Bellewaerde is a theme park in the West-Flemish countryside at Zonnebeke near Ypres (Belgium). It was established in 1954, on the grounds of the World War I Battle of Bellewaarde. Named after an old castle in its territory that still stands near the main entrance, Bellewaerde is the oldest operating theme park in Belgium. Originally a zoo and safari, the park expanded in the early eighties to become more of a general theme- and thrillpark, catering towards teens and families. The 54-hectare (130-acre) park is famous for its beautiful gardens, marvelous landscaping and its attention to theming. Its mascotte is a lion dressed as a king, King Lion. Bellewaerde draws about 850,000 - 900,000 visitors a year and is the main theme park in Flanders.
Major rides include the first Boomerang coaster in Europe (1984), a duelling alpine coaster (Dawson Duel), a Vekoma Mad House (Houdini's Magical House), several water rides including a log flume, a river rapids ride and a spillwater ride, the Screaming Eagle vertical drop tower, various stock rides such as a pirate ship, a swing carousel, an original Zierer beetle coaster, old-timers, carousels, an octopus, tea-cups and a Jungle Cruise-like boat ride, and an entertainment schedule that changes every year. Bellewaerde's latest additions are the world's first Topple Tower from Huss, El Volador (2005), a Zierer indoor coaster, Huracan (2013) and a duelling alpine coaster (2017). The park is currently building an aquapark which will feature a variety of slides, a lazy river, toys and different areas. It will cover a surface of 3000m2 and is being built on the current Parking A.