Big World Amusement Park to reopen in 2017

Updated: 2016-01-22 23:51

By XU JUNQIAN in Shanghai(China Daily USA)

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Big World Amusement Park to reopen in 2017

The Big World Amusement Park, the most iconic and historic entertainment center in the city, will reopen this year after a 13-year hiatus. GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

Shanghai's most iconic indoor amusement park, Big World Amusement Park Shanghai, will reopen its doors in 2017, as revealed by former officials of the municipal government on Jan 14, a day after Walt Disney Co and its Chinese partner announced the June 16 official opening date of the Shanghai Disneyland.

Situated in a prime location in the heart of Shanghai, the compound was built in 1917 by the city's famous tobacco tycoon, Huang Chujiu. Regarded as the largest entertainment facility in Shanghai, the development was in the 1930's taken over and operated by Huang Jinrong, the most powerful mafia head in the city. The park has been such an integral part of society that many locals used to say that a visit to Shanghai is never complete without a trip to the Big World, or Da Shi Jie.

Home to fun fairs, cinemas, restaurants, shopping malls, live Chinese traditional opera and even a circus, the 14,000-square-meter park had experienced several ups and downs in its history and was most recently closed in May 2003 for renovations and a rethink of business strategies.

Big World Amusement Park Shanghai is made up of three four-floor buildings and two wings connected to one another. Atop one of the main buildings stands a multi-layered hexagon tower consisting of 12 yellow pillars, which used to be a landmark in the city.

Dao Shuming, director of the Municipal's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said that the Huangpu district, where the park is located, has set up a company to offer the buildings in the compound a facelift “for its 100th birthday”, and that renovations have already started.

Designated as an architectural relic by the municipal government, the compound looks to have weathered the effects of time well, showing only minor signs of damage and decay, as compared to many of its neighboring buildings which have been demolished.

By the time of its reopening, Big World will function more as an exhibition space used to display the city's cultural heritage, said Dao, who was formerly the director of the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration. However, the collection of 12 distorted mirrors, once a signature attraction at the park, will make a comeback.