Like any self-respecting Midwesterner, I know there is only one amusement park that truly matters:
(Don’t try to argue any of this Six Flags nonsense with me.)
My childhood is peppered with Cedar Point memories: visiting the park with my cousins, getting pumped every time a newer, taller roller coaster opened, waiting in line for hours to get on the best rides, using the silver poles that form line dividers as my own personal jungle gym, learning from my dad the only proper way to ride a roller coaster (hands up, the entire time, no matter what), getting rained out during a high school physics trip (and having a blast anyway), being entirely freaked out during Halloweekends….and on, and on, and on. The point being, Cedar Point is the ultimate, as far as amusement parks go.
As for Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens…well, it’s pretty much the opposite of Cedar Point in every way. Tivoli isn’t about the fastest, tallest, scariest rides – it’s about rickety old throwbacks and quaint little spinny things, rides that seem taken straight from the carnivals of yore. It’s not about running through the park, determined to secure a spot in line for the latest coaster before crowds form, but rather about meandering around, exploring the different gardens, and perhaps listening to live music. Cedar Point is an ode to the latest and greatest, but Tivoli? Tivoli is happily, proudly, staunchly a throwback to a different time.
Tivoli opened in 1843, making it the second oldest amusement park in the world (after another Danish park, Dyrehavsbakken). One thing I found cool about the park is that it’s right in the middle of Copenhagen; it’s not on the outskirts or in some suburb like you might expect. It’s also jam-packed with things to see and do, from riding the rides, watching a pantomime performance, listening to concerts, or just exploring the various sections of the park, many of which have an Epcot-like feel to them (for example, there is a small lake with dragon boats in it, a Japanese pagoda, and a Moorish Palace).
So if you asked me what amusement park has the best rides in the world, I would still say Cedar Point. But if you asked me which park has the most charming, pleasant atmosphere? Well, then, the answer has to be Tivoli.