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Theme Parks to AK-47s: Beijing Entertainment that Doesn’t Involve Booze

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As any veteran Beijing expat knows, this city offers a multitude of choices when it comes to letting your hair down with a drink in hand. You’ve got Sanlitun, Nanlouguxiang, Houhai and the Wudaokou student bars just to name just a few. But for those who enjoy more sober entertainment, or for those expats who need a little break from booze infused activities, the city also has plenty of alternative entertainment options. From amusement parks to blowing off some steam with an AK-47, start discovering the city’s non-alcohol array of entertainment choices today!

The Parks

1) Happy Valley Amusement Park
If you are an amusement park fan then Happy Valley is the best that Beijing has to offer. Actually Happy Valley is a string of amusement parks all across China, so in a sense it can be considered as China’s homegrown version of Six Flags. The park in Beijing is split into various themed areas (Aegean Harbor, Lost Maya Kingdoms, Ants Kingdom, Shangri-La, Atlantis and Wild Fjord) and has plenty of kid-centric activities if you have a family in tow. While some rides are disappointing, Happy Valley offers plenty of quality amusements and even has two high quality roller coasters.

There are plenty of places to get something to eat or drink in the park at mildly inflated prices, just don’t expect anything nicer than KFC quality fast-food. Really, the only thing that has the possibility of ruining your time at Happy Valley is the crowds, which can during bad days mean you might be queuing for an hour and a half just to go on a two minute ride! But overall, if you have never been there before it is definitely worth a trip

A little copyright infringement?
A little copyright infringement? Photo: travelfront

2) Shijingshan Amusement Park
Shijingshan Amusement Park located in western Beijing might have gotten more press than any other amusement park in Beijing but for all the wrong kind of reasons. Those reasons being copyright infringement of various Japanese cartoon characters and Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and Epcot Center’s Spaceship Earth.

While these infringements are visible, they don’t stand out as much as you expect them to. In particular, the copy of Sleeping Beauty Castle is disappointingly small and the fake Spaceship Earth is actually on top of a of dirty building instead of Epcot’s more impressive free standing structure.

There is one quality roller coaster and a few other rides, but overall the ride quality and cleanliness is disappointing. Overall, it is worth a visit if you live in western Beijing and don’t want to trek all the way out to Happy Valley; but if are trying to make a choice between the two then Happy Valley is a no-brainer.

3) Beijing World Park
Located to the south of Beijing, World Park offers visitor a taste of famous landmarks from all over the world without even getting on a plane.  In the park, located in Fengtai District, you can visit miniatures of the pyramids, Taj Mahal, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower and London’s Big Ben among others.

Sadly, many of the exhibits are a little lacking and have not been maintained very well since its opening in the early 90s, but if you are looking to get out of the city proper and have a little fun then it is worth one trip out there.

Happy Valley View In Map
Add: East Fourth Ring Road Jingshen Expressway Intersection, Beijing
地址: 北京市东四环小武基北路
Tel: 010 6738 9898
Price: Entrance tickets are between 60-160 RMB depending on time of day and discounts
Opening hours: 09:30-22:00
Website: http://en.bj.happyvalley.cn (English)

Shijingshan Amusement ParkView In Map
Add: 25 Shijingshan Lu, Beijing
地址: 北京市石景山路25号
Tel: 010 6886 2547
Price: 10 RMB for entrance ticket, 130 RMB for package ticket
Opening hours: summer 08:30-17:30; winter 09:00-17:00

Beijing World ParkView In Map
Add: 158 Fengbao Lu, Huaxiang, Fengtai District, Beijing
地址: 北京市花乡丰葆路158号
Tel: 010 8361 3681/8361 3685/8361 3344
Price: 65 RMB for entrance ticket
Opening hours: April-Oct, 07:30-17:00; Nov-Mar, 08:00-16:30
Website: http://www.beijingworldpark.com.cn (Chinese)

The Activities

4) Go-karting
No matter where you are, go-karting can always been fun, especially if you are competing with your friends and want to show off your driving ability. There are a few places where you can enjoy go-karts in Beijing but the most well established is U-Speed indoor go-karting which has locations Near Lido and Beijing’s CBD. Apart from go-karting U-Speed also has a bar and other activities to enjoy, so get a group together and see who can burn the most rubber!

Get out there and fire some guns!
Get out there and fire some guns! Photo: Johnbradley

5) Blowing Things Away with Guns
Guns might be illegal to own in China but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the thrill of burning through a clip with an AK-47! So if you are itching to pop off a couple of rounds, then head out to China North International Shooting Range in Changping District on the way to the Great Wall.

The gun range itself used to be a former army barracks but now it is an exciting shooting range where you can shoot everything from handguns to belt-fed light machine guns. But be careful if you decide to shoot automatic weapons as you are charged per bullet you shoot. Also remember prices per bullet change base on the caliber and type of weapon that you are firing, so the heavier the equipment the more it is per bullet.

If you have little or no experience shooting, then attendants are there to help so really there is no excuse to get out to Changping and have some fun. Just remember that you must have your passport with you in order to enjoy the fun.

U-Speed (Lido)View In Map
Add: 1 Siyuan Qiao, Jingshun Lu, Beijing
地址: 北京市京顺路四元桥1号
Tel: 010 8472 9399, 135 2137 4134 (English)
Price: Between 100-200 RMB per person
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 14:00-02:00; Sat-Sun, 11:00-02:00
Website: http://www.u-speed.com/js/en/index.asp (English)

U-Speed (south of CBD)View In Map
Add: 5A Pingleyuan, Beijing
地址: 北京市平乐园甲5号
Tel: 010 8771 9119/6775 8535
Price: Between 100-200 RMB per person
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 13:00-01:00; Sat-Sun, 11:00-01:00
Website: http://www.u-speed.com/js/en/index.asp (English)

China North International Shooting RangeView In Map
Add: 1 Mafang Cun, Nankou Town, Changping District, Beijing
地址: 北京市昌平区南口镇马坊村1号
Tel: 010 5723 3670
Price: per bullet but varies on caliber and type of gun
Opening hours: Daily, 09:00-18:00
Website: http://www.bfshoot.com/index.html (Chinese) 

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Keywords: non-drinking fun in Beijing shooting range in Beijing go-karting in Beijing amusement parks in Beijing

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