We all know theme and amusements parks can’t last forever. Some close due to natural disasters while others end because of lack of popularity. Whatever their demise, they all had one thing in common: they brought smiles to everyone who visited. Now, these abounded parks simply sit there rotting an ruining each day. Though most are illegal to try and sneak a peak of, we have some brave explorers that risk it all to show us just a glimpse of what these parks have become. Keep reading to learn about these abandoned theme parks.
Abandoned Jazzland- New Orleans, Louisiana
In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina came through New Orleans and left no mercy on the Gulf Coast. Known as one of the most deadliest natural disasters in recent history, it submerged people and their properties beneath water that some thought would never subside. Six Flags also collapsed under the devastation whose rides became subjective to the water and all that was left was a depressing mess.
Water rose up to six feet high throughout the park, leaving concession stands upside down and roller coasters in pieces. Though the disaster destroyed about 80% of the park, the Batman roller coaster was left untouched due to its elevated location. Six Flags deemed the park too expensive to repair, so the remains are left to ruin. It is illegal to jump the fence and see for yourself, so enter at your own risk.
Land of Oz-Beech Mountain, North Carolina
Though the main purpose for opening the park in 1970 was to keep people coming to the Beech Mountain Ski resort, the goal of the theme park itself was to have an attraction that honored the original book by L. Frank Baum more so than the musical. Therefore, the park had actors in costumes from the drawings in the book rather than the movie. The attractions led visitors on a tour on the Yellow Brick Road while they came in contact with characters and events from the book, such as being a part of the cyclone, meeting the Tin Man and the wizard of Emerald City himself.
The park became so popular that it changed the theme to reflect more on the style of the movie and even had a museum open that contained some props from the film. As years went by, the park lost its popularity along with they dress that Judy Garland wore in the film due to a fire. It closed in 1980 but was halfway repaired in the 90s and is open now once a year for the Autumn in Oz event which can have about 8,000 attendees. Most of the park is still destroyed, but once a year, the magic of Oz is brought back to life.
Lincoln Park- Dartmouth, Massachusetts
The Union Street Railway Company first started Lincoln Park in 1894 to connect Fall River to New Bedford. They purchased 46 acres of land in Dartmouth and the project began. The park initially had picnic tables, a playground and areas for cookouts up until the 1920s, when Lincoln Park became an actual amusement park. In 1941, John Collins and Associates bought the area and then installed a bowling alley, upgraded the already there dance hall and added several rides.
The park was successful till the 1980s when a crash on the wooden ride the “Comet” made people wonder if the park was still safe. Despite several investments in the park and full safety inspections, the park finally closed on December 3, 1987, just months after another roller coaster accident.
Disney’s River Country-Bay Lake, Florida
This is Disney World’s first amusement park of two to ruin and turn into swampland. The hillbilly-themed attraction opened in 1976 and stayed in business till 2001 when it closed due to lack of popularity. The waterpark had rides such as the “Whoop ’n’ Holler Hollow,” which was a waterslide that emptied into a lagoon, and “Indian Springs,” a spot where youngsters could play in fountains. Despite its simplicity, the park held its own against the flashier new attractions.
Then 9/11 happened. River Country closed for the winter as always, but this time, it never reopened. A decade and a half later, it’s been left to ruin. Beaches have turned into sea grass and the rides continue to deteriorate. Disney doesn’t like having explorers find their way in, but they have yet to tear it down.
Disney’s Discovery Island- Bay Lake, Florida
The other abandoned Disney Park, Discovery Island, opened as a zoological park. It was initially named “Treasure Island,” but it was changed to “Discovery Island” to show visitors there were discoveries to be made. The island was home to several exotic animals, including lemurs and huge tortoises. The island was left to ruin in 1999, but all the animals were moved to the new Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
After is closed, Disney attempted many times to find new and unique ways to use the land. He suggested it be like the Myst video games, where visitors would solve mysterious puzzles as they toured the island.
Today, the island is completely off limits. Disney has even threatened to ban explorers from all Disney properties if they set foot on Discovery Island. That’s not very magical, is it?
Santa Claus- Golden Valley, Arizona
You probably wouldn’t think you’d be able to meet someone who is known to live at the North Pole in an insanely hot desert, but think again. Santa Claus Island was built in 1937 in an attempt to attract more buyers to the location by a real estate agent. It definitely worked with its Christmas-themed buildings and the fact that children could meet Santa at any time during the year. The town’s post office also became very well-known during the holidays because children could receive mail marked with the town’s name.
Though the town became a popular destination for tourists, the attraction failed to convince people to live in the desert. The real estate agent sold Santa Claus in 1949 and little remains of it today. The last of the gift shop closed in 1995, which left nothing but a few vandalized buildings and a pink train covered in confetti. Now, just the two boarded buildings stand. The face of Santa was even stolen!