Lithuania is not a country that I'd have ever contemplated visiting prior to becoming an obsessive coaster enthusiast. Be that as it may, for this trip I'd allocated a full day to explore the capital city of Vilnius, since the amusement park would likely be a one hour stop at best. Unfortunately, the fine people at LOT decided to alter my itinerary at two weeks notice by cancelling my planned flight in favour of one operating some fourteen hours later. The net effect of this change was to give me five hours for my first visit to a new country, just long enough for a quick stop at a park and some car window sightseeing. Perhaps I'll be back some day.
4th July 2010
Vaikų Pasaulis is located roughly half way between Kaunas and Vilnius on the A1 motorway, a distance of fifty kilometers that takes the better part of an hour to cover. There were practically no cars on the road today, with the only delays coming from the relatively low motorway speed limit of one hundred kilometers per hour. Finding the park without GPS coordinates would likely prove an impossible challenge, thanks to a complete absence of signage anywhere. The only hint of an amusement park is the top section of a dilapidated ferris wheel visible behind the Elektrenai city police station.
Given the lack of advertising it was no surprise to find almost nobody in the park; there were no more than ten other guests. The park has twelve rides, but the only one of real significance is a classic Jet Star 2 (#1531). It was hard for us to see how this machine could cover its running costs, but perhaps it was acquired for a bargain price. Whatever the case, the ride is vintage Schwarzkopf, a truly superb coaster preserved in the surroundings of a park that can only really be called ghetto. Only one car remains, though today that was a long way from being a problem!
We decided to brave the giant wheel to get an aerial overview of the various rides. Though it presents a rather scary appearance from a distance, graffiti all over the plinth hardly inspiring confidence, the structure itself seems reasonably solid. However, a complete lack of any barrier round the edges means that guests should remain seated if they wish to remain in this world!