Almost everyone on this planet has a list of places and things to visit and see in the future. But because we are limited with time, money and opportunities, we sometimes don’t manage to check even half of the famous attractions on the list.
Luckily, in the 1930’s some talented people thought of creating model villages and miniature parks for visitors, not quite sure that they’re making a tourist attraction out of it.
First of all, let’s clarify what exactly a miniature park represents. It is a sort of an exhibition of houses, buildings, and sculptures in small sizes often found to be replicas of already existing buildings and sculptures from around the world. This so-called exhibition is arranged in an open area, which only makes the miniature buildings look more real. A miniature park usually contains a model of a single city or many tourist attractions spread throughout the world.
When it comes to the first miniature park ever built, people associate this event to the 19th century, stating the existence of model villages and miniature parks that have been used for private purposes. However, having these parks as famous attractions, the early examples of miniature parks that are open for visitors are Bekonscot – the oldest model village in the world, located in the UK and Madurodam in The Hague, Netherlands.
But why would you want to stroll down a park full of miniature buildings and sculptures? Isn’t that like when a kid is playing with dollhouses? It can be, but it’s fun visiting such a park, no matter how old you are. Especially when it comes to a miniature park full of replicas of different famous sculptures in the world. Just imagine seeing the Eiffel Tower, The Pyramids of Giza and the Chinese wall all at one place. Okay, not the real ones, but similar and detailed mini replicas of them.
Parks like these are ideal for visiting, especially when you’re attending them with kids. You’re going to see a lot of amusing stuff, and they’re going to have so much fun running around the models that can be built up to their height.
If you’re interested in visiting such parks, you don’t have to travel to a particular part of the world just to see them. Miniature parks and model villages can be found in many countries worldwide. These are the places where you can find them:
Canada has two miniature parks, and unfortunately, they are both closed. They were actually:
- Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village – Whitby, Ontario, closed on 1st of January 2006. Even though the area remains as a municipal park, the models had been sold to the nearby city of Oshawa.
- Woodleigh Replicas – Burlington, Prince Edward Island, closed in May of 2008 due to falling attendance and its owner’s health problems.
Mexico is modest when it comes to miniature parks, having only one located within a museum, dedicated mostly to models of pyramids. It is the Teotihuacan Diorama found in San Juan Teotihuacan.
The United States can offer you numerous attractive model villages and miniature parks spread throughout the states. Take a look at the following:
- Tiny Town – Morrison, Colorado is the oldest miniature village and railroad in the USA, opened in 1921.
- Storybook Land Canal Boats in Disneyland – California
- Ave Maria Grotto Cullman – Alabama
- Roadside America – Pennsylvania
- Miniature Railroad & Village – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum of Art opened during 1964 World Fair
- Splendid China – Florida, was closed in 2003 and it was a sister park to Splendid China in Shenzhen. It had suffered many attacks from thieves and vandals, which had been stealing the models.
- Holy Land Experience – Orlando, Florida
- Forbidden Gardens – Katy, Texas, closed in 2011 to make way for the Grand Parkway expansion.
- Living Desert Zoo and Gardens – Palm Desert, California
- San Diego Model Railroad Museum – San Diego, California
- Legoland California – Carlsbad, California
- Legoland Florida Winter Haven – Florida
- Miniature train and village at the Germany Pavilion in Epcot at Disney World – Florida
South America, unlike North America, hasn’t got a big offer of miniature parks. There is only one park, which is Minimundo in Gramado, the Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
- Minimundus in Klagenfurt
- Mini-Europe in Brussels
- Miniuni in Ostrava
- Legoland Billund in Billund
- France Miniature in Élancourt
- Mini chateaux park in Amboise
- Legoland Deutschland in Günzburg, Bavaria
- Minimundus Bodensee in Meckenbeuren
- Miniaturenpark Kleiner Harz in Wernigerode
- Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg
- Klein-Erzgebirge in Oederan, Sachsen
- Mini welt in Lichtenstein, Saxony
- Clonakilty Model Railway Village in Clonakilty, West Cork
- Model World in Wicklow
- Italia in Miniatura in Rimini
- Minitalia Leolandia Park in Capriate, Bergamo
- Sardegna in Miniatura in Tuili
- Madurodam in The Hague
- Miniworld Rotterdam in Rotterdam
- Lilleputthammer in Hafjell, Oppland
- Park Miniatur Zabytków Dolnego Śląska in Kowary
- Nadmorski Park Miniatur i Kolejek in Dziwnowie
- Park Miniatur Latarni Morskich in Niechorze
- Park Miniatur “Świat Marzeń” in Inwałd
- Portugal dos Pequenitos in Coimbra
- Park miniatúr in Podolie
- Catalunya en Miniatura in Catalunya
- Pasión Mudejar in Olmedo
- Miniland in Halmstad
- Swissminiatur in Melide and Swiss Vapeur Parc in Valais
- Miniaturk in Istanbul, Turkey
- Minicity in Antalya, Turkey
- Kyiv in Miniature
The United Kingdom has the most miniature parks actually, in comparison to other countries. These parks are:
- Bekonscot in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
- Bourton-on-the-Water Model Village in Gloucestershire
- Anglesey Model Village
- Godshill Model Village in Godshill, Isle of Wight
- Pendon Museum in Pendon, Oxfordshire
- Wimborne Model Town
- Tucktonia in Dorset closed in 1985
- Legoland Windsor in Windsor
- Godshill Model Village in Godshill, Isle of Wight
- Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth
- Babbacombe Model Village in Babbacombe, Devon
- Miniatura Park in Cornwall
- Land of Legend in Polperro, Cornwall
- Usher Miniature Village in Coniston, Cumbria
- Lakeland Miniature Village in Cumbria
- Corfe Castle Model Village in Swanage, Dorset
- Southsea Model Village in Southsea
- Southport Model Railway Village
- Bondville Model Village in Bridlington
- Forest Model Village in Gloucestershire
- Haigh Hall in Wigan
- Skegness Model Village in Skegness
- Wistow Rural Centre in Wistow, Leicestershire
- Ramsgate Model Village
- Hastings Model Village
- Eastbourne Redoubt Model Village
- Fred Slaymaker’s Wonder Village in Polegate
- Blenheim Palace (Woodstock)
- Little Italy in Corris, Wales
- Vauxhall Model Village in Vauxhall Park, London
Asia / Pacific Region
- Cockington Green Gardens in Canberra
- Tudor model village in Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne
- Taman Mini Indonesia Indah in Jakarta
- Tobu World Square in Kinugawa Onsen, Nikkō, Tochigi
- South Korea
- Aiins World in Gyeonggi-do, Seoul
- Jeju Soingook Theme Park in Jeju Province
- Islamic Heritage Park in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
- Legoland Malaysia in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor
- Tropical Village in Ayer Hitam, Johor
- Taman Buaya Melaka in Ayer Keroh, Malacca
- National Races Village in Yangon
- Window on China
- Mini Siam in Pattaya, Chonburi
- Splendid China in Shenzhen
- Window of the World
- Beijing World Park
- Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall
As for this part of the world, there are two miniature parks in Israel, which are:
- Mini Israel
- Jerusalem’s Model in the Late 2nd Temple Period
As you can probably notice after scrolling down this huge list of famous attractions, you’ll probably understand that there are plenty of model villages and miniature parks around the world, which means they have been opened because the owners have seen a potential in the attraction of these parks and the high attendance by visitors. Another good thing is that the entrance tickets for these parks are affordable, although it depends on the popularity of the miniature park. Take the chance to see the world’s greatest buildings and sculptures in one place and feel like Alice in Wonderland.