New play attraction at Wonderland Kalkar leisure park

The mascots Kernie and Kerna welcome friends and visitors to their new village!

An extraordinary leisure location

Close to the border with the Netherlands, directly on the banks of the river Rhine, lies Germany's most unusual leisure park, “Wonderland Kalkar”. The special feature of the multi-leisure complex is that it is located on the site of a former nuclear power plant, the fast-breeder reactor. Construction of the nuclear reactor began in 1973 and was accompanied by massive protests right from the start. After long delays, the plant was almost completed in 1986. But even before the first fissile material was delivered to the site, the shock of the Chernobyl disaster in the same year marked the political end of the fast-breeder reactor. It never went into operation. In 1991, the nuclear power plant was finally abandoned by the federal and state governments.

The Dutch investor Hennie van der Most saved the nuclear ruins, which had already swallowed up enormous sums of money, from demolition. He bought it and transformed it into a leisure world with hotels, restaurants and sports facilities in the years that followed. In 2022, the site, now renamed “Wonderland Kalkar”, was taken over by the Dutch company DeFabrique Holding. The landmark of the leisure complex is the cooling tower painted with a mountain panorama. Instead of water vapor, passengers with a head for heights can climb up to lofty heights in a chain carousel, while tough climbers can ascend through the painted mountain landscape on the outside of the concrete colossus.

From transformation into a theme park

With an innovative park concept, the new owner DeFabrique Holding is gradually transforming the leisure park into a modern theme park. The first of the new theme worlds opened just in time for the start of the 2024 season. In a prominent position, directly behind the entrance area, the two mascots Kernie and Kerna welcome park guests to their new village. As a welcome area and gateway to a fantastic amusement world, Kernie's village played an important role in the planning and design. With its orientation as an amusement park, the concept envisaged presenting children of all ages and a large number of simultaneous users with an extraordinary and long-lasting play experience. Above all, a distinctive appearance was to emphasize the park's image and captivate and inspire visitors visually and playfully.

Villa Lustigheim

The design team from eibe Benelux created a play world that is completely tailored to the park's new themed area. The story of Kernie and Kerna in a fairytale land full of adventure and fun was the guiding theme in the design and planning. With characteristic decorative elements, an original colour scheme and a total length of almost 24 meters, the mega play equipment “Villa Lustigheim” (The funny villa) conveys the special flair of Kernie's village in Wonderland. Inside, outside and in between, the extraordinary play villa with its seven large play towers and over 30 main play functions offers fun for children of all ages and fascinated adults. The park management and the Kalkar team were impressed by the wide variety of play values, well thought-out functionality and the technical perfection of the wooden construction.

Even from a distance, guests at Villa Lustigheim can tell who is at home here: Kernie's area shines in sunny yellow tones, while Kerna's section is designed in stylish pink. A villa has turrets, windows, bay windows and balconies. These form the framework for the diverse play and movement functions on and in the play equipment and are the perfect backdrop for imaginative role play and social interaction. There are countless entrances and stairways around the play villa. Via ladders, ramps, climbing walls or tricky rope and net ascents in various levels of difficulty, everyone can find the right way into the play world. Inside, kids can look forward to a fun climbing rally ─ from Kernie's sunny tower to Kerna's pink chambers and back. Overlapping play floors in the towers are connected by net bridges, crawl tunnels, balance beams and wobbly crossings. The platform heights of the floors vary from 1.45 entry level up to 4.45 meters. The balustrade elements are positioned in such a way that the towers are easily visible from all sides despite their building design. Playing children have a view of the surroundings at all times, while parents and supervisors have a good view and feel safe.

After all the challenges of climbing, crawling, balancing and climbing up and down the towers: What could be better than a slide? The longest and fastest starts in the giant tube slide of the highest villa tower at a platform height of almost 4.5 meters. Another highlight is the vertical lattice spiral on the outside of the tower. Crawling and climbing up to the highest viewing point in the complex is an exciting challenge, even for more experienced or older climbers. Colourful play boards from ground level up to the roof, with numbers, colours, puzzles or TicTacToe, provide entertainment in the breaks between climbing tours and train motor skills.

Material and safety

The basic construction of the Villa Lustigheim play area is made of high-quality larch wood. Round timbers with a large diameter provide first-class stability. The overall construction, all play elements, steps and transitions, slides etc. have been carefully checked for safety and meet all required EU safety standards. The play structure was tested and certified on site in accordance with EN1176 and EN1177.

Positive conclusion

The innovations at Wunderland Kalkar were developed quickly and implemented in a well-organized manner in collaboration with eibe Benelux. "Every project has its challenges. The eibe team delivered top performance from design to delivery." Marten Foppen emphasizes that there was an enormous amount of work behind the transformation and that a lot was demanded of all employees to achieve the goal of completion for the 2024 season. “The result is fantastic and we are proud of it!” Marten Foppen and the Kalkar team are convinced that the new themed area with the fantastic Villa Lustigheim will completely wow park visitors. The Kalkar team is looking forward to the season and many guests who will be happy to return.


As a specialist for individual play worlds, we can respond to the special conditions of the location, plan and manufacture to measure. Find out more about eibe play worlds for leisure facilities in our special brochure “Leisure - creating unforgettable experiences” or in our large online catalog.

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