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21 Fantastic Images From The Argentine Disneyland

Meet the Republic of the Children, the Argentine theme park that inspired Walt Disney.

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Is this Disneyland?

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No, it’s the Republic of the Children in the city of Gonnet, Argentina, some 60 kilometers from Buenos Aires. It’s the first theme park in the American continents.

Nobody gives you so much for so little!

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The Republic of the Children is open every day and its admittance fee is only 20 Argentine pesos (barely $2.40). Parking is 10 pesos ($1.20).

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The project to build a theme park where children could learn about democratic institutions started in 1949 and pushed by Domingo Mercante, who was governor of the Buenos Aires province at the time.

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This park opened four years before Disneyland opened in the U.S.

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Building started in 1949, and it opened in 1951, with a meeting headlined by Juan Domingo Perón.

There's a bust memorializing Evita Perón.

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The Republic of the Children had its moment of glory during Perón’s time in power. But after the president was overthrown in 1955, the park lost its initial push and was nearly abandoned. Successive military dictatorships didn't make things better and the park was almost sold to private investors in the late '70s. With the return of democracy to Argentina, the Republic of the Children recovered its original purpose of teaching kids about Republican institutions.

Apparently, Disney was very impressed by the place, a re-creation of a small country built in scale for 10-year-olds.

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He was influenced by its style when he started to plan his own theme park in America. Disneyland opened in 1955.

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The Republic of the Children is 53 hectare, with 35 buildings.

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Most of them are located in the Civic Centre, which presents European and Islamic architectural styles.

The buildings were inspired by famous edifices around the world.

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Jorge Lima, Alberto Cuenca, and Carlos Gallo were the architects in charge of the project.

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The Government House is inspired in the civil Gothic style from Northern Europe. Its interior houses the presidential office and the offices of the Republic’s ministries.

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Fernando Gandolfi / Via es.wikipedia.org

The legislature building is inspired by the British Parliament. There, the Children’s Government gathers once a year. Formed by students from the Buenos Aires province, they debate subjects of interest and send their resolutions to La Plata city’s Deliberant Council to be discussed there by real councilors.

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Outside the Civic Centre, the Republic of the Children has a “country” area with an artificial lake, where the Navy is located. A small boat sails the waters of the lake.

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