Small-Size Tourist Attractions
Mini Europe, Brussels, Belgium
Mini-Europe is a park located in Bruparck at the foot of the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium, which contains more than 300 of the continent’s most famous landmarks, most paid for by the country they represent.
Brussels is the de facto capital of the E.U. so we shouldn’t wonder why this type of theme park was built in this place. Mini-Europe has the reproductions of the most attractive monuments in the European Union on show, at a scale of 1:25 and approximately 80 cities and 350 buildings are represented.
The park is renowned for the quality of its models, some of which cost as much as €350,000, but also for its numerous live action models like the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, train, mills, Airbus, cable cars, a little Big Ben that chimes away, teeny gondolas that negotiate the waterways of little Venice, and at the end of the visit, the “Spirit of Europe” exhibition gives an interactive overview of the European Union in the form of multimedia games.
The park is built on an area of 24,000 m², the original investment in this park in 1989 being of €10 million; the inauguration of the park was made by Prince Philip of Belgium. Mini Europe is really a monument reminding us of peace and stability, because countries that play together stay together; while the park’s guides will give you all the necessary details you need to known about the showcased monuments.
Graceland Too, Holly Springs, Mississippi
Graceland Too is a ramshackle miniature version of Elvis Presley’s mansion, where megafan Paul McLeod turned his pink, two-story home into a shrine honoring the King of Rock’n’Roll. This house is located in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and those wishing to pay homage to Elvis could come here anytime of the year, at any hour.
The town’s assistant director of tourism, Suzann William, claims Paul McLeod is Holly Spring’s number one tourism attraction and inside the house you will find 185,000 square inches of carpet, which, according to McLeod, comes from the original Graceland; endless newspaper clippings, candy wrappers; 35,000 records; 25,000 CDs; clocks, phones, and other kitsch keepsakes all dedicated to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll; photos, figurines, and the list can go on.
Paul McLeod is renowned for his eccentricity and not only did he turned his house into a shrine dedicated to Elvis but he also gave the name of the King to his son, Elvis Aaron Presley McLeod, who left the building for New York City. We won’t be so rude in saying that maybe his leave had something to do with his father’s fanaticism.
Jeju Mini Mini Land is a spacious park featuring miniature versions of famous attractions from around the world, with over 116 architectural wonders and several UNESCO World Heritage sites from 50 different countries being represented in the park, like the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Bulguksa Temple, the Statue of Liberty, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, etc.
The park’s completion took over five years and all the original works found here are reproduced at 1/15 or 1/30 of their original size, being the first miniature park ever built in Korea. The park also features a sculpture of a gangly Gulliver tied down by an army of Lilliputians; full-scale sculptures of a pirate, SpongeBob SquarePants, and various dinosaurs; and a miniature Niagara Falls, which feeds into a pond housing the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Some other great attraction sites are located near the park, such as Manjanggul, Bijarim, Brazil Folk Performance Hall, Jeolmul Natural Recreation Forest, Jeju Stone Museum, Sangumburi, Myeongdoam Tourist Ranch, and the Seongeup Folk Village, but also several out-of-place locations, especially for this tiny Korean island, like a sex theme park, an exhibition in which dead bugs are used to create dioramas of famous historical events, and museums dedicated to chocolate and teddy bears.
Legoland California is a theme park located in Carlsbad, California, focused on Lego bricks and the third Legoland park to open outside of Europe. The theme park features a water park and is the only Legoland to feature a water park, being split into nine major sections which are The Beginning, Dino Island, Duplo, Village Green, Fun Town, Castle Hill, Miniland USA, Pirate Shores, Imagination Zone, and Land of Adventure.
Opened on March 20, 1999, this Legoland is like a six-year-old’s dream come true, while the water park was built during 2009 and opened in 2010.
Legoland features a Miniland, which is a reproduction of seven areas of the United States constructed with the help of 20 million pieces of Lego; a tiny Daytona Speedway, containing more than 2,000 miniature figures that crowd the racetrack and where the winning Lego driver gets sprayed from a Lego Champagne bottle; a scale model of Central Park with Lego people doing tai chi, sunbathing, and playing catch; a solar-powered mini Mississippi River boat; Lego New England farms; a Vegas strip, complete with a fun-size wedding chapel, monorail, and the iconic pirate battle outside the Treasure Island Casino; and a model Freedom Tower, the building that is currently being constructed at Ground Zero.
On the flip side are the areas of Legoland that make you feel mini, with full-size jungles, pirate ships, and castles that look like your childhood Lego creations come to life.
Mini Siam, Pattaya, Thailand
Pattaya is a city in Thailand, located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 165 km southeast of Bangkok, within but not part of Amphoe Bang Lamung (Banglamung) in the province of Chonburi.
This city is also home to a miniature model village, known as Mini Siam, which celebrates the heritages of Thailand with replicas of the most famous monuments and historical sites including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Democracy Monument, Bridge over the River Kwai, and Prasat Hin Phimai.
The park also features a Mini Europe where you’ll be greeted by two of Snow White’s dwarves, standing roughly as high as the nearby fun-size Arc de Triomphe, with models of the Tower Bridge of London, Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and Trevi Fountain, while Egypt’s Abu Simbel looms over England’s Tower Bridge next to the Sydney Opera House in a pond fed by Singapore’s famous Merlion statue.
Epcot’s World Showcase, Orlando, Florida
Epcot’s World Showcase contains 11 nation-themed pavilions spanning .3 miles along a lagoon and feature architecture inspired by countries including Mexico, Norway, China, and Morocco, while the pavilions for Australia, Russia, Spain, Venezuela, United Arab Emirates, and Israel never made it past the planning phase.
Even an Equatorial Africa pavilion, which would’ve featured a large African presentation film hosted by Alex Haley, was planned but was never built; instead, a small African themed refreshment stop stands in its place, while the plans for an African Pavilion soon been dropped after the opening of the an African-themed animal preserve and park, known as Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Epcot’s World Showcase is no mere collection of monument-al knockoffs since the represented countries actually countries come to life in themed restaurants, rides, movies, and performances by actual citizens. Of the eleven pavilions, Norway and Morocco were not present at the park’s opening, and were added later, and the only pavilion that is sponsored by the country it represents is Morocco.
The World Showcase usually opens two hours after park opening and remains open later than the Future World section of the park, however most major attractions in Future World including Test Track, Soarin’, Mission Space, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Spaceship Earth remain open until park close.
Bekonscot, Beaconsfield, England
Bekonscot in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, is the oldest original model village in the world, created by Beaconsfield resident, accountant Roland Callingham (1881–1961), in the 1920s, and portraying aspects of England mostly dating from the 1930s.
Bekonscot has been run by the Church Army since 1978 and donates large amounts of money to charity, but this site was not conceived as a commercial visitor attraction in the first place, but as a plaything to entertain Roland and his guests, mostly politicians and aristocrats who attended his popular countryside garden parties.
Roland developed the master plan for his miniature empire as an addition to his large back garden, drawing in help from his staff: the gardener, cook, maid and chauffeur. Together they developed the model landscape portraying rural England at the time, so the swimming pool became the first “sea” and the undulating rockeries were built up as hills.
Callingham named the village ‘Bekonscot’ after Beaconsfield and Ascot where he previously lived, creating an empire of mini buildings in his backyard; it was only after 1930 that this site’s existence became widely known, catching the imagination of the press and public alike
When the local schoolchildren got involved in helping with the construction of this complex of miniature villages, the well-known large-scale model railway manufacturers from Bassett-Lowke were also commissioned to build an extensive Gauge 1 railway network which exists to this day.
The park has a frozen-in-time vibe, giving visitors a slice of life in 1930s England and features 10 scale miles of train lines, a lake with sailing boats, 3,000 inhabitants, more than 200 buildings, and 1,000 animals, while the mini train that rides amid pint-size Arts and Crafts homes and country farmhouses feels like The Sims’ world come to life.
Today, frequent newsreels such as Pathe, international and national newspaper coverage ensure a steady stream of visitors, millions all year round, all of whom were invited to make a donation to the Railway Benevolent Institution.11