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Beijing Amusement Parks

By china tour on 12/17/2009 4:59:00 PM | Beijing Tours

If you're lack of ideas about where to take the kids, try one of Beijing's amusement parks in the outskirts of the city. Time Out spins, loops and rides its way around the best places to scream your head off. The best thing about the no-frills Beijing Amusement Park - home to 38 good old-fashioned carnie rides - are the short queues. Notice boards at each ride give a helpful description in English and Chinese and typical rides include the classic spinning teacups, pirate ship pendulum, double-decker carousel (with inexplicable paintings of Christ, Madonna and Child painted on the base) and a Tilt-O-Whirl. One of this park's strengths is that it also has dozens of carnival-style games at 10RMB a go with generous prizes that are easy to win so your kids won't be disappointed. Some of the more thrilling rides include the rainbow coloured Storm Fighter and the brilliantly named 'Magic Holy Bird Frisbee,' in which riders sit on a giant round car that glides and rotates along a U-shaped track. Add to that the promise of more modern rides due to open soon, several restaurants serving Shandong and Sichuan food and the Beijing Amusement Park could well be worth a visit.
Further in the West of Beijing, and conveniently located near the Bajiao subway station, the much slicker Shijingshan Amusement Park cranks it up a notch. Home to a yellow and red 'Cinderella' castle, faux London Bridge and a miniature EPCOT ball, and with 73 rides suitable for children of all ages, it's perhaps the best park for families with younger children. However, while admission to this park is cheap, paying for each ride individually gets expensive and annoying very quickly. Each ride has a ticket booth where you buy tickets that range in price from 5RMB to 100RMB before lining up a second time to enter the ride. For those who like to spin around until they're dizzy, the 'Flying Dancing' ride fits the bill (20RMB), but the best ride here is the Shenzhou Coaster. With 888m of track, the 20-seater cars go 80km/h through twists, turns and loops. The ride lasts 100 seconds and treats its occupants to 3.6G's of acceleration. There's also The Adventure of Jones (20RMB), a great flume ride that will leave you wet despite the rather-too-thin poncho that's provided. However, give the decrepit Haunted House (20RMB) a miss - it features rather pathetic glow-in-the-dark skeletons and skulls, stops frequently and makes a deafening noise as it creaks along the track.

Beijing's newest amusement park, Happy Valley, is by far the biggest, and truth be told, best of all of the amusement parks Time Out visited. With 580,000sqm of well-designed grounds, a daily Parade of Insects Carnival, roaming characters, frequent shows and loads of shopping, there's plenty to keep families amused. The park is divided into six areas - all with a movie-set quality reminiscent of Universal Studios in the US - named Wild Fjord, Atlantis, The Lost Maya Kingdom, Aegean Harbor, Shangri-La and Ants Kingdom. Visitors have the option of taking an elevated train around the park, walking, or renting colourful motorized scooters for 60RMB an hour, and have the run of 33 international theme park-quality rides. The best of which is possibly Crystal Wing, where participants sit in cars like a bird in flight before ascending and plummeting into a 38-metre loop followed by white-knuckle inducing twists, turns and plummets or the Odyssey, a flume ride that floats through caves and up mountains, soaking all who take part. The park's most unique ride is Bubbles of Joy - giant plastic inflatable bubbles that float on water. One or two people are put inside a deflated plastic ball. Once it's zipped shut, the ball is filled with air and then pushed into the water where passengers can run, jump and crawl about without getting wet. Not only is it fun to do, but entertaining to watch. Downsides to Happy Valley include its remote location in the city's southeast and the fact that the best rides close two hours before the park does, but if your adventurous kids demand a park similar to those abroad, this is the place to go.
Here are the address of th Amusement Parks in Beijing:
1/ Beijing Amusement Park (Tel: 6714 3611). Open 9 AM to 5 PM daily (last ticket 4 PM). Admission 120RMB for adults and children over 1.4m; 80RMB for adults age 60 and over and children over 1.2m; Children under 1.2m free of charge. Address: No. 19, Inner Zuoanmen Street, Chongwen District, Beijing
2/ Shijingshan Amusement Park (Tel: 6887 4060). Open 8:30 AM to 5 PM daily. Admission 10RMB. Address: No. 25, Shijiangshan Rd., Beijing
3/ Happy Valley (Tel: 6738 3333) Open Mon-Fri 10 AM to 5:30 PM; Sat, Sun 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Admission 160RMB for adults and children over 1.4m; 80RMB for adults age 65-69 and children over 1.2m; Adults over age 70 and children under 1.2m free of charge. Address: Xiaowuji N Rd.; E 4th Ring Road, Happy Valley, Beijing