Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012

Grutas Park

Grutas Park, a site about 75 miles outside Vilnius, doesn't have a roller coaster or a Ferris wheel — but it does have dozens of Soviet-era sculptures that escaped destruction when Lithuania gained its independence. The park's founder, Viliumas Malinauskas, used his family's mushroom-and-berry fortune to establish a place for those monuments to socialism to live on as a permanent reminder of past oppressions. But Malinauskas didn't stop there. Grutas Park, which opened in 2001, is also home to a Soviet-era playground, a restaurant serving Soviet-era dishes and, oddly, a zoo, complete with non-Soviet-era ostriches. If you're planning a trip, aim for April 1 and catch an annual comedy festival featuring impersonations of Communist Party bigwigs and bureaucrats.