Theme parks that fall into disrepair seem to receive the same fate around the world: rusting rollercoasters, overgrown swings and the creepy absence of children's laughter. Here are the some world's most eerie.
Opened in 1950, Dadipark, Dadizele, was closed in 2002, reportedly after a young boy had his arm ripped off on the Nautic Jet water ride.
Okpo Land, South Korea
A once-popular theme park at the southern tip of South Korea, it was shut down in 1999 after a number of fatal accidents.
Land of Oz, North Carolina
A Wizard of Oz-themed amusement park in North Carolina, the Land of Oz was deemed a success when it opened in 1970. However, it closed in 1980, after a fire in 1975, reportedly started by disgruntled former employees, destroyed some of its Oz artefacts, including the dress worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film. It was hoped the park might become a year-round attraction as a ski resort, but these hopes were not fulfilled.
Gulliver’s Kingdom, Japan
Only open for four years from 1997 to 2001, Gulliver’s Kingdom was built near Mount Fuji near Aokigahara, an infamous suicide spot. The park was based on the novel Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, as the giant creepy Gulliver statue is testament to.
Pripyat amusement park, Chernobyl, Ukraine
Perhaps one of the world's best known abandoned theme parks, the park near Chernobyl was due to open on May 1, 1986. Then three days earlier on April 26, disaster struck Chernobyl. The park opened for a few hours the following day to entertain locals before the city’s population was ordered to evacuate.
Encore Garden, Taiwan
The park in the hills above Taichung City closed after the 921 earthquake in Taiwan in 1999, which killed more than 2,400 people.
Spreepark, Berlin, Germany
Shut in 2001, Berlin’s Spreepark opened in 1969 as East Germany’s only amusement park and welcomed 1.5million visitors a year in its heyday. When it closed due to falling visitor numbers, owner Norbert Witte packed up six of the park’s most popular rides into shipping containers and had them sent to Peru – a new park in Lima never quite took off and Witte’s problems grew when some of the rides were shipped back to Germany and customs officers discovered 167kg of cocaine hidden in the mast of the Flying Carpet. Tours of the abandoned park ran until last year when the city council put up a perimeter fence to protect the remaining rides.
Jazzland, New Orleans
Originally opened by Alfa Smartparks, Jazzland was bought by Six Flags in 2002. The attractions company turned round the park’s fortunes and planned to turn it into a water park. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit, devastating the park and flooding much of it. The park never reopened and is now owned by the City of New Orleans. It lies abandoned.
Dogpatch USA, Arkansas
The ownership of Dogpatch USA changed hands a number of times before the park closed in 2002. It was put on eBay for $1million (£636,000) in 2002 but there were no bids. In 2005 a teenager was driving through the park, he says with the owner’s permission, when he collided with a length of wire strung between two trees and was nearly decapitated. After a successful lawsuit, he was awarded the deed to Dogpatch when the owners failed to pay compensation. There are currently murmurings of a reopening.
The Kent attraction is set to reopen this summer as a “Reimagined Dreamland” following an 11-year campaign to save the amusement park from destruction. It was first opened in 1880 but closed in 2003 after a number of rides were sold to other theme parks.
Cornwall Coliseum, Cornwall
Dating back to the 1930s, the entertainment complex became increasingly popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s before losing business to the Plymouth Pavilions in 1991. The venue declined until 2003 when only the Gossips nightclub remained. Development plans are said to be in the pipeline but no work has begun.
Based on the story of the Knights of the Round Table, Camelot opened in 1983 on land once covered by the largest lake in England, Martin Mere, also known as the Lost Lake of Sir Lancelot after it is believed that Sir Lancelot’s parents fled to its shores from enemies in France. After it closed in 2009, numerous plans have failed to develop the area and so it lies in ruin.
The Blackpool holiday park closed in 2009 after steadily falling visitor numbers. It has been earmarked for redevelopment with planning permission granted for housing but as yet remains half-demolished. A Pontins holiday resort in Hemsby, Norfolk, met a similar fate.
Geauga Lake, Ohio
Opened in 1887, the amusement park ran alongside a water park until 2007 when the former closed. It remains empty while the water park still operates today as Wildwater Kingdom.
Dunblobbin, Crinkley Bottom theme park
Originally part of Noel Edmond’s Crinkley Bottom theme park, Dunblobbin’, Mr Blobby’s once-home, was abandoned and left to rot after the rest of the park in Somerset was renovated and turned into a hotel and wildlife park. Rumour has it the ghost of '90s television character haunts this rundown shack.
Tags: abandoned theme park