Emmen, The Netherlands
“Some kind of Busch Gardens Holland”
Today, I’m taking you to Wildlands, the newest zoo in the Netherlands. Wait, what? A zoo… why?! I know… This website is called Roller Coaster Traveller and not Giraffe Traveller or Monkey Traveller, but there’s still a good reason to visit this place. Wildlands is called an Adventure Zoo and designers added a few amusement park rides. So get ready for a shiny new zoo, lots of animals and two new coaster credits.
All good things come in pairs. The camels in Wildlands’ savannah have two humps and the park’s signature roller coaster has two tracks. Tweestryd is every coaster enthusiast’s main reason to visit Wildlands Adventure Zoo. Its name is the African word for duel and that makes sense: this is a double Family Boomerang coaster manufactured by Vekoma. Tweestryd was opened in the spring of 2018 and it has attracted many coaster fans since then. Most of them seemed to agree on the fact that it’s a decent ride. I agree: the racing aspect definitely adds some fun to the overall experience. Still, I’m not sure if Tweestryd was the right addition for Wildlands. Zoo visitors aren’t necessarily coaster lovers and this high-capacity ride doesn’t seem to be that popular. Although I really like the fact that it’s a duelling coaster, one track may have been a better option in this particular case.
Tweestryd is part of an African-themed land called Serenga. It’s huge and it’s divided in two separate sections: an African village and the open plains. All the animals you’d expect are there. Serenga is home to a whole bunch of zebras, giraffes, monkeys and lions. But the thing I like most about Serenga is its theme park vibe. Although theming is considerably less immersive, it really feels like a Dutch version of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
By the way… the comparison between this park and Disney doesn’t end with the theming level. Wildlands even built a safari ride, just like Kilimanjaro Safaris in Orlando: Serenga Safari. Unfortunately, it turned out to be an underwhelming experience. The tour didn’t take us to places which aren’t visible from the pathways and there aren’t any spectacular twists and turns. Even if there isn’t any queue, you should ask yourself if you really want to board this slow-moving truck.
Wildlands consists of three different lands. Serenga is the largest one, the ice-cold Nortica is the least impressive one. The most unique section is Jungola, an exotic land full of mystic temples and lush vegetation. It’s the place to be for some elephant spotting, but the best part of Jungola is the so-called Rimbula. This indoor area mimics a tropical rainforest with exotic vegetation and a fitting temperature. The main draw within this conservatory is Rimbula River, a boat ride built by Mack Rides. The scenery is wonderful, but I wish you’d see more animals during the cruise.
WORTH A VISIT?
Did I like this place? Yes, absolutely. The park is beautiful and this doesn’t feel like an old-fashioned zoo where animals are put in cages. It’s sometimes hard to find the animals in their huge exhibits, but that doesn’t bother me too much. The amusement park rides are nice gimmicks, but don’t seem essential for the total experience. Especially Tweestryd feels a little out of place here at Wildlands and I’m not sure if these attractions will draw extra crowds. Of course, I hope I’m wrong. How awesome would it be to have some kind of Busch Gardens here in the Netherlands? Let’s see in 15 years…
Photo Gallery 2018
Do you like it when zoological parks add classic amusement park rides? Did you manage to get Tweestryd’s both credits? And what’s your favourite area at Wildlands? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.