I’ve been travelling for work, and right now I’m in Copenhagen. I went to the famed Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. I love any kind of funfair, from the glitzy to the hoky and kitsch.
In Scandinavian languages, “tivoli” has come to mean “amusement park”, much like “luna park” became a widely-used term in English.
Tivoli is beautifully done, and still has some of the older elements (a Chinese pavillion, an Indian building) that mark the exoticism of nineteenth century amusement design. Like the best older parks, it’s close to the middle of the city, not flung out in some exurb only reachable by car. It was somewhere people could go for an evening after work.
There is a modern roller coaster (out of operation during my visit), a beautiful ferris wheel and some other rides that played into a steampunk vibe.
Older parks tend to still carry hints that the gardens were for adults as much (or more) than children: see the illustrated visitors in the picture above. Amusingly, the Copenhagen Philharmonic was originally the TIVOLI SYMPHONY, performing at the gardens.
It operates on the modern tactic of making people pay to enter the park AND pay individually for rides. I much prefer the Disney model of entry (even at a high price) and rides included, or the county fair model of pay per ride, but free entry if you just want to stroll around and maybe buy some cotton candy. (Funny historical fact: two of the key inventors in the history of spun sugar like this were dentists. Drumming up trade?)
I’m always in the market to visit a funfair or amusement park, if there are some lesser-known ones I should check out, let me know!
What else I’ve been doing: I reviewed Alexandra Lange’s Meet Me By the Fountain for City Journal.