5 Eeriest Abandoned Amusement Parks

When it comes to finding the beautiful in forgotten and derelict places, there’s nothing like the faded glamour of an abandoned amusement park. Apart from the fascination of seeing nature reclaim a deserted space and the intrigue of a vanished human presence, there’s a whole other level of strangeness in the fact that the places were created as spectacular fictions in the first place. And maybe that’s why abandoned amusement parks have such a strange mixture of the beautiful, the creepy and the uncanny. Let’s take a look at some of the best examples.

Wonderland

The ruins of the half built amusement park Wonderland lie among fields and houses in Chenzhuang Village, China, about 20 miles northwest of central Beijing. Construction ground to a halt in 1998 after arguments between local government officials and farmers over property prices. There was a brief attempt to resurrect ‘the largest amusement park in Asia’ in 2008 but to no avail.

A farmer standing in his field that contains an abandoned castle building of the amusement park.

Derelict theme park castle

The vacant car park and derelict front of Wonderland amusement park.

Vacant amusement park car park

The park’s abandoned entrance way.

Abandoned amusement park entrance

A deserted walkway covered in fresh snow.

Deserted theme park walkway

Entrances to abandoned building that lead into the amusement park.

Derelict theme park entrances

Overgrown streets and derelict buildings in the abandoned amusement park.

Derelict amusement park buildings

The hulking steel frame of incomplete vast buildings that would have been part of the now abandoned amusement park.

Frame of an abandoned theme park building

Writing scrawled on a wall tells people ‘be responsible for your actions’.

Warning scrawled on a wall

A sign pasted on a girder warns people of potential poisons in the soil.

Flyer warning of soil toxins

via The Atlantic

Spreepark Planterwald

Spreepark was an amusement park in north Plänterwald in the Berlin district of Treptow-Köpenick which was formerly part of the GDR-controlled East Berlin.

Situated next to the river Spree, the amusement park was opened in 1969 as Kulturpark Plänterwald. It was the only constant entertainment park in the GDR, and the only such park in either East or West Berlin.

However, due to mismanagement, the park closed its doors in 2002 with the owner Norbert Witte leaving for Lima. He shipped six of the doomed amusement park’s attractions out with him, getting them past authorities by claiming they were being sent for repair, and attempted to run another amusement park called Lunapark.

Lunapark also failed and on 19 May 2004 he was sentenced to seven years in jail for attempting to smuggle 180 kg of cocaine with a value of £14 million from Peru to Germany in the masts of the Flying Carpet ride.

The ferris wheel was the main attraction.

Abandoned ferris wheel
Abandoned rollercoaster car

An abandoned ride.

Abandoned amusement park ride
Derelict rollercoaster
Destroyed games arcade
Images by Norbert Lov
Broken bridge
Image by roolrool
Wrecked theme park ship
Image by Dennis Gerbeck

As if all that, all the overgrown and faded flashiness wasn’t eerie enough, the park also featured a lot of large model dinosaurs that now litter the ground in various states of disrepair.

Smashed dinosaur legs
Image by Laurinchen Paupelinchen
Smashed T-Rex
Image by Dennis Gerbeck
Fallen theme park dinosaurs
Image by bura80

Nara Dreamland

Nara Dreamland (奈良ドリームランド) is a huge abandoned amusement park in Japan. Situated on the outskirts of Nara, it was built in the sixties and modeled on Disneyland in California.

The opening of Disneyland in Tokyo and Universal Studio in Osaka caused a dramatic drop in visitor numbers and after 45 years, the park finally closed its doors in 2006.

The Nara government is currently planning to demolish the once majestic park.

Nara Dreamland theme park map

The road to the dreamland is paved with weeds.

Sign for Nara Dreamland
Kiosk at Nara Dreamland

The lights aren’t on and there’s nobody home.

Entrance to Nara Dreamland
Amusement park plaque
Images by Tenaciouslibbs
Umbrella hanging in an abandoned amusement park
Image by girlonawire

The Miracle-Gro really seems to have worked then.

Amusment park buildings overgrown with ivy
Abandoned amusement park street

This was one of the park’s main attractions, the Screw Coaster.

Abandoned metal rollercoaster
Old rollercoaster overgrown with plant life

And this was the other- Aska, a large traditional wooden rollercoaster.

 

Abandoned wooden rollercoaster
Abandoned rollercoaster overgrown with ivy

And so the sun sets on Dreamland.

Old wooden rollercoaster at night
Images by Jordy Meow

Here’s a great walkthrough video by Michael John Grist.

Gulliver’s Kingdom

Gulliver’s Kingdom was a failed theme park built in the shadow of Mount Fuji in Yamanashi prefecture, Japan. The park opened in 1997 but was really just an example of a ‘bridge to nowhere’ construction project championed by Japan’s government and banking sector in the 90s in an effort to create some short-term construction jobs but ultimately yielding little permanent employment.

Although the foot of Mount Fuji might seem like an ideal location for a theme park, that wasn’t exactly the case for Gulliver’s Kingdom. The Aokigahara area where the park was built is known as Japan’s ‘suicide forest’ – said to be the second most popular suicide location in the world after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

As if a suicide forest wasn’t enough, the park was also close to Kamikuishiki village, notorious for being the location of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult’s headquarters and nerve gas production facility. Oh dear.

Large model of Gulliver in an old theme park
People sitting on a giant model of Gulliver
Misty entrance to Gulliver's Kingdom
Town centre of Gulliver's Kingdom
Abandoned theme park street
Amusement park at the foot of Mount Fuji
Images by Old Creeper

 Pripyat Amusement Park

The Pripyat amusement park is situated in Pripyat, an abandoned city in northern Ukraine, Kiev Oblast, near the border with Belarus. With a population of around 50,000, the city was once home to the Chernobyl nuclear plant’s workers before the Chernobyl disaster and is now a ghost-town in the so-called ‘zone of alienation’.

The theme park was intended to be opened on May 1, 1986 in time for the city’s May Day celebrations, but it in the end it was only ever open for a couple of hours on 27 April to keep the people entertained before the announcement to evacuate the city was made.

Despite the obvious danger of venturing into the area, some intrepid urban explorers have done exactly that and returned with some haunting pictures of the doomed amusement park.

Abandoned ferris wheel
Photo by Johnathan Wolfson
Derelict ferris wheel
Photo by tik_tok
Derelict theme park rides
Photo by Patrick Smith
Abandoned carousel ride
Photo by GuruAnt
Abandoned swing boats ride
Photo by 8333696
Abandoned bumper cars
Photo by January Plan
Abandoned dodgems
Photo by ch0jin
Abandoned theme park
Photo by HXrei
Grafitti in a nuclear exclusion zone
Photo by 8333696

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