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Saturday 9 April 2022

Spring at Tivoli Gardens

Yesterday Tivoli, also known as Tivoli Gardens, in Copenhagen, Denmark officially opened for the season. When I saw the celebrations on Instagram it reminded me of our visit to Copenhagen over Spring Break in 2017 and the fact that I'm still yet to post anything about it here on the blog. 

We lucked out with the timing of our trip and while Tivoli Gardens was closed for much of our stay, it opened for the season on our last full day in Denmark. With such perfect timing we knew that we had to spend the day there. 

At first I'd been a little unsure about visiting Tivoli Gardens as theme parks generally aren't our thing when we travel, but after walking past the stunning entry gate several times a day I just knew that we needed to visit. I'm so glad we did! There's something much more whimsical about European theme parks that American theme parks are missing, and no where is this more true than Tivoli Gardens. The scale is much smaller but that adds to the charm. The smaller scale feels much more personable and less overwhelming. While a full day is definitely needed, there's less rush to try and squeeze in everything. The historic buildings add a feeling of stepping back in time, and beloved sideshow amusements remind us that sometimes simpler, old fashioned fun is better than high tech.

This sense of old world charm is not fabricated like what you'd find in many popular theme parks around the world. Tivoli Gardens opened in October 1843 and is the third oldest amusement park in the world. It has been delighting Danish families, and tourists like us, for almost one hundred and eighty years with stunning gardens, fun amusements, rollercoasters, classic fairground rides, playgrounds, restaurants, and performances including ballet, pantomimes and jazz concerts.

Easter is a particularly special time of year to visit Tivoli Gardens. With the arrival of Spring the park's many garden beds are filled with an abundance of blooming flowers. Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths add color and perfume to the gardens, while a sprinkling of the season's first leaves and blossoms grow on the mostly still bare trees above. Elaborate oversized Easter eggs can be found all throughout the park. When the sun goes down the park lights up with twinkling fairy lights and stunning lanterns.

Let's take a look at our visit...

Look at that stunning main entry! Isn't it gorgeous? With an entry way like this you just know that you're in for a magical day filled with fun and whimsy, right? It sure was a day out that we'll never forget. 

As soon as we entered we were in awe of how beautiful the grounds of Tivoli Gardens are. With colorful flowers blooming in garden beds, hanging pots and even on the roof of kiosks it definitely felt like Spring - even if it was rather cold. You'll notice that Lola didn't even take her hood off all day! Large, colorful Easter eggs and decorative bunnies, chicks and farm animals add an Easter touch to the gardens. Speaking of bunnies, if you look carefully at the grass around the pond in the photos below you'll notice a robotic bunny. That cute little guy was a lawn mower!   

Our first stop, before heading to the rides was the wall of fun house mirrors that made us look at sorts of crazy! The kids spent the longest time laughing at their reflections. They had giant heads, multiple faces, long skinny bodies, fingers that stretched on and on, and reflections that appeared in multiple places. The buildings behind us looked equally whacky in the mirrors. We also found some vintage animals here to climb on. 

Then we made our way to the main attraction: the rides!

Given that our visit was five years ago now, the kids were all quite a bit smaller than they are now. Ava was ten, Lola was six and a half, and Mathilde was a few weeks shy of her third birthday. This meant that the kids weren't quite tall enough to ride all of the rides alone, and there were a few that they weren't tall enough to ride at all. They weren't interested in going on any daredevil rides anyway. For the most part Ava and Lola were able to go on all the rides they wanted to, and there were only a few that Mathilde missed out on. Much better than our visit to Universal Studios the following Spring Break when Mathilde was only tall enough for one ride!  

Our first ride was the ferris wheel which afforded us stunning views over Tivoli Gardens and the surrounding area. It was pretty windy at the top as you can tell by my hair! This ferris wheel was absolutely adorable with each car made to look like a mini hot air balloon. Isn't that the cutest?

We went on lots of different rides after the ferris wheel including the Star Tower, Little Dragon, the Astronomer, the bumper cars, the Vintage Cars, the Lighthouse, the Galley Ships, the Mine, the Dragon Boats, and a couple of carousels. Ava manage to convince Lola to go on the Camel Trail roller coaster with her toward the end of the day and let's just say that I don't think Lola trusted her again for quite some time! It was Lola's first roller coaster, and even though it wasn't an especially scary one it was a lot faster than Lola had anticipated.  

The many rides in Tivoli Gardens were not the only thing that kept the kids busy and having fun. Tivoli is home to some fabulous playground areas too. The kids climbed on a ship shaped play structure, ran between castle turrets, slid on twirling slides, made music with outdoor instruments, played in the sand pit, and ran around having fun. It was a nice little break to just play.

Tivoli Gardens is home to a huge array of dining options for visitors. From small stands, kiosks and cafes throughout the park to the Tivoli Food Hall and fine dining aboard a replica ship, there is something for everyone. 

Tivoli Food Hall is a great choice when the kids don't feel like eating the same thing as each other, which is often the case with mine. The Food Hall features a common dining area and 15 different outlets to choose from. You'll find a little bot of everything here: burgers, hotdogs, sushi, Indian, Thai street food, pasta, tacos, North African cuisine, baguettes and croissants, and of course, classic Danish Smørrebrød. 

We went with classic Danish hot dogs for lunch as well as snacks throughout the day, and then for dinner we went to Wagamama, which had been a favorite for quick and fresh Asian meals when Kim and I lived in Sydney years ago. This was actually the second Wagamama that we ate at in Copenhagen. We ate at one in Frederiksberg (where we stayed during our visit) on our first night, and the kids were excited to learn that there was another in Tivoli Gardens for dinner on our last night.

You can find all the dining options at Tivoli Gardens here.

Ok, I mentioned earlier that there were lots of flowers on display at Tivoli Gardens and I'm sure you've probably spotted them in quite a few photos already, but here's a look at a few of my favorites. Look at all those hyacinths and tulips. Aren't they stunning? They smelled divine too. The flowers growing in the hanging planters below were one of my favorites too. They looked especially pretty as the sun started to set and the lights above them turned on.

As the daylight gave way to night Tivoli Gardens came alive in a whole different way. Twinkling fairly lights, floodlights, sculptural lanterns and lights strung along the edges of buildings illuminated the park's buildings, gardens, walkways, and of course, the rides. Lights reflected in the water added an extra magical touch. It was so beautiful.

Despite having a flight home to San Francisco the following morning we stayed at Tivoli Gardens right up until it closed for the evening at 10pm. It was such a magical day out and we never wanted it to end. 

Now for all the important details for a visit to Tivoli Gardens...

Tivoli Garden is located at Vesterbrogarde 3, Copenhagen. It is directly across the road from Copenhagen's Central Train Station and easily accessible by walking, biking or public transport from most parts of the city.

Tivoli Gardens' main Summer season runs from April 8th through September 25th. It reopens again for Halloween festivities from October 13th though November 6th, and again for Christmas celebrations from November 18th through December 31st.

During the Summer season, Tivoli Gardens is open from 11am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11am to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

Entry to Tivoli Gardens starts at 145DKK (about US$21.50) for ages eight and up, and 65DKK (about US$10) for children ages three to seven. Children under the age of 3 are admitted free of charge. Entry tickets DO NOT include the rides. Rides passes start at 149DKK (about US$22) per person.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit https://www.tivoli.dk/ 

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