Old nuclear power plant transformed into a theme park and hotel
October 6, 2011
A disused nuclear power station in Germany has been converted into the Wunderland Kalkar amusement park, following the government's decision to abandon all nuclear energy plants. Wunderland Kalkar is most likely the first of many more creative conversions to come, with approximately fifteen more power plants to be be completely abandoned by the year 2022.
Formally the "Schneller Brüter," a cooperative venture between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, the plant was in construction from 1972 through 1991 at a cost of 4 billion Euro (US$5.3 billion). All that work was never put to use, however, due to political reasons. Since the nuclear power station has never been used, the whole complex is guaranteed free of radiation, but is filled with large ominous concrete landmarks.
The site was sold in 1991 to a Dutch investor who, leaving the reactor building in place, created Wunderland Kalkar. The proportions of the park are enormous - it takes up over 55 hectares/136 acres (the size of 80 football fields) and uses so many wires to power the the entire complex, the combined length could circle the entire globe twice! The concrete used to build the original plant alone could be used to construct a highway from Amsterdam to Maastricht (211 km or 131 miles).
Surrounded by gardens and water features, the theme park houses a 450-room hotel with several restaurants and bars. Recreation facilities on the site include a bowling alley, miniature golf, tennis courts, beach volleyball fields, an outdoor center with a unique dragster lane for karts and quads, and of course the amusement park with more than 40 attractions.
The landmark cooling tower has been fitted with a swing ride, and the outer walls are used as a climbing wall. Visitors are also invited to take a guided tour, to learn about the power plant.
Future plans for Wunderland Kalkar include the addition of a rooftop swimming pool, a wellness spa and an Energy-Discovery Park that will become the largest in Europe.