Daytripper is a regular column that aims to help people get the most out of their PRD experience by proposing fun excursions that can be made in a single day to explore the local culture and nature of the region.
One of the lesser-known attractions in the Dongmen shopping area, the Shenzhen Workers’ Cultural Palace Amusement Park has entertained the masses and their offspring for over a decade now.
It’s not nearly as large and well-equipped as, say, Window of the World. But it’s free to enter, and what the little park lacks in roller coasters it makes up for in nostalgia-laden charm and a surprisingly robust selection of rides.
A revolving pendulum experience induces swooping sensations in the stomach, and a moderate frisson of fear, as the drops get higher and higher. A garish orange, red and purple machine, by contrast, bounces riders up and down like a giant, exuberant kangaroo.
For the daring, there’s a drop tower of decent height. Seekers of lesser thrills can also settle for a pirate ship, bumper cars, carousel, swing ride and various other options.
If you’re itching to try them all, you’re in luck: park prices are generally a steal. Most attractions will set you back only RMB8 or 10, with the most expensive costing 20 yuan. Paying for rides is as easy as taking the subway; simply deposit RMB100 in a card that you can swipe at the gate of each ride. Any remaining cash can be retrieved by turning the card back in at the ticket booth.
As you explore the hidden gem that is the amusement park, card in hand, we advise that you walk slowly – even more cool finds are concealed inside.
At the small black magicians’ booth next to a row of carnival games, for instance, professionals show off logic-defying sleight-of-hand and offer reasonably-priced classes for the curious. And a dingy green building turns out to house a large, reasonably new arcade with two-person shooters, motorcycle racing, Street-Fighter-style games and all the claw machines you could ever want.
The park offers plenty of options for kiddies as well. A few rides such as the ‘little train’ are suitable even for the under-three range (accompanied by a parent, obviously), and although children 1.5 meters or shorter are barred from the park’s more vigorous rides, they can still enjoy most of the attractions.
Outside of rides, an additional family (and couple) friendly pursuit: take a pedal boat out on the park’s small, manmade lake, from which some of Luohu District’s most iconic buildings – the pointy-tipped Diwang and curvy KK100 Tower – are visible. At night, the pagoda-topped walkway on the lake becomes a favorite spot for romantic strolls, and a welcome break from the crowds flooding the nearby streets of Dongmen.
How to get there
In Shenzhen, take Metro Line 1 or 3 to Laojie Station. After emerging from Exit F walk straight ahead, past the underground shoe wholesale market, and take the first left. The park is open from 9am to 11pm daily.
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