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Kolmården Discussion Thread

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I need to mention though that there are bees EVERYWHERE at this park. It was so incredibly annoying to attempt to eat lunch. I would suggest eating at the Safari Restaurant because it is inside. We tried eating there our second day after learning our lesson on the first but it closed at 3pm. We ended up getting the Asian food and taking it to the inside tiger exhibit to get away from the bees. I even got stung while riding Wildfire. I was sad to leave Wildfire behind for years, but not sad at all to leave the bee sanctuary!

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The wasps (not bees) are indeed a real pest at Kolmarden! Try to take a soft drink with dozens of them around all the soft drink dispensers. Don't understand why they aren't doing anything about it.

We went 2 weeks ago and we couldn't believe our eyes when we suddenly hit traffic 7.5km (4,6 miles) from the park. The place was packed! Over 30 minutes from the back parking lot to actually getting inside the park. I have been to major parks in the US, Europe and Asia, but I had never witnessed this before. The only good thing about the back entrance: it's very close to Wildfire!

Thank god for Wildfire to make our day worthwhile with reasonably fast operations and low waiting times (10-20 minutes). Seems like most Swedish people will ride it once and that's it. The back seat was our favorite because of the better airtime on the first drop. The safari ride was also very good, but if you see a queue of 20 minutes, do it immediately. We waited out because we wanted to ride Wildfire and came back in the afternoon to find a queue that reached outside the normal queue line (1 hour).


There are some minor negatives though:

- The back entrance is inaccesible for wheelchairs or people with weak physical health (the incline to the entrance is like 20% at some points). It is a long hike 'till the entrance. Shuttle service would be a good option here.

- They didn't know that Club TPR members are getting free entrance. It can't be hard to have a piece of paper with all the possible discounts on it at each ticket office, can it? Also no barriers to force people into a certain queue line. Now it feels chaotic, people trying to make up some spots in the queues by cutting in line somewhere or some queues not having a line, because everybody is just standing somewhere in front of the ticket booths.

BTW, thank you TPR and Kolmarden for getting us free entrance!!!

- I asked if I had to pay for parking, because it wasn't written on the signs above the ticket office and the ladie said yes. No problem with that, but there isn't anybody when you leave the park to actually check if you payed for parking or there aren't any barriers. So I think that the park is missing out on a lot of money here, because if you don't ask, you don't pay for parking.

- Wasps, wasps and...wasps! They even follow you inside the queues of nearby rides!

- Despite the fact that the animals have fairly large exibits to live in, some of them seem to be neglected a bit. As if the last couple of years rides and the whole children's area were the priority (which they were) and some animals were a bit forgotten. Or maybe it's just me and I compare Kolmarden too much with Pairi Daiza here in Belgium. But after hearing how it was not so long ago, I do think the park has made a major step in the right direction.

- A gondola or other transportation ride throughout the park could be a big help for a lot of people, as it is a rough terrain with lots of hills to conquer.

- We exited the park at around 5PM and there was no park official at the back exit/entrance area. So if you arrive late and feel like spending just a couple of hours in the evening, its easy to just walk in and enjoy Wildfire! Again, the possibility of lost money for the park.


These minor things didn't impact our day personally though, as we had a great time and I love getting back someday.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm back from riding Wildfire and I have to say: Kolmården really nailed it with this!


It could have been the chilly weather, but it wasn't as balls-to-the-walls intense as I expected. However it was endless fun and very comfortable, meaning I could ride it all day! I later realized that if Wildfire would've been too intense, it wouldn't belong to Kolmården as much. After all, Kolmården is a family-oriented park with a focus on wildlife.

Wildfire has just the right amount of scare-factor with an _awesome_ first drop and massive speed, but it is kinda gentle to anyone brave enough to ride it to make them come back for re-rides.


Wildfire is by far the best wooden coaster I've ridden, and it now sits in my top-10 at #6.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just back from vacation in Copenhagen and Stockholm! I did get a chance to head over to Wildfire and finally ride this monster! It didn't disappoint at all but it just didn't beat El Toro in my mind. The coaster looks beautiful and dominates the back of the park. Also the coaster is a good walk from the entrance to the park. The hang time in the first inversion is something I've never felt and the speed in the back seat must be felt!




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  • 2 weeks later...

So I read in the news today that a court case will be starting on Friday. In 2012 a female employee was killed by wolves when working alone inside the animal enclosure, and it's being claimed that the park is at fault. The former zoo chief is being charged, and the park risks having to pay a fine of 4 million SEK (468.000 USD)


Source: http://www.svt.se/nyheter/lokalt/ost/vargexperter-kritiserar-djurparkens-hantering-av-vargarna


And here is the translation. It's from Google translate so it's far from perfect (a few obvious items corrected by me).


A long series of wolf experts will testify when the trial begins tomorrow in Norrköping District Court, after a female zookeeper bitten to death by wolves four years ago.

The tragic incident has aroused great attention both in the media and within the scientific community.


- It was a tragic accident that could have been avoided, says wolf expert Runar Naess to SVT News East.


Norwegian expert to trial

Runar Naess is one of the wolf experts will be consulted as an expert during the trial. He has worked with socialized wolves in over 20 years.


- It strongly affects the people who are actually doing this around the world. This creates a poor light of all the other researchers working with socialized wolves, but in a completely different way. Without dominance and struggle that led to the accident in 2012, says Runar Naess.


Suspected breach of Working Environment Act

It was in June 2012 that the 30-year-old animal keeper went in alone to the eight male wolves, she has worked with since they were puppies. She had done several times before, but on this day she never came out of the enclosure. Her lifeless body was found some distance into the enclosure.


The then chief Zoologiske prosecuted on suspicion of working crimes, including manslaughter, felony and Kolmarden Zoo risk a fine of four million crowns.


- We deny the allegations. For us it is above all a tragic accident that has taken place here and our thoughts now go primarily to the families and to our employees here at Kolmarden, says Christer Fogelmarck President Park and Resorts.


Extensive research has taken time

It has been more than four years since the accident, and now begins the trial in the District Court of Norrköping. That it has taken so long partly because there have been several new elements to the investigation, says prosecutor Jan Olof Andersson. There is an extensive investigation and the hearing is expected to last for 18 days.


- It has been a very complicated investigation. There are many people who have heard and we have got to do two repetitions, both omtagen comes to experts experts have heard of and want to share their knowledge, says prosecutor Jan Olof Andersson.


Management Methodology questioned

Among other things, it is about criticism of the zoo's way of handling the socialized wolves. Several researchers and experts in the field, questions to the Kolmarden Zoo worked with dominance management methodology coupled with that one did not take the Works available, existing collateral.


- Simplified, there are two methods of handling, the so-called domination method where you go in and dominate the wolves and, to some extent, press down the wolves. And a so-called distraction method to distract the wolves, get them to think about anything else associated with an event. Kolmarden has used the first method, while the majority of the scientists working with socialized wolves use the second method, says Jan Olof Andersson.


- I generally believe that there are several different approaches to both wolves and other animals. When it comes to our business so it goes first for us, the highest priority is always safety. We do not know the risks, but based on the current state of knowledge and events in general, we have developed our approach over time, says Christer Fogelmarck President Park and Resorts.


The operator would not have worked alone

 In addition to the working method wolf experts criticize that the zoo allowed working alone in the wolf enclosure.


- After the wolves become five months old should be at least two people who manage them, says a wolf experts included in the preliminary investigation to SVT News East.


Furthermore, he points to other places in the world, working with socialized wolves.


 - There are always at least two people, he says.


Furthermore, he explains that wolves are potentially dangerous animals.


- It has socialized them, which means they are no longer shy of humans. But it has not removed the danger, the expert said to SVT East.


"The adult wolves can be dangerous"

He also questions the failure to observe the general council, which has existed since the 80s, when it comes to working with socialized wolves.


- The adult wolves can be dangerous, you should not go in alone and you should have with alarm. There should be a plan for how to react if something happens, he says.


There have also been previous incidents where the wolves behave threateningly towards staff and visitors. These incidents should have been a warning, according to experts and researchers.

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  • 4 weeks later...

^Just tossed it in google translate and from what I could gather, the court (or someone?) decided they didn't have a detailed environmental plan, and they're now saying the ride impacts wildlife too greatly to continue to exist. If they can prepare that detailed plan and have it approved, they may be okay, but they're saying it may not be likely to be approved and the ride's future is currently "uncertain."


Not sure of the specifics with how likely they are to be approved at this point, but the video seemed pretty depressed. Holy sh*t.

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I haven't really been updating the process too much to the forum over the last year since construction resumed.


In general one can say that it got appealed to the highest level possible, there is no level above this. It's not usual for the Land and Environment High Court to try these kind of cases, but they found there to be reason to take up the case and the process have been going on this last year.


There is no way of telling what will happen now, but they are not going to make them tear the ride down (as standard procedure they will however be asked to tear it down, not doing so will likely result in some fines to pay for the park).


The park will likely apply for a detailed plan for the area, they are probably prepared for this outcome. Usually it takes years to create a new zoning plan, but the park have the full support of the town so it is likely to go much faster in this case. Problem is that such a zoning plan will also be appealed through all the same levels as the building permit was, so it won't really be a quick process.


The only thing we can be certain of is that it is very uncertain how it will unfold. We have to wait a while and see how it plays out, but there is no reason to worry for the rides being. The question is if it will be able to operate under some kind of exception until the zoning plan is finished or if it will be closed until a final plan is granted.

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