The World's Wackiest Theme Parks

by Colleen Clark

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai already feels like one big theme park—ski slopes in the desert, islands shaped like palm trees, laser light shows. But in its quest to have the world's biggest, tallest, most expensive everything, Dubai is planning a three-billion-square-foot mega–amusement park complex, containing individual parks with themes that range from dinosaurs and superheroes to Lego and Tiger Woods. Only parts of Dubailand have opened, but when it's complete (phases will roll out from 2010 onwards), you'll be able to snowboard on an indoor half-pipe, roam among animatronic dinosaurs near the world's largest mall (in City of Arabia, pictured), ride a roller coaster around a volcano, and stay in a hotel modeled after a cruise ship. The 607-foot Great Dubai Wheel will vie for the title of world's tallest Ferris wheel. Aqua Dunia water park will put SeaWorld to shame. Poor Beijing World Park will have to compete with the Falcon City of Wonders, whose large replicas of the Hanging Gardens of ancient Babylon, the Taj Mahal, and the Great Wall of China will double as hotels, malls, and apartments. If this is the future of theme parks, can a Mickey-shaped island be far behind?

Next: More weird and wonderful ways to vacation ›

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