Tivoli Gardens, the fairytale amusement park in the center of Copenhagen, certainly isn’t Disney World. It’s not even Disneyland Paris. Founded in 1843, it’s decidedly old fashioned and Old World. This is the Copenhagen of Hans Christian Andersen, not Arne Jacobsen. And that’s what makes it ooze with charm.
Tivoli Gardens is whimsical, sweet and in a bit of a time warp. It’s always been a stronghold of Copenhagen life, and was occupied by the Nazis during World War II because they knew how important it was to the Danes. Tivoli isn’t huge, but it’s big enough to get lost in and large enough to warrant a trolley. We didn’t ride on the trolley, but it adds to the atmosphere of Tivoli being its own little world. But again, it’s no Disney World.
There are rides for little kids and rides for big kids. There are some serious rollercoasters, none of which I even considered trying. I’m a big kid who’s a big wimp, so the Hans Christian Andersen ride was just perfect for the toddler and me. Excellent bonus for traveling with an 18-month-old! It was like a small-scale Danish version of Disney’s “Small World.”
There’s a lake in the middle of Tivoli, and you can drive little boats around it as one of the rides. We did that too. This was in a Chinese-themed section — there are different themes throughout Tivoli. It was so nice to go boating on that warm-ish July day in 2012. You only get a few minutes out there for your tickets, but it was worth it.
The lake at Tivoli Gardens makes the whole setting very relaxing and picturesque. There are several restaurants along the lake. And Tivoli Gardens really lives up to the “gardens” part, as there are a lot of flowers and trees. Many locals just come to stroll around and don’t go on any of the rides. There’s also a wonderful playground (with an instruments section) that doesn’t require any tickets.
It’s also a popular place to go at night in the summer. Supposedly the whole place lights when it gets dark (quite late since it’s Denmark). It must really look like a fairytale then! It’s quite a sight to see and there are frequently concerts. We didn’t get a chance to go at night, but I hope to one day! Till then, I’ll be trying to figure out what this giant book says…