I felt like a kid again. The smell of popcorn and the noise of people screaming with joy as they were being thrown about on the many rides that surrounded us. It was like we had stepped back in time. Where were we?
At Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen of course. Tivoli Gardens is the second oldest amusement park in the world. Located near the central station of Copenhagen and, as we found out, is a must visit for anyone traveling to the city.
We didn't know much about Tivoli Gardens when arriving in Copenhagen. Our Go Ahead Tours guide Derek told us all that we should visit Tivoli Gardens at night. So we listened to his advice and made our way to the park entrance, just a 10 minute walk from our hotel at Copenhagen Island.
We bought a Copenhagen Card earlier that day to explore all the sights of the city, and lucky for us, it included our entrance fee into the park. Flashing our pass, we walked through the gates to an enchanting forest of neon lights and decorative lamps.
Dave and I are not normally ones for gimmicky attractions, so we weren't sure how we'd take Tivoli Gardens. But once we entered, all our reservations disappeared and we fell in love with this treasure of Denmark.
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Dating back to 1843, Tivoli Gardens feels like you have stepped back in time. It's a magical oasis in the heart of the city.
We were introduced to the gardens by walking down a long walkway lit by red lanterns arching over our heads. Along the wall was a row of fun house mirrors which took us back to our childhoods as we laughed at our distorted bodies reflecting back.
The Gardens has many attractions that could keep a visitor busy for hours. There's a laser light show, pantomime show and nostalgic rides from a bygone era.
Tivoli has not lost its old world charm, keeping in the tradition of an old amusement park theme. But that's not to say that Tivoli Gardens has been left behind in the dust. There are several modern and terrifying rides to enthral even the greatest of thrill seekers.
From the intimidating Vertigo: a looping plane ride taking you 30 metres (90 feet) into the air while reaching speeds of 100km (60 miles) per hour to the 80 meter (240 feet) tall Star Flyer that joins the ranks of one of the world's tallest swing rides.
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There's something for everyone at Tivoli Gardens. Adults and children will have a blast.
You don't need to go on rides to have fun. Dave and I simply walked through the park marvelling at the light displays.
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We loved the Chinese inspired pavilions and the pirate ship in the middle of the lake.
The dragon weaving overhead surrounded by hanging Chinese lanterns took our breath away as we wove our way through the pathways leading from one attraction after another.
There are several restaurants in Tivoli Gardens where you can plan a night out with family and friends sipping wine while watching the world go by.
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There's an old midway filled with old fashioned games.
And you can even play bumper cars just like you did as a kid.
It was the artistry and beauty that enchanted us. We felt that Tivoli Gardens was the perfect spot for date night. I know we went in to simply take photographs and see it for ourselves, but we were soon lost in the magic and wonder of Tivoli Gardens exploring every nook and cranny waiting to discover what was around each turn.
Tivoli amusement park brought us back to our youth and put smiles on our faces. What is better than two young lovers walking hand in hand through a fun house while enjoying ice cream cones and cotton candy?
It's no wonder Walt Disney spent so much time at Tivoli Gardens while designing his own Disneyland. He even echoed founder Georg Cristensen's sentiment that Tivoli will never be completed. Disney said the same thing nearly a century later.
Even famed Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson was entranced by Tivoli. Tivoli Gardens inspired his fairytale The Nightingale and in the park you'll find many things dedicated to the author including the ride the Flying Trunk, a puppet show dedicated to his stories and a Hans Christian Anderson shop.
It seems we're not the only ones beguiled by Tivoli Gardens. You can't help but fall in love with it the moment you enter the gates and step into the fairytale world created over a span of a century and a half.
Tivoli Gardens Fast Facts
- It is the most visited seasonal park in the world.
- Tivoli opens in April and runs all summer through to September. But opens again seasonally for Halloween and Christmas.
- Admission is free with a Copenhagen Card.
- Without the Copenhagen Card it is 110 DKK weekdays and 120 DKK weekends.
- Midway rides are an extra charge. Unlimited rides cost 220 DKK
- There are two entrances – the Main Entrance in Vesterbrogade and the Central Station entrance in Bernstorffsgade.
- There is one hotel inside Tivoli Gardens
- Tivoli Gardens has a fantastic recycling program. When you purchase a drink for takeaway, 5 DKK is added onto the price. On your way out, deposit the cup at one of the recycling stations to get your 5 DKK back.
Our trip to Copenhagen was made possible by Go Ahead Tours. As usual, all our opinions are our own. With more than 150 guided tours across all 7 continents, Go Ahead Tours has dedicated travel sites for both U.S. and Canadian travellers.