Sokolniki Park

Sokolniki Park would contain the first of many “parks within a park” we’d visit.  Moscow boasts many enormous municipal parks that offer small funfairs as one of countless recreational activities, which run the gamut from skateboard ramps to sidewalk cafes to paddleboats to concert venues—really, the range of entertainment options in these places is quite remarkable.

Generally, these parks were landscaped nicely and their abundance of trees certainly made for a welcome, shady oasis from the grit of the surrounding streets—which is good, because sometimes it took a good bit of wandering to actually find the rides!

Martin, however, had been to Sokolniki before and knew exactly where to lead us, which resulted in a short walk to the credit standing not far from the park’s entrance.  In previous years, the park was home to the Schwarzkopf City Jet Frozen we’d just ridden at Attrapark, but today there remains just the Big Apple Brucomela.


Sokolniki Park was one of the livelier parks we visited that day, which, for a sunny, warm Saturday in July in a country whose winters are the reason why vodka is a perfectly acceptable food group, was to be expected.



Like many of Moscow’s municipal parks, it is approximately the size of a small country.

“Sokol” is the Russian word for falcon; consequently, the name of the park is traced to its use as a falcon hunting ground during the 17th century.



It was a pretty place.  I liked the planters dividing the walking and biking paths.  Definitely a nicer look than mangled, dead birds falling out of the sky in earlier years, I’m sure.



There are two ways to tell you’ve arrived at the rides area.  One is this entrance.

The other is a queue of women in bladder-filled agony.  In the women’s bathroom across the road, there were six toilets.  Five were cordoned off with red and white striped tape.  There was a line of about 25 women (not exaggerating) in there, all waiting to use ONE toilet (BTW, Sokolniki, that is completely inexcusable).  I’ve observed over the years that most women, for reasons beyond my comprehension, require about two to four minutes to pee (seriously, women of the world, what the hell is taking so long in there?  Unzip, pee, wipe, zip, done.  This should take no longer than 60 seconds at the absolute, absolute most!).  Two minutes times 25 women equals lots of what we called in elementary school “emergencies.”



Where was I?  Oh right, so apparently a Zamperla Air Race has made it to Russia.






But this is why we’re here, of course.



The most memorable thing about this is that the railings look like baseballs.  Also, it took forever to get this shot without someone standing in the way.



But really, standard Wacky Worm fare here.

Ours was a full train, which meant that not everyone in our group of five made it on.  Well, four of us did.  Then we all walked around taking photos while stealing glances back and giggling about how much taller Martin was than everybody else in the train.



I really should have taken a photo of that.  For some reason I didn’t, so here are the park’s swings instead.



Also their very colorful Ferris wheel…



…this Zamperla creation, which I don’t think I’d ever seen before…



…and the Zamperla version of a looper.



Zamperlaland was a nice little park really, but it could have used some shade.  It was hot out.



I wanted to go get me a cold pop.



Then I thought somebody was barbequing.  I said, “Oh Lord Jesus, it’s a fire!”

Okay, fine, so I could have just said “Oh haha look here’s a Disko that looks like it’s on fire lolz” but I decided everyone could use a little bit of Sweet Brown in their life.  Everybody got time for that.

(Actually, somebody was really barbequing.)



Isn’t that right, completely licensed Ice Age height checking character?

We left the funfair after that.  Martin wanted to walk down to the area where Frozen used to stand to see if there was a new coaster that had slipped under the radar, but we found only a concert stage.



We also passed this ropes course.  I’m telling you, these city parks have everything.   Much like a child, I still love climbing all over things and this ropes course looked really fun, not to mention I love how it utilizes its natural setting.

But also much like a child, I had only eaten rolls and dry Cocoa Puffs at breakfast that morning because everything else available looked gross.


DSCN0149 crop

Basically, by this point my stomach was this.


Sokolniki McDonalds 2

Luckily, this was across the street from the park.

Let’s take a second and talk about Russian McDonald’s.  It is A Big Thing here.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that we walked in and nearly walked right back out because there had to have been 60-70 customers standing by the counters and nearly all tables (which occupied two floors plus an outside patio) were filled.  In the U.S., this would mean you might get some of your food about 42 hours after placing your order, but chances are the order wouldn’t be correct and anyway, they’d still be waiting on fries.

In Russia, things are a little different.  There were probably eight or nine registers open and even with us non-Russian speakers going through the point and nod dance of the picture menu…



…it took less than ten minutes to get our food.  The child in me was very happy :)