TPJThemeParkJames

ECC Turkey Tour

Day 4: Ankara City Parks

A morning of avoiding getting run over, followed by a visit to a Wacky Worm factory and a madcap race to three city amusement parks ...

Tuesday 18th September 2018

Hotel

Our hotel was inside Ankara's impressive new train station building

Station

Tuesday morning was officially free time, but a large group of us took an optional visit to the site of Ankapark

Station

The park was a few stations down the line from central Ankara - Faruk kindly helped buy the train tickets for us

Train

It didn't take too long for the train to arrive

Walk

We began our walk in search of the park

Ankapark

I spy a big wheel and a rollercoaster!

Ankapark

The story of Ankapark is bizarre - the theme park was initially announced in 2013 and the 27th mayor of Ankara championed construction. Following a series of political wranglings and after spending billions of Lira on the project, the park had yet to open when we went to see it.

Motorway

Casually walking along the side of a motorway, as you do.

Ankapark

The giant park is laid out over 1.3 million square metres of land - it's over a mile from one side of the park to the other!

Ankapark Intamin

The park contains an incredible seventeen rollercoasters, including an Intamin ten inversion coaster similar to Colossus at Thorpe Park

Ankapark Intamin

Sitting unopened in the Turkish sunshine

Ankapark

All we could do was look over the fence

Ankapark

Ankapark is mainly finished, and being maintained in the hope that it will open someday

Ankapark

Mainly finished

Ankapark Entrance

This is Ankapark's main entrance gateway

Ankapark

A couple of days after our visit, it was announced that an operator had been found and the park would be opened in 2019, leased to GBM Ticaret-Çelik for 29 years.

Back

It was time to head back to the station

Escalator

We caught the train back into the city centre

Ankara Station

This is the shiny inside of Ankara's new railway station

Simit Sarayı

Ben and I opted to get some traditional Turkish treats for lunch from Simit Sarayı

Simit

We ate delicious Simit (ring shaped bread covered in sesame seeds), stuffed crispy rolls and pastries

Ankara

After lunch we all met back on the coaches ready for an afternoon visiting some of Ankara's smaller parks

Coach

Before those though, we had a surprise first stop ...

Factory

... a Wacky Worm factory!

Guven Lunapark Factory

We were warmly welcomed into Guven Lunapark's workshops

Guven Lunapark Factory

Work in progress

Sambaa Balloon

We even got to try out one of the rides setup in the factory!

Guven Lunapark Factory

Getting ready for a spin on the Sambaa Balloon

Sambaa Balloon

The ride was being tested before being sent out to its new owners in the UK (unfortunately none of us!)

Sambaa Balloon

Of course we all wanted a go ... only to make sure it was properly tested, you understand

Wacky Worm

There was a Wacky Worm loaded onto a trailer ready to be shipped out

Wacky Worm

Guven Lunapark manufacture around fifteen rollercoasters each year

Guven

Taner, the big boss at the factory, proudly showed us the big wheel they were building

Wheel

A few brave souls gave it a try

Güven Lunapark

The factory also owns a small luna park, Güven Lunapark, next door

Güven Lunapark Crocodile

There was a small Wacky Worm style rollercoaster called Crocodile

Crocodile

The coaster featured a giant crocodile head at the front

Coaster

It was a major milestone coaster for Bruno and Daniel!

Güven Lunapark

There was a great pirate ship

Güven Lunapark

We also had some fun on the dodgems

Zebra

Midas tried to board a zebra instead of the coach

Geese

It was time to leave and make our way to the next park

Goksu Park

Göksu Park is a large public park in north west Ankara

Goksu Park

We made our way through the beautifully landscaped grounds

Goksu Park

We were there to ride Dağ Kizaği, Göksu Park's alpine coaster

Goksu Park

The lineup

Goksu Park

It isn't often you get to ride an alpine coaster in the blazing heat right in the middle of a city!

Alpine coaster

Unfortunately the gently sloping hillside didn't lend itself to a particularly fast ride, but it was fun nonetheless

Goksu Park

Indeed, some of our group pushed the speed to the limit ... Mary and Darren forgot to brake at the end and went crashing into an empty sledge in front, causing a member of staff to be rapidly dispatched to the end of the ride to ensure everyone else slowed down, preventing the smell of burning rubber wafting over too much of Ankara!

Goksu Park

We took the opportunity to get some food at one of the little restaurants in the park before leaving. There was some confusion over orders, with burgers seeming to appear no matter what had been selected from the menu, but it didn't really matter. The ride op from Dağ Kizaği also came over for a chat - unfortunately he didn't speak any English and we didn't speak any Turkish, but we managed quite well using our phones and Google Translate!

Station

We seemed to pass the station and our hotel inbetween every stop on our tour that day - sometimes multiple times! Tour guide Faruk joined in with the hilarity of the situation, announcing it every time we passed and jokingly offering the group the opportunity to get off the coach!

50th Year Park

The next park on our schedule was 50th Year Park

50th Year Park

Unfortunately the park had closed for the season just one day before. It's almost impossible to know when the small luna parks will close, as they are largely governed by the local schools reopening after the summer holidays, and there's often no information on their websites. None of the group seemed to really mind though!

Ankara rush hour

It at least gave us more time to battle through Ankara's insane rush hour traffic

Gençlik Parki

Our last stop of the day lay within Gençlik Parki

Gençlik Parki

The park looked very attractive with its nighttime lights

Ankara Luna Park

Inside was Ankara Luna Park

Ankara Luna Park

There was a short wait while tickets were sorted out, which gave us time to appreciate the park's lighting packages

Ankara Luna Park

We were expecting there to be three rollercoasters at the park, but unfortunately we found that one had been removed a few years previously and one, a Mack Powered Coaster, was in a section of the park which had closed for the season the previous week.

Ankara Luna Park

This left one coaster to ride, but there was a long line of coaster enthusiasts waiting in the queue so we opted to try the park's Treno Fantasma ghost train first

Ankara Luna Park

We weren't the only ones!

Ankara Luna Park

Similar to many dark rides in Turkey, there were a lot of long dark corridors and not many scares, although this one did have a spiral lift. The highlight was probably the unnerving clanking noises that accompanied the cars' descent between levels!

Ankara Luna Park

The observation wheel gave some nice night time views over the city

Ankara Luna Park

Oh look, there's Ankara train station again!

Ankara Luna Park

It was time for a ride on Galaxi, Ankara Luna Park's SDC Galaxi rollercoaster - one of few left in the world

Ankara Luna Park

Galaxi proved to be a superb ride

Ankara Luna Park

We wearily returned to the coach for the short ride around the corner back to the hotel - it had been a very busy, fun and tiring day and it was definitely time for some sleep!