Sven: Europe contains lots of beautiful theme parks, but next to that it also has quite some nice and special zoos. There’s one in particular that we recently visited and that opened not one, but two coasters! Read all about the Dutch zoo: Wildlands Emmen!
So is this a zoo or a theme park? You’ll find out our conclusion at the end! When you arrive at the park, the first thing you encounter is a giant compass. This leads you to one of the three big climate zones where you have to follow a route within the zone. It forces you to switch between zones from this point. This concept is rarely seen, but we were curious on how that experience felt.
The smallest area is all about the arctic. You enter a nordic looking harbor with a wave pool habitat that has some seals and sea lions. I’m a personal fan of this type of theme and it’s design can be simple but effective.
After passing by the show stage, you enter a walkthrough penguin habitat with them possibly popping up around you. One of the key points of this park is that you can really experience the animals up close.
By the use of a container, you walk to the final dead end point where you have the major animals of Nortica: the polar bears. There are three different section for the three different bears. You can also slide down to a viewing area under water but unfortunately, they weren’t very active…
Inside the gift shop, we saw that the theming was pretty easily done. It even has “hidden” references, like this one below. Unfortunately, its original use was not of a coaster…
The first ride that you can do is the Arctic 1. It’s a simulator ride by Vekoma, Brogent and Joravision. The simulation itself is not that impressive, but the film itself is pretty ok. You become part of an experiment team aboard the Arctic 1 to go and explore but make sure you don’t bring along any rats from the queue habitat…
On the far right side is the Jungola area. Here you start your exploration through the butterfly garden, which is very green and bright. Large butterflies are always nice to look at, so this was pretty satisfying.
Next up, you end up back outside where in the middle you have the Asian elephant area. It is good to see they were provided with lots of space. We were lucky to see a baby elephant walking around too!
You’ll easily walk by them, but there are some smaller attractions too for the kids. For example a bamboo labyrinth, a headhunters path and small playgrounds. Perfect when it is very busy at the park.
The final big indoor area feels exotic. According to the story, it’s where an explorer crashed down and made his home in the jungle. After seeing the ring tailed lemurs and exotic birds, we saw the first glimpse of the boat ride.
This attraction by Mack is a fun tour through the jungle with onboard audio. The queue is pretty well done as you see how he used the crashed plane to build his home.
During the ride you don’t see that many animals however, with the main ones at the end: the elephants. It’s a connected area to the outside part of their enclosure.
Let’s go to the largest area of the park, including the new coasters Tweestryd in Part 2!