The most magical place on Earth might not actually be an amusement park in Orlando, Florida, but rather an underground theme park in Romania. Salina Turda, a former salt mine located in Transylvania, has everything a theme park should have. There’s a Ferris wheel, a bowling alley, a mini-golf, and even a multi-sport court — all of which are found 137 feet below ground.
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Salina Turda operated as salt mine from the 11th century to 1932, when it became unprofitable and closed down. The mine served as a bomb shelter during World War II and as a cheese storage facility before it reopened as a tourist attraction in 1992. After some major renovations between 2008 and 2010, Salina Turda became one of the most unusual theme parks in the world.
Visitors to Salina Turda walk down 172 steps, or 13 floors, to get to the bottom of Rudolph Mine, a dome-shaped cavern. Each floor on the way down is marked with the year when this particular area was exploited for salt.
The bottom of the mine is where all the attractions are located, including the giant elevator shaft and the 65-foot-tall Ferris wheel from where visitors can take in the surreal environment. This is also where you’ll find the mini-golf, the two bowling lanes, the sports court, the three billiard tables, the six table tennis tables, the children’s playground, and the 180-seat amphitheater. From there, a wooden bridge leads to Terezia Mine, another section of Salina Turda that works as a sort of island from where people can hop in a boat and paddle around an underground lake.
Being a mine, Salina Turda is very dark, but an eerie and striking lighting system allows visitors to see the carvernous inside while keeping the atmosphere mysterious.
Visitors to Salina Turda can pick and choose what they wish to do during their stint underground, whether that’s taking a guided tour, walking around the mines on their own, playing table tennis, or boating on Terezia Mine Lake, but know that all the activities have a separate fee and are limited to a certain amount of time per person. Admission is 30 RON (6.50 USD), a guided tour is 100 RON (21.50 USD), playing table tennis for 30 minutes is 20 RON (4.30 USD), etc. Check out the prices of all the activities you wish to do on the website.