If you’d ask any non-Swedish or non-Scandinavian theme park enthusiast before April 2014 if they were planning a visit to Kolmarden, they’d look at you strange. Kolmarden?! That name was not commonly known in the community of theme park fans. But the announcement of a new Rocky Mountain Construction roller coaster placed the park at the top of many theme park fans wish lists. Suddenly, Kolmarden wasn’t unknown anymore. It is the park featuring a big RMC coaster. But of course, there’s more to do and see at Kolmarden. We’ve visited the park the first weekend of September and this article will talk about the park, ignoring Wildfire completely and focusing on what else the park has to offer.
First of all, Kolmarden isn’t a small name in Scandinavia. It is the biggest zoo out there. Kolmarden Djurpark opened in 1965 as a means of reviving the Kolmarden municipality. In 1969, they added a dolphinarium which was the first one in Scandinavia. In 2001 Parks & Resorts took over. Parks & Resorts is a Swedish theme park group that also owns Gröna Lund and Skara Sommerland, though those parks were bought later than Kolmarden.
Kolmarden isn’t located on a big piece of flat land. But the height elevations in the park itself aren’t that big. The biggest climb you’ll have to do is when you passed the park entrance. Before you really are into the park you have to overcome a steep hill. If you have no condition you can chose to use the escalator.
When you are up, the first bit of theme park is right ahead of you. Bamses Värld is an area dedicated to a popular Swedish cartoon and this area focuses on children. You can find the first of three roller coasters there, a small Zierer named Godiståget. Fun for the kids, for the thrill seekers it’s nothing more than another credit on their coaster counter. Other rides in this area are a Zamperla Rockin’ Tug, a car ride, a tea cup ride, flying balloons and a flying carpets carousel. All rides aimed at young children.
The other theme park area of the park, locates at the very back of the park. Its there were Wildfire is located but also another roller coaster and a swinging ship. That another roller coaster is Delfinexpressen, a standard Vekoma junior coaster which also can be found at Plopsaland De Panne, Cedar Point and Universal Studios Islands of Adventure.
As you see, when it comes to just the theme park bit of Kolmarden, it isn’t much. Kolmarden has started as a zoo and only in the last year, they started to add theme park rides to the park. The take-over by Parks & Resorts marked the first changes. They made a new tiger enclosure which allowed the guests to be way closer to the tigers than ever before. They extended the dolphinarium into a new marine world and in 2009 they opened the first roller coaster of the park, which was Godiståget.
In 2014 they announced Wildfire. A year later they opened their second roller coaster, Delfinexpressen, and in 2016 Wildfire opened for the first time (and closed down again due to licensing problems, to be opened again in the summer of 2017). Its clear Parks & Resorts sees potential in Kolmarden as half zoo/half theme park. A bit like Busch Gardens or Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The theme park bit of the park is very small now, how this will develop in the following years is something to look out for.
Enough of the theme park part of Kolmarden, because Kolmarden is in the first place a zoo. The park is gifted with a great location which means Kolmarden has big animal shelters surrounded by beautiful Swedish nature. The animals seem to have enough space to live in and for animal lovers, that’s something heartwarming to see. They have a good amount of animal species to show. From dolphins to lions, tigers, moose, zebras, monkeys… they have it at Kolmarden.
A must-do when you visit the park is the parks safari cableway. It used to be a safari drive-through but they closed that in 2010 and replaced it by a cableway instead. This way, the animals aren’t disturbed by multiple cars riding trough their shelter. And the biggest advantage for you, you get amazing views! How Wildfire stands out above the forest, with the lake and forests surrounding it will make you speechless. We doubt other parks have such great views to offer…
So is Kolmarden worth a trip to Sweden?! Well, because of Wildfire alone, yes! Even if you’re not that big of a coaster enthusiast, the park has still a cool zoo to offer. If you are not into animals and aren’t a big coaster enthusiast, than I wouldn’t recommend to come to Sweden only for this park. Then you probably better wait to visit the park during a full Swedish trip, combining it with other Swedish parks and/or cities.
Getting to Kolmarden is easy. Low-cost airline Ryan Air flies on Stockholm Skavsta which is very close to the park. Public transports, bus and train, or shuttle busses take you easily to Norrköping. From that city, busses drive to the park and back. Be sure to step off at the ‘Kolmarden Djurpark’ stop and not ‘Kolmarden’. The latter one is the train station of the village and is still 5 km away from the park. There’s no need to rent a car, and if you go outside the holidays you could plan a cheap trip to Kolmarden. What are you waiting for?
Discover Kolmarden in our gallery!