10 Most Haunting Abandoned Amusement Parks of the World

abandoned-six-flags-new-orleans-theme-park (Image: Erik Jorgensen; Six Flags abandoned amusement park in New Orleans)

Few derelict places are creepier than abandoned amusement parks. All those forgotten dreams and discarded joys, haunting the scene far more effectively than any number of ghouls. It’s enough to send a shiver up even the most-seasoned urban explorer’s spine. Don’t believe us? Then feast your eyes on these decaying wonderlands…

Nara Dreamland (Japan)

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nara-dreamland-abandoned (Images: Jordy Meow/Haikyo.org)

In 1961, post-war Japan got a new attraction to sooth its spirits and capitalise on its booming economy. Known as the Japanese Disneyland (before the real deal moved into Tokyo), Nara Dreamland was exactly that: a child’s bedtime fantasy brought to life in garish steel.

abandoned-amusement-parks-of-the-world (Image: Jordy Meow/Haikyo.org)

Although Nara Dreamland featured the usual rollercoasters, log flumes and monorails, it was in the design that it truly shone. Straddling the entrance was a vast version of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Stretching through the centre was Main Street, USA, a collection of Americana hitherto unseen in this Pacific Asian nation. A staple of Japanese vacations for over 40 years, Nara finally closed its doors in 2006; its business snatched away by the more-authentic Disneyland Tokyo.

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nara-dreamland-abandoned-5 (Images: Jordy Meow/Haikyo.org)

Ever since then, the deserted park has been left to rust. Still with working electricity, its grounds patrolled by guards, it has nonetheless passed beyond the point of repair. Vegetation sprouts through the abandoned roller coaster tracks, and plastic mascots lurk in shadowed doorways, their kindly smiles transformed by rain and dust into spooky leers.

Dadipark (Belgium)

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dadipark-abandoned-theme-park-2 (Images: janheuninck; Max Mayorov; Hannes De Block)

Located on the fringes of the picturesque town of Dadizele in Flanders, Dadipark was once one of the area’s prime attractions. Started as a simple playground in the 1950s under the watchful eye of a local priest, it slowly built up over the decades to become a fully-fledged amusement park complete with slides, rides and the obligatory painted mascots.

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dadipark-abandoned-theme-park-4 (Images: Patrik Uytterhoeven; Max Mayorov; abandoned Dadipark amusement park)

Dadipark’s story came crashing to a rather gruesome end in the early 2000s. It’s alleged that a child lost an arm on one of the rides, capping off a string of accidents and sending the park into a death spiral. By 2002, Dadipark was closed off to the public; an unloved wasteland frequented exclusively by graffiti artists.

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dadipark-abandoned-theme-park-6 (Images: Thomas Strosse; janheuninck; creepy abandoned rides)

Left to stand empty for a decade, the abandoned amusement park finally met with the wrecking ball in 2012. Over the next two years, the rides were dismantled, the slides pulled down and the empty-eyed mascots ground down into the dust. Today, a hiking spot sits on the former site of Dadipark, and its rusting rides have been converted into so much scrap.

Spreepark Berlin (Germany)

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derelict-spreepark-berlin-3 (Images: Marcus Goral; Seth Tisue; ; abandoned Spreepark)

Originally constructed in East Germany for the use of citizens of the Communist GDR, Spreepark in Berlin finally found its feet in the boom years following reunification. Under the guiding hand of Norbert Witte, Spreepark expanded in scope and ambition, adding rides, a giant Ferris Wheel, and a herd of plastic dinosaurs. Then, in 2002, Witte suddenly abandoned the amusement park and fled to Peru. He left behind a toxic pile of debt and a legacy in ruins.

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derelict-spreepark-berlin-5 (Images: Norbert Löv; ; Spreepark’s abandoned pirate ship and roller coasters)

Since then, Speepark, which was once known as Kulturpark Plänterwald, has stood empty; a foreboding reminder of East German life in this fiercely Western nation. Empty swan boats bob forlornly on the dismal lake, the rides have cracked and broken, and the dinosaurs have toppled over on their sides. In 2014, a large fire broke out, burning most of the ruined park to the ground. At time of writing, it is not known what will happen to the site, although chances of a recovery must by now be effectively zero.

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derelict-spreepark-berlin-8 (Images: Rool Paap; Morgennebel; Danipuntocom; abandoned Kulturpark Plänterwald)

There is one last twist to this strange saga. In 2004, Witte was arrested in Peru trying to smuggle a large quantity of cocaine back to Germany. His hopes of opening a theme park in South America and starting a new life had evaporated soon after arriving. He was sentenced to seven years. In August 2014, meanwhile, a fire ravaged much of the abandoned amusement park, further adding to the scenes of devastation.

Wonderland Amusement Park (China)

Wonderland Amusement Park Beijing

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Wonderland Amusement Park Beijing 3 (Images: Adam Khan; China’s creepy abandoned Wonderland)

Have you ever wanted to make a horror movie set in China? You could do worse than pick the abandoned Wonderland Amusement Park as your setting. Located on the outskirts of Beijing and once dreamed of as a potential rival to Disneyworld, Wonderland instead was never finished; leaving only a hollow shell that notably fails to live up to its name.

Wonderland Amusement Park Beijing 5 (Images: Adam Khan)

The source of its premature abandonment was a simple contract dispute. As has so often been the case in China’s high-velocity economy, the plans had millions thrown at them, only for everyone to cut their losses and run the moment a problem arose. Rather than finish the job, those in charge simply left Wonderland to stand vacant, its green spaces quickly reclaimed by farmers looking for somewhere to plant their crops, its unfinished castles eventually occupied by squatters.

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abandoned-wonderland-2 (Images: (top, bottom) Joe Wolf)

Finally, in 2013, the bulldozers moved in. The melancholy, haunting shell of Wonderland was swept away and consigned to the dustbin of history; another forgotten cul-de-sac on China’s long road to prosperity.

Chippewa Lake Park (Ohio, USA)

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chippewa-lake-park-abandoned-amusement-3 (Images: Meryl Swiatek; the abandoned amusement park’s long-overgrown rides)

Few could have predicted the staying power of Chippewa Lake Park when it first opened – all the way back in 1875. Originally known as Andrew’s Pleasure Grounds, the park was infamous for its drunken, loutish behaviour. Combined with a retro, hand-powered roller coaster (that had to be dragged back to the top by attendants after each trip) and a typically 19th century lack of health and safety, it’s a wonder the park survived at all.

chippewa-lake-park-abandoned-amusement-4

chippewa-lake-park-abandoned-amusement-5 (Images: Justin Masterson; Chippewa Lake Park’s abandoned roller coaster)

But survive it did. Not only that, it blossomed. In 1898, the Beach family acquired it and immediately banned drinking or the sale of alcohol anywhere on the premises. Instead, they brought in live music, erected new, mechanical rides and turned the ailing Pleasure Gardens into a bona fide hit. The park wound up staying open for nearly 100 years.

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chippewa-lake-park-abandoned-amusement-7 (Images: Justin Masterson)

Sadly, it couldn’t last. In 1978, Chippewa shut its doors for the final time, priced out by competition from the bigger, faster and newer parks opening up across the state. Remarkably, it remained standing for another 31 years. By the time the wrecking ball finally arrived, Chippewa Lake Park was well and truly overgrown; a lost park abandoned in the middle of a newly-grown forest. Standing amid its ruined roller coasters, it was easy to imagine that you were glimpsing an eerie snapshot of another time.

Camelot (Lancashire, UK)

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camelot-abandoned-theme-park-lancashire (Images: True British Metal; Camelot abandoned amusement park in the UK)

The tale of King Arthur, his round table, and the knights of Camelot is one of the most-enduring British legends. Sadly, it’s theme park spin-off Camelot in Lancashire didn’t quite match its source’s longevity. Opened to great fanfare in 1983, it closed its doors for the last time less than 30 years later; a victim of financial meltdowns and visitor apathy.

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camelot-abandoned-theme-park-lancashire-5 (Images: True British Metal; eerily silent buildings)

What was left wouldn’t look out of place as a Scooby Doo villain’s lair. Huge, hulking rides turn to rust on the skyline, shorn of their useful parts many moons ago. Down on the Earth, blank-faced mannequins lie in pieces in pools of oil and sludge, while the broken down ghost train still houses a handful of ghoulish horrors.

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camelot-abandoned-theme-park-lancashire-6 (Images: True British Metal; Camelot’s abandoned pirate ship & creepy mannequin)

With most of the best rides long since shipped away to other theme parks across the UK, Camelot feels even more hopeless than many on this list. At time of writing, there are no plans to reopen it, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the park’s remains were soon torn down.

Sports World (Izunagaoka, Japan)

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sports-world-abandoned-theme-park-japan-2 (Images: Jordy Meow/Haikyo.org)

Built just as Japan’s bubble economy was reaching its maximum size, Sports World never really stood a chance. A largely water-based theme park at the crown of the Izu peninsula, it was designed to house everything a vacationing family might need. There was a smart hotel, an expensive restaurant, a wave pool, a spa, a gym and rides as far as the eye could see. Then, in 1990, the bubble burst with a bang heard around the world. The party days were over.

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sports-world-abandoned-theme-park-japan-4 (Images: Jordy Meow/Haikyo.org; Sports World’s abandoned water slides)

Within three years, Sports World had gone under. The company behind it closed up shop and the theme park sank into ruin. Fifteen years later, it was still sinking. The jungle had spread out to reclaim nearly everything. The residential villas had fallen to pieces. The slides were dark green with mould. The once-sparkling pools were now grimy pits filled with toxic sludge. Finally, in 2011, the complex was torn down.

Six Flags New Orleans (USA)

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abandoned-six-flags-new-orleans-theme-park-2 (Images: Erik Jorgensen; Six Flags’ abandoned Skycoaster)

Located in a deep depression near the river town of New Orleans, Six Flags lasted a mere five years before fate intervened to shut it down in a big way. Constructed in 2000 as Jazzland, the park was a major hit with visitors. By 2005, it had grown in size and was looking to expand even further as the money kept rolling in. On 21 August 2005, the doors closed on the end of summer. They would never reopen.

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abandoned-six-flags-new-orleans-theme-park-5 (Images: Erik Jorgensen)

Less than a week later, the devastating storm known as Hurricane Katrina made landfall, swallowing New Orleans in its watery embrace. The levees protecting the city collapsed, floodwaters poured in and 80 percent of the city was swallowed by the waves. In the aftermath of looting, shootings and counting up the nearly 2,000 dead, few noticed that the Six Flags park had been damaged beyond any hope of repair.

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abandoned-six-flags-new-orleans-theme-park-7 (Images: Darrell Miller)

Following the nightmare of Katrina, Six Flags sank into the mire of memory. Far into 2007, the owners continued with attempts to salvage the park, only to give up and start removing whatever they could in 2008. Today, the site is a carefully-managed wreck frequently leased out to filmmakers looking to capitalize on its post-apocalyptic vibe.

The American Adventure (Derbyshire, UK)

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american-adventure-derbyshire-abandoned-4 (Images: Lio112; Tony Austin)

From the moment it opened its doors, the American Adventure in Derbyshire was dogged by setbacks. Originally named Britannia Park when it launched in 1985, the site was declared insolvent within ten weeks – surely a record for such a large-scale attraction. Reopened in 1987 with a Wild West theme, the park managed to lurch on, zombie-like, until 1996 when a change of ownership began its long, sad spiral into abandonment and decay.

american-adventure-derbyshire-abandoned-3 (Image: Maree Turner; neglected entrance sign to nowhere)

By 2006, the park was a shell of its former self, operating without a single big ride and near non-existent attendance. Finally put out of its misery 19 years after it opened, the American Adventure was stripped down and left as a patch of rotting wasteland under the control of the county council.

american-adventure-derbyshire-abandoned (Image: Bing Maps; the abandoned American Adventure from above)

Fast forward to 2013, and urban explorers who entered the site reported that there was almost nothing left. Where once-proud rides had stood were now cracked concrete blocks. Wide boulevards designed to corral large groups deeper into the grounds were overgrown and lost among the forest. All that remained of the buildings were a few piles of rubble.

Takakonuma Greenland (Japan)

Takakanonuma-Greenland-abandoned-amusement-park-japan-3 (Image: Shibakouen Hamutaro; abandoned Takakonuma Greenland in Japan)

Few abandoned amusement parks are as mysterious as Takakonuma Greenland in Japan. Situated some 250km north of Tokyo, almost nothing is known about this ruined old park. It’s not even certain where exactly it is. Long ago lost to vegetation, it seems to have been equally lost to cartographers’ minds.

Takakanonuma-Greenland-abandoned-amusement-park-japan-5 (Image: Shibakouen Hamutaro; one of Japan’s creepiest abandoned amusement parks)

All we know for certain is that it opened in 1973 and promptly closed down two years later. Why it shut up shop after only two seasons is unknown, but persistent rumours claim a number of children died on the rides, forcing the owners’ hands.

Takakanonuma-Greenland-abandoned-amusement-park-japan (Images: Shibakouen Hamutaro; mist shrouds the abandoned park)

Whether or not that’s true, it’s a fact that the park managed to reopen in the bubble years, flinging its rusted doors wide for the second time in 1986. But once again, it couldn’t last. By 1999, the park was closed up again, this time for good. Abandoned to the elements, its rides quickly began to rust, taking on the haunted, nightmare quality of a Japanese Chernobyl.

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Takakanonuma-Greenland-abandoned-amusement-park-japan-2 (Images: Shibakouen Hamutaro; decaying Ferris wheel and roller coasters)

Thanks to its rusted rides, creepy atmosphere and feeling of utter remoteness, the forgotten park was for a long time famous among local urban explorers. However, in 2010 most of its rides were finally torn down, leaving only a blasted patch of land to show that Takakonuma Greenland ever existed at all.

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