For most people, going to a theme park would make for a great vacation that they’d get to spend time with friends and family. From eating tasty, yet overpriced, food to riding rollercoasters, there’s so much to do at a theme park. Disney, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld are just some of the more prominent examples of theme park chains that dominate the theme park industry.
However, there are have been a lot more theme parks that have closed than remain open. Because of their high infrastructural costs, many theme parks have been literally abandoned and left to destruction due to weather conditions. Sometimes the theme park wasn’t very profitable so its owners decide to shut its doors to get rid of operational expenses. Other times, severe weather makes the theme park unusable. The extreme costs of repairs can also force theme parks to be abandoned.
When theme parks are abandoned, nature takes over and easily tears apart manmade construction. Here are just 15 creepy abandoned theme parks capable of haunting your dreams.
15. Six Flags New Orleans
When Six Flags purchased a theme park located in New Orleans named Jazzland in 2003, the company probably thought it made a wise financial investment. After all, New Orleans is an extremely popular tourist destination, known for great food, live entertainment, and its attractions. Little did the company know that in 2005, Hurricane Katrina would decimate the entire city, including the Six Flags New Orleans theme park that remained underwater for a long time. Although its technically illegal to trespass onto the property, many urban explorers have taken haunting photos of what happens when the people are gone. The Six Flags in New Orleans has faced trouble finding new owners, though several notable movies have been filmed there, including parts of Jurassic World.
14. Disney’s River Country
Imagine going to Disney World’s first water park. From what you know about the Disney World resort, in Orlando, Florida, you’d imagine a pristine place with lots of attractions and smiling employees. However, Disney’s River Country isn’t any of those things. The park opened in 1976 and was closed forever in 2005 (though it hadn’t been open since 2002 because of outstanding maintenance needs). The park closed for a number of factors, including safety concerns and the opening of newer water parks on Disney property. Since then, the water has turned green, trees have collapsed onto water slides, and the plants have taken over.
13. Disney’s Discovery Island
Disney’s Discovery Island was a zoological theme park located on Bay Lake at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida. When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened in 1998, attendance fell at Disney’s Discovery Island and many of the animals housed there were transferred to larger facilities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There have been some rumors that it closed because of an outbreak of a deadly bacteria in the surrounding lake. Until 2008, power still ran to the island with lights staying on. The two confirmed trespassers show buildings left as they were with some natural degradation, as if the employees had just left everything.
12. Joyland Amusement Park
Located in Wichita, Kansas, Joyland Amusement Park operated as a major attraction from 1949 to 2004. It closed forever in 2006. In the spring of 2004, a 13 year old girl fell 30 feet from the Ferris wheel, which caused it to temporarily close for the rest of 2004 when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission highlighted additional safety concerns within the theme park. Between 2006 and 2016, the theme park sat vacant, slowly deteriorating into rubble, despite widespread community efforts for someone to buy and re-open Joyland Amusement Park for local residents. In the summer of 2016, new owners began to tear down some parts of the theme park.
11. Lincoln Park
Located in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Lincoln Park was an early theme park that operated between 1894 to 1987. What started as a simple community park with picnic tables and grills, Lincoln Park became an amusement park in the 1920s. However, in the 1980s, the success of other major theme parks, such as Disney World, seriously hurt attendance at Lincoln Park. A $75,000 renovation did not help, and coupled with a horrendous roller accident, Lincoln Park’s image was seriously damaged and it was forced to close its doors. Eerily, the jack-knifed roller coaster car sat stuck on the roller coaster track where it was left until vandals removed it in the mid-1990s.
10. Chippewa Lake Park
Chippewa Lake Park operated for 100 years in Medina County, Ohio. It was a classic theme park with family-oriented roller coasters, a carousel, and a Ferris wheel, among other rides. However, the local economy faced trouble in the 1970s, when the local community faced personal financial issues related to the declining steal and rubber industry. When the park closed, one of the theme park’s former owners asked to be buried in an unknown location in the park. Slowly rides deteriorated over the 30 years and they just weren’t being maintained. Trees grew through rides and rust covered all exteriors, making the rides unsalvageable.
9. Heritage USA
Heritage USA was part of a huge Christian theme park and water park in Fort Mill, South Carolina that formally closed in 1989. Believe it or not, almost six million visitors traveled to Heritage USA each year. Onsite, there was a skating rink, a TV production studio, and a water park. Most well known was Falwell’s slide, which was a water slide people rode while still wearing all of their clothes. Heritage USA lost its tax exemption status from the IRS when it made too much money and a sexual assault scandal further damaged its reputation. The theme park closed after Hurricane Hugo. While parts of the facility have since been restored, much of the theme park remains just a relic of this strange theme park.
8. Rocky Point Amusement Park
Before it filed for bankruptcy in 1996, Rocky Point Amusement Park was a long standing theme park located in Warwick, Road Island, just off of Narragansett Bay. It was the classic American theme park near the water, with roller coasters, flume rides, and huge drops. However, the costs of maintaining a theme park that opened in 1847 were extremely high and the park closed as a result. While some of the theme park’s rides were sold off, some remained to slowly age and decay. Two fires, perhaps started by vandals, did some damage to what was left. In 2011, part of the theme park was reopened as a state park.
7. Williams Grove Amusement Park
Williams Grove Amusement Park is an abandoned theme park that remains largely intact in its original location in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. The amusement park operated from 1850 to 2005, with more rides and attractions being added over the years, including the Williams Grove Speedway. After many of the rides were sold off, the rest sat vacant while vandals damaged it further. In the 2016, Williams Grove Amusement Park opened to the public on Halloween night for a Haunted Walk Through attraction that showcased the decaying rides and eerie abandoned sites. It is rumored that the theme park’s current owners still live on the property.
6. Holy Land USA
Another Christian theme park, Holy Land USA was a religious theme park located in Waterbury, Connecticut. Onsite, there was a chapel, stations of the cross, and replicas of religious sites. However, it closed in 1986, after the theme park’s founder, John Baptist Greco, died in the middle of expansion plans. The park became a place of interest for visitors who wanted to see the crumbling attractions. In the summer of 2010, a teenage girl was raped and murdered inside the park. Since then, small renovation projects have taken place to clean up the destitute theme park for its many visitors.
5. Dogpatch USA
In Marble Falls, Arkansas, sits an abandoned theme park called Dogpatch USA. The theme park opened in 1968 and was the quintessential 1960s quirky roadside attraction based in a fictional village created by a cartoonist by the name of Al Capp. Although this theme park was successful, its owners opened a sister park called Marble Falls that failed and closed both attractions. The theme park sat abandoned for more than 10 years, with the original attractions rusting away and the structures falling down. Although the property was purchased in 2014, the park never fully re-opened or was renovated for current usage.
4. Magic Harbor
Magic Harbor was a small theme park that existed in the tourist district of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The theme park was originally called PirateLand and offered attractions and a campground perfect for roadside travellers going up the coast. In the 1970s, Magic Harbor offered more rides, live music, and an ice skating rink. In 1975, a teenage girl was flung from a roller coaster into a guard rail and a park manager was murdered. The theme park became known as the Haunted Harbor and closed in the 1990s. There are rumors that the grounds where the theme park used to exist is still haunted to this day.
3. LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park
Opened in 1922 as a simple picnic and campground in Middletown, Ohio, LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park became a legit amusement park in the 1940s, with rides and other attractions, such as an arcade. A fire in 1977 caused more than $5 million damages that needed to be repaired. Despite efforts to fix it, the park closed in 1999 temporarily and forever in 2012. The rides that weren’t sold off or demolished. The theme park was featured on the History Channel’s television show called Life After People: The Series, which showcased what would happen if there weren’t humans around to take care of the structures we’ve built.
2. Miracle Strip Amusement Park
Florida might be home to some of the most successful theme parks on Earth, but its warm weather ensures that there are some parks that didn’t make it. Located in Panama City Beach, Florida, the Miracle Strip Amusement Park had a spectacular location right across the street from the beautiful beach. The theme park featured rides, such as a wooden roller coaster, and food stands. The park’s attendance dwindled in the 1990s and high repair costs took major shares of the theme park’s profit. The rides decayed while remaining in beach view for 7 years, until they were removed in 2010. Some of the park’s infrastructure still remains.
1. Marineland of the Pacific
Before there was SeaWorld, there was Marineland of the Pacific, located near Los Angeles, California, on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. When it opened, it was the world’s largest oceanarium, with a captive orca population that performed tricks and a stunning artificial coral reef display that park visitors could snorkel in. Under new management, the killer whales, Orky and Corky, were moved to SeaWorld San Diego, before the new owners, who owned SeaWorld, suddenly closed the park and filled in the tanks with concrete. After its closure, it was abandoned for almost 20 years. Some of its more visible features remained visible from outside the park.
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