Hi there! It’s 19th July and today I’m taking you to the zoo. Sounds a little childish, doesn’t it? This actually reminds me of elementary school and those terrible field trips we made. With all due respect for those who like animal parks; it’s not my thing. Of course I visited the Zoo of Antwerp several times and I’d love to go to Pairi Daiza (apparently one of the most beautiful zoological gardens in the world) once, but that’s it. Personally, I’d rather give my money to theme parks. So if a zoo really wants to become part of my bucket list, they’d better start adding some rollercoasters. Theme parks like Bellewaerde, Wildlands Adventure Zoo and Busch Gardens Tampa seem to understand, but this technique is also known in Scandinavia. That’s why we spend this scorching hot Thursday in Kolmården and its famous zoo. And do you know what the craziest thing is? Four years ago, I had never heard of this place. Today, however, Kolmården seems to be a must-do destination for every coaster enthusiast travelling to Sweden. My expectations are pretty high.
Kolmårdens Djurpark lies approximately 150 kilometres from Stockholm. Thanks to Swedish railways, it’s rather easy to get there, though. It takes approximately two hours to travel between the Swedish capital and Kolmården Station. From there you can continue the journey with a bus, which stops right in front of the park entrance. This sounds pretty doable, but there’s an even easier option for us. Hjälmar and Niek are two Dutch coaster fans who planned their Scandinavian theme park trip during the same period. As a coincidence, they even planned their visit to Kolmården on exactly the same date as we did. These guys are so sweet they even suggested to pick us up at the train station. That’s why there are two tall, blonde men waiting for us at the train platform. I could imagine a worse start of the day.
Our first stop of the day is Bamses Värld, which translates to Bamses’ World. Bamse is a Scandinavian cartoon character that is known as the world’s strongest bear.
Bamses Värld consists of several kiddie rides and some pretty solid decoration. Don’t expect the theming to be on Disney-level, but it looks good for a zoo.
Am I the only one who gets nauseous while riding a Zamperla Rockin’ Tug? Seriously… I’ve ridden some of the world’s fastest and most thrilling rollercoasters, but this children’s ride is just too intense for me.
Bamses Värld is a must-do if you’re looking for Kolmården’s coaster-bingo. The area is home to Godiståget. This Zierer coaster opened three years ago and it provides a smooth, family-friendly ride experience.
The area surrounding Bamses Värld features most of Kolmården’s family rides. One of them is this carrousel with flying carpets. Consider it as the discount version of the 22 million dollar Yasmine’s Flying Carpets at Tokyo DisneySea.
One of the things I’ve learned today: tall Dutch guys like Swedish playgrounds.
Kolmården may look like a regular amusement park on the pictures above, but it’s actually Scandinavia’s largest zoo. That’s why you’ll encounter lots of animals at the park. They’ve got some small, cute animals…
… and some rather scary animals.
Looking for some sexy beasts in an SUV? You’ll find them here at Kolmården.
They’ve got some striped animals in huge plains as well…
Camels always make me think of Aladdin and I automatically start singing Araaaaabian Niiiights as soon as I see them.
Now that’s a big beast…
… but the biggest beast of the entire park is this beauty. Feeling excited yet?
Kolmården has become an essential Swedish coaster destination because of Wildfire. The ride opened on 28th June 2016. That’s only one day before Taron’s inauguration at Phantasialand, so that was a pretty awesome period for European coaster fans. Just like Phantasialand’s signature rollercoaster, Wildfire received great reviews ever since.
Wildfire is often considered as one of Europe’s greatest rollercoasters. And fortunately, the queue is one of the emptiest I’ve ever seen. The wait time this morning is approximately 5 minutes. Lucky us!
Wildfire is the first Rocky Mountain Construction installation east of the Atlantic. It’s also one of RMC’s biggest coasters: the lifthill is 56 metres tall and the total track length is 1.265 metres.
Just like most RMC coasters, Wildfire features an incredibly steep first drop. This descent delivers some crazy airtime during our first back seat ride.
One of Wildfire’s most unique elements is the zero-G-stall, which comes right after the first drop.
Wildfire is an extremely intense experience, full of forceful curves and sudden airtime hills.
Ever wondered how pure joy looks like? Just have a look at these people’s faces. They’re happy because they’re currently experiencing one of Europe’s most fantastic rollercoasters.
Some people say that RMCs have nothing in common with wooden coasters, but I don’t agree. Although the experience is a lot smoother than most woodies, I definitely get that typical wooden coaster feeling while riding Wildfire.
The third and final inversion is my favourite part of the entire ride. The train approaches this inline twist surprisingly fast and it feels totally out-of-control. Coaster awesomeness.
Not tired of Wildfire photos yet? Just a little warning for those who answered yes… I’ve got some more, later in this report.
Kolmården has a total of 3 rollercoasters. Wildfire is obviously the highlight, but the park’s family coasters often have longer lines than their RMC brother. This zoo mainly attracts families with young children and they seem to prefer Vekoma’s junior coaster Delfin Expressen over Wildfire. Doesn’t seem logical to a coaster enthusiast, but hey… I shouldn’t complain about Wildfire’s short queue.
People from Holland, the United Kingdom and Belgium all love RMC coasters.
One of Kolmården’s main draws is a dolphin show called Life. The enormous theatre is a promising start, but the performance didn’t wow me. The storyline is about mankind’s bad influence on the environment (not the message I want to get during a day at a theme park) and they made some weird musical choices. It’s a little strange to hear soundtracks of movies like Shrek, Superman and Titanic during a dolphin show…
The most convenient way to watch animals at Kolmården is the park’s famous Safari ride. It’s located at the back of the park, on top of a hill. It takes some effort to get there…
… and it may take some time to get through the queue when it’s full.
During the early afternoon, our wait time is 25 minutes. That isn’t too bad for the park’s most popular ride, if you ask me.
Safari is a cable car that lasts approximately 30 minutes and narration is provided in each cabin.
Just like Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Kolmården’s Safari brings us very close to some exotic animals.
A visit to Scandinavia isn’t complete without seeing a moose, right?
The Safari cable car doesn’t only offer views of the animals, but it’s also a great way to enjoy Kolmården’s beautiful surroundings.
What’s more exciting? The fact that we’re currently floating above some hungry lions or the fact that we’re watching one of Europe’s best rollercoasters? Difficult to decide…
Even if you’re not interested in animals, you shouldn’t miss the Safari ride. This attraction provides some of the most amazing Wildfire views you’ll ever get.
It’s hard to describe how big Kolmårdens Djurpark actually is. It’s even harder to describe how beautiful the park’s scenery is. Either way: this place looks amazing and this is undoubtedly one of the nicest animal parks I’ve ever visited. I’m still not a zoo-loving type, but I enjoyed this day a lot.
After making some final rides on Wildfire, we head back to our hotel in Stockholm. Thanks to Hjälmar, Niek and Phaedra for the great company today. And also a big thank you to Kolmården. The park offered some incredible thrills, a world-class Safari ride and a great summer feeling. This isn’t the best theme park in Europe and I’m not sure whether I would plan a second visit during my next trip to Scandinavia, but I’m glad we came.