Thursday was a holiday here is Sweden. Happy day of the ascension to you all! Church holidays are certainly the norm here.
The kids were out of school on Thursday and Friday so we decided to rent a car and drive just under 2 hours to Vimmerby, birthplace of celebrated author Astrid Lindgren and the home of theme park, Astrid Lindgrens Värld (World). There we met up with our pals who live outside of Stockholm.
Folks in Sweden take great pride in their children’s literature, and with good reason. There is a long history of creative, original and enjoyable children’s literature here. Astrid Lindgren is probably the most beloved children’s author but there are many other great ones. Elsa Beskow is my own personal favorite.
We spent 2 days at Astrid Lindgrens Värld and had a great time. The park consisted primarily of the settings of many of Astrid Lindgren’s children’s books – including Pippi Longstocking’s House Villa Villekulla, Lotta’s neighborhood, Emil’s farm, Sea Crow Island, Mats Fort, Cherry Valley, Karlsson’s Roof, and Simon Small‘s place.
Astrid Lindgrens Värld was a great park. Park guests did not passively wait in line to see a show or ride a ride (except for in the case of the Sea Crow island which should just be scrapped). Instead, you become an active participant in the scenes. The kids enjoyed played on Lotta’s street and interacting with professional actors playing the neighbors and police officers. The actors just hang around and chat with the kids while remaining in character. We saw several short Emil performances but after the brief performances, the actors would ask the kids if they wanted to come into the scene to, for example, help with the yard work or sit down for tea. The actors remain on set and in character while engaging the kids. The kids probably enjoyed Pippi Longstocking’s setting the most. They got to meet her, Tommy, Annika, her father, the pirate and even Mr. Nilsson. Jie-jie was in her element while helping Pippi clean up the yard. It began to rain and everyone rushed into the house and hung out with all the characters in Pippi’s kitchen. They spent at least an hour tagging along after Pippi.
Anyway, you get the idea. In addition to such character experiences they had haylofts to jump in, farm animals, a castle with mazes of rooms, level and staircases, and a really nice water play area. Even though the weather was chilly with intermittent rain and there were very few indoor venues, we never really considered leaving early.
Although the park does offer some accomodations, there was no space by the time we called. So we stayed at a Hotel Ronja which is right in central Vimmerby. It wasn’t the Ritz but it was perfect for our needs. We took a family suite that was adjacent to our friends. That effectively gave us our own hall that included a small kitchen. There were kids everywhere of course. There was mini-golf and an outdoor playground. We ate a buffet dinner in the hotel restaurant. The food was quite fine and, more to the point, there was a large play area that included a television playing movies of Lindgren’s books. We grabbed a table close to the kids area and were able to sit and chat for hours because the kids were able to play after they finished eating.
I would recommend Astrid Lindgrens Värld to anyone with children under 10. If you aren’t familiar with the characters, it could be worth reading a book or two or even watching a movie before you came – especially if you don’t understand Swedish.