The Best European Amusement Parks
There are no prizes for guessing the most visited theme park in Europe. Disneyland Resort Paris had 12.7 million visitors in 2009, three times more than the next most popular theme park, Germany's Europa Park, which incidentally is the largest in Europe. The industry seems to be almost recession-proof as amusement parks across Europe report strong attendance figures and continue to out-spend each other, unveiling €400 million in new rides and services for 2010. In total, the 320 European theme parks employ 50,000 people, thrill 150 million visitors and have a combined turnover of €8.6 billion.
Here a few suggestions of some of the best amusement parks to visit in Europe:
Theme Parks in the United Kingdom
Alton Towers continues to be the #1 amusement park in the UK with its newly opened TH13TEENrollercoaster ride, promoted as the world's first freefall drop coaster. For younger riders, Chessington World of Adventures may appeal as visitors discover Wild Asia in the green Surrey countryside. Explorers can navigate fallen temple ruins, ride the Jungle Bus, experience the Temple of Mayhem or enjoy the beautiful aviary of rainbow-feathered Lorikeets.
Theme Parks in Spain
Benidorm is determined to shake off its "blue rinse brigade" image of the 1970s and now has some of the best family theme parks in Europe. The huge Terra Mitica Fun Park covers the whole spectrum from rides on a Pirates and Gladiators theme to superb evening theatre shows.
Aqualandia continues to be the most popular way to cool off with water-themed rides and slides. Take a leisurely ride down the rapids on your own inflatable ring or drop at speed down the Black Hole into the unknown. If you survive all that you may want to spend a quieter day with wildlife at Mundomar. See amazing marine life in the Giant Aquarium and enjoy being entertained by dolphins, sea lions and exotic birds.
Theme Parks in France
Marineland in Antibes, France is a great way to spend the day on the French Riviera. In 2010 Marineland celebrates its 40thyear with the arrival of two young polar bears, Flocke and Rasputin. Come face to face with sharks and sealions or don fishermen's waders and get up close with the dolphins from the sandy beach. Similar to the successful SeaWorld in the USA, this educational and entertaining eco-responsible amusement park also offers "A Day with the Trainers", excellent wildlife shows and "Dinner with the Orca".
Theme Parks in Denmark
Another long-time favourite, Legoland, has updated its attractions to suit 21stcentury visitors whilst continuing to amaze with its creative Legoland brick creations. Take a ride in specially devised vehicles through the interactive attraction called "The Temple" or enjoy the old favourites in the red, yellow and blue brick world of Miniland.
Denmark is also home to one of the most off-the-wall adventures at Bonbon Land. Rides include a Giant Pendulum ride, Beaver Rafting white-water style, the gravity-defying Wild Pig roller coaster and other animal-themed rides such as the Albatross, the Turtle and the vertical bungee-jump sensation at Cobra Tower.
Wherever you visit there is bound to be a theme park to suit you, providing quality family time and plenty of happy memories.