Tuesday, March 3

Mini Europe

2008 was a huge year for Mini Europe. The park added the Széchenyi Baths of Budapest, the Magdeburg (Germany) Millenium Tower, Bulgaria's Rila Monastery, and Slovinia's three bridges of Ljubljana. They also purchased a replica of an Air France Airbus A380 from a well-regarded hobby store across the street from the Gravenstein Castle in Gent (Belgium).

For only 12€90 guests can "discover Europe's nicest places" with 300 models celebrating the landmarks of 27 countries. No other theme park in Brussels can boast that! Although nothing in the park is accompanied by holes of put-put golf, many of the mini-monuments have animatronics, used to emulate the real-life movement of the site. There's even a rotating ferris wheel - but you're too big to ride it! For some famous places, with a just a press of a button, visitors can watch a reenactment of a historical event, illustrating its importance and EU symbolism from a hawk's eye-view. Watch now as Mini Europe relives the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The mascot of Mini Europe is an orange turtle who poses as a young traveler, his only home attached to his back. He is your guide to uncovering the Mystére à Mini Europa. And as your navigator, the turtle will be sure to bring you to Austria's Melk Abby, Stokholm's City Hall, and the Monument to Fallen Shipyard Workers in Gdańsk (Poland). He'll teach you the French national anthem for the sing-along in front of the mini Eiffel Tower and keep you posted on which mini-monuments you're allowed to touch (hug). You won't miss the mini Acropolis or the mini-Big Ben, but most of your time will probably be spent in the Mini Belgium area, which features the park's most expensive model: the Grand Palace of Brussels, whose production cost about 350,000€ in parts and labor.

My only qualm with the theme park is the low mini-representation of Romania, i.e. no Transylvania to be found. Should one be unveiled in 2009-10, I will do my best to reach the ribbon-cutting.

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