Shanghai’s newest amusement park, which opened in 2009, is also the closest thing around to a standard Western theme park, with polished services and a good range of rides. After you walk past row upon row of fast-food restaurants and novelty shops, you’ll get to the lake. Take a right and head straight for the rickety ‘Wooden Coaster Fireball’, China’s first wooden rollercoaster. There aren’t many sharp turns and there isn’t a corkscrew in sight, but with more than a kilometre of track, the 25-minute queue is just about worthwhile. Walk further around the lake and ?you’ll get to ‘Shanghai Beach’ – the best of the park’s seven themed areas, and where the scariest rides are located.
Here, you’ll be able to ride the ‘Diving Coaster’ and the ‘Gyro Swing’, where riders sit with legs dangling as the ride gyrates from side to side. Nearby, the replica Paramount theatre, called the ‘Four Senses Theatre’, shows the 4D film Haunted Lighthouse. The film stars Christopher Lloyd, the eye-popping doctor from Back to the Future. Take cover when he spits or your forehead will be sprayed with water. Also beware of the excessive use of the smoke machines, which quickly becomes an annoyance rather than a fun quirk.
One of Happy Valley’s stand-out rides is the log flume. The ride takes you past artificial canyons, flowers and caves before hurtling 26 metres downwards, causing 5-metre high splashes – by far the largest we’ve seen from any water ride. There’s also plenty to keep the kids amused. The ‘Ant Kingdom’ has over 15 different rides including spinning tea cups and saucers, train rides and mini roller coasters. There’s also a boat ride where you shoot water at other riders or at innocent passers-by.
A free shuttle bus is available from Sheshan metro station to the park.
Cost: 200RMB; 120RMB for children between 1.2-1.4m tall; males over 70, females over 65 and children under 1.2m tall can enter for free.