Visitors cosplay as Smurfs in Shanghai on June 25, the birthday of the characters' creator, Belgian comic artist Pierre Culliford. [Photo provided to China Daily]
The tiny, blue, mushroom-dwelling characters who have captivated the world for generations have found a new home at a recently opened theme park in the Shanghai Sheshan National Tourist Resort.
Just as the cartoon characters, Minions, are beloved by Chinese children, the Smurfs mesmerized their parents, who watched the series in the 1980s and '90s.
China's first Smurfs theme park opened in Shanghai on May 29, giving Chinese parents a nostalgic place to revisit their good-old memories and their children a new magical land to explore.
According to International Merchandising, Promotion and Services, the worldwide licensor of the Smurfs' cartoon images and brand, the world's only other two Smurfs theme parks are in Moscow and Dubai.
The park in suburban Songjiang district is about an hour's drive from downtown.
The Smurfs park is inside a larger indoor-entertainment park－Dream City, which is built by real estate developer Shimao Group.
Near Dream City's entrance is the Kimbaland Guardians area, where children ride bumper cars and race go-karts, and take a journey to the center of the Earth with the Chinese cartoon characters created by Shimao.
Beyond the Kimbaland, a giant gate resembling a jungle tells visitors they're entering Smurf territory.
First created by Belgian comic artist Pierre Culliford, known by his pen name, "Peyo", in 1958, the Smurfs are a group of small blue elves that are only three apples tall and live in mushroom houses in a secret village.