Abandoned Amusement Parks
Is there anything creepier than an abandoned amusement park? From the USA to Hungary, here are 10 of the happiest places turned into spooky, desolate areas. Visit if you dare!! 10.
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Gulliver’s Kingdom, Japan The Japanese are really something when it comes to business ideas. In 1997, they wanted to open an amusement park based on the famous novel by Jonathan Swift “Gulliver’s Travels”, because who doesn’t want to pretend they are in an 18th century English novel?? Apparently not enough people because the park closed down just 4 years later.
I mean it’s not really that trendy when you have Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Jurassic Park. Not only was this theme probably outdated, but the park was boring and it was in the middle of nowhere! Well actually not nowhere, but it was actually very close to Aokigahara forest, the most popular suicide spot in the world after the Golden Gate Bridge. The village nearby was home to a doomsday cult so besides the park, there is nothing else to draw you to this area unless you have dark intentions.
The amusement park had almost no rides, except a bobsled track, and some interactive entertainment with people pretending to be from the legendary land of Lilliput. The center of the whole thing was poor Gulliver, who was attacked and tied to the ground, his face in a contorted, scared position. Did the developers forget this was supposed to be a fun, happy place? The fun thing is that you could lie in the palm of his hand and feel tiny. It wasn’t enough to draw ticket sales and the park was completely demolished in 2007.
9. Spreepark, Berlin This place was first opened in 1969 under the name of Kulturpark Plänterwald, in what was then East Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin wall, in 1989, the park was renamed to Spreepark, because it was built right next to the Spree river.
It was quite an attraction because, for years, it was the only amusement park in East Germany. It was full of dinosaurs walking around the gardens and fun rides. The fall of the Berlin wall, meant the fall of the park. The problems for the park began in 1991 when its owner – Norbert Witte took over.
He crashed a crane into a ride, killing 7 people and injuring 15 others making this the worst carnival disaster in Germany to date. This was just the beginning. He added tons of rides and invested millions by 1997 but people just stopped going.
Witte was facing bankruptcy. He tried to save himself by fleeing to Peru. Then on top of that, he was caught trying to smuggle cocaine back into Germany inside parts for the rides, and he was sentenced to 8 years in prison. His son was caught in Peru and was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years. And so, his dream of trying to reopen the park for the public failed.
As for the park site itself, it’s in ruins, being vandalized year after year…In 2014 the city took over and they tried to step up security but it is no use. People report hearing strange noises coming from the park like creaking, groaning machinery, people screaming….Urban explorers warn that if you are going to try to sneak in, never go alone. And now for number 8, but first if you are new here be sure to subscribe before you leave and remember to hit the notification bell so you don’t miss out on the latest videos! 8.
L’Aquatic Paradis, Spain This water park was built in Sitges near the city of Barcelona but, unfortunately, it didn’t stay open for long. From the very start, L’Aquatic Paradis was faced with a myriad of problems. It had tons of slides and pools and people were excited about it, but two years after opening there was a tragic accident and then massive debt issues….sound familiar? When it closed in the 90’s the aquatic paradise was shut down and stories of the park became urban legend.
People claim that a child died in an accident while going down a slide, and one story goes that a child was sucked under by the engine of the wave machine. The park was shut down but the park has been far from empty! It has become a haven for skaters, teens, music bands, and whoever else wants to hang out.
Signs were put up to keep people out but you know how that goes. Graffiti artists aren’t scared of those signs! More recently, police have taken over to practice their drills and keep the counterculture out!
7. Akvadroma Water Park, Russia This complex, also known as the Indoor Complex near Moscow was approved for construction in 1997 – the idea was to have a huge center for the upcoming World Youth Games. It was an enormous undertaking, as it took over an area of 43,000 square meters (468,000 sq. feet), with 9 floors complete with swimming pools, water slides, track and field course, offices, and medical center.
It was supposed to be much more than a water park!! The Russians didn’t make it in time for the Youth Games, but they kept on working on it until 2002. As you might have guessed, it didn’t turn out well. All construction on the park was suspended, and just two years later, the whole area was sold, with plans of building a shopping center on the premises. In the end, all that’s left are ruins and a huge chunk of concrete. This place could have been a world-wide tourist attraction, but the idea is lost forever.
Graffiti artists and editorial photographers might enjoy it. 6. Lake Dolores, USA This waterpark was the first ever in the United States. It used to be a popular desert attraction but now it is abandoned in the middle of the Mojave Desert, California. It was known as Lake Dolores or Rock-A-Hoola Waterpark, back in the day.
The name Dolores actually comes from the name of the person who built it. The local businessman, Bob Byers, wanted to build this waterpark primarily for himself and his family, and he decided to name it after his beloved wife. The initial planning and construction was done in the late 1950s and early 1960.
The complex was opened for the public in 1962, and it saw some steady business early on, because it was located near Interstate 15. In the next couple of decades, business was booming, and the waterpark reached the peak of its popularity in the late 1970s. However, things took a turn for the worse in the 80s and the park was soon closed. The Byers had major financial issues, and finally – Dolores Byers sold the entire property in 2001, five years after her husband Bob passed away. She also passed away, one month after selling the estate.
Today, not much of the old glory remains. The vast majority of water slides and attractions are no more, as they were sold to other similar water parks around the globe. The wires and metal fences have been demolished and stolen, so if you want to walk around – you can do it without any problem. It does have a nostalgic feel, and now artists and photographers often go there to get some good views. 5.
Dunaújváros Vidámpark, Hungary This Hungarian park was very popular back in the day – the beginnings of this park go back to the 19th century! While it was severely damaged during WWII, in the 60s and 70s, the place was booming because so many people wanted to go! It was fixed up to look like an “English Park” in 1952, but it became even more popular after the Hungarian revolution 4 years later.
For the next couple of decades – this park was awesome!! However, as the 1980’s approached, the cost to maintain the park grew more and more. This was happening all over since the financial situation in all of the countries “behind the iron curtain” was far from great. The ticket price for the amusement park got higher and higher.
When communism collapsed, people found all kinds of new ways to entertain themselves since the social climate and the market changed considerably. The park was finally closed in 1993, and it stayed that way for some 20 years, when it was finally demolished, leaving behind only sparse traces of its former glory. The good news is that some of the historical buildings are still preserved and what remains belongs to an animal and botanical park.
4. Holy Land, USA This attraction located in Waterbury, Connecticut was full of religious exhibits and bible studies for the whole family! It was big for around 30 years and attracted about 40,000 people a year to be exact. And for a reason.
Because it was created for a very specific purpose, to give the faithful good, clean fun. How? By depicting Biblical scenes down to a tee.
In the 1950s, John Greco built this park as a tribute to the Holy Land in Israel. This was an amazing feat, because John Greco did it with community volunteers using recycled materials and cinder blocks. He made models of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, as well as many other Biblical and holy locations, with around 200 structures in total. In 1986, John Greco died, and this amusement park was left to a group of nuns, to guard it and take care of it.
Unfortunately, a teenager got killed in 2010 near the park, which gave rise to all kinds of ghost stories about the haunted site. Year after year the park has gotten vandalised and now you can see graffiti and broken crosses. The park was bought from the nuns in 2013 and, according to latest information, there are rumors about reviving this religious attraction. If you’re feeling really disappointed right now and Christian theme parks are your thing, then there is a place you can go. The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida and you can get an autograph from Jesus himself!
3. Joyland, Wichita, USA This amusement park was started by the Ottaway family during the economic boom in Wichita. Lester Ottaway bought a steam locomotive in 1933, and wanted to build something around it, so ergo we have Joyland!!
People used to come mostly in the evenings to cool off and enjoy every one’s company, especially since there was no TV! Lester Ottaway died in the 1950s, but his three sons didn’t want to end the family business. They continued working on the park, adding more rides, and wild animals like lions and deer.
In the early 1970s, the three Ottaway brothers decided to retire, and they sold their park to Stanley and Margaret Nelson, who ran the park for the next 30 years. The park was eventually closed after a boy fell out of a roller coaster and guards were attacked by youths with knives….The park was slowly dying and even though there have been a couple of attempts of renewing it, it didn’t happen. For some years, the park has been continually destroyed by vandals and taken over by nature. 2. Takakanonuma Greenland, Japan Don’t let the name confuse you- this place is not in Greenland, but Japan! This amusement park was opened back in 1973, but it was closed only two years later.
I’m not exactly sure what happened, but official sources said that there just weren’t enough ticket sales. Which means that the Japanese didn’t do a proper market analysis, which doesn’t sound like them at all!! Other sources claim that there were some deaths on the amusement park rides, and that this led to the park shutting down, which definitely could be the case. All in all, the park was closed for more than a decade, and it was reopened in 1986. It lasted until 1999, and then it was shut down for good.
This time, it wasn’t the accidents, but competition from other similar amusement parks, such as Tokyo Disneyland. The park was abandoned, and nature soon took over. Nowadays, it looks eerie and it’s really hard to find it, because the whole area has been taken over by lush vegetation. Greenland, indeed. 1.
Pripyat Amusement Park, Ukraine This amusement park really didn’t have any luck. It was opened in in the town of Pripyat, north of Kiev, but it didn’t last long. In fact, it lasted for less than one day! Yes, strange as it may sound, this amusement park was closed less than 24 hours after being opened to the public.
When it was made, this amusement park had everything for decent family fun: bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, you name it. But although it was nicely conceived, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster sealed its fate, among with everything else. The park was opened on April 27, 1986, just one day after the aforementioned disaster. At the time, no one was sure what had happened, so things went on as normal. But as soon as the news spread, the park had to be shut down to evacuate the whole area. Chernobyl is located some 20 km from Pripyat, so there was no way of staying there!
Nowadays, the footage we have of the Pripyat park is really amazing: everything is still there, only there are no people to enjoy all the benefits of the brand new amusement park. No fun at all, folks.
Check this list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_defunct_amusement_parks