Exciting car chases in the Playmobil FunPark

Exciting car chases in the Playmobil FunPark

For the past 40 years, it has been next to impossible to enter any child's room without encountering Playmobil figures – these little characters are close to the hearts of children throughout the world. Even parents and educators see considerable instructional value in the various play sets as they inspire multifaceted role play that bolsters the development of children's imagination and creativity.

The creators of the Playmobil range decided to add to their successes by constructing full-size versions of their toys in the largest Playmobil FunPark in Zirndorf near Nuremberg that was opened 15 years ago. On an inventively designed parcel of land that extends to 90,000 m², the various themed worlds of the Playmobil sets have been recreated in a form that children can themselves actually enter and interact with. The objectives of this special leisure park are to ensure that visitors are active and themselves become creative. Eleven of the themed Playmobil worlds have been fashioned to date. In addition, there are adventure playgrounds and a 5000 m² indoor amusement arcade.

A new attraction was opened last year in the Playmobil FunPark – a police station. Its miniature version has been part of the Playmobil range since 1974. Its life-sized form has been built on a 2600 m² site; the police station itself and the police helicopter are accompanied by a go-kart track.

All speed loving kids can enjoy racing fun in the pedal karts on the new track. Minimum age and size for use of the race course is 6 years and 125 cm. Children doing so will acquire both strength and stamina as there are some slight gradients to be overcome on the course. The police station is the main centre of interest for those unable (or not permitted) to drive the go-karts. In the 7 x 5 metre station, all aspects relevant to police work have been recreated. There is a large seating group that young police officers can use for team meetings or to enjoy a snack. Hanging on the wall are the helmets, torches, traffic batons and signal disks used by their Playmobil colleagues. Incorporated in the long desktop are flat-panel displays that can be used to play memory games, noughts and crosses or to create an identikit picture. There are wooden telephones and mobiles for communication and a photo wall to aid with the identification of wanted persons. Children can set up registration numbers themselves and create mug shots using the family mobile. Perhaps the highlight of the police station is the holding cell with its authentic fixtures. There is a hard wooden bed to try out and even a wooden toilet to sit on – a real cell doesn't contain much more but unlike a genuine cell it is easy enough to break out of here once you've discovered the ready-made hole in the wall. The maximum height of the police station is 6.15 metres and it has two storeys. The upper storey is the exclusive territory of the Playmobil police, who can keep a watchful eye on the whole site from up there.

Next to the station is the police service station. This is a simple container construction in the same style as the police station and has a rhomboid-shaped floor space of some 10 m² and a height of 3 metres. It is used by the FunPark personnel. It contains a workshop and is used to store the main replacement parts required for the go-karts, ensuring that flat tyres and broken chains can be rapidly repaired and the speedsters can be back on track in no time.

The police helicopter starts (and lands) right next to the police station. This is a feature that acts as a magnet for both children and adults and it has been designed to accurately reflect the form of its tiny counterpart but, in contrast with the toy model, it is actually possible to climb about on this stable steel structure with its timber cladding. The body of the helicopter is some 6.5 metres in length and 1.5 metres wide; there is room inside for two pilots. The cockpit can be reached by climbing a cable or a rope ladder and there is a slide to facilitate exits in emergencies. The helicopter is mounted on a steel pole at a height of 1.8 metres above the ground. Because it is slightly inclined, it seems to hover in the air and provides for a very real sense of actually flying. A pilot sitting in the cockpit can set in motion the 2.5 metre rotor blades using pedals connected to a dynamo and it does look as if the helicopter would really lift off if the blades would turn just a little faster and it was not attached to the pole.

The Chief of Police of Central Franconia, Johann Rast, was suitably impressed when this new play area in the Playmobil FunPark was opened. "The Playmobil police station is one of our more special departments where the emphasis is on fun, games and activities. Who knows – perhaps one day a real policeman will say he was inspired to take up his career after a visit here. We're pleased that interest in our profession is being kept alive in this very young-at-heart fashion."

The plans for the police station, go-kart track and police helicopter were prepared by Führes landscape architects in Zirndorf. SIK-Holz designed and constructed all the items in accordance with the instructions of the client, Geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co KG.

 

Image: C. Gust ׀ SIK-Holz®

 

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