It’s a Small World
China’s Miniature Building Theme Parks
Text & Photography by Eric Pasquier
Want to see the world’s greatest sights, but only have a day?
You need to head for China’s Window of the World, which boasts 118 replicas of famous buildings like the Eiffel Tower, the pyramids of Egypt, the Grand Canyon, Taj Mahal, Sydney Opera House, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The Niagara Falls in miniature is more than 10 feet tall and there is also a copy of Hawaii’s volcano which seems to gush molten lava in regular spectacular eruptions.
If you are more interested in seeing the sights of China itself then head to another theme park - Splendid China - which has replicas of China’s most important buildings, including the Great Wall of China.
Located in the southern coastal area of Guangdong province is a Chinese theme park where you can see the world in one day or even a two-hour whiz - the rather speedy recommended time for a visit.
Shenzhen Window of the World opened in 1994 and was guided by the mission “to spread and develop the world culture”. It’s divided into eight areas which include Asia, Oceania, Europe, Africa and America, with 118 scenic spots – miniature replicas of landscapes and cultural sights, both ancient and modern. So in the Europe area, for example, you’ll find Stonehenge and Buckingham Palace, the Acropolis and Coliseum and a 108 metre tall Eiffel tower. Africa features Egyptian temples and the Pyramids of Giza while America includes the White House, Mount Rushmore and a spectacular version of Niagara Falls. At the centre of the park is World Square – a performance space surrounded by six huge gates that represent the birthplaces of the ancient civilisations.
theme park attractions include the longest bobkart slide in the word which hurtles from the ‘strange animals’ of South America to the aboriginal rainforest of the Amazon, and a Colorado Grand Canyon Flume ride. And even (for a province where summer temperatures are over 30 degrees Celsius) a ski dome.
Within the Asia area, there are palaces and temples from Thailand, Japan, Cambodia and Kuwait but you can also head to another theme park to see more of China itself.
In Splendid China and China Folk Culture Villages, the history, art, architecture and 5000-year-old culture of its 56 nationalities is brought to life. There are 100 miniature scenic wonders including the Great Wall of China and Terracotta Army together with many temples, Pagodas and Palaces. In the 24 folk villages, there are performances from different ethnic groups including dances, opera and traditional craft demonstrations.
Shenzhen itself is a highly successful industrial city that can be reached by air, train, sea and road with five-star accommodation for tourists and business visitors. A popular destination for shoppers (cheaper than Hong Kong) it now has its own metro system enabling a subway route to Window of the World. Within the parks, there are a number of international restaurants but it’s also possible to try some of the local cuisine. So for double flavour sea cucumber or chicken in ginseng, you just follow the old saying “when it comes to eating, come to Guangzhou.”