Abandoned Amusement Parks with Even Creepier Backstories
From the eerie to the downright terrifying, nothing says creepy like an abandoned amusement park. The juxtaposition of a former fun-for-the-whole-family attraction and the remnants of what's left behind give "haunting" a whole new meaning.
Ruins that are overtaken by nature are like decaying memories of what used to be, and amusement parks without patrons are nightmare-inducing. You can find a startling number of abandoned parks around the world, and some are creepier than others simply because of how they met their demise.
Pripyat Amusement Park, Ukraine
The Pripyat Fun Fair met its untimely end before the locals even got a chance to enjoy a single spin on the Ferris wheel, bumper cars and swing boats. Opening day was set for May 1, 1986, but the Chernobyl disaster struck less than a week before.
Castle d'Oultremont, Land van Ooit, Netherlands
The fairytale appearance of the Castle d'Oultremont is like something out of a Grimm's story. When it opened in 1989, Land van Ooit was meant to be a perfect children's play place. With people and props all playing a part in the magical stories made for the park, the children were the kings of the castle.
Hồ Thuỷ Tiên (Thuy Tien Lake), Vietnam
This $3 million water park opened in 2004 before it finished construction. The main draw was a giant dragon aquarium that stood three stories tall and housed manta rays, sharks and an assortment of live fish in its ribcage stairway and lower body.
Disney's River Country, USA
As the first water park built by Walt Disney Company, River Country had a lot of promise. Its close proximity to Discovery Island and Fort Wilderness Campgrounds provided easy access for tourists wanting to enjoy an adventure through the Floridian wilds.
Okpo Land, South Korea
Now known as "the most horrific amusement park in the world," Okpo Land was once a bustling tourist attraction. It was open in the ‘90s and revered for its modern rides, but a couple of tragic accidents derailed the park's famous reputation.
This simple playground-turned-amusement park in Dadizele opened in the 1950s and didn't close until 2002. Over the course of its five decades of life, the park was expanded and eventually became an affordable attraction for young local children.
Jungle Habitat, New Jersey
Warner Brothers opened Jungle Habitat in 1972 with the promise of giving tourists a safari-like experience with more than 1,500 wild animals. It didn't offer rides, but glimpses of exotic wildlife were enough to get patrons excited about the opening.
Lake Shawnee, USA
Lake Shawnee is perhaps one of the most infamous abandoned amusement parks, thanks to its bloody history. Not only was the amusement park built on an ancient Native American burial ground, but it was also the site of a tragic massacre that claimed the lives of three children.
Terra Encantada, Brazil
Terra Encantada was one of the most expensive amusement parks to ever open in South America. After a whirlwind series of financial setbacks, the park finally opened in 1998 and soon became the site for nothing but bad news and criminal activity.
Enchanted Forest Theme Park, USA
Leaping straight out of a fairytale, the Enchanted Forest Theme Park in Maryland was supposed to be an imaginary world of whimsical storied times for children to enjoy after WWII. After its opening in 1955, it welcomed more than 300,000 visitors each year.
This creepy park was built by the Communist government in 1969 and welcomed more than a million visitors each year until closing 20 years later. It was reopened in 1991 by Norbert Witte, who renovated it with new rides and a more scenic landscape.
Holy Land, USA
The Christian derelict that is Holy Land USA has been closed since 1984. The owner of the park closed it for renovations in an attempt to attract more visitors. Before it reopened, he passed away, leaving the religion-themed park to a group of nuns.
Taman Festival, Indonesia
The Taman Festival park is now overrun by nature and almost swallowed whole by the jungle, but it didn't start out that way. The official opening of the park actually never happened, because the owners abandoned it shortly after construction.
Brandywine Springs, USA
A relic of the 19th century, Brandywine Springs Amusement Park opened in 1886 and offered visitors a variety of activities. It had a wooden roller coaster, a restaurant, a pavilion and a castle house. A tale of unrequited love spelled disaster for this quaint park in Wilmington, Delaware.
Magic Harbor, USA
Magic Harbor was anything but magical. The tragedy-laden amusement park had all the components to create something special — bumper cars, roller coaster, Ferris wheel — but death and financial instability prevented it from living up to its potential.
Kejonuma Leisure Land, Japan
Kejonuma Leisure Land was home to all the typical amusement park rides, but it also housed something darker. Japanese legend says that a woman gave birth to a snake on the grounds. The snake-baby then escaped into the water, constantly crying for her mother and slowly driving her mad.
Joyland Amusement Park, USA
Joyland has been plagued with death and destruction ever since it opened in 1942. A series of ride-related deaths damaged the reputation of what was once the biggest amusement park in the Southwest. It continued to grow over the years, but the vicious murder of a park employee in 1982 paused the expansion.
Rocky Point Amusement Park, USA
Generations of Rhode Islanders have precious memories of visiting Rocky Point Amusement Park. It opened in the 19th century and had more than 25 attractions, including the famous Shore Dinner Hall.
Gulliver's Kingdom, Japan
This off-brand amusement park located at the bottom of Mount Fuji cost more than $350 million to build and boasted a huge statue of Gulliver, the character from the Jonathan Swift book that inspired the theme of the park. The main attraction was a bobsled ride, making this weird park even more terrifying for children (or at least their parents).
Six Flags – New Orleans, USA
In 2002, Six Flags purchased the failing Jazzland Theme Park in New Orleans in an attempt to open another amusement destination in the U.S. The new park had six different areas for visitors to explore. The popular theme park closed for the season in 2005 because of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Land of Oz, USA
Even the Wonderful Wizard of Oz couldn't have saved Land of Oz from its inevitable failure. The park opened in the ‘70s, but shortly before the official launch, the owner lost his battle with cancer before things even got off the ground.
Dunaujvarosi Vidampark, Hungary
The closure of Dunaujvarosi Vidampark was more political than anything else. After it was opened by communists in 1953, the park became a vibrant hot-spot for free fun for the whole family. The demise of the park came at the same time as the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1993, its doors shut for good.
Western Village, Japan
The Western Village was an ode to all things Wild West America. The weird thing, though, was that it was located in the heart of Japan, about 70 miles north of Tokyo. The weirdly-specific theme park opened in 1970 with attractions like a haunted house, a Wild West Show and a scaled-down Mount Rushmore.
Expoland wasn't ever meant to enjoy a long-lasting life. It was supposed to be an add-on for Expo '70 and nothing else, but after the popularity of the park skyrocketed, the owners reopened in a more permanent way. The park had tons of attractions and rides, including roller coasters, a water park and a Ferris wheel.
Loudoun Castle Theme Park, Scotland
The Loudoun Castle Theme Park was built around the ruins. What was left of the area surrounding Loudoun Castle became part of the quaint theme park, giving it an eerie sense of urban decay, even while people still rode the roller coasters and ate the cotton candy. The park was left abandoned after the owner couldn't keep up with financial payments.
Luna Park (formerly known as Astroland), USA
Coney Island is the hot spot in Brooklyn for all things fun and fair. Astroland used to be a part of that, but in 2008, it closed, and the remaining area was sold and turned into a new theme park called Luna. The remnants of certain rides still remain in the park, against better judgement and failing mechanics.
Chippewa Lake Park, USA
This century-old park opened in 1878 and was a popular attraction for generations of families. It ended up closing its doors in 1978 due to poor attendance. After it closed, several buildings and structures were destroyed or damaged in fires.
Takakanonuma Greenland, Japan ... Part 1
The Takakanonuma Greenland Park is so shrouded in mystery that some believe the park itself never existed. It was real and opened in 1973. Shortly after, ride-related deaths occurred, and locals thought the park was cursed. Almost two years after its opening, the park closed to investigate the number of ride-related deaths. A lengthy 10 years later, it was determined the park staff were to blame.
Takakanonuma Greenland, Japan ... Part 2
In 2007, an urban explorer by the name of Bill Edwards found the park and uploaded a picture to prove it. Some people claimed to spot a young girl wearing all white in the picture, but that's just another myth. The validity of his creepy find couldn't be further investigated because Edwards himself seemed to vanish shortly after his picture surfaced.
Umoja Children’s Park, Zanzibar
The mystery behind Umoja Children's Park has gone unsolved for years. The history of when it opened or closed is nowhere to be found online, and all that remains are the remnants of a carnival-like amusement park. It could have been a wondrous place, but no one really knows for sure what happened there.