Volcanoland: Sentosa’s First-Ever Theme Park With A Giant “Live” Volcano & Mayan-Themed Attractions

Volcanoland – Former Mayan-themed park in Sentosa

We’ve all heard of the roller coaster haven that is Universal Studios Singapore and a literal Bird Paradise at Mandai Wildlife Reserve. But Volcanoland? Is it a land with … volcanoes? Well, kinda. It was Sentosa’s very first Mayan-themed amusement park in 1995, known for its mystical exhibits and volcanic experiences. 

Let’s take a road down memory lane to rediscover this forgotten land of fun.

20m “live” volcano & Mayan displays

USS today vs Volcanoland located beside in 1995.
Image credit: @photogohphy via Instagram & National Library Board

If you learnt about volcanoes in school but never saw one IRL, Volcanoland was the place to go. There was an artificial volcano standing at 20m tall that “erupted” by spewing smoke every half hour or so – even adults got excited. 

We obviously live in a multicultural society in Singapore, but the Mayan culture – that was a first. Visiting Volcanoland was thrilling, but it became a learning journey too. Families would walk through exhibits and statues depicting the long-lost Maya civilisation without having to travel to Mexico. 

Image credit: lostnfiledsg

Unique? Check. Rides and cool attractions? Check. For 7 years, this $20 million theme park was quite the charm. After entering the volcano, kids could cross a rope bridge over hot boiling “lava”, or stare in awe at underground waterfalls and prehistoric fossils. And did we mention, a 3D show on the creation of the universe? It was like a real-life Geography lesson. 

An inevitable downfall – Few crowds & pricey experience

Volcanoland entrance.
Image credit: Robert J. Steiner via streetdirectory

You may probably be thinking why it no longer exists. Call it an attraction that wasn’t attracting, but that was exactly the case. Visitors felt that the theme park was lacking. For its $10/adult and $6/child admission fee, plus more than an hour’s wait to enter each attraction, people thought it wasn’t worth it. So, Volcanoland struggled to attract a steady stream of visitors.

Pathway to Volcanoland entrance.
Image credit: Singapore Memory Project

Despite its striking sound effects and grand set design, it was only in due time that Volcanoland closed down. The “long lost Mayan Civilisation” was once again, lost. Volcanoland shut its doors in 2002, a year after another OG Sentosa attraction called Fantasy Island shuttered. 

The theme park’s plot of land was then scheduled for redevelopment to what it is today, Resorts World Sentosa

Out with the old & in with the new

Volcanoland could’ve been a great hit today, with a couple of technical and modern tweaks of course. Nevertheless, it served as a core memory for those who experienced their Mayan-themed adventure and a massive “erupting” volcano. 

Well, our only next line of hope is praying that RWS opens its own version of a gigantic new volcano – that’ll definitely be one for the books.

For more theme park fun, check out:

Cover image adapted from: National Library Board, Singapore Memory Project, lostnfiledsg
Originally published on 28th May 2023.

Iffah Nabilah Norhisham

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