Of course we all know the big (chain) parks like Six Flags *you name the place*, Cedar Point, Europa Park etc. But are those big parks really the most fun? Theme Park World loves small but charming parks! These parks prove every visit that you don’t need to have record roller coasters to offer their guests a day of fun. In this series of articles named ‘park charming’ we highlight a small but charming park.
Two weeks ago we visited Freizeitpark Plohn in East Germany and were immediately sold to the park. No wonder it became our next Park Charming. Germany is packed with theme parks, small and big ones, but most of them are located in the west. The time East-Germany was separated and under communist government did no good for theme park development. Almost every East German theme park opened after the fall of communism and the unification of Germany. Freizeitpark Plohn is no difference. They opened their doors in 1996 which makes them just 21 years old! That’s practically new compared to most European theme parks.
In fact the story of Freizeitpark Plohn begins with the fall of communism, because that event made Arnfried Vönkel unemployed. But he took matters in his own hands and decided to open a tavern. With that tavern, he also built a fairy tale forest to attract people. The classic German märchenwald. In 1996 Vönkel opened his tavern. Business went good as we can assume, because Vönkel decided to add rides and make a whole theme park instead of just a fairy tale forest.
After two years, a log flume was the first big ride for the park. It is built on two levels and contains two drops, the smallest one being the wettest as theme park logic dictates. Only a year after the log flume, Freizeitpark Plohn opened their first roller coaster to the public! They bought an old Zierer from another small German theme park. Silver Mine is still running this day and is a great family roller coaster. Freizeitpark Plohn grew steadily but in 2009 they placed themselves on the map.
Because in that year Freizeitpark Plohn opened El Toro, a GCI wooden roller coaster. It was only the third roller coaster in Europe from the renowned American manufacturer. While El Toro is not a big or long roller coaster, it contains so much power! It has a huge re-ride factor and when you go on a calm day like we did, you can easily do ten or more rides one after the other. Due to its intensity staying the whole time on El Toro won’t be such a good idea, but Freizeitpark Plohn has way more to offer so don’t see that as a downside.
The park has a good balance in their rides, especially when it comes to roller coasters. The park could however use a thrill ride and good dark ride but you could count the Miniwah powered roller coaster as a dark ride. Still Freizeitpark Plohn seems to have everything to give their guests an amazing day. It is incredibly green which gives a resting and relaxing atmosphere. The staff is also very friendly, when it is calm they are always in for a little chat. Did you know that the ride operator from El Toro is also responsible for the music playing at the station?! RobBeats Äl Docho is his DJ name and on his YouTube channel you can check some of his mixes.
Let us bundle some arguments to visit this charming East-German theme park:
- Freizeitpark Plohn is a very green park which creates a really good atmosphere. The park itself puts effort in theming, though with limited budget so don’t expect a Klugheim. If you love being out in the nature, Plohn is a park you should place on the top of your to-do list!
- El Toro is one of the better wooden roller coasters in Europe, maybe even in the top three depending on your preferences.
- They have a typical and classic German märchenwald (fairy tale forest), great for the kids and a convenient resting activity between rides on El Toro.
- If you don’t mind driving 3 hours, you can combine a visit to Freizeitpark Plohn with a citytrip to Prague. The Czech capital is nearby and is one of Europe’s city gems. Definitely worth combining if you like culture.
- The park announced a new roller coaster for 2019! It will be the biggest investment in the parks history. The new coaster will be a “big dipper” coaster from Mack, only one coaster of that type is built before (Lost Gravity in Walibi Holland). There is not an official lay-out known but rumors suggest a 90° drop! This new coaster would replace the Silver Mine coaster, so hurry up to Plohn to ride Silver Mine before it closes down and come back in 2019 for the new one.
- Parking is free! We don’t see that too often these days in theme parks, but we love it.
Can’t wait to visit Freizeitpark Plohn? Discover the park in our gallery!