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In 1963, Mr. Henk Bemboom opened Shetland Ponypark Slagharen. He observed that entrepreneurs in Slagharen were facing increasing challenges due to the rise of automobiles. With people having more leisure time, he saw the solution in recreation.
The then Ponypark Slagharen has evolved into Attraction & Holiday Park Slagharen, bidding farewell to the ponies. However, one thing has never changed over time: we are still here to entertain people. With over 30 attractions in the amusement park, 620 accommodations in the holiday park, and the subtropical swimming pool Aqua Mexicana, we have something to offer. In 2012, Attraction & Holiday Park Slagharen was sold to the Spanish group Parques Reunidos, which owns more than 60 amusement parks, zoos, and water parks worldwide. Over the years, much has changed, and we look forward to an exciting Wild West future!
In 1963, the time had come: Shetland Ponypark Slagharen was founded. Henk Bemboom noticed that entrepreneurs in Slagharen were facing increasing difficulties, and even his own shop was struggling. Therefore, he decided to set up 24 cottages in a meadow in Slagharen, each equipped with its own Shetland pony and carriage. The park was inaugurated during Pentecost in the year 1963. Soon after, the holiday park was expanded with an outdoor swimming pool, playground equipment, and a lookout tower. In 1965, a water organ was even added!
In 1968, the Underwater World was given a place in the park; it was the biggest attraction at the time. It was a 'dark ride', giving visitors the feeling of being at the bottom of the ocean. They boarded a cart shaped like a diving helmet and went on an adventure among fish and other ocean creatures. Over the years, this attraction has had different names, such as Ocean of Darkness and Nautilus. In 2012, this attraction was removed, making way for the Passepartout Explorer. In this attraction, young visitors can learn how to drive a car and get a driving license! Well, it doesn't actually let you hit the road but it's a start!
In 1970, the first monorail in the Netherlands was installed at Slagharen. No, this is not the Pioneer Express 63 you might know. In fact, our first monorail was controlled from a station, and rode around above the park until the 1980s. The difference between the current monorail and the first one in the Netherlands is that nowadays an operator rides along.
A true entrepreneur, Mr Bemboom was always looking for ways to improve the park. In 1972, he had succeeded again, introducing a unique formula where visitors paid one amount for which they could use all attractions. It was 2 guilders 50, which was called the 'all-in entrance fee'. For this, visitors could enter the park for free but had to pay a small amount for all attractions.
The El Torito is one of the oldest attractions at Slagharen, but it looked very different at first. This attraction opened in 1973 under the name 'the Octopus'. You stepped into a tropical fish and were pushed from front to back, and left to right by the arms of a huge octopus. In 2015, this attraction was transformed into the El Torito to fit the Wild West theme. The fish were replaced by wild bulls and the octopus was changed to a large stone with cowboy hat.
We are big fans of water slides! That's why we added our first water slide to the park in the year 1974. This slide you went down with a mat. This has since been replaced by the White Water slide, which you can try out for yourself on your next visit! This year also saw the opening of our first roller coaster at the park, the Wild Mouse!
We have another first for the Netherlands! On June 27, 1979, we opened the Looping Star, the very first roller coaster in our country to go upside down. The opening ceremony was performed by Prof. Mr. Pieter van Vollenhoven in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. Additionally, Harry van Hoof, Henk Bemboom Sr., and Anton Schwarzkopf took part in the opening ride.
In 1984, many people's dreams came true with the Dream Boat. This fairy-tale attraction was a huge ship flying overhead. This attraction went by several names, including Traumboot and Flying Cloud.
A major fire broke out at the park on 6 March 1981. Among other things, several halls, a restaurant, a cowboy village and part of the monorail burnt down. It is estimated there was between five and 10 million guilders of damage.
In addition to an outdoor pool, an indoor pool was constructed. The pool built before Aqua Mexicana had a cooler theme. You could swim among icicles, polar bears, and penguins. Don't worry, though—the pool water was fortunately nice and warm!
After successfully running the amusement park for many years, Mr. Bemboom took a step back. His son and daughter, Bouwe and Henric, took over the leadership. Henric assumed the role of director, while Bouwe took charge of technology, safety, and automation.
In 1993, a new area is introduced: The Wigwam World. Here, you can have an adventurous overnight stay in a luxury bungalow tent equipped with a kitchenette, private bathroom, and furniture. Additionally, Kids Country is opened, a special area for the youngest visitors. Here, they can play carefree in a covered environment.
The Zwunka is opened! Later, the name of this flying carpet is changed to Dream Catcher to better fit the park's theme. This attraction has stood in several places in the park, such as behind the Looping Star.
Main Street opened for the first time in 2002! This cosy shopping street is straight out of the Wild West and is the passageway from one side of the park to the other. Here you will find several shops, eateries and a bar.
In honour of our 45th anniversary, the park's name will be changed to Themepark & Resort Slagharen. This is not our first name change, back in 1998 our name was changed to Themepark Slagharen. This was chosen because the park's focus has been more on attractions than ponies for years.
Our faithful mascots Randy & Rosie begin their adventure in the Wild West. These raccoons live in the mill at the park and are brother and sister! Would you like to send Randy & Rosie a letter? Then leave one in the letterbox!
In 2012, Attraction & Holiday Park Slagharen was sold to the Spanish group Parques Reunidos. They own more than 60 amusement parks, zoos, and water parks worldwide, including Movie Park Germany and Bobbejaanland in Belgium.
In 2015, a real water spectacle will be added to the park: Aqua Mexicana. The subtropical water park includes three pools, a whirlpool, four slides and six children's slides. This is the perfect place to spend a hot summer day or warm up inside in worse weather.
Today, Themepark & Resort Slagharen is the place to be for a good adventure. We have plenty to offer with more than 30 attractions, 620 accommodations, and a subtropical swimming pool. Will you come along soon?
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