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Rust, Baden-Württemberg, Germany 77977
|Owner||EUROPA – PARK Freizeit- und Familienpark Mack KG|
|Opened||12 July 1975|
|Operating season||April to early January|
|Visitors per annum||5.7 million (2017)|
The park is home to 13 roller coasters, the oldest being Alpenexpress Enzian, a powered coaster that speeds through a diamond mine, and the newest coaster being the Ba-a-a Express, a small kiddie roller coaster. Europa-Park has very high capacity roller coasters and attractions meaning the park can accommodate up to approx. 60,000 guests per day. It counted just over 5.6 million visitors in 2017.
It is also the location of the Euro Dance Festival.
Europa-Park is run by the Mack family, which have produced vehicles since 1780, circus wagons since 1880 and rollercoasters since 1921. Franz Mack (1921–2010) in 1958 took over the family firm, Mack GmbH & Co (now Mack Rides), together with his brothers. Together with his son Roland (b. 1949) he visited the USA in 1972 and was inspired to open a theme park in Germany, as an exhibition site for his company's products.
At first the park was planned to be located in Breisach. It was named "Europa-Park" after Breisach's nearby Europaweiher, a small artificial lake which commemorates a historical pilot poll in Breisach held in 1950, in which 95.6% of voters were in favour of European unification. The Breisach site was deemed unsuitable because of flooding hazard, and the project was moved some 30 km further north, where the Macks bought the park of the historical Balthasar castle in Rust.
The park opened in 1975 with an area of 16 hectares. It counted 250,000 visitors in the first year, 700,000 in the second, passing the million mark in 1978.
The first country-themed section was "Italy", opened 1982. Like most of the original themed areas at Europa-Park, it was designed by Ulrich Damrau. The Alpenexpress "Enzian" and Schweizer Bobbahn rides opened in 1984 and 1985, respectively. The "Europe" theme was pursued further with the opening of "Holland" (1984), "England" (1988), "France" (1990), "Scandinavia" (1992) and "Spain" (1994) sections.
By the year 2000, the number of visitors had risen to 3 million, and the hotels had been booked to nearly 98% of their capacity. The park opened during the winter season for the first time in 2001/2. The current logo was registered in 2003.
In 2011, there were 4.5 million visitors, and by 2012 the park encompassed an area of 90 hectares, featuring eleven roller-coasters, five themed hotels with a turnover of close to EUR 300 million and more than 3,000 employees. In 2012, Roland Mack announced investments in excess of EUR 60 million, the largest yearly investment in the park's history. The total sum invested in the park is estimated at close to EUR 700 million.
On 3 June, 2017. Europa-Park opened the 'Voletarium' attraction. The attraction is the biggest flight motion simulator theatre in Europe. It features a queue line with multiple pre-show elements culminating in the main ride section: a film showcasing European landmarks which lasts for 5 minutes. The ride is the most expensive single ride investment to date at the park and also features catering outlets, a shop and toilet facilities in the plaza for the ride.
On 26 May, 2018, a blaze broke out at the park in a backstage area and quickly spread to the adjoining "The Pirates of Batavia" attraction. The ride is a dark, enclosed water ride that opened in 1987 and was built by MACK Rides. It is located in the "Netherlands" section of the park, which, along with the adjoining Scandinavian section was severely damaged. According to witnesses, flames were 15 metres (49 ft) high, with a plume of smoke rising even farther. The fire was seen from kilometres away. Initially, the park remained open except for the affected sections, but as flames spread, the entire park was evacuated without incident.
The park reopened on 27 May with the Pirates attraction, as well as the Scandinavia and Netherlands sections closed. The park said they hoped to be able reopen the Scandinavia section's Fjord Rafting ride soon.
Among other features, in 1990 the park installed a monorail system, the EP Express. It was partially extended in 2016 in order to provide additional space for development in 2017.
Europa-Park is home to five resort hotels. For guests on a lower budget, the resort also has a large Camp Resort, where guests can stay in a Tipi, Chuck Wagon or Log Cabin provided they bring their own sleeping bag. Camping and caravaning is also provided for, next to the Camp Resort.
Euro Dance Festival, located annually at Europa-Park since 2007, is best known for its wide range of music and dancing styles. These are Ballroom Dance, Argentine Tango, Swing Dance, Hip Hop and Breakdance. A combination of dancing classes and shows and a trade fair caters for the needs of both beginners and professionals including dance instructors and choreographers. Since its foundation it has taken place for four days every year in early spring.
Europa-Park host dozens of events throughout the summer season. The biggest of these include the Midsummer Party, when the theme park hosts a fireworks display and is open until midnight. Horror Nights takes place through October evenings and features a range of halloween horror mazes, rides and shows. For the last week of the main season, the park hosts a daily firework show and music production.
During the main summer season, the park opens at 9:00 am and closes from 6:00 pm. Closing time is extended by up to 3 1/2 hours, depending on how busy the park is. This is usually the case on weekends and holiday periods. The park opens selected rides 30 minutes early for hotel guests.
Europa-Park has opened for winter since 2001, and it is widely believed the park will gradually extend opening so that it is opened year round. A small number of rides, including Silver Star are closed in winter due to the weather, although from the 2012–2013 winter season, Blue Fire was added to available attractions – so long as weather permits. Wodan was also added from the 2014–2015 winter season. Such a philosophy of only operating certain rides during winter is commonplace amongst most theme parks in Europe, as temperatures can often dip below freezing. Most water rides are also closed, including Poseidon, Fjord Rafting, Tirol Log Flume and Atlantica Super Splash. The park does compensate for the loss of these rides however, with additional experiences such as the Bellevue Observation Wheel, Snow Tubing and Skiing. Show times are also extended and the park is fully decorated.
During the winter season, the park opens at 11:00 am and closes at 7:00 pm. The park opens selected rides 1 hour early for hotel guests. Although the park does extend closing time if it's busy, this doesn't happen as often in the winter seasons, partly due to low temperatures in the evening.
|Alpenexpress Enzian||1984||Mack Rides||Austria||Mine train, powered coaster|
|Swiss Bob Run||1985||Mack Rides||Switzerland||Bobsled coaster|
|Euro-Mir||1997||Mack Rides||Russia||Spinning coaster|
|Matterhorn Blitz||1999||Mack Rides||Switzerland||Wild mouse|
|Water Rollercoaster Poseidon||2000||Mack Rides||Greece||Water coaster|
|Silver Star||2002||Bolliger & Mabillard||France||Hypercoaster|
|Atlantica SuperSplash||2005||Mack Rides||Portugal||Water coaster|
|Pegasus - The YoungStar Coaster||2006||Mack Rides||Greece||Family coaster|
|Blue Fire Megacoaster powered by GAZPROM||2009||Mack Rides||Iceland||Launched coaster|
|Wodan Timbur Coaster||2012||Great Coasters International||Iceland||Wooden coaster|
|ARTHUR||2014||Mack Rides||ARTHUR - In the Minimoys Kingdom||Inverted, spinning, powered coaster|
|Ba-a-a Express||2016||Mack Rides||Ireland – Children's World||Kiddie coaster|
|Eurosat - CanCan Coaster||2018||Mack Rides||France||Indoor coaster|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Europa-Park.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Europa Park.|
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