10 Abandoned Amusement Parks
We really wanted to share with you some of the creepiest looking amusement parks in the world. These abandoned amusement parks have closed their gates to the public but are still getting visitors like urban explorers that risk radiation, arrest and injury just to get a glimpse and take pictures of the once thriving parks that now look creepy and haunted.
These abandoned amusement parks once filled the visitors with great memories but have now been left to rot, deteriorated and ravaged by low ticket sales, nuclear disasters and floods. Even though they are undoubtedly creepy, there is also something wonderful that can be found in them, especially when looking at how the nature reclaimed those spots and left the roller coasters and funhouses in a state of decay. Some of these parks are more photogenic now in death, than when they were alive.
We made a list of 10 abandoned amusement parks for you to enjoy these fascinating and tragic landscapes.
1. Pripyat Amusement Park
Even though there are many versions of the story that surround this abandoned amusement park there is a common belief that states that the park was closed on the very same day when it opened its gates to the public. It is believed that the park closed on April 27, just a day after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. The entire city of Pripyat which had a population of about 50,000 people was completely forsaken after the disaster. The levels of radiation in the park are still very high but some people still visit this chilling location. There are a lot of people willing to put themselves in danger just to get a couple of photos of the eerily beautiful abandoned amusement park.
2. Jazzland / Six Flags New Orleans
In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck, the park operators at this amusement park were preparing to open the gates. The water park was damaged by Hurricane Katrina and it was closed. Six Flags New Orleans first opened in 2000 as Jazzland and now remains in a state of decay which makes it more famous than it was when it first opened. The park was once home to several attractions like the Muskrat Scrambler and the Zydeco Scream but is now in the property of the city of New Orleans and its future is very unclear. However, Southern Star Amusement is planning to redevelop the once beautiful water park.
3. Okpo Island
We don’t know too much about its history but what we do know is that the abandoned amusement park in South Korea is on top of a hill in Geoje Island and it was closed in 1999 after numerous fatal accidents. The last such accident to happen in Okpo Island was when a girl fell from a ride to her death. Moments after the tragic accident, the owner of the abandoned amusement park took off and was never seen again. Despite the fact that Okpo Island looks incredibly creepy and is home to a tragic history, people still travel to the site and take pictures of it.
4. Heritage USA
This Jesus themed amusement park in Fort Mill was built by Jim Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye Bakker Messner. Jim Bakker was a PTL televangelist and in the ‘80s when Heritage USA was at its peak, the abandoned amusement park was considered to be serious competition for Walt Disney World and Disneyland. But when Hurricane Hugo, along with the IRS and a couple of more reasons hit the park, not even the Good Lord could have saved the vacation destination. Since that time, some of its parts have been redeveloped and repurposed but the castle still stands creepy and tall and is one of the most intriguing destinations for urban explorers.
This abandoned amusement park in Berlin, Germany is one of the most photogenic wrecks in the world. The rusted Ferris wheels, dinosaurs and swan boats operated for 20 years in East Berlin before becoming Spreepark in 1989. The reason the park closed isn’t exactly “top news” as the former owner of the park, Norbert Witte became insolvent. In 2002, the bankrupt Norbert Witte ran away to Peru, along with several of the attractions and his family. In Lima, Peru, Witte tried to open up another amusement park but failed and in May 2004 he was sentenced to spend seven years in jail for an attempt to smuggle 400 pounds of cocaine into Germany. He tried to hide the cocaine in a “flying carpet” ride. Witte was also the subject of a German documentary in 2009 called Achterbahn and it is believed that the former owner now lives in a trailer where his abandoned amusement park is.
6. Gulliver’s Kingdom
Japan has numerous abandoned amusement parks but Gulliver’s Kingdom is probably the most interesting one of them all. The theme park based on the novel by Jonathan Swift was demolished in 2007 but for the time when the park was still around neglected and disused, it was a very interesting point for urban explorers looking for adventure and a couple of nice pictures. The park was probably closed because of its very unfortunate location which lead to poor ticket sales. Gulliver’s Kingdom was at the foot of Mount Fiji but was very near to Aokigarah, also known as the “Suicide Forest”, and in the village where the Aum Shinriyko cult was headquartered. The infamous doomsday cult was responsible for the Sarin gas attacks in 1995 in Tokyo.
7. Dogpatch USA
The rustic theme park in Marble Falls was based on the “L’il Abner” comic strip created by Al Capp and was closed in 1993. Dogpatch had numerous owners in its 25 years run and faced legal battles, fierce competition, bankruptcy, heat waves, lawsuits, generations of young people who had no idea what the park was based on and the decline of hillbilly pop culture. This was definitely a lot to face for an amusement park that had attractions in the lines of Earthquake McGoon’s Brain Rattler. There were some efforts to clean up the vandalized property over the years under new ownership but the abandoned amusement park remains in a state of decay even to this day.
This abandoned amusement park is sadder than it is creepy. Joyland in Wichita was a family-owned, traditional amusement park and it became the target of destruction and vandalism after it was closed in 2004. The park was ran by Margaret Russell and her husband since the 60s and even though Joyland left its owner heartbroken, it was never forgotten because of a short film by Mike Petty, a user on Vimeo, called “No Joy”. The park also received an initiative to be brought back to its glory complete with some new attractions.
9. Wonderland Amusement Park
The Wonderland Amusement Park in China was once called the largest amusement park in Asia. However, this was before Reignwood Group was unable to an agreement with the farmers and governments in the area and pulled the plug on the whole ordeal. The park, located somewhere between Beijing and the Badaling Great Wall was left in a disarray where nothing remains standing other than a half-built castle, shells of buildings and fallow fields. Developers tried to salvage in 2008 the Wonderland Amusement Park but failed and ever since then it became nothing more than a side trip in China. Now, a lot of people visit the abandoned amusement park and its empty building, taking photos and wondering what the location might have been if it were completed.
10. The Enchanted Forest
The Enchanted Forest in Maryland opened in 1955, just a month after Disneyland but was closed after around three decades because of fierce competition. Half of the abandoned amusement park was destroyed in order to make space for a shopping mall but the other half remains mostly untouched. And even though many of the attractions were relocated, some of the rides remain on their positions to this day, scattered around. This is another excellent location for urban explorers and it is one of our favorite abandoned amusement parks.
So there you have it, this was our list of 10 abandoned amusement parks.. Whether you believe that these abandoned amusement parks are sad or creepy, there’s no denying that there is true history behind them. If you have a chance to visit any of them we urge you to do so (as long as you don’t put your health in danger).