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Tivoli Gardens

First off, I must admit to no longer being a big fan of amusement parks. I used to love them as a kid, but as an adult the rides seldom do much for me. Lines, crowds, and steep prices do nothing to make matters better.

Tivoli Gardens was much better than most of my amusement park experiences of the past couple of decades. It had something of a charm that is lacking in most others. The lines were surprisingly short. We never waited more than 5 minutes for a ride. We got there right when the park opened and went on every ride by about 4 p.m. I didn’t think we’d get on everything before midnight so the short lines were a big shock. The kids went on most rides three or more times.

It is said that Walt Disney was inspired to create Disneyland when visiting Tivoli. Personally, I like Tivoli better. Everything is reasonably close together, there are no lines, and old trees and gardens throughout give a much less synthetic feel to the place.

Another thing that is different when compared to American amusement parks is the lack of warnings and instructions. You aren’t told to “please remain seated…” fifty million times throughout the day and warning labels aren’t affixed to every thing in sight. The ancient fun house at Tivoli is practically a death trap, but no one seems to care. I like that.

Be careful when eating or paying for things at Tivoli. We asked for tap water with our meal. At other places we had eaten at in Copenhagen there was no charge for non-bottled water. We were surprised when our bill included a charge for the water. More than US$12 is what we paid for four glasses of water out of the tap! We were warned that if we used a credit card at our meal we would be charged an additional 5.75%. They didn’t warn us at the gate, and we were charged 3.75% for using a card to pay for admission. Our card company is going to charge another 2%.


To me the most interesting ride was the Star Flyer (although The Odin Express had the best name for a ride). I think the kids liked the Rutschebanen Roller Coaster which is almost 100 years old and includes a brake person on the ride with you. The Star Flyer is similar to many of the merry-go-round swing rides found at fairs and amusement parks in the U.S. The big difference is that instead of going 20 or 30 feet in the air, you go over 260 feet in the air. Not only does this make for a strange sensation, but you have the most incredible 360 degree view of Copenhagen imaginable. This ride is really fantastic and one of a kind.  

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