Slagharen

NEDERLANDS // ENGLISH

Most European theme parks feature an area which is themed to the Far West and cowboys. Nothing wrong with that. However, there are also some parks which are almost entirely themed to the Wild West. In Belgium, for example, there’s Bobbejaanland. In the Netherlands, they have a place called Attractiepark Slagharen.

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The park is located in northern Holland, not too far from the German border. It used to be known as Ponypark Slagharen, because the park offered some holiday cottages with a personal pony right next to it. The ponies aren’t there anymore, but the cottages and the park remained.

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Slagharen is a rather simple amusement park. They don’t have the most extensive theming and the park consists mainly of flat rides. This rodeo-themed Schwarzkopf Monster is actually one of the nicest looking attractions here.

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Have you ever ridden a classic tea cups ride in an artificial pond with water guns? I haven’t and things won’t change here in Slagharen. This Twist ‘n’ Splash built by Mack Rides remains closed today. That seems logical with these cool autumn temperatures.

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If you adore old-fashioned flat rides, you’ll probably love Slagharen. The park is even home to a classic Enterprise!

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We visit Slagharen on the 3rd of October, which is a national holiday in Germany. That’s why lots of Germans found their way to the park and apparently, Germans aren’t scared of water rides during cold days. Good for them, but I don’t necessarily need to ride Ripsaw Falls today. This log flume has two drops and a quite simple theme.

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One of Ripsaw Falls’ main decorative elements seems familiar for those who have visited a Universal theme park, Europa-Park or Movie-Park Germany.

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One of the park’s most recognizable rides is Apollo. This is just a regular Wave Swinger, but its sphere theming makes it a true eye-catcher.

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Slagharen isn’t exactly the place to be if you’re interested in coaster credits. The park offers only two roller coasters and one of them is a regular Vekoma family coaster. These rides aren’t bad, but they are pretty unremarkable too. That’s why one ride on Slagharen’s Mine Train is definitely enough.

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One particular thing that I like about Attractiepark Slagharen, is its Main Street. The park is shaped like an hourglass, with the Main Street being the middle piece of it. That’s why the Main Street is literally in the centre of the park and it remains a busy shopping and dining hub throughout the day.

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Just like you’d expect at Slagharen, the Main Street is themed to a Wild West village with some Mexican influences.

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Those who feel too lazy to walk the full length of Main Street, can use the cable car right above it.

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As I said, Slagharen offers a surprisingly big amount of classic flat rides. This Huss Troika used to be a popular theme park ride, but lots of parks have removed it during the last decade. Slagharen is one of the few European parks where it can still be found.

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The same goes for the Condor. Twenty years ago, this towering flat ride could be ridden at parks like Phantasialand, Holiday-Park, Gardaland, Bobbejaanland and Liseberg, but they have all disappeared. Searching for a nostalgic feeling? Then head to Slagharen before this beauty is gone…

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I really didn’t expect a dark ride at Slagharen, so it was surprising to discover Wild West Adventure. Inside this dome, we rode a rapid river-like attraction with some Far West scenes. The decoration is simple, predictable and even a little tacky, but hey… I’m a dark ride lover so I won’t complain about that. The 20-minute queue was the longest of the entire day.

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The park’s signature ride is undoubtedly Gold Rush, a Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster which opened in 2017. It replaced the classic Schwarzkopf Thunder Loop, which operated at Attractiepark Slagharen from 1979 until 2016.

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I would define Slagharen as an amusement park rather than a theme park, but they did some effort to decorate the queue for Gold Rush. Luckily for us, that queue is quite empty during the afternoon.

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First things first: Gold Rush looks stunning. I’m not a huge fan of its abundance of supports, but the colour scheme looks great.

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This is a so-called triple launch coaster. That sounds very thrilling, but I actually don’t like it that much. Since Gold Rush launches the train in 3 stages (2 forward and 1 backward) the power is raised very gradually. I would prefer an intense launch which creates enough speed to conquer the top hat in one single time…

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Gold Rush has a height of 33 metres, it features two inversions and the top speed is nearly 100 kilometres per hour.

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With a track length of just 400 metres, you might consider Gold Rush as a rather short experience. This is partially true: the coaster doesn’t impress like Taron, Helix or Blue Fire do, but it’s a decent ride nonetheless. Besides, the general public seems to enjoy Gold Rush a lot.

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Is this the best roller coaster in the Netherlands? No, it isn’t. But is this a perfect addition for a medium-sized family amusement park like Slagharen? Yes, it definitely is.

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Despite the (mostly German) crowds, we didn’t need more than 3 hours to complete our tour of Attractiepark Slagharen. I’m very glad that I finally got to discover this place with my own eyes. I heard lots of things about it and this was one of those few Dutch parks which I’ve never visited. That’s mainly due to the location (it’s a 2h30 drive from my hometown) and the lack of a real blockbuster attraction. Slagharen has become a little more interesting since Gold Rush opened, but it’s still a regional park that fails to amaze. Will I ever visit this place again? Unless they decide to add a monstrous roller coaster in the future, I highly doubt it.

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