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A Splendorific Day in Splendid China

Since I derive a large amount of my work from the themed entertainment industry it makes sense to  to visit the popular sites here in Shenzhen. Our first trip was to Splendid China which is actually 2 parks ( Splendid China and the China Folk Culture Village) which are now joined. The theme of the park is to present the cultural and historically significant sites throughout mainland China. I have heard that there is also a sister site in Orlando Florida stateside, might be interesting to see the difference. The entrance fee was 120 RMB per person which comes to roughly $20 dollars US a good deal by western standards, but possibly a bit steep for the locals.

Inside the park

Upon entry we find ourselves in a courtyard, not much in the way of directional signage so I guess we just pick a direction. They did offer us maps in English as well as chinese so…

Which way to go?

After choosing a path we find a nice ” Lazy River ” area, I imagine there would be more activity if the weather was warmer, there are the expected food venues and boat rides maybe we will come back in summer. Especially enjoy the giant  Swan boat.

The " lazy River "

By the riverside we saw this interactive water wheel display. This area represents the city of Li-Jiang located in province of Yun-nan, where in the past there was extensive use of water power. The guest do seem to enjoy playing with it and of course posing for pictures.

Waterwheels

We found these guys inside the first exhibit space we entered it was a recreation of a the Lama Temple  but since there were no signs in english and Fanny didn’t find any in Chinese either I can only assume its importance here. I am sure the real one is much more impressive. Like most everything we have seen so far you can walk right up to anything in here and touch it. I would say I saw less of that here though, possibly due to the subject matter.

Relaxed Buddahs

These young mongols were taking a breather between invasions and were friendly enough to offer us rides on their ponies, I am sure for a price, might be fun if not for my recent knee surgery. There was a large amphitheater near the stables where I assume if we had been there at the right time would offer a view into the historic battles, ” again for a small fee ” I really don’t appreciate it when Theme Parks do this.

The Mongol Horde

In the Mongol Village one can try their skill at the ancient art of archery. Of course Fanny proved excellent and won a prize due to her  superior ” Amazon ” abilities without having to remove any body parts…

Amazons are cool

Back to the river, there are small boats cruising up and down what turns out to be actually a pretty large body of water, again no english signs so I can only guess as to the significance. We witnessed a display of sorts, small floats going by with girls in native costume dancing to what sounded like happy hardcore dance music. No good pictures as the crowd is dense whenever there is any show, possibly on the next trip will have better luck.

A mighty River

The statue appears to be of Shiva the Hindu god but I could definitely be wrong.

Taking Pictures with the goddess

Kids and animals are always fun, this little girl was quite cute on her pony.

Pony Girl

On the way out of the Folk Village area we found these small static displays of shops and street life presumably from a specific historical period. Fanny tells me this is what we would call a pawn shop today.One thing I find very ineteresting is the use of materials. In an American park these places would be made of fiberglass and composit materials but here what you see is pretty much what you get.

Ancient Pawn Shop

Next to the pawn shop is what may be the first ever bank to offer a modern checking system and survives to this day as ” China Bank “. I really need to brush up on Chinese History as I am quite interested, but like most Western people have no real understanding.

Bank Of China

Everyone loves to play dress up, and chinese traditional gear makes for an excellent opportunity. I believe the girl in green is the attendant.

Dressing up

Dress up photo op

I really liked the crazy rockwork here in this area, makes me want to travel more and maybe see the actual places being depicted here.

Crazy Rockwork

We are now inside the actual ” Splendid China ”  I didnt know before now but what is in store would be a favorite of the people who love to build model trains and dioramas. Unlike in the Folk Village area which is much more interactive,  here, we are going to see famous and important Chinese Places reproduced in miniature. This is a famous wall called the ” Nine Dragon Wall”  in Beijing.

Heading into Splendid China

Potala Palace in Tibet, Where the Dali Lama resides.

Tibetan Temple

As you can see here the scale is large for the temple and the overall effect quite good. As noted earlier the guest are not in any way steered clear of the exhibits which I am sure accounts for most of the damage to them, especially as the park itself is not that old.

Another view

A walled fortress, I believe it is the most western fortress and predates the great wall. Again I am struck by the use of materials, in this case it actually is working in their favor, the models are highly detailed and when viewed from a slight distance pretty convincing.

Fortress

Here we find the Great Wall, if you squint your eyes the effect is quite nice never mind that giant apartment complex in the background 🙂 I would be curious to know if the dioramas are built to a consistent scale, somehow I doubt it…

The Great Wall

A nice rendition of the Forbidden City.

Forbidden City

These Korean Tourist were kind of funny they caught my eye as they were the only people I saw making use of the people movers, I assume they were part of a tour group.

Giant Koreans

I cannot imagine what it would cost to have these dioramas built in the states, the attention to detail is quite good even close up. That has to be the one real problem I can see with this attraction, since the guest are allowed everywhere, there is a lot of damage to the exhibits and truthfully they are best viewed from a distance. I would love to see the park develop some form of an elevated walkway for guest viewing. It would improve the site lines, protect the attractions and open up opportunities for some much needed interactivity in this part of the park.

Ancient China

An especially nice display of what appears to be a temple complex built into the side of a cliff. If there was better signage I might know,  as it is, I will have to research online and hope I get lucky as it would be great to see this in person.

Temple in the Cliff

Rural village area, again I have no idea as to the significance I just found it visually stimulating. I don’t think its intentional but the overgrown weeds actually make it seem more real.

Rural Village

The Temple of Heaven display was very interesting. This is where the emperor went to get in touch with the powers that be. There are a bunch of little figures in there out of scale and much worse for wear due to the obvious interest of previous guest. I suppose it is to be expected I mean who can resist getting a snapshot of Aunt Millie sitting on the Great Wall?

Temple of Heaven

Not sure if these lanterns are always here but I like the look anyway, since we are close to Chinese New Year I assume that is the reason.

Red Lanterns

All in all I would say the Splendid China is worth the reasonable ” for a tourist ” cost and I think we may come back again later to see it in the warmer times, maybe spend a little longer in the Folk Village area ; take a boat ride, dress up as Chamberlain Smarty Pants or just hang with the ” Mongol Hordes “. Of course knowing a bit more Chinese history would not hurt.

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