Amusing Myself

Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens – not exactly what I was expecting…

Who goes to an amusement park solo? Me. Yes – I’m a bit of a freak – but I refuse to let solo be an obstacle. There’s no better feeling than riding a roller coaster solo, or standing in line solo surrounded by young kids to ride the twister solo. Yup – that’s right – I’m hard core solo. I didn’t have to share cotton candy with anyone or deal with anybody else’s fear of roller coasters or motion sickness. I laughed and screamed as the rides jolted me about all – by – myself.

Ok – in all honestly this is not something I would normally do – but I had agreed to write an article on the Tivoli Gardens while in Copenhagen before I really knew it was an amusement park. (yes, that’s right – I’m not a great pre-researcher.) The client gave me the list of topics that I could choose from to write about and 3 of the 4 of them were shopping related – which I rarely do when I’m traveling. When you are nomadic and don’t have a home – there are very few reasons to shop. Which means that I spend more time taking photos and exploring an area instead of going into shops. So when I looked at the list and saw the word “park” I immediately decided that I would write about that site – it was a no brainer. I love parks after all. I envisioned me walking around a beautifully manicured colorful park, taking photos of flowers, watching runners, and sitting on benches – hell, I might even have a picnic. However, once I arrived in Copenhagen, I realized to my surprise that Tivoli Gardens had cotton candy, roller coasters, swings, game arcades, and lots of kids – not quite what I was expecting!

Tivoli Gardens Copenhgen

Tivoli Gardens Entrance – this was no normal garden park!

Tivoli Ferris Wheel

Tivoli Ferris Wheel


On top of it – my quick easy decision to write about Tivoli Park meant that this was going to be a hit to my pocket book that I hadn’t expected. As I mentioned previously – Copenhagen isn’t cheap, and I had been exploring Copenhagen trying to pinch pennies the last 2 days, however there was no way to pinch pennies when you have to pay an entry fee to the biggest tourist attraction a city has. I found out that the ticket price of 95 Krona (17 USD) was just the entry price and didn’t include any rides – I was a bit shocked – but at this point the price of things in Scandinavia shouldn’t really surprise me. I considered trying to get away with just buying the ticket to get in and not ride any rides. However I couldn’t figure out how I would be able to cover the park in the article if I didn’t actually experience the park rides.

I decided to suck it up and purchase the additional ride ticket that allowed me to ride an unlimited amount of rides in the park for the price of 199 Krona (36 USD). Quite frankly – I have no idea why they even sell just an entry ticket as I couldn’t find anything to do in the park if you can’t ride the rides – except eat – and that just cost more money.

Armed with my bright wrist band I wandered around the park alone. You could hear kids screaming caused from a mixture of an adrenaline and sugar rush no doubt. I felt really awkward and out of place. But I looked up in the sky at the giant swings and thought – I might as well go big or go home. I followed the stream of kids into the entrance of the Star Flyer. If there were an award for the tallest person in line – I would have received it. As I watched eager kids standing on their tiptoes measuring themselves against the wooden plaque to prove they were tall enough, I thought back to my own childhood and the many family trips to Six Flags that was full of excitement and anticipation – wishing I were a few inches taller.

Tivoli height restrictions

Height matters at Tivoli

Tivoli Gardens

Bomber ride Tivoli Gardens


Just a wee bit of candy before the next ride…paaleaase!!!

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I decided I might as well embrace my inner child, and the fact that I was tall enough to ride any ride this afternoon. I was determined to forget about the self-conscious side of how silly I looked at the park alone, or the logical side of how much the ticket cost, or how much other work I had to do and instead just enjoy. I smiled at the kids around me as we were allowed to go run and pick our own swing seat. The Star Flyer was the most visible ride in the park because the swings rose up 260 feet in the air (one of the world’s highest swing rides) providing a jaw dropping aerial view of Copenhagen. But from a kids standpoint – it provided some heart pounding excitement of being flung around in a little seat dangling and swaying over the park. It wasn’t until the swing started rising up that I realized the swing went high…very high…too high for my fear of heights. As we swung around I tried not to panic in fear, I had a white knuckle grip on the chain attached to the swing. The wind was gusty turning my stomach to knots making me tighten my grip even more. I tried my best to concentrate on the happy, screaming kids around me and tell myself not to freak out. When I landed back on the ground – I made a decision to maybe not get too caught up in following the kids any longer and stay a bit closer to the ground.

Star Flyer Tivoli Gardens

The Star Flyer – I hadn’t thought this through very well – not the place to be for someone scared of heights!

Roller coaster Tivoli

Roller Coasters are more my speed!

Spinning Tops

Loved this spinning top ride…and so did all of the kids!

The park is said to be the model for the Disneyworld concept and I was amused wandering through the various ‘sections’ that represented parts of the world cultures. There was an Asian section, an Arabic section (which strangely include WWII bomber rides), and a futuristic section. They had tons of restaurants and game arcades that sort of went with the themes, yet I did have to chuckle at the Asian hotdog stand. During the day there wasn’t a lot of alternative entertainment, but in the evenings they had various shows and music one could attend – making it slightly more of a solo travel venue I suppose. And of course there was plenty of shopping to be done.

Tivoli shops

Shopping and eating at Tivoli

Arcade Tivoli

Arcade Games

Cotton Candy

Don’t forget dessert!

I spent the afternoon riding all of the roller coasters, The Spinning Top, and watching the more height challenged rides from the ground. The ride attendants gave me confusing looks among the children trying to decipher if I was a parent, or just a middle age amusement park enthusiast. I wanted to tell them that I was here doing a story – but I decided to leave them to their confusion. No one sat next to me on the rides, the kids stared at me at times, but that didn’t matter to me. The important thing is that I amused myself – I laughed, I screamed, and I felt little waves of joy that reminded me what it was like to be a kid again.

Wooden roller coaster

Me on the old wooden roller coaster that was hand operated…my favorite ride in the park!

Your Comments

15 Comments so far

  1. Ray says:

    Good for you going solo to a theme park! Who says you can’t have fun alone?

  2. Amanda says:

    I love all these photos! I explored Tivoli solo myself back in 2010. Awesome rides, tasty food, unique entertainment, enchanting atmosphere…Tivoli is a highlight when visiting Copenhagen! Why miss out on such a fun place just because you are solo?!
    I also explored Grona Lund in Stockholm solo; not quite the enchanting atmosphere of Tivoli, but a beautiful location to catch the sunset over Stockholm!

  3. I loooved Tivoli. I went around Halloween time and I was impressed at how decorated it was and its magical atmosphere, since Halloween is seldom celebrated in Europe. I would gladly go back at any other holiday of the year just to experience another decor.

  4. Jade says:

    Oh wow!!

    I did this too in Montreal one year when all my friends refused to go to the amusement park after I asked multiple times. Six Flags Laronde has lots of benefits when visiting solo, for one you get to skip most of the lines and go straight to the “solo” side of the queu where they pair you up with uneven groups to fill the seats, so you get a LOT more bang for your buck… having said that, a lot of people gave me strange looks… the guy at the jacob’s ladder didn’t believe me at first when I told him I was alone, and finally when he did he said to me “who does that!” I had a chuckle. I rode every ride a bazzilion times but somehow it all seemed a little lacking to not be sharing laughs with someone you knew. I don’t know if I’d do it again if the opportunity came up, but I’m glad I did it once :)

    • Sherry says:

      Good point about getting to move up in the line if you are solo! Love the fact that you went alone – it is a very weird feeling though. :)

      • Jade says:

        I’m just happy I’m a girl. I think if I had done it as a man I would have left having been convinced by the stares that I was a pedofile.
        But I did learn about the solo rule, and now even if I’m traveling in pairs I’ll be going down the solo aisle :)

  5. Yeah. I kind of love this post. First of all, the photos are amazing (but all of your photos are amazing). And second–I may have spent weeks (WEEKS) solo in Disney World (I had a valid reason and no, I didn’t tell anyone why the lonely woman on Its a Small World was…taking notes…) And I really do love amusement/theme parks solo.

    Glad you had the chance to (briefly) embrace your inner child. I hope you fed her some cotton candy!

  6. Federico says:

    The good thing about visiting the park alone is that you didn’t have to negotiate with others what ride you would go to next, plus less to wait in line too :)

  7. Frank says:

    Great write-up, makes me want to visit Tivoli next time I’m there. I skipped it on my last two visits, once due to crappy weather and the other time because it’s closed in the off-season.
    Just a little tip before you upset some uptight Danes (I know for a fact they exist): Their currency is the ‘krone’ and the plural form is ‘kroner’. Krona is Swedish.

  8. Dan says:

    Looks like a great time!! Plus being solo gives you the freedom of any ride you like!

  9. Amanda Halm says:

    I love Copenhagen. This is the one attraction I missed because it was closed (we went in October).

    Glad you got to see it!

  10. Mark H says:

    I loved the old wooden rollercoaster as well. A touch of the past.

  11. Barbara says:

    Loved the story, and good for you going alone and having a great time! We’ll be going to Busch Gardens soon and I can’t wait to ride all the thrilling rides at the park!

  12. There looks to be a level of class to that theme park, as if it were designed for kids and the bourgeois alike

  13. Great write up and fantastic pics. Looks like you did enjoy your stay in Denmark.

    Thanks for sharing!

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