There are a couple of sites that are considered to be the symbols of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and an amusement park near Chernobyl is certainly one of them. It was a typical Ukrainian amusement park with quite typical attractions: swing boats (Russian swings), paratrooper ride, bumpers cars, shooting game, and the Ferris wheel.
Why did this typical place, designed for people to have fun, turn into one of the most dangerous places for people on the whole planet?
Chernobyl Amusement Park
The town of Pripyat, the closest populated center to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, was a young town: it was only 16 years old when the explosion happened. Like any other prosperous town in the Soviet Union, it was supposed to have its own amusement park.
Amusement Park Pripyat Ukraine
The construction of the site began two years prior to the Chernobyl explosion, in the summer of 1984. The opening ceremony was supposed to take place on the 1st of May 1986, but this has never really happened.
The playing field is located in the center of Pripyat. All residents, especially kids, saw the construction of the attractions every day and wanted to play there. However, the attractions didn’t perform even one official ride.
Abandoned Amusement Park Chernobyl
The official statement has it that the spot was never opened, and it is true. However, there have been two occasions when the attractions were under operation.
Before opening any attraction site, testing is supposed to take place. It is free for those who are at the spot at the time of the test, but only the lucky few can have the chance to take a ride. That is what happened with the amusement park in Pripyat.
In March 1986, the test of the attractions was scheduled, and many people came to watch it. There were videos taken during the trial rides. When people saw the videos, they started to debunk the myth of the attractions that were never put into use. The Chernobyl explorers quickly explained the situation: people on the video were wearing winter clothes; only one ride for each attraction was allowed; the Chernobyl nuclear power was not exploded.
Tourists from Poland, 2017
The second time when the spot was operating was in 2017. However, only the Ferris wheel was used at that time, and no one took the ride. Tourists from Poland managed to launch the Ferris wheel without electricity, completely on their own. They posted the video on YouTube with this performance.
The method of launching the Ferris wheel is unknown, but the most logical assumption is that many people were pushing the cabins at the same time. Even though the tourists reported no traumas, the activists wanted to file a complaint because they believe it was a great danger to behave with the attraction part this way: if the wheel had fallen, everyone would have been dead.
Chernobyl Amusement Park Before and After
However, the crush of the wheel is not the only danger these tourists were facing. In general, the amusement park looks almost the same as it looked before the disaster. Abundant greenery, corrosion, and desolation are the only things that show the difference.
There is also another difference that we cannot see, but it is very dangerous for everyone: the radiation. Pripyat amusement park is one of the most radioactive spots in the whole exclusion zone. Tourists are not normally allowed to go near the attractions. The metal constructions soaked up the amount of radiation that may kill a hundred of people.
If you want to see the amusement park before visiting the exclusion zone, there are many films you can watch. Here are the best ones.
Movies About the Exclusion Zone
- Chernobyl, 2019
- Butterflies, 2013
- Life after people, 2008
- Forbidden Zone, 2012
- Chernobyl. Exclusion Zone, 2014
For those who are interested in exploring the exclusion zone in general and the amusement park in particular, there are three computer games with realistic graphics. The data presented in the games are accurate, so you can trust what you see there.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R .: Shadow of Chernobyl
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
If you want to see this unique amusement park, you should book a tour to the Chernobyl exclusion zone with us!