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Is there anything eerier than an abandoned amusement park? It’s a place where laughter and children’s giggles once drifted through the air, and where brightly-colored Ferris wheels and thrilling rides made ever-lasting memories. But after being abandoned, the neglected parks become home to apocalyptic scenes of decaying rides and roller coasters that are being reclaimed by mother nature. Here are the world’s nine creepiest abandoned amusement parks.
1. Six Flags, New Orleans
First on our list, and perhaps the creepiest of all, is Six Flags in New Orleans, which fell out of business following serious damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The park opened in 2000 and was only operating for a few years before suffering significantly during the hurricane, which displaced 20,000 people and killed nearly 2,000 people. The park closed after Hurricane Katrina and there wasn’t enough funding for repairs so it fell into further decay over the last few years. To this day, there’s still an eerie sign at the entrance of the park that says, ‘Closed for the storm’. It’s an apocalyptic sight, which has been taken advantage of by Hollywood and used for films such as Jurassic World and Dawn of Planet of the Apes.
2. Nara Dreamland, Nara, Japan
Nara Dreamland is one of the most photographed abandoned theme parks in the world. The park was built in the 1960s and deserted in 2006 due to low visitor numbers. It was constructed in a style that was inspired by Disneyland in California and features a contrast of brightly colored fairytale rides and roller coasters that are now rotting. Everything has been left as it was on the park’s last day, and there are even still chairs in the coffee shops.
3. Disney’s River Country, Bay Lake, Florida
Disney’s River Country was the first water park built in Walt Disney World. The park closed in November 2001, following the negative impacts the New York 9/11 attacks had on the US tourist industry. The water park has since been left in ruin and hasn’t been torn down, making it one of only two Disney parks ever to be closed and not removed.
4. Land of Oz, North Carolina
You won’t want to ‘follow the yellow brick road’ here in the Land of Oz, North Carolina, as it will lead you to one of the creepiest sites in the US. As a 16-acre Wizard-of-Oz-themed park, the Land of Oz was incredibly popular when it first opened in 1970. However, shortly after opening, interest began to decline and the park became almost completely deserted. Then, in 1975, there was a fire which destroyed parts of the park, and the park was officially abandoned. Land of Oz still opens its gates a few days a year, around Halloween time for visitors brave enough to explore.
5. Dunaujvarosi Vidampark, Hungary
Dunaujvarosi Vidampark opened in 1953 and was a communist-run theme park offering free fun for all people. After surviving on funds from the communist party for 40 years, it was forced to shut its doors in 1993 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s a truly ghostly sight and an interesting insight into entertainment under the Soviet regime.
6. Pripyat Amusement Park, Chernobyl, Ukraine
Pripyat is the most famous abandoned amusement park in the world. The park was a new-build, due to open in 1986. However, a few days before the grand opening, catastrophic nuclear disaster struck the Chernobyl Nuclear power plant. The park was briefly accessible to locals but they were forced to evacuate as reports of dangerously high levels of radiation in the area started to emerge — something habitants and authorities had been unaware of on the day of the nuclear incident. Today, the park remains untouched and the unused rides are disintegrating or consumed with mould.
7. Joyland Amusement Park, Kansas
Joyland Amusement Park was once the largest amusement park in Kansas. After changing hands and falling into new ownership, the park fell into disrepair. The park ran for 55 years, closing in 2006. The demolition process began several years ago and it still stands as a creepy destination with decaying rides and lost memories.
8. Gulliver’s Kingdom, Yamanashi, Japan
Gulliver’s Kingdom was only in business for four years, before being abandoned due to low visitor numbers. Today, the park is home to an enormous disintegrating Gulliver statue, based on the novel Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift — a chilling sight that represents the park’s fall into disarray.
9. Dunblobbin, Crinkley Bottom Theme Park, England
Dunblobbin was created as part of Noel Edmond’s Crinkley Bottom Park, which was a Mr. Blobby themed amusement park, based on the popular 90s television show character. The amusement park was abandoned and left to decay when the rest of the park was renovated and turned into a hotel. Today, there are rumors that the site is haunted and ghost-hunters often visit in the hopes of catching something supernatural on tape.