Besides being known for Ikea, Spotify and H&M, Sweden can show off with its green landscapes! So what would be a visit to the country without going to explore the forest? To be fair, we didn’t go hiking or wildlife spotting. But we did see quite some animals and trees in the town of Kolmården! Plus, we saw an unusual sight in Europe: an RMC Topper Track!
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We departed early in Stockholm by train via the central station for an almost 1h30 train ride. Fairly easy and you can book the tickets on the sl.se website. Once arrived in Kolmården, we waited for the bus to the park. (And yes, it’s not something you can’t easily walk unfortunately). We waited about half an hour (during which you can go to one of the local stores if you want to pack a lunch) until the bus arrived. It drops you off at the main entrance of the park: the excitement started! For those of you who don’t know the park, it’s not a theme park. Kolmården Zoo mainly focuses on animals as most zoos do but it also has some rides scattered around the park.
While Gröna Lund had a pretty straightforward layout, here it was a different story due to the size of the park. I knew we had to go all the way to the back of the park for the main attractions. So we started our climb upwards (yes, expect quite some walking and height differences) to go find some credits! The first one, we found in the renewed Bamses Värld. This kiddie area holds one coaster: Godistaget. A Zierer Force coaster for the family, nicely integrated in the green and surrounded by rocks.
We walked further and already spotted some of the animals like the camels. Look at the little one, how cute!
In the back of the park, we were ready for our second ride of the day: Safari! Thanks to a good tip of Theme Park Science’s Danny, we rode this first instead of the major coaster. Queues can get pretty long for this attraction, also on our pretty quiet day. Safari offers a different kind of way to see animals in their exhibits: it’s a skyway! Once you depart, you start of with a beautiful view on the Swedish lakes and… Wildfire! We’ll chat about that one later on but let’s go exploring on our safari.
The animal selection mixes some African animals with Swedish animals. A bit odd but at the end of the day, the experience of seeing them with this kind of transportation method is what it’s all about. There’s several advantages: you have your carriage to yourself so no pushing people to see animals, a pretty quiet system to not disturb the animals too much and you pass by several exhibits multiple times. That way, if you didn’t see any animals the first time, you get a second or even third chance!
The first exhibit holds the bears. Not easy to spot them on the first round, but as the second time you’re lower to the ground, that’s when we saw this one on the rocks!
You change environment towards the more exotic areas. The first rocky area holds a mixture of different animals such as alpacas, alpine ibex and ostriches. After that, you venture more to Africa with giraffes, zebras, addex… Note that during your ride, you get a voice host which is also available in English. Here they explain that most animals that the zoo holds are endangered and part of breeding programs.
Time to jump back to Sweden for different kind of deer and moose! My favorite had to be the elaphure, a kind of deer that can no longer be found in the wild. Big Harry Potter vibes as it was standing in the water.
The highlight where you pass by three times disappointed slightly: the lions. The first time we rode it we didn’t see any. The second time, we finally spotted some in their cage. We don’t know exactly why but it seemed as if they were kept separate because of the little lions!
As whole, we really loved this ride. Quite special and the views on the highest points of the Swedish lakes: stunning! As mentioned, this is obviously the most popular ride of the park. If you really want to ensure your ride: go early or book a ride online. Not cheap but I understand why people buy it if it’s crazy busy in Kolmården.
The park has three shows to watch. The dolphin show which requires a prebooked ticket of 5 euro per person (prices of 2021). If you’d rather have a free show, go watch the bird show which lets different kinds of birds fly over your heads. We didn’t catch much from the extensive information given during the show by the narrator but we did enjoy it nevertheless.
New for 2021, the final show doesn’t feature real animals but the Bamse characters. We didn’t see it but we went to the area and surprisingly found something else there: a church! As we entered, we didn’t quite realize it at first but they were setting up everything for a ceremony.
The other exhibits of Kolmården feature some classics such as a giant tiger reserve. What I like about the park is that there’s different kind of viewing platforms in different levels to watch from, especially the biggest exhibits.
You have a monkey area with the gorillas being the main draw. Some of the monkeys were literally hanging there.
Another classic to find at a zoo: elephants. Here they have the Asian variant and a little one was running around, super cute!
These two of the popular list were sleeping for the whole day. We saw them in the morning and the evening and they pretty much hadn’t moved (or got back to sleep in the same position)
Smaller animals such as Mara and Capybara were happily running around as well.
If you didn’t spot bears during the Safari, there’s other kinds around the park as well. Look at these two chillin’!
But every enthousiast knows that Kolmården put itself out there because of a totally different reason. The dolphin themed rollercoaster Delfinexpressen!
Of course you know I was talking about Wildfire! Europe’s first ever RMC got built in this park of all places. Currently, it still holds the title of the only Rockt Mountain Construction Topper Track in Europe. I hadn’t ridden one of those before and now I clearly understand the difference with an Iron Horse. It feels very much as a wooden coaster with inversions.
We immediately boarded the train for a wild ride over the treetops of Sweden. The first ride didn’t blow me away, even in the back. But it was at the beginning of the day and once it had warmed up: wow! The word “wild” definitely serves its purpose.
After a scenic drop filled with airtime, you go into the Zero-G Stall with a bang! I won’t be describing the full layout as we already have a dedicated ride review right here!
What I can mention again though is that the second ride around, it became my favorite coaster in Sweden and of the best in Europe. I honestly got surprised on how different it feels against the Iron Horse models such as Untamed.
Another thing that helps this ride to stand out is of course the way they put it in the landscape. In general, a big plus for this park is the green setting. Absolutely loved it and Wildfire stood out even more because of it.
In conclusion, Kolmården Zoo didn’t disappoint! The animal collection isn’t necessarily unique but it has a decent collection. Coaster enthousiasts might rate this as there favorite zoo ever but personally, I still prefer our Belgian Pairi Daiza as it stands out more as a zoo with all the different animals and theming.
The theme park element makes sense though as I found Gröna Lund more thrill centered and here, they really offer rides more for families with Wildfire being the only exception. But even the RMC didn’t scare of some of the older children in the family, which makes for an impressive first inversion coaster for them. In conclusion: if you enjoy a woodland nature scene, animals and a kick-ass wooden coaster: don’t skip Kolmården when visiting Sweden.