A Pushkin theme park? How about Discworld World, StephenKingLand …

After many children’s book attractions, an ‘immersive experience’ based on the poet’s fairytales is planned in Russia. Isn’t it time for more adult resorts?

There are lovers of fairytales and lovers of Russian literature and lovers of theme parks, and sometimes, just sometimes, everyone’s wishes can be met in one place. News arrives that a new Russian theme park inspired by the poetic fairytales of Alexander Pushkin is due to open in St Petersburg in 2023, built around the imaginary land of Lukomorye described in Pushkin’s poem Ruslan and Ludmila.

Lukomorye will, promise its designers, be “a magical place where one can step into the fairytales of Pushkin in a modern, immersive and spectacular way, yet with the typical flair of Russian folklore and tradition”, and will contain “experiences and attractions” based on the city, the harbour and palace that Pushkin describes in his stories. There will also be a funfair market, a swan lake, a fairytale forest, an “immersive walk-through experience based on Pushkin’s life”, and two “spectacular dark rides”.

I for one am in. This goes straight to the top end of my literary theme-parks wish list, overtaking my desire to visit the still-in-the-planning Harper Lee Trail (Lee herself would surely have hated this, and I can’t imagine it being very jolly) and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (I’d love to, but I can’t afford it).

Developer Jora Vision’s drawing of the planned Pushkin theme park Lukomorye.
‘Modern, immersive and spectacular’ … developer Jora Vision’s drawing of the planned Pushkin theme park Lukomorye. Photograph: Jora Vision

It doesn’t, however, trump my longing to go to Astrid Lindgren World in Sweden – where you can wander Villekulla Cottage, the farm Katthult and Matt’s Forest – or to Moominworld in Finland, where there’s a “wild snow sliding hill”, “interactive magic seashells” (no, I don’t know either, but yes please), and Snork’s Park of Inventions. As Moominmamma says: “All fun is good for the stomach.” It sounds wonderful.

As the parent of a three-year-old who recently visited the surprisingly not-awful Peppa Pig World, an experience that convinced said three-year-old that there is a theme park out there for every eventuality. Now I spend many an evening working on plans for Robin Hood World with him. It’s exhausting, but I like his style. If we can have Pushkinlandia, then what else can we hope for? Discworld World? A Stephen King-themed park, hopefully in Derry, Maine? Looking into this, I discovered the delightful fact that Universal Studios Florida did once plan “an elaborate dark ride” themed on the master.

“Part-way through, riders would pull into the unload station and hear the usual instructions on how to exit without extensive bodily injury. But the restraints wouldn’t lift and the ride wasn’t over. A Shining-sized deluge of blood would flood out of the exit doors, Pennywise Itself would spring from the control room and riders would hurtle deeper into the nightmare/toward the gift shop,” reveals the Bloody Disgusting website.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be: “The powers that be decided that an attraction requiring a plumbing system for fake blood might not have the wide appeal they wanted, so Men in Black: Alien Attack was finally built in its place.” A crying shame.


Alison Flood

The GuardianTramp

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