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Dino Beach water park: The beach is a fake, but the fun is very real
Speedos, screeching girls and Baywatch-inspired life guards galore at this gloriously kitschy water park just a short drive from Shanghai
When the gooey heat of Shanghai's summer drives you indoors to make sweet love to your air conditioner maybe it's time to grab a few friends and head off to Dino Beach for some cool relief and a true Shanghai experience.
Mix and mingle … don't be shy
An oasis in Shanghai's inescapable cosmopolitan sprawl, Dino is lovable because it provides a rare, summer opportunity to mingle intimately with the masses. The beauty of Dino is not only the respite it offers but also that you can be as ridiculous as you like and let it all hang out.
Dino Beach is actually a water park but is the closest thing that Shanghai has to a beach. Yes it is completely manufactured ... but it works.
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The Dino experience is not so much for tourists as for locals, so to enjoy it properly, you need to embrace the fact that you are indeed in China. It might be crowded and your personal space might be reduced to mere centimeters, but if you can get over this, it will be a memorable experience that you can tell stories about. Stories such as witnessing the chance to see firsthand the differences between Chinese and Western beach culture -- funny beach fashion, sun-phobia, Chinese tattoos, sun-brellas and beach tents. And, of course, appreciate the hordes of bronzed lifeguards standing solemnly watching swimmers in a routine clearly taken from Baywatch re-runs.
You'll remember scenes from the day: careening down waterslides at a gazillion miles an hour on the back of a rubber tube and swoosh-bouncing into a guy at the bottom, riding the surf of Asia's largest wave pool (with waves of people to match) and watching beach princesses forgetting their cool to scream blue murder as their dinghy rises three feet in the air, throwing them off in a pile of giggles, sleek limbs and long hair. If only it was all in slow motion!
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Tips and advice for Dino Beach virgins
- Try to go on a weekday when it's much quieter. If you go on a busy weekend, arrive after 4 p.m. (when the price of entry is RMB 50 cheaper). By 5 p.m., most of the day crowds have gone home, the whole park is lit up and you can have it almost to yourself until it closes at 11 p.m.
- There is no alcohol served at Dino.
- Lockers for storage are available (additional fee of RMB 20).
- The only meals available in the park are Western junk food and they don't allow you to bring food or drinks into the park, so eat a proper meal before you go.
- Bring a towel and cash in a Ziplock bag to rent a locker, purchase snacks, rent a dinghy or a volleyball.
- Wear sunscreen and be prepared to laugh your head off.
Getting to Dino Beach
You have two options:
- Take a taxi from downtown which will take around 45 minutes.
- Take metro Line 1 to the terminal station, Xin Zhuang, and then it's a five-minute taxi ride from there to Dino.
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: RMB 100 for the day.
Wednesday ("Hot Babes Day"): RMB 150 for men before 4pm, RMB 100 after 4pm, RMB 100 for women all day.
Friday: RMB 150 for all.
Saturday: RMB 200 before 4 p.m., but RMB 150 after 4 p.m.
Sunday ("Family Day"): RMB 150 (family tickets), RMB 200 (non-family tickets) before 4 p.m., RMB 150 for all after 4 p.m.
Everyday: Kids under 1.5 meters RMB 100, kids under 0.8 meters free.
78 Xinzhen Lu near Gudai Lu
+86 86 21 6478 3333
Hours (until Aug. 29): Mon. 2-11 p.m., Wed. and Sun. 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Tues., Thurs., Friday and Sat. 10 a.m.-midnight
Hours (Aug. 30-Sept. 5): Mon. 2-10 p.m., Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.