Tivoli Gardens is a gem of a theme park located right in the heart of Copenhagen city. It is a famous amusement park and pleasure garden right in the heart of the city, situated in front of central train station in Copenhagen, Denmark. The park opened on 15 August 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world (after Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg, Denmark).
The H.C. Andersen castle greets you at the main entrance of the park, which is also home to a number of retail stores such as a Hamleys toy store. On entry, you are greeting with a large open lawn with plenty of picnic spaces leading up to the Pantomime Theater. This theater does free pantomime shows daily and is a hit of the number of park visitors seen picnicking on the park lawns. You won’t get a feel of the size of the park from the outside until you are inside it.
The park has a very efficient use of space, with rides often seen built almost right up to the park exterior stone walls. Despite this, the park still offers enough rides, attractions and park sectors to keep you busy for an entire day, each uniquely themed without feeling cramped at all. The park attracts 4.6 million visitors annually.
Tivoli Aquarium is a place of marine curiosities, located in a medium sized structure within the park. You can find a variety of cool marine creatures here such as large schools of fishes, rays, sharks and octopuses. If you turn up at the daily feeding times, you have staff introducing them to you, take questions as well as have the animals perform a trick or two.
The park is home to four roller coasters. A notable famous roller coaster here will be Rutschebanen , a vintage roller coaster. Constructed in 1914, and opened in 1974, it is one of world’s oldest steel sit down wooden roller coasters that is still operating today.
The “Mountain” Coaster is themed to run through a “mountain” which serves as the interior tunnel portion of the ride as trains duck in and out. One unique thing about Rutschebanen, as early roller coasters were merely converted trains made to go around a closed circuit track, as such there are no brake-runs we typically see fixed on the track of modern roller coasters. Check out an on-ride video of the coaster here:
Tivoli Rutschebanen on-ride video
In contrary, like a typical train carriage, brakes are manually applied on the train cars by a human operator, who sits in the middle of the train carriage and controls the ride intensity by manually braking before drops and at sharp corners to regulate train speed. The operators can adjust their speed (up to 26 km/h) and ride intensity within safety limits based on appetite of their riders. As such, no one two rides on the entire 60m circuit will be similar.
Tivoli has some really simple yet nice theming all around the park. Many of the rides have this rather steampunk feel which is unique on its own. There is even an Asian section, home to the Dæmonen roller coaster complete with nice lit paper dragons and lanterns and in the background.
The Demon (Dæmonen in Danish) coaster sits in the “Little Asia” portion of the park- very nicely themed sector complete with nice lanterns which are all lit at night. It is a B&M (Bolliger & Mabillard) floorless steel sit down coaster (one of my favorite coaster makers) and is one of the few more modern coasters in the park. The 564m long ride puts riders through 3 inversions, with a full loop after the first drop, followed by an Immelmann and zero g-roll.
On-ride video of the Demon Coaster
In typical B&M fashion, their coasters sits 4 inline over 6 rows and is one of the smoothest coaster trains on the market topping speeds of 77 km/h. Definitely one of the highlight rides in the park.
Flat rides here includes a classic ferris wheel and family dark rides such as Ballongyngen and The ‘Flying Trunk’, an indoor wall ride shooter. Other coasters here includes a Rutschebanen, another wooden sit down built in 1914 by Valdemar Lebech. This classic wooden coaster reaches a speed of 50 km/h over 720m of track. Themed around a mountain. Last of the coasters here will be the Odin Express (odin expressen), a fun powered coaster which runs through a short closed circuit- so short that it needs to go around 3 times to make up for a ride!
Odin Express Powered Coaster on-ride video
Despite being a family ride, the coaster does reach some pretty good speeds (up to 60 km/h), running you through the tree line over elevated tracks as well as pulling out some very good G-forces along the ending helixes at speed. It was built in 1985 by Mack Rides. Its short 300m track means the coaster does two circuit rounds.
Many of the flat rides here at Tivoli Gardens are also a force to be reckoned with, with many high intensity rides such as the Vertigo, a looping plane ride opened in 2009 which spins riders upside down at over 1G. The Zamperla Air Race ride, Aquila, opened on 2013 and was named after the constellation of the Eagle. This rotating flat rides sits on top over a gallery and can be seen peeking over the park walls from the outside. It puts riders on centrifugal forces as high as 4G through it giant swing and gondola spinner.
I particularly like Tivoli as it’s one of the few remaining theme parks with a long rich heritage; the park is over a century old and is home to a number of vintage hand-built roller coasters. The park has an assortment of classic buildings, which gives you an authentic “old west” feel strolling through the park, coupled with modern elements such as new rides, modern toilets and new buildings to keep with the current times.
The park hosts a mini Fireworks show at the closing of each day. Despite its small size, there is much to do here in Tivoli, and you will good for an entire day here.
View more photos of Tivoli Gardens Theme park here.