Zatorland does not, I was surprised to learn, translate to Gator Land or anything whatsoever suggesting reptilian themes. It just happens to be located in Zator, a town close to Poland’s southern border (Zator is also home to the exponentially expanding Energylandia, and the two parks are only about a 5-10 minute drive from one another). Zatorland may not have the big-name rides and seemingly infinite resources of its neighbor, but it offers one thing Energylandia does not:

That once in a lifetime opportunity to get peed on by a T-Rex.

But let’s rewind.


Zatorland opened in 2009. On its website, it claims the title for “biggest Polish Park of Animatronic Dinosaurs,” which seems weirdly specific until you realize that Polish amusement parks have a bit of an obsession with dinosaurs to the point that there is an entire Wikipedia page devoted to it. You can’t really blame them, though. If I came from a country known mostly for cabbage, occasionally disappearing, and a language that looks like it was created by someone who didn’t draw any vowels in Scrabble, I’d want to highlight the dinosaurs, too.


(Or I’d pick bagels. Bagels were invented in Poland. This is a dog named Bagel. Bagel’s owner told me that her family had a history of naming their dogs after breakfast foods. She said this with a perfectly straight face. Evidently she’d practiced that line for years because I still can’t make a vet appointment for Ox-Tongue Pastry without it sounding like a prank call.)


That day, we planned to visit both Zatorland and Energylandia. Pepsi DinoZatorland opened earlier, so naturally that was our first stop. The park opened at 9:00 and the rides followed at 10:00.


Unlike western European countries where English is often a second language and I feel guilty for using it because my high school’s foreign language program was about as effective as an ethics class for Republicans, here the choice was Polish or arms day at the gym.


We had no choice but to pick the latter, and after much gesturing, spreading of maps, pointing, and emphatic thumbs up signs, we’d purchased the “premium plus package,” which gave us access to almost everything and worked out to about ~€11.30 or ~USD$12.75. We had 45 minutes to spare before the coaster opened, so we figured we might as well make the most of it.

There’s more to Zatorland than first appearances suggest:

Obviously there’s the reason-you’re-reading-this bit.


There’s also the Park of Insects, which we didn’t get a chance to walk through. It was included in our ticket, but the way I see it, I still got value for money because omitting this part meant I didn’t have to pay for a prescription of Ambien to ward off nightmares of giant-ass bees chasing me. It also saved dream me from having to buy new pants, because the last time I got stung by a bee, my leg swelled up like a Republican’s ego after that ethics class from earlier. That’s some multidimensional frugality right there. I think I deserve a pat on the back for that one.

We also completely missed—as in, didn’t even realize they were there—two other sections:

The Park of Mythology, represented here by this block of so-called “bravocado,” which I believe is the harshest form of punishment Zeus ever handed down from the heavens if I’m remembering my mythology correctly, and…


…the Park of Fables and Watery Creatures, represented here by a fabled aquatic bear named Megan with a tissue stuck up my nostril because my nose was pretty much a faucet for like a week last August and I could have gone swimming in the amount of snot I produced. Summertime colds are the worst.

The park’s website also boasts of “a large food court, souvenir shop and toilets too.” Toilets too! Now you’re talking!


And talk you will as you try to work out whether you’re a triangle or a circle, because we sure had fun with that!

The main draw of the park, though…

…(in case you couldn’t tell by the ginormous head sticking out of the admissions building)…


…(or the giant claws sticking out here and there)…


…(or the triceratops benches)…


…(or the…well, come on now)…


…The main draw is the Park of Animatronic Dinosaurs, which can pretty much be summed up with the sentiment that Cedar Fair’s Dinosaurs Alive! can go pound some fuckin’ sand.


This walkthrough was massive. I probably could have spent a good two hours taking it all in, but that’s just me. If you’re not the kind of person who finds your companions have been passed out on a bench outside the museum gift shop for over an hour waiting for you, then you’ll be fine with the 45 minute time budget we had.

There were about 60 different species of dinosaurs represented, each with a trilingual placard containing some basic information.


(Although some translations were, well…)


And while there was the requisite four-wheel-drive-on-dino-safari-gone-wrong cheesiness, on the whole it was informative and extremely well done. Here are a few things I learned:


This is a baryonyx. Its fossils have been found in England and its diet was likely fish. No word yet on how it took its chips, but some paleontologists believe the shape of the mouth suggests this guy got a little snappy with the chipper workers if they went too light on the vinegar.


The small blue and tan dinosaurs are called Utahraptors, whose claws could grow over a foot long. Here, you can see them sampling this season’s hottest nail polish color, Equijubus Blood.


Wow, when they said world’s oldest profession, they truly meant it…


This is the Edmontosaurus, shown here in its native habitat.


“Tarbosaurus” means “terrifying lizard.”


Username checks out.


Here we have the ichthyosaur, which I don’t think is actually extinct. Pretty sure this is what Australians consider a small pet fish.


Allosaurus means “other” or “different” reptile because, as you can see, it went through a bit of a punk phase in high school. Well, Justin here didn’t consider it a phase. His mom, however, snuck this image onto r/blunderyears awhile back and they laugh about it now. Justin’s now married with two kids and works in accounting, thanks for asking.


Here we have the using-a-bidet-for-the-first-time-osaurus.


These are oviraptors. Their name means “egg thief.”


Confuciusornis say, man who keep feet on ground have trouble putting on pants.


(Confuciusornis always made the kids laugh.)


“Roofed lizard” and Mom who doesn’t like the look of those loitering teens, the stegosaurus was once thought to have an auxiliary brain…in its ass. The brain in the usual spot was so puny that for a long time, paleontologists thought there was no way something the size of a walnut could keep a four-ton creature going. Obviously these paleontologists never went to Walmart on the Saturday before Christmas.


This is a gastornis, which means Gaston’s Bird. With thick legs and a big mouth, here it is puffing its feathers and cooing to his selfie that nobody deserves something so wild and gorgeous before uploading it to Dinosaur Tinder (after lighting and filtering adjustments, of course). This will be his 18th profile edit this month. For some reason, his dates don’t seem to like it when he waxes poetic on why women and reading shouldn’t mix, so he’s thinking of changing tack. Maybe he’ll get a second date if he describes a rosy future of a little wife massaging his talons? Yeah. Yeah, that’ll work; that’ll win them over for sure.

There’s a reason the gastornis went extinct.


(Wow, the dinosaurs sure were tall.)


This is a pair of my favorite kind of dinosaur, the Zoeosaurus. The Zoeosaurus was known to be a very good dinosaur, such a very good dinosaur! Who’s a good dinosaur? Is it the Zoeosaurus? It is! Yes it is! The Zoeosaurus was the most perfect dinosaur, the loveliest dinosaur, and the most loyal dinosaur, which made their farts cute and made you feel better about buying $14.00/lb. Boar’s Head brand roast beef for them.


A fierce hunter, the Zoeosaurus was.


Carnotaurus is the name of both the “meat eating bull” and Dad’s midlife crisis car on a budget.


The long, slender, and not at all ridiculous looking neck of the tanystropheus allowed it to sneak up on its prey unnoticed. It also favored the dinosaur for high ranking roles in Triassic government.


The tanystropheus was the face of the Party, you know.


(Although Winston the Wuerhosaurus wasn’t buying it. He is seen here hiding from an O’Brien-osaurus, one of the most dangerous creatures of the Room 101 biome).


I was really surprised to learn that the coelophysis was a distant ancestor of Animal from the Muppets.


You can definitely see the resemblance, though.


Here’s the T-Rex that pees on you when you walk behind it (although the more I look at it, the more I start to wonder which hole that water was really shooting from…)


Wikimedia Commons

And finally, this is the Janice-osaurus, seen here getting really into it at Friday night karaoke. I mean, yeah, she’s butchering Gloria Gaynor and yeah, she’s not nearly as sexy as the alcohol is telling her she is, but she tries her best at her 9-5 and works hard to feed her cats. You’re probably already aware that the Janice-osaurus is not extinct. We all know a Janice-osaurus.


At the end of it was a museum, but much to the delight of George and Richard’s will to live, I did not have any time to go through it.


It was 10:00, and that meant that educational, scientific, and all otherwise self-improving endeavors were off.

Before we proceed, however, there is something important you must know about the Polish language. Let me preface this with the story of my older brother’s first day of Spanish class back in middle school. He chose Spanish because my dad made it out to be extremely easy to learn. “You just put the letter O at the end of everything,” he managed to tell Mikey with a straight face. “For example-o: Look-o at that table-o.” Mikey believed him. Mikey believed him and walked into class feeling smug and prepared to wow everyone.

Mikey did not have a fun first day in Spanish class.

In Polish, we saw many words that ended in the letter Y. It seems the Polish Y is the English S and is therefore used to make plurals. Of course, when your internal monologue is English, you read that Y as you’d read it at the end of English words with an “ee” sound. Newer words to the language, particularly those relating to technology, frequently borrow the English word, except they are pluralized in the Polish way. Hence, our increasing amusement at seeing words like laptopy, mobilny telefony, internetowy, multimedialny, and antywirusowy.

Need to go pee?


Off to the toilety you go.



Have a hot dogi (okay, this one ends in I, but you still read that as “doggy”, didn’t you?)


Take a look at Dinocoaster. You will notice the single helix and banked turn into the station. What do helixes and banked turns produce?


Laterals! But oh no, we’re in Poland. Whatever shall I do to translate the most trite and lazy descriptor in the entire coaster enthusiast vocabulary?


“Boy howdy,” I said as we rolled down the helix. “These sure are some fine lateralys.”


“Yesy,” replied Richard. “Well, it’s to be expectedy with the shapey of the layouty.”


“Do you thinky Georgey is having a good timey up there by himselfy?” I askedy.


“I’m surey he isy,” said Richardy.


“Wowy,” I saidy. “The symmetry-ey of those plantsy is marvellousy.”


“Womany, this is only the first day of this tripy. Let’s stopy before this is no longer funny…ey,” said Richard.


“Fair enoughy, man-y,” I said.

Now that we had the basics of the language down, I figured we just needed to learn how to curse in Polish and then we’d easily pass for locals. Oddly enough, however, cursing was not necessary on this coaster. I guess I’m just used to Wisdom Orient Expresses, which tend to test one’s lexical creativity in that department, but this was a comfortable ride.


Dinocoaster comes from Czech manufacturer Fun Rides Tech. As of this writing, they have a mere four entries on rcdb, but they’re a bit more active on the fairground scene.

It’s a good ride for what it is, and it’s an easy credit to get if you’re going to Energylandia. I’d also recommend having some pecan sandies to snack on after you ride.


I dunno, I was just really craving them for some reason.


The last thing we did was ride the Ferris wheel for some overhead shots.


‘Twas a very fancy wheel, with hot pink glitter benches made to look like plush cushions that, because they were made to look like plush cushions, had a level of comfort diametrically opposed to that of a real plush cushion.

With knobbly bits poking my ass, we looked around to see if anything else caught our eye.


There was a carousel….




…a mini train for the kiddos…


…the Shark Carousel


…a Dumbo ride…


…and the Topsy Turvy House.

However, with the weather predicted to turn utterly dire early in the afternoon, we all agreed that our wisest course of action would be to get a move on to Energylandia’s six coasters. Rides-wise, I was satisfied with what we’d done at Zatorland, but this park deserves more than a credit hit and run. Despite the rapidly increasing size of its neighbor, it’s holding its own. The various walkthrough attractions are enough of a contrast to Energylandia’s rides-heavy roster that Zatorland does not at all come off as the poor underling of the two. No, it’s not a full day park, especially if you don’t have kids in tow, but take the time to explore a bit.


So go on an adventure…


…(or at the very least, someone please find out what a “kinetic video wall” is).


Oh, and maybe consider bringing some toilety papery for ‘ole Rexy.