authentic smell. There are chemical smell pots placed throughout that unleash horrible smells into the air. Ah, the joys of Victorian London. When a park takes the time to recreate authentic odors, you know you’re in a special place.
7. Fantazy Land, Egypt
Ever wanted to spend an afternoon in an abandoned theme park? That’s what Fantazy Land looks like, even when it’s open for admissions. Reviews report that many of the rides don’t work, the park itself is roughed up and dirty, and don’t expect the shops to be open for business. There is staff to take your money when you come into the park, but you’re going to have a hard time finding employees elsewhere throughout Fantazy Land.
The saving grace of the park is that it’s located in Alexandria, Egypt, a place steeped in history. That means your trip here won’t be wasted. You can also run around the piles of dirt and rock, amidst broken-down rides, and play zombie apocalypse. Just think of the selfie opportunities.
6. Pedroland, South Carolina
You’ll know when you’re getting close to South of the Border, otherwise known as Pedroland. It’s in South Carolina, and it all begins with a gigantic guy wearing a sombrero. It’s an observation tower, and by some observations this park is fairly racist. There’s a 1950s feeling to this theme park, beginning with Pedro and his stereotypical cartoonish look. From there, this amusement park gets worse.
You’ll find it near the border of North and South Carolina, a rest stop/theme park offering a smattering of rides, gift shops and restaurants. There are about 10 rides in all, including an old Ferris Wheel and a mini-golf course.
5. The Republic of Children, Argentina
Eva Peron helped to bring the Republic of Children to life. It’s a city made in a child’s size, and it’s all about the government. Everyone knows that this a topic that is of great interest to children. They’ll have the excitement of wandering around a courthouse, a bank and even a parliament. Every kid wants to visit parliament… right?
Yes, the theme of this theme park is democracy. Visitors here elect a congress and can even fight with the bank about loans, if they like. It a pretty park that’s painted with bright colors, but that really doesn’t make this place any more fun than a requisite field trip to the state capital.
4. Action Park, New Jersey
This place is known as the most dangerous theme park in the world, and no one means that in a good way. After multiple deaths and a number of accidents, New Jersey’s Action Park was shut down in 1996 due to lawsuits and impossibly high insurance premiums. It reopened in 1998 and re-assumed the classic name Action Park in 2014. Locals know it better as “Class Action Park” and “Traction Park” because of the reputation.
The park is still famous for its old rides, like the dangerous and now-closed Cannonball Loop. A new loop ride is scheduled to open in 2016. Today’s Action Park is said to have much safer rides, but that’s all subject to change.
3. Parque Ecoalberto, Mexico
Want all the excitement of illegally crossing the border between the US and Mexico without the threat of real gunfire? At Parque Ecoalberto in Mexico, this is an actual attraction. Take the Night Hike, or La Caminata Nocturna, to be chased by dogs, smugglers and border patrol agents in a complete border crossing simulation. Try to sneak into America, and see what happens to you when you do. You will have to travel for miles on this “ride” while 100 staff members do their best to terrorize you.
The rest of the park offers outdoorsy activities like rappelling, ziplining and hiking. Since you can do all of that in most national parks, it’s a little bit lame.
2. Isgyvenino Drama, Lithuania
Step into the life of a citizen of Soviet Russia when you descend underground into a former USSR bunker. It’s been converted into an amusement park, if you have a loose definition of fun. Actual former members of the Soviet army work here underground. When you enter, you must wear a ragged coat and give up all of your possessions just like a real USSR citizen. You’ll then learn the Soviet anthem and be interrogated by a KGB agent. Yes, of course, they are real former interrogators.
You’ll even wear a gas mask, which is exactly the sort of feature that all amusement parks ought to have. At the end of your experience, you will be given a shot of vodka to celebrate your survival.
1. Holy Land Experience, Florida
Florida is famous for its amusement parks and fun places to go, but the Holy Land Experience is a bit of a bummer. It’s a theme park devoted to the Bible, which sounds like a good idea in theory. The unfortunate part is, this park has decided to focus on the crucifixion. It’s not very amusing when a bloody Jesus walks through the park twice daily, only to be nailed to a cross and then tortured to death in front of throngs of onlookers.
Listen to him scream while you visit other Holy Land attractions — like a market in Jerusalem or a village in Judea. Doesn’t that sound amusing?