Gulliver's Kingdom, Japan from The 20 Creepiest Abandoned Theme Parks Around the World
The 20 Creepiest Abandoned Theme Parks Around the World
iStock / robertkuehne
20 Creepiest Abandoned Theme Parks
What exactly is it about abandoned places that attract our attention in such a mystifying way? Some people who seek to explore, photograph or even just observe uninhibited locations are interested in learning about and preserving history, while others are simply interested in the out-of-the-ordinary sights you’d likely never find elsewhere. They are not a whole new type of attraction – mostly for brave adventurers.
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Gulliver's Kingdom, Japan
The park opened in 1997 but it was open for barely four years. Imagine an amusement park with no major rides; no wonder people weren’t going. Another factor that contributed to its eventual demise was the fact that the theme park was built next to a so called “Suicide Forest,” which was the place with the highest number of suicides in the country. Also, the park was close to the infamous Kamikuishiki village, known for being the location of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult’s headquarters and nerve gas production facility.
Holy Land, Waterbury, Connecticut
This Christian-themed park was built in the late 1950s and initially thrived as a Connecticut attraction, according to Atlas Obscura. In the mid-‘80s, the park’s owner closed it down to work on expanding the site. However, he died in 1986 and the park was never reopened. Now long-abandoned, Holy Land USA has been widely vandalized and was even the site of a murder in 2010.
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Spreepark Amusement Park, Germany
With its rusting rides and a Ferris wheel turning idly in the wind, the eerie defunct East German amusement park fascinates locals and tourists alike, according to local media. It opened in 1969; it was the only park of its type in both East and West Berlin. The park closed after the owner went bankrupt. The abandoned dinosaur attractions, Ferris wheels and swan boats give visitors a cold, creepy chill.
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Jazzland, Six Flags, New Orleans
The amusement park, which was popularly known as Jazzland, was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina. A new developer was never found. What was once a fun site has seen mostly trespassers ripping fences and writing graffiti on the facilities. The place is now home to boars, snakes, and other animals. The park is sometimes used as a filming location.
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The Belgian theme park, the country’s first private amusement park built in 1950, began as a refuge for church children. It was closed down for renovations in 2002 after a boy lost an arm two years earlier, according to Atlas Obscura. The park never reopened. Now the creepy structures there are said to be rusted and covered with graffiti.
Pripyat Amusement Park, Ukraine
The theme park opened the day after the worst nuclear disaster in history, Chernobyl, which occurred just several miles away; and it never opened its doors again. Thirty-one years later, radiation levels in certain parts are still high – the radioactive particles were simply washed into the soil – even though many adventurous people visit to see at least the park’s iconic Ferris wheel. The park is included in almost all tourist tours around the also abandoned city of Pripyat.
Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, West Virginia
The park was abandoned in 1996 after two young guests died accidentally. Many visitors say the girl who died on the swings still appears to them, according to Visit Southern West Virginia. To add to the creepy factor, the site was built over the bones of the Native Americans who had once roamed its fields. An archaeological dig uncovered 13 bodies, most of them children. The gates are open for visitors every Friday and Saturday in October.
Happy World, Myanmar
There is now a new “Happy World” park in the city that is still open. The old and abandoned park lies ruined as plants and trees slowly gulp the once regal red rollercoaster, the Viking pendulum ship and a display of other dead attractions. Dozens of people who lost their jobs after the park stopped operations about 4 years ago still live in this 10-acre abandoned theme park in Yangon.
Okpo Land, South Korea
Okpo Land was one of the continent’s most famous amusement parks but has a tragic past, according to World Abandoned. The duck-themed ride, which was one of the main attractions in the park, caused at least one fatality in the early 1990s. In 1999, the ride claimed its second life. One of the carts derailed and capsized killing a young girl. The owner vanished after the incident; the theme park closed as a result and was left to decay.
Encore Garden, Taiwan
Encore Garden at Dakeng, just east of Taichung city, became very famous a few years ago. It was the biggest attraction in the Taichung area during the 1990s. The long-gone park on the hill above Bitan in Xindian is rumored to have closed suddenly after an accident on the huge wheel which dominated the park, according to Taipei Discovery. Other rumors – and more likely – say it shut down after the devastating earthquake of 1999.
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This was a hillbilly theme park that proved so unpopular the land wouldn't even sell on eBay after it closed, according to Atlas Obscura. However, now plans are in the works to renovate the old Dogpatch Theme Park, as all attractions are still there; they are just completely overgrown. The new owner says he hopes to create an eco-friendly destination, local media reports.
Wonderland Amusement Park, China
China’s answer to Disneyland’ Cinderella Castle has been decaying since 2000 when plans to develop the park were abandoned, according to National Geographic. The developer, local government, and farmers could not agree on the value of the land. An attempt to resuscitate the project in 2008 also failed. Locals are tending the plants growing in the car park and using the haunting architectural remnants of the project as a communal base.
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Atlantis Marine Park, Australia
The theme park was open for just nine years. It is now overgrown and derelict. The park was part of an ambitious plan to build a resort and residential area called Yanchep Sun City, a proposed satellite city to support a population of 200,000, according to local media. People used to come to see live dolphin shows, swim in the pools, ride pedal boats and take a photo with King Neptune. The 1987 stock market crash put a halt to prosperity. The park closed due to financial difficulties.
Amusement Park of Budapest, Hungary
It was the largest amusement park in the entire country until 2013 when it closed after several years of financial problems. Two of the few attractions that had survived since the beginning, even after most of the park was destroyed during World War Two, were the wooden roller coaster and the carousel.
Disney’s River Country, Florida
Disney River Country opened in 1976. It was a complete hit because of its winding slides and the wooden bridges. A photographer documented the abandoned park in his photo series "Dismaland." It is one of only two Disney parks, along with Discovery Island in Orange County, to close its doors and never reopen. Both parks were left to deteriorate. Almost everything is covered in water and moss.
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Nara Dreamland, Japan
The park opened in 1961 and closed in 2006. It was designed after the Disneyland amusement park in California. The entrance looks like Sleeping Beauty’s castle. The wooded rollercoaster makes you think of the famous Cyclone in Coney Island in New York. The park could not keep up after Universal Studio Japan opened in Osaka.
Land of Oz, North Carolina
This Wizard of Oz-inspired theme park is located in Beech Mountain and operated from 1970 to 1980. It was once the second most popular tourist park on the East Coast. The owner died shortly before opening and changing times, economics, liabilities, maintenance, and other interests of its owners, along with the lack of change at OZ, took their toll on the park. The park opens for a limited time for tours in June and September.
Takakanonuma Greenland, Japan
Not only is the park abandoned, but its off the beaten path location contributes to the creepy feeling you get when visiting. It was a massive amusement park built in the 1970s, but now is overgrown by the forest, according to Atlas Obscura. It’s a truly mysterious place. The actual reason for the close is not clear; different versions attribute it to repairs and deaths on the park’s equipment. It reopened in 1986 until 1999. Most of the roller coasters are torn down by now.
Lincoln Park, Massachusetts
Lincoln Park was a park opened in 1894 as a picnic ground. It closed in 1987, after suffering from low attendance and tax issues. The iconic Comet roller coaster ride climbed to 65 feet and had a top speed of 55 miles per hour; it was demolished in 2012.
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Joyland Amusement Park, Kansas
The theme park, once the largest in the state, had more than 20 fun rides and entertained kids and adults for more than half a century until 2004. It closed after a 13-year-old girl fell from the Ferris wheel and sustained major injuries. The park shut its doors to check the safety on the attractions and to renovate, but it permanently closed down in 2006. The owners have demolished all major attractions.