Grab your coffee, beer, or other beverage of choice. This is a long one.

I have a mild obsession with decaying buildings. I think there is just something poetic and satisfyingly melancholy about seeing the creations of man being reclaimed by nature and time. Abandoned theme parks in  particular have been a point of interest lately, so I wanted to share my favorite finds with you.

5) Gulliver’s Kingdom, Kawaguchi-machi, Yamanashi, Japan (1997-2001)

In 1997 Gulliver’s Kingdom opened it’s doors, and 4 years later they shut them. Apparently building your theme park in suicide-forest and next to terrorist-village was a bad idea. The forest around the park, Aokigahara, is apparently one of the most popular spots in the world to commit suicide. And the quaint nearby village of Kamikuishki was the base for the production of nerve gas used by the terrorist group Aum Shinrikyo. Solid planning folks.

photo: Martin Lyle

photo: Martin Lyle

4) Williams Grove Amusement Park, Pennsylvania (1928-2005)

This park started as a picnicking area for the Williams family in 1850. It changed hands a few times and grew in popularity until it finally started adding rides to the site in 1928. Once 1972 rolled around the park was ready for a new handler, and Morgan Hughes stepped up to the plate. Hughes purchased the park and was promptly flooded out by a hurricane. The park managed to recover and remained open until it stopped drawing in the crowds and closed for good in 2005.

Jerzee Hon

Darren Ketchum

3) Dadipark, Dadizele, Belgium (1950-2002)

Dadipark began as a playground in 1950 for the children of families visiting a nearby basilica. In 1980 the school-yard structures were replaced by rides and the doors were opened to tourists and religious pilgrims alike. It was a successful location for a while, but eventually the decay caught up with the rides and one day the Nautic Jet ride ripped a little boy’s arm off. So in 2002 the park closed for “renovations”, and never opened again.

urban exploration

2) Wonderland, Chenzhuang Village, China (1998)

Wonderland was an amusement park that started construction and never finished. And even more tragically, what structure you see in these below images/video is no longer around. Everything was torn down in 2013 to make room for a luxury supermarket. (Which has also not been able to successfully begin construction.)

1) My favorite abandoned theme park (for now) is: Spreepark, Berlin, Germany (1969-2002)

Originally known as Kulturpark Plänterwald, This park began operating in 1969, and it was the only park of it’s kind in all of East Germany. (Kids, this means it existed back when Germany had this thing called the Berlin wall.) After Germany became one country again the park transformed into Spreepark featuring more western themed rides, and one flat entry fee instead of charging for each individual ride. For a time Spreepark was wildly successful. But eventually some bad decisions were made and the park went bankrupt. Thankfully, good chunks of it are still standing, majestically rusting in the mists of Germany for those of us who might be lucky enough to venture over there.

Photo: Andrea S

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