INDUSTRIAL; Ecological Amusement Parks

By Henry Klein

It’s 2019 and amusement park attractions are as advanced, innovative, and elaborately designed as ever.  But have you ever wondered about anti-industrial parks which have developed in conjunction with natural environments, or parks which utilise nature in creative and ingenious ways?  Ecological amusement parks may not bear the same popularity levels that more traditional parks do, but the activities they offer prove that they not only offer experiences of equivalent thrill and enjoyment, but also help remind us of the critical importance and sheer beauty of nature.

One such amusement park is Funtasy Island, resting on an entire island in Indonesia’s Riau archipelago 328 hectares off the coast of Singapore.  Because of the island’s biodiversity, the park is able to offer a wide variety of activities such as sailing, snorkeling, diving, climbing, canoeing, and many more.  Every attraction is focused heavily on appreciation of wildlife, utilising the bare minimum of manmade elements.  For example, divers can observe up to seven different species of sharks, while endangered animals specific to the island’s region are given special conservation care by the park’s staff.  The island park also provides environmentally-friendly short-term living accommodations to visitors.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Green Turtle swimming through a coral reef in the Riau archipelago

Similarly, the Xcaret Eco Park in Playa del Carmen, Mexico is based in the natural environments of the Riviera Maya and the ruins of ancient Mayan civilisation.  The park’s overall mission is not only to ensure that guests enjoy themselves and experience something unique, but to educate and provide life-changing experiences.  Guests have the freedom to walk through jungle environments, explore an underground river, observe a wide variety of wildlife, visit a butterfly farm, and even swim with nurse sharks.  The park also rescues more than 250 baby sea turtles each year, and has worked closely with the Marine Turtle Conservation Program in Riviera Maya.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Yucatán Parrot in the Xcaret Eco Park

However, not everyone is able or willing to travel all the way to southeast Asia or Mexico to experience these park.  Thankfully, the UK contains its fair share of parks which creatively operate with the environment in mind.  Many of these parks attract their visitors through traditional amusement park rides, but some power their attractions in unique and environmentally-sustainable manners.  For example, GreenWood Forest Park, located in northern Wales, is home to a rollercoaster called Green Dragon which powers itself through visitors queuing for the ride.  Similarly, a water attraction called SolarSplash uses solar panels to not only supply 100% of the ride’s energy needs, but 80% of the entire park’s energy.

4419113_b2e8f29aGreenWood Forest Park’s “Dragon Maze”

Next time you’re considering the possibility of visiting an amusement park, consider the possibilities which a stripped-back natural atmosphere can offer for having fun.  Natural parks such as these are guaranteed to bring their own one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable joys into your life.  To put it simply, the thrills of nature are wholly unique from the thrills of  the most high-tech, manmade amusement attractions.


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