A miniature park is a display of miniature buildings and models, usually as a recreational and tourist attraction open to the public. A miniature park may contain a model of a single city or town, often called a miniature city or model village, or it can contain a number of different sets of models.
There is evidence to suggest the existence of private model villages and miniature parks since the 19th century, but it was only in the 1930s to 1950s that the genre became tourist attractions.Bekonscot in the UK and Madurodam in The Hague.
Early examples include
Variations on a theme
Most model villages and parks are built to a consistent scale; varying from 1:76 as used by the intricately detailed Pendon in England up to the 1:9 scale of Wimborne Model Town.
There has been a move away from the model village concept since the mid- to late 20th century towards a miniature park concept.
Model villages are typically larger-scale, sit in a cohesive miniature landscape and allow viewing and physical interaction with the exhibits, such as publicly accessed streets and urban areas. Miniature parks however, are primarily concerned with the display of exhibits in their own right, viewed from a distance. Model railways, rivers and roads may provide a continuation between miniature parks exhibits.
List of notable miniature parks
Lower Silesia Monuments miniature Park, Kowary
- Tiny Town, Morrison, Colorado, opened in 1921
- Tiny Town, Springfield, Missouri, opened in 1925
- Miniature Railroad & Village, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania opened 1920s
- Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman, Alabama, opened in 1933
- Roadside America, Pennsylvania, opened in 1935
- Storybook Land Canal Boats, Disneyland, California opened in 1956
- Palestine Park, Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York
- Splendid China (Florida), opened in 1993, closed 2003
- Holy Land Experience, Orlando, Florida, the park has a scale model of Jerusalem, Israel
- Forbidden Gardens, Katy, Texas, opened in 1997, closed 2011
- Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Palm Desert, California, opened in 1971
- San Diego Model Railroad Museum, San Diego, California, opened in 1981
- Legoland California, Carlsbad, California, opened in 1999
- Legoland Florida Winter Haven, opened 2011