A Day at Kolmården Wildlife Park in Sweden.

A Day at Kolmården Wildlife Park in Sweden.

Kolmården Wildlife Park is a large zoo in Sweden that opened an incredible wooden roller coaster last year.  Paradoxically, the park boasts 370 acres of property, 600 animals from all over the world, and now three roller coasters.  It’s an unusual combination, but one that we enjoyed greatly.  Over 50 years old, Kolmården is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Scandinavia.  It’s located south of Stockholm near Norrköping and is home to the first Scandinavian dolphinarium, the worlds first cable car safari, and (currently) the fastest wooden roller coaster in Europe.

One month after we planned our trip to Kolmården, the European Coaster Club (ECC) happened to plan a nearly identical trip.  We were ECC members because the membership saved us money when visiting several theme parks throughout Europe.  Being able to join this trip was an added bonus to our membership – it meant that we’d get a behind the scenes tour and exclusive ride time on the new coaster after the park closed.

In this post I’ll share primarily about the parks new coaster, Wildfire, and the safari ride, but I’ll also include an overview of other park attractions and resources.

 

A Day at Kolmården Wildlife Park in Sweden.

 

Kolmården is an easy day trip from Stockholm, where we were staying, as the drive is only 140 km / 87 miles and absolutely gorgeous.  It was during this drive that I began to fall in love with Sweden.  I wanted to stop and admire every stretch of countryside and idyllic red home along the way.

We arrived as the park was opening on a surprisingly cold August morning.

 

Kolmården Entrance.

 

Wildfire.

 

Riding Wildfire was the ultimate purpose for our trip, so we headed for the coaster straightaway.  Although I did get distracted by views of Bråviken Bay – a beautiful stretch of water that I could gaze at for hours (if it wasn’t for the important coaster riding, of course).

 

Bråviken Bay from Kolmården Wildlife Park.

Bråviken Bay from Kolmården Wildlife Park.

 

We walked for about 30 minutes through the vast, hilly park before we finally arrived at the wooden monstrosity that is Wildfire.

 

Wildfire roller coaster at Kolmården.

 

Why is this roller coaster so special?  To start with, Wildfire has 12 air-time hills and three inversions.  It’s unusual for wooden coasters to turn upside down; this is made possible by incorporating steel rails into the design.  Wildfire currently holds the titles of fastest wooden coaster in Europe and second tallest wooden coaster in the world.  It is the first Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) coaster manufactured in Europe and it has been uniquely incorporated into the terrain of the park.

With all this in mind, we were so excited to hop on for our first ride.

 

Wildfire roller coaster at Kolmården.

 

The train climbed to a height of 180 ft. and then accelerated through a banked turn that made our heads spin with views of the gorgeous Swedish countryside.  The coaster quickly crested before it dropped 160 ft. at an 83˚ angle.

 

The first drop on Wildfire.

Note: you aren’t typically allowed to take pictures while riding – this was a perk of the coaster club event.

The first drop on Wildfire at Kolmården.

 

Throughout the two minute ride, we enjoyed a zero gravity inversion, two heartline rolls, quality airtime, and intensely banked turns.  The train reached speeds of 70 mph (110 km/h) throughout its twisting journey, and at times I could hardly keep up as the coaster raced through different elements.  I had to ride it several times before I could grasp much of the layout.

This coaster certainly deserves superlatives such as out of this world and crazy awesome.  Of course, you don’t have to take my word for how much fun this ride is, you can see for yourself by watching our on-ride video here or watching a standard POV here.

 

The first drop on Wildfire at Kolmården.

 

I enjoyed this coaster to the point where I would ride as much as I could physically handle.  In fact, I got the chance to do exactly that in the evening as the ECC had arranged for exclusive ride time (ERT).  I rode Wildfire 10 times during the one hour of ERT, chatting with other enthusiasts and frequently not changing seats between rides.  While this caused me pain later, it was a once in a lifetime experience that I wasn’t going to turn down.

After the ERT we were given a behind the scenes tour of the coaster accompanied by RMC employees.

 

Behind the scenes tour of Wildfire at Kolmården.

Track of Wildfire at Kolmården.

One happy coaster enthusiast during our behind the scenes tour of Wildfire at Kolmården.

Wildfire at Kolmården.

 

Our day at Kolmården started and ended with Wildfire and we came to know this wonderful coaster on a deeper level than most we’ve ridden.  Unfortunately, Wildfire was shut down shortly after our visit and there were rumors of demolishing the 110 million SEK (12.5 million USD) investment.  There had been objections from environmentalists throughout the construction process; many complaints focused on the noise from the coaster and how it might harm the animals at the zoo.  For some reason the original building permit for Wildfire was later retracted by the government – after the coaster was completed and had been operating for several months.  Coaster enthusiasts raced to sign petitions to keep the coaster and fretted about the potential outcome.  Recently, news surfaced that Wildfire may finally be in the clear.

We certainly hope that this coaster doesn’t suffer any misfortunes, especially as the noise levels weren’t overwhelming and the nearby wildlife seemed fine during our visit.  Furthermore, the park is only open from April – October, giving the animals a break during the winter (and every night during the season).

 

Delfinexpressen & Godiståget.

 

The other two roller coasters at Kolmården are much calmer.  Godiståget, Swedish for “Candy Train”, is a small coaster located in the kiddie section of the park.

 

Godiståget coaster at Kolmården Wildlife Park.

 

We enjoyed riding this colorful kid coaster.  The kids loved it too, waving and yelling throughout the short ride.  It was a great family experience.  The kids section of the park was pretty expansive and seemed very popular, I would absolutely recommend it for people with younger kids.

The other coaster, Delfinexpressen, is a dolphin themed ride located next to Wildfire.  The front and back of the coaster is a dolphin, and this low intensity ride certainly fits in well with Kolmården’s dolphin show, dolphinarium, and overall love of dolphins.  I didn’t manage to get any photos of this coaster but you can see what it looks like here.

 

The Safari.

 

The safari area of the park was originally a drive through attraction.  In 2011 the park instead opened a cable car system that drops quite low to the ground throughout the ride, giving you a chance to experience wild animals in surprisingly close quarters while remaining safe.  It’s very well done and turned out to be one of my all-time favorite wildlife experiences.

 

Safari cable car ride at Kolmården.

 

I was quite happy when we got a gondola all to ourselves for this ride.  We could have easily been paired with another couple or family, but perhaps the attendant chose not to since we asked if the audio guide had English (it did).

The first section of the safari goes past the length of Wildfire, which was of course thrilling for us.

 

Wildfire viewed from the safari ride at Kolmården.

 

The gondolas are open air, which really makes you feel like you’ve stepped into the animals’ home.  As we glided along we saw a brown bear roaming, giraffes eating, antelope running together, and a moose bathing.  The animals completely disregarded our presence and seemed very comfortable.  The lions were especially sleepy when we drifted above them.

 

Sleeping lions during the safari ride.

 

The ride twists and turns, going through five different themed areas: the highland, forest of the bears, savannah, Scandinavian forest, and valley of the lions.  It’s a wonderful experience that I’m labeling as a must-do, in fact I would not want to visit the park if this attraction was closed for maintenance.

 

Mr. Meena on the safari ride at Kolmården.

 

Other attractions.

 

What I’ve covered so far hardly scratches the surface of all that Kolmården has to offer.  It was hard to keep track of all the animals we saw in the park – and we only saw a few as we were focusing on Wildfire.  I do remember a lemur exhibit, an elephant home, and a tunnel in Tiger World where you can get alarmingly close to the big cats.  The overall park experience is educational thanks to the informative displays in different areas (most with English translations) and demonstrations by park staff (these seem to be primarily in Swedish).

The parks puts on two shows, the Dolphin Show “Life” and the Birds of Prey Show “Wings”.  There are two areas, “The World of Bamse” and “Marine World”, created specifically for kids to enjoy.  We observed lots of families with small children on the small rides and in play areas, shops and food courts.   I was very worn out from how far we walked inside the park and I can imagine small children would need a stroller or one of the wagons available for rent.

The zoo is so large you could easily spend two days seeing everything.  If you want to have multiple days you can chose from two options for staying at the park.   One is the Vildmarkshotellet hotel that comes with a private park entrance and two day pass plus child friendly activities and a spa.  The other option, the Safari Camp, is quite the opposite experience as you stay in an African-style tent village inside the Safari area.  Both sound remarkable and I’d love to try one on another visit.

 

Cost.

 

We received free admission thanks to the ECC, but the one day pass currently costs 429 SEK / 49 USD for an adult and 379 SEK / 43 USD for a child (depending on the conversion rate, of course).  We spent approximately 176 SEK / 20 USD on a small lunch, a snack, and water at the park.

Fortunately, the admission fee covers all the attractions.  This is not always the case at parks and having to pay extra for experiences is a pet peeve of mine (specifically on our recent trip to Busch Gardens).

 

Resources.

 

Kolmården Wildlife Park Website (English): http://www.kolmarden.com/sprak/english

Parks and Resorts Scandinavia: http://www.parksandresorts.com/English/

Wildfire Site: http://wildfire.kolmarden.com/

You can also follow the park on Instagram here or follow their Wildfire account here.  I’ve found that following places on Instagram before I visit them helps me to plan my trip and be more excited about it.  Also, the photos of Wildfire are gorgeous.

 

We are still so impressed by this structure 😊 #wildfirekolmarden

A photo posted by Wildfirekolmarden (@wildfirekolmarden) on

 

Tack (thank you in Swedish) for reading!

Tack (thank you in Swedish) for reading!

 

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A Day at Kolmården Wildlife Park in Sweden.

 

This post is linked up with The Weekly PostcardWeekend Wanderlust, Wanderful Wednesday (with hosts Isabel, Marcella, Van, and Lauren), Farway FilesFly Away Friday, and Feet Do Travel:

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58 thoughts on “A Day at Kolmården Wildlife Park in Sweden.

  1. I used to be such an amusement park fanatic growing up and even had a season pass to Disneyland but since moving to Germany I just haven't felt the need or desire to really go to one. Sometimes I think it would be fun to go to Europa Park though. I didn't realize that Sweden had their own amusement park, but then why wouldn't they? #TheWeeklyPostcard

  2. I just came back from Sweden but didn't know anything about this theme park. I would have liked to visit it. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  3. I had no idea that this park existed. Wow that roller coaster sounds pretty intense! Not sure I could get my courage up to do it, but the animal attractions sound really interesting. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

  4. Uh oh! I can't believe what I read. You rode the coaster 10 times? Wow! I got nervous just reading that. The facts about the coasters are interesting. I am glad European countries offer these kind of thrill for those interested on them. #WeekendWanderlust

    1. I sure did! The coaster isn’t that intimidating as far as they go, don’t worry. I’m glad there are plenty of coasters around too.

  5. This Kolmården park looks so awesome…
    Can´t believe I´ve missed it when in Stockholm! A great idea for a day-trip!

  6. Combining roller coasters with a zoo is kinda strange but it seems like you had a great time. I'm not the biggest roller coaster fan so don't know if I could do a solid hour like you did but seems perfect for enthusiasts. The surrounding countryside looks quite nice so its cool you got to take in some views too. #WeekendWanderlust

  7. Wow! That rollercoaster is amazing! I love the gondola over the animals – that would be so cool. I have never heard of this place – but maybe a summer road trip from Copenhagen is order! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

  8. That rollercoaster is incredible. I am in awe that you went on it once let alone 10 times but I am such a scaredy cat. The Candy Train is more my thing. We're planning a trip to Sweden this year so I have bookmarked. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  9. I'm not into roller coasters much but I would love the safari attraction. And I know my kids would love it too. They're both fascinated by animals. #FlyAwayFriday

    1. That’s okay, there’s other fun stuff to do! You’d be surprised how many people hate or are scared of roller coasters. Being married to a coaster fanatic myself, the subject comes up often.

  10. I don't think I could have gone on that rollercoaster once, let alone ten times (!) but I really like the idea of a cable car over the wildlife park. I'd love to go to Sweden so even the drive to Kolmarden would be a thrill for me. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

  11. The whole park sounds pretty cool, I love roller coasters and would love to give it a try when I make it to Sweden at some point. I have never been on a wooden coast that goes upside down, I didn't even know they could!

    1. There are very few of them! Another one is Goliath at the Six Flags Great America Park near Chicago. Hope you get to visit Sweden!

  12. I absolutely love roller coasters and I aways visit theme parks while travelling. You took some great shots (some of them are really close to the track) and I'm guessing things are more relaxed in Sweden. Most of the wooden roller coasters I've been on were old so it's nice to see them still being made

    1. Thanks Barry! I was able to get close because we were given a behind the scenes tour of the coaster. There are some really neat advancements in wooden roller coaster technology – I’m glad they are still making them too!

  13. Wow that looks a scary rollercoaster, unfortunately as we have got older we can't do these anymore lol! Looks a great day our for the brave! #feetdotravel

  14. I have to be honest and admit that I will chose the Candy one as the one that drops at 83 degrees freaks me out. I love your pictures, especially the ones with the roller coaster. Seems a great place to visit, I will give it a try next time when I am in Sweden.

  15. I love the idea of so many interesting attractions in one place. While I am not into rollercoasters or amusement parks, the gondola ride sounds amazing and is a unique way to see wildlife. I would also to take a boat out to Braviken Bay and explore the islands I can spot in the distance. Awesome that you got a great rate because of the membership too! Thanks for sharing as I haven't heard of this place before

    1. Yes the gondola ride was one of my best travel experiences. The Bay is so beautiful – a boat ride there would be a great idea!

  16. Wow, you love your roller coasters don't you 😀 I am such a scaredy-cat I wouldn't even dare go on it once let alone multiple times like you lol but my husband would, he would be running around doing it again and again 😀 With regard to the "zoo", I don't actually like zoo's but I would class this as one to be honest with you, it definitely looks more like a safari park and I love the gondolas you travelled around in, that would be amazing! Thank you for sharing this place, I hadn't heard of it before and it's an interesting combination of wildlife and wild-rollercoasters 😀 #feetdotravel

    1. Thanks! It didn’t feel like a traditional zoo, safari park certainly sounds more accurate. Glad you liked it! 🙂

  17. This looks like a pretty cool place to visit. I love gondola rides. You took some great pictures too! Rollercoaster looks fun I would probably try it, maybe not 10 times though! Glad you enjoyed your visit.

  18. Such a unique amusement park. Never seen a ride with a safari before. We really love roller coasters. Can't wait to visit! #feetdotravel

  19. I used to love roller coasters but now I won't go on if I am paid! That one looks epic though!! I definitely would have gone on there though not sure I would have done it 10 times!! #feetdotravel

  20. That roller coaster looks insane! I've only ever seen one other wooden roller coaster in South Florida before but it has since been torn down. I always thought it looked unstable. I'm not sure how much I trust ginormous wooden roller coasters lol. Admission to the park isn't too expensive – something us budget travelers take seriously.

    1. I understand your concerns, I’ve been on some older wooden coasters that were a bit terrifying. This one has steel track though, so that should be at least a little bit comforting. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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