There are countless ways to have fun, but there are few that can match the thrill of visiting a theme park. Amusement parks are the epitome of excitement and joy, considering the premise of their entire existence is based on giving attendees the best possible time through a number of different ways. These fun attractions can come in many forms including water parks, boardwalks, and thrill parks with roller coasters or even some that specialize in specific themes. The themes that these parks take on can be pretty unique which can often lead to their eventual demise as niche markets for fun can be tricky. There’s only so many people that are going to want to visit a park centered on cowboys and feel the need to return.
Some of these parks become icons, taking on an identity that becomes a part of the city they are in, while others struggle to bring in the crowds on a consistent basis for a multitude of reasons. Low attendance, location, cost of operating, and sometimes even safety hazards resulting in serious accidents can all lead to eventual closure of attraction parks. In fact, these parks close yearly throughout the world and while some companies opt to bulldoze them to make way for a new tenant, others simply walk away never to look back.
It is in these instances that we see some of the most eerie and hair-raising images of abandoned theme parks sitting in solitude with only the memories of thousands who once enjoyed them to keep them alive. That and the structures still standing with years of decay building up around them.
Here are 25 images of deserted theme parks around the world that will keep us up at night.
25 Nara Dreamland, Japan
In what is considered one of the most popular theme parks in Japan’s history, Nara Dreamland was a hit, wowing crowds for more than forty years. The park was the first of its kind, adopting the theme park style of the US to include roller coasters and over the top ferris wheels. The park remained successful until the opening of Disneyland Tokyo which essentially put Nara Dreamland out of business, outdoing it in just about every facet of the industry.
Since its closure in 2006, the park has taken on a mythical standing in Japan as it is now often seen as one of the spookiest empty parks in the world, cited as the quintessential desolate park.
24 Miracle Strip, Panama City, Florida
Open from 1963 to 2004, Miracle Strip was a popular theme park with several roller coasters that provided the people of Panama City plenty of thrills. It featured the Starliner coaster which was the star of the show, along with several other rides that were exciting. Attendance started to decline over the years as Panama City began to transform into a more developed tourist destination centered on spring break partying rather than family vacations.
The park closed its doors after over forty years and was left in ruins with the statues and rides being vandalized often.
23 Gulliver’s Kingdom, Japan
Japan has become the unofficial capital of abandoned parks along with the United States and Gulliver’s Kingdom is up there with the spookiest. The park failed quickly, only operating for ten years from 1997 to 2007 and it was all entirely due to the theme being too unappealing.
Centered on Gulliver, as the name implies, the attendance was just never really there to begin with. The park was built close to Mount Fuji which can be seen in the distance not far from the park. The statue of the park’s central character, massive in size, lying on the ground, makes for a haunting image with the volcano in the backdrop.
22 Wild Waters, Silver Springs, Florida
With very little reason cited by management for its eventual closure in 2016, after operating for four decades in the Silver Springs town of Florida, Wild Rivers was shut down. The park’s closure came as a surprise to the residents of the town as it was often seen as a major attraction with strong attendance throughout the year.
The park was supposed to be cleared for a new tenant, but those plans dissolved, leaving Wild Waters abandoned for the last couple years.
21 Wonderland, China
Once the largest theme park in all of Asia, which is an amazing feat, Wonderland is now a barren wasteland with crumbling structures, most notably its concrete castle that stood at the center of the park. Constructed to compete but also feel like a Disney park, Wonderland failed because of poor financial decisions by its operators, shutting down in 1998. The size of the abandoned park only adds to the mystery and legend of Asia’s largest lonely park.
Visitors commonly sneak in and photograph the Disney inspired park which has fallen into disarray, but very much carries its magical kingdom like feel throughout its quiet history.
20 Western Village, Japan
This Japanese theme park spared no expense when constructing what would become probably the most ominous of all theme parks once abandoned. The park even included a replica of Mount Rushmore which still stands today.
The most confronting aspect of the park today which attracts hundreds of people looking to explore the dilapidated grounds, are the animatronic characters which are still in place after years. These characters were once the stars of the park so there are still hundreds of them around which give off the feel of a horror movie, as their eyes seem to follow those wandering the grounds.
19 Joyland, Wichita, Kansas
It what was once considered a staple of Wichita, Joyland was a beloved part of the community and operated for fifty five years from 1949 to 2004. The park was one of the largest amusement attractions in the entire state of Kansas for some time and one of its most successful.
Since its closure nearly fifteen years ago, the park has been left abandoned, leaving behind a capsule of what 1950’s US fun used to look like. The park continues to lay in ruins while trespassers have vandalized it significantly.
18 Spreepark, Germany
The story behind this park’s closure is shrouded in mystery with many unanswered questions. Spreepark was a popular destination that included giant ferris wheels and coasters.
The park was suddenly closed in 2002 without much warning after its owner fled the country to South America for unknown reasons, leaving behind massive debt. It now lays deserted and deteriorating, falling into further ruin disrepair after sixteen years of vandalism and natural decay.
17 Kulturpark, Berlin
Kulturpark in Berlin seems to have become even more popular after it was abandoned, with security in the area having to kick out up to 130 daily trespassers. The park has taken on an urban legend like status in the area with many looking to sneak in to catch a glimpse of the attractions that lay desolate, despite the signings warning about the dangers of trespassing.
There are plans to turn the park into a public space, but those have not come into fruition yet.
16 Land of Oz, Beech Mountain, North Carolina
Located in the mountains of North Carolina, this famous park became significantly more famous after its closure rather than while it was actually operating. Land of Oz was themed after the Wizard of Oz and only stayed open for ten years from 1970 to 1980.
In the thirty-eight years since it closed its doors closed, the park has gained notoriety for the unsettling images that have been shown of its forgotten rides, attractions, roads and Oz characters that are still standing. From time to time, the park opens up for special tours, banking on the infamy it has gained for its deserted status with tours of the lonely park.
15 Dadipark, Belgium
Dadipark was considered the oldest amusement park in all of Europe operating since 1950. The park originally started as a large playground for children but soon found success after developing into a larger more kid-centric entertainment attraction, complete with swings, carousels, bumper cars and small coasters for children.
The park continued to bring in crowds, but abruptly stopped after a nine year old boy was injured while on one of the rides, ultimately leading to the closure.
The park still sits deserted today, making for a spooky reminder of the past, most especially because desolate children’s rides somehow seem much more intimidating.
14 Six Flags New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana
The Six Flags brand is synonymous with theme parks, responsible for operating some of the most successful parks in the world, all of them located in North America. In 2003, New Orleans joined the list of cities with its own Six Flags theme park which proved to be highly successful, bringing in massive crowds eager to enjoy all of the major roller coaster ride attractions.
In 2005, only two years after its opening, when the infamous Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city, the park was left in ruins, flooded and ultimately, forgotten. It still sits off the freeway, desolate and unused to this day.
13 Ebenezer Floppen Slopper's Wonderful Water Slides, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois
Even the name of this attraction has a somewhat unsettling feel to it, reminding many of the past when whimsical names were the norm.
When Ebenezer Floppen Slopper’s opened in 1980, the attraction was a hit with the locals who lived in this area of Illinois. The park was mainly centered on its two giant slides that were 800 feet long, giving visitors some serious thrills.
After only nine years, the park closed down without much warning and for nearly three decades the giant slides have sat there, decaying over time, collecting giant cracks, becoming unstable and having the wooded area grow over them. Anyone who stumbles across these behemoths in the woods is definitely in for a spook.
12 Rock-A-Hoola Waterpark/Lake Dolores Waterpark, Newberry Springs, California
With several different names throughout its history, given the number of attempts the park has made to stay relevant and successful, Lake Dolores Waterpark finally shut its doors in 2004 after decades of operating in the Mojave Desert. They ran out of money because attendance continued to drop over the years with its location in the desert being a contributing factor.
Since its closure, the park has become a major attraction for film crews using it in music videos, skate park shows and more, with the abandoned rides serving as a backdrop.
11 Wild Rivers, Irvine, California
Wild Rivers was a water park that operated from the summer of 1986 through the summer of 2011, running for twenty five years. Before its opening, the space that occupied the park was a drive through zoo serving as a safari. Since its closure, the water park has been left abandoned with many of its rides starting to fall apart and collecting decay. The lands have even begun to take on a swamp like feel as the rains in the California area have started to overtake the grassy areas forming muddy ponds and mini-lakes throughout.
10 Am. Adventures, Atlanta, Georgia
Although not exactly a large theme park, American Adventures was a small entertainment center serving more as a family amusement park outside of Atlanta. The park had miniature golf, arcades, and go-karts, which made it a relatively popular destination. With a nearby Six Flags moving in and failing management, the park finally closed its doors for good in 2008, leaving all of its ride behind.
There is no denying that the park looks eerie now as the attractions sit quietly in the middle of the wooded area that surrounds them.
9 Wild West, St. Columb Major, England
In an attempt by England to capture the wild west of 1800’s America, the town of St Columb Major built an entire theme park dedicated to it. The park’s attractions were centered on the theme which was built to resemble an entire western town, complete with a jailhouse, a saloon, and hotel.
Since the park’s closing in 2009, it has remained relatively untouched, making this one of the legitimately scarier abandoned parks on our list since it actually looks like a real abandoned town from over a century ago.
8 Wild West World, Park City, Kansas
In its second appearance on our list, Kansas also gives us the desolate and forgotten Wild West World. The park is another entry that was centered on capturing Western culture of the past. It closed in 2007 after only operating for a mere two months.
The sudden closure was due to poor attendance from the opening day along with what many experts believed was a poor choice in theme for the park. Since its closure, the owners who shut it down have left it to go to waste with the rides having rarely ever been used to begin with.
7 Expoland, Japan
Japan’s Expoland operated from 1970 through 2009 and was an extremely successful park all the way up until its final days.
The park was ultimately closed due to safety concerns after one of its rides derailed because of faulty cracks in the vehicle’s axles which hadn’t been replaced for fifteen years. The unfortunate accident resulted in one person perishing and thirty one others who were injured. The park could never recover after the incident, ultimately closing its doors two years later after other hazards came to light.
The park is still very much present after a decade with its rides still intact including its famous Expotrain.
6 Pripyat Amusement Park, Pripyat, Ukraine
Located only miles away from the infamous Chernobyl city that was laid to waste by the catastrophic nuclear accident, the neighboring town of Pripyat also evacuated. The fleeing residents after the city was wiped out obviously left all businesses deserted without a population to sustain it. The theme park today, is still there, with all of its rides intact, although with dangerous radiation levels to this day. The park’s eerie look today, is a harsh reminder of the disaster that took place three decades ago.
5 Am. Adventure Theme Park, Derbyshire, England
Opening in 1985, Am Adventure Theme Park joins another English park that shut its doors after failing attendance. A recurring theme that the British have found is there isn’t much of an appetite by its residents to visit parks centered on the US.
The park featured rides that were supposed to embody the US spirit with the theme throughout, including its entrance covered with giant Native face statues. After the park fell into disrepair after years of subpar maintenance to go along with a theme that park goers were not interested in, the doors were shut for good in 2006, twenty one years after it opened.
4 Loudoun Castle Theme Park, Galston, Scotland
Loudoun Castle was a theme park that was on centered on 19th century castle which seems like a theme that not many would be interested to come back to visit, but surprisingly had strong attendance until its eventual closure.
Operating since 1995, the park closed after an accident in 2007 which took the life of a teenage employee. The ride operator was pushing a roller coaster that was stuck, but fell eighty feet below.
The incident made headlines, citing insufficient training and resulting in a lawsuit. The park could never recover afterward, eventually closing its doors soon after.
3 Ocean Beach, Rhyl, North Wales
Located in the coastal town of Rhyl in Wales, Ocean Beach was an oceanfront amusement park facing the water, very much like a boardwalk with attractions. During its heyday, the attraction was a wildly popular destination for the locals along with tourists passing through, but began to decline in attendance as there was no effort to upgrade the rides or attractions, leading to a dip in popularity.
After years of failing attendance, Ocean Front closed down in 2007, decades after opening its doors. The ocean facing park still stands today, abandoned right by the main road where passing cars and tourists can still very much see it in ruins.
2 Holy Land USA, Waterbury, Connecticut
In one of the more head scratching entries on our list, Holy Land USA’s eventual closure shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. Located in the small town of Waterbury in Connecticut, Holy Land USA was a theme park centered on the Bible. It opened in 1955 when religious practice was common for every child in America, but quickly lost popularity as other parks in the surrounding areas featured themes that were more appealing to children.
It closed down in 1984 and the relics and attractions sat dormant for decades, making this an ominous scene, with many of the religious monuments still standing intact.
1 Dinosaur Land, Tamworth, England
It may not seem like it at face value, but there really aren’t that many things that are creepier than abandoned animatronic dinosaurs still standing in position after years. As the name implies, the park was themed after dinosaurs with statues throughout the grounds positioned in such a way that tell the stories of their existence. People who trespass are often taken aback by the giant lifelike beasts still standing tall after decades of being unused.