Tivoli Gardens: Copenhagen’s Entertainment Central

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

It was the end of my last day in Denmark. I hated to leave, it seemed as though there was so much more to see and things to learn. I had one last burst of energy and I needed to expend it somewhere. How about Tivoli Gardens!

Entrance to Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark

The amusement park and pleasure garden were located just a few blocks from my hotel, so I decided to meander through it. I had no interest in riding the roller coaster and twirling around on the swirling cups ride, but I thought it would be a fun excursion to end the day and I could also get a final glimpse of family fun Copenhagen style.

I made my way to the park entrance and was shocked to see about a $40 entrance fee. Ouch. Then I did something without rational thought that I have never done before, I snuck in! What possessed me to break the law so blatantly still surprises me. I guess, I just rationalized my behavior by telling myself I just wanted to walk through and observe people carrying out their ordinary lives. It would not harm anyone. Lame excuse I know, but I rationalized it away.

Tivoli Gardens, photo Denise Ames

I carried out my dastardly deed so easily that I thought for a moment that maybe I was cut out for a life of crime and deception. The thought passed though as I felt guilty every moment as I crossed into the park, checking behind me to see if anyone noticed. No one did. After my guilt subsided a bit, I started to enjoy the park.

Tivoli opened on August 15, 1843 and is the third-oldest operating amusement park in the world. It had an old world feel to it. I relaxed even more as I enjoyed the flowering and colorful gardens and delighted in witnessing families picnicking in grassy knolls or riding on the many carnival-type rides.

The park is best known for its wooden roller coaster, Rutschebanen, or as some people call it, Bjergbanen (The Mountain Coaster), built in 1914. It is one of the world’s oldest wooden roller coasters that is still operating today. The park also sports a vintage merry-go-round.

Besides the rides, Tivoli also serves as a venue for various performing arts and as an active part of the cultural scene in Copenhagen. It hosts a network of a theatre, band stands, restaurants and cafés, and flower gardens. Something for everyone.

During the warmer summer months, Tivoli also features a live music series dubbed Fredagsrock (Friday Rock), which in the past has featured Roxette, the Smashing Pumpkins, Sting, the Beach Boys, Kanye West, and also popular Danish acts. (I think you would be impressed to learn that I have a broken Beach Boys drum stick that was tossed to me during one of their concerts way back in the late 1960s) During the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Tivoli Gardens is one of the many Copenhagen localities that serve as venues for concerts.

Gardens at Tivoli Gardens, photo Denise Ames

With 4.6 million visitors in 2017, Tivoli is the second-most popular seasonal theme park in the world after Europa-Park. I hope, at least, those visitors paid for their admission.

After about one hour of ambling through the park and gardens, I was ready to go back to my hotel. It was a delight to see the different people and the gardens were especially spectacular. I could see why Tivoli draws throngs of visitors. It seems like an very appropriate Copenhagen landmark.

At the airport the next day, I happily stuffed what was left of my foreign currency (probably about $10 or so) into a box targeted for various Danish charities. It helped relieve some of my guilt for sneaking into the timeless Tivoli Gardens.  

About the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

Dr. Denise R. Ames’ varied life experiences—teaching, scholarly research, personal experiences, extensive travels, and thoughtful reflections—have contributed to her balanced views and global perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded Center for Global Awareness, an educational non-profit that develops globally-focused books and educational resources for educators and students grade 9-university. She has written eight books, plus numerous blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, teaching units.

Along with CGA’s Gather program, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a study and conversation program for self-organizing groups of lifelong learners and, Global Awareness for Educators, Dr. Ames is developing a new program: Turn, Transformation, Understanding, & Reflection Network. Turn encourages life-long learners to see with new eyes, learn from the past, understand others, and recognize the relationship of all things. She teaches workshops/classes and writes about Turn’s five topics: learning from the past, cross-cultural awareness, five worldviews, elder wisdom, and transformative travel.

Dr. Ames has written 9 books for the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books 

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