Having done 2 big parks it was time to visit some of the smaller ones, and this is one reason why I like the ECC club trips. The bigger parks draw tourists, the smaller parks draw locals, so you get closer to the real country in doing these.
First up Zhongshan Park in the west Shenzhen suburbs. "Shan" I knew translated to "mountain"; "Zhong" I subsequently found out translates to "Central". In my Google Earth park research I have come across many Zhongshan parks and now I know what it means.
The entrance to the park has a cool sculpture that I've seen before, often in Communist countries. The guy is Sun Yat-sen, given the title of "Father of the Nation", a founding father of the Chinese Republic. So a pretty important guy in Chinese history. This one looks like it celebrates the country's might and looking glum.
In China during Summer it is both hot and humid and drinking water is essential. If you're not drinking it you should be looking for it and a lot of my daily expense went on liquids. Don't try to be tight here, sunstroke isn't pretty.
The park has lots of cool trees including Banyans. Now if you're a kid who grew up in the 80s you'll appreciate that this one was much easier to get through and wasn't subject to bugs.
A varied collection of rides can be found in the south-east corner of the park, a selection that we would see over and over again as we travelled through the country.
The park is free to enter, you just have to purchase tickets for the rides you're interested in. When travelling alone the best way to overcome the language barrier is simply to take a photo of the ride you want to ride and show the staff your camera screen whilst holding up the number of fingers to indicate quantity. If you're in a big group like we were then a translator is probably better unless you have mutant hands.
First coaster was a spinning mouse with a back-to-back seating arrangement. These are the most common style of this ride in China and they're really safe because you have to wear a seat belt, then have the seat restraint locked in, and then that's chained to prevent it popping open.
A lot of the rides were clearly aimed at littler kids than us. The tagada, which is run slightly different to the UK, would give us much fun later on in the trip.
The disk-o is a ride that is popping up everywhere in China. If the criteria for "what's a coaster" was ever changed to include these, a short trip to China would easily boost the counts. They're easier to find than cashpoints.
The second coaster was a powered dragon, which followed a large oval layout. The dragon symbolism obviously makes these coasters easy additions to the park.
Dragon theming was also used in this, their rather lengthy haunted walk through.
A group of us feel bold enough to venture inside. Haunted walkthroughs differ so much from country to country and are often locally made, making them a great attraction to get a unique view of the attractions in that country.
Kat gets spooked by a twat screaming right behind her then taking a photo...*whistles*
The pretty entrance to the park is actually at the opposite end that we came in from, you just can't get coaches to it.
I liked the pilot on this toddler ride. Thunderbirds are go!
The wheel offers a nice view over the city and a decent aerial shot of the mouse coaster which I'm quite sure everyone took. Check the big wheels before you ride, some are sealed metal boxes with no open windows which just serve as saunas that you can't escape from.
Kat poses in a spin ride that she was too big to ride. I was too big for the gyroscope ride behind her. Being adult sucks sometimes!
We finished our brief visit with a quick go on their velocipede ride which was pretty good because you didn't need to pedal if you didn't want to.
One thing we saw throughout our trip were young couple having photos taken in scenic locations. There seems to be an entire industry for the taking of these romantic couple photos. This was our first with a couple using the park for their backdrop.
As well as being a great open space Zhongshan park is also famous for the lychees that grow here and people pull them down and sell them. They were quite tasty!