Kolmården Wildlife Park opened for the season about a week ago and we will probably head there a few times this year. After all, we purchased season tickets for me, Little A, and my mother. Susann’s interest is limited, so we will see if she joins once or twice. Now during Easter, there has been a special event in the park for the holiday. This means quite a few visitors in a park that is still waking up from the winter hibernation.
Easter at Kolmården Wildlife Park
Easter at Kolmården Wildlife Park is an early start of the park’s season. While many animals are still waking up and getting prepared to go out, there are a lot of activities going on in the different play areas for kids. One of the main symbols for the park is Bams, a Swedish cartoon, and the world’s strongest bear. It is Bamse and his imaginary world that is at the center of the kid’s play areas in the park. It is also around these play areas that the Easter event mainly took place.
At Lille Skutt‘s carrot lands the Easter Rabit was visiting and the witches were gathering at Häxköping, the witch market town. Needless to say, the park was filled with families and small children. Well, that kind of also included us. Little A and I visited the park on Easter Sunday together with my mother.
The Brown Bears
The brown bear is one of the majestic animals of the Nordic forests. The bear can be found in many areas of Sweden and has become a symbol for a few of these regions. At Kolmården, visitors can spot the bear at two locations, the first is the bear enclosure close to the entrance. This was also our first proper stop during our exploration. Lucky enough our visit coincided with the daily show where the caretakers explained more about the two male bears that were housed in the enclosure. Did you know that a bear can eat up to 60 liters of blueberries in a single day?
Häxköping, or the witch market town, was one of the Easter event locations in the park and our next stop after the brown bears. In Sweden (and Finland) there is an old tradition with the Easter Witch (“påskhäxa”). The legend tells of witches flying on their brooms to Blåkulla on the Thursday before Easter. Blåkulla is an island where the legend says that the devil himself held court. This is where witches gather during Easter. In Sweden, kids dress up as witches and go from one house to the next asking for sweets on this day. Who needs Halloween when you can dress as a witch during Easter?
At Häxköping, we had a short look around at the new models of brooms and other exhibitions of different witchcraft. One of the more interesting displays was for the landing field, including a customs office and a parking area for brooms. Maybe there are also international visits for witches? For Little A this was a time for even more candy as her grandmother saw it fit for her to try the “fiskdamm”. This is where kids can fish over a blanket for sweets and gifts.
The Red Pandas
Little A has one favorite animal that she really is in love with and that is the red panda. This furry creature tends to be quite hard to spot at Kolmården Wildlife Park, as it is usually climbing high up in the trees. This time we had luck as one of the two animals was climbing along the lower branches and in full view of visitors. The other one was really hard to see as the sunshine only left a blur where he stayed among the top branches of a tree. These small bears are not related to the famous giant pandas, even though it is called “panda”. Another name in English is “firefox” while in Swedish it is sometimes called “kattbjörn”, a cat bear.
Tiger World – The Amur Tiger
From the red pandas, it is just a short walk to Tiger World. This is the home for the park’s tigers. The park’s tigers had babies, meaning a few furry kittens enjoying the sunshine here. These are Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers. It is the largest of the many cats and is endangered with just a few hundred in the wild. Seeing these beasts at a zoo doesn’t do them justice, but the important ongoing work of keeping them from extinction is hard to object to.
The tigers at Kolmården Wildlife Park really attract visitors and the viewing points were crowded when we arrived. We made sure to see the small kittens for a few minutes before heading to the restaurants for lunch.
Marine World – The South African Fur Seals
The lunch consisted of a nacho plate with chicken and Little A was really brave in trying something new. Right next to the food court area is the Marine World. This is where the dolphins and seals are. We had a short glance at one of the dolphins before heading to the seals. The park has some South African fur seals, a relative to the sea lions found at Pier 39 in San Francisco. Little A especially enjoyed the view of the very playful small juvenile. They were swimming around and compared to many of the other animals they did more than just spend the day enjoying the sunshine.
Safari Zip Line
We were soon on our way to one of the main attractions at Kolmården Wildlife Park, the safari zip line. It seems like a bad idea to head here directly after lunch as a lot of other visitors had the same plan. Either way, we were soon standing in the long queue waiting for our 30-minute ride above the many enclosures only visible from the safari zip line.
The zip line passes over enclosures of a few interesting animals such as the brown bears, the elks, the giraffes, the zebras, and the lions. Sadly this time the animals were either waiting to be fed or had just eaten. The result was animals walking along with the gates of their enclosures or animals that had found a good spot to rest. So for Little A the most interesting part was the zip line itself. The animals were a bit too hard to see properly. In other words, the long queue was a bit of a waste of time.
The World of Bamse
Once we were done at the Safari Zip Line, we had a little more than an hour left before the park was closing. So we were heading to the World of Bamse – “Bamses Värld”. This is a large play area for the kids with several rides. In fact, it includes many of the buildings and characters of the cartoons. Little A had time to go on two rides before the park closed. We keep our hopes up that there will be shorter queues on our next visit. After all, Easter seemed to have been an event for kids, meaning a lot of families in the park. Next time Little A will get more time in the play areas and we will focus separate visits to specific animals. As we have the season tickets there will be several more visits this summer. This first visit was mostly a reconnaissance mission.