Thursday, August 27, 2009

Abandoned Places: Amusement Parks

It’s nearly impossible to find information on this amusement park abandoned in Japan (above), but as you can tell, the pictures are truly amazing and genuinely creepy! The whole concept of abandoned amusement parks is one that unsettles people as much as clowns and baby dolls. Structures that once housed beautiful sets and bright happy colors become something like the aging child actress in “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte.” Still dressed in its once spirited attire, these structures are now molded, rusted, and distorted by nature’s unrelenting aging process.

I have to admit, on my list of dream things (besides living in Oregon and being a writer full-time), is to own a cart from an amusement park ride. Some rusty old Tilt-a-Whirl seat, rusted and awful looking, sitting in my garden with vines and plants taking it over. I love the imagery of it so much that I started looking into abandoned amusement parks to see if any smart person is making money off of selling the equipment. I think in my other life I would have been in the reclamation business. To me, everything old is new!

The pictures of these places are so mesmerizing that I’d love to include them all in this post, but instead, I’ll redirect you to some great places for seeing more. A nice site for abandoned theme parks and other places is found here. For a list of defunct amusement parks around the world, you can look here.

Here in America there are surprisingly quite a few. I suppose entrepreneurs in small towns thought they might get business to their districts, but found people are more willing to shell out bucks for the big parks. It appears most are in Pennsylvania, Ohio, the Carolinas, Texas, and California. Of course, I’d be happy to see any of them, but I’d most love to see the Enchanted Forest in Ellicott City, Maryland. This is one of my favorite “creepy” feeling towns I’ve ever been to (future post will be about creepy towns I've visited).

Of course, like most abandoned sites, they’re off limits and people will be arrested if they’re caught. I’ve talked my way out of graveyards at night, but I don’t think the excuses would fly on private property. A few crazy people will get photos of these sites and it’s always fun to sift through them. We have an abandoned site about a half hour’s drive south from Ahwatukee, but it’s completely off limits and patrolled. Too bad, because the little weird rides the person started to erect and left behind, looked promising and creepy. (I-10 heading toward Tucson on the right side of the road between Casa Grande and Marana). For those of us in AZ, here’s a blast from the past Legend City!


  1. Doesn't it? I think it'd be more macabre than any lunatic asylum!

  2. I'm Definately digging the song, but the only problem is it's 7 minutes long. heh. 5 minutes is long for a belly dancer, 7, I'm not sure I could do. I'm wondering if I could find like a shorter version of these songs, because it's actually exactly what I'm looking for.

  3. I think old amusement parks are totaly creepy! I remember when I was really young we would visit an amusement park in Long Beach, "The Pike". The fun house had this gigantic mechanical couple above the entrance that would laugh out loud. It totally scared me, it was so creepy!

  4. This is a very cool post as always autumnforest!! i think you are right about it being more macabre than a lunatic asylum! BTW we have the same dream at least as far as writing goes! haha I am still struggling along -dont know about Oregon-but damn-wouldnt anything be better than good ole AZ? I don't know what it is inside me that loves the neglected/melancholy and abandoned-I try to bring these "soulful" aspects out in my personal attempts at writing but cant get there 99 percent of the time-best to you as always for your hard work and for being you!!

  5. Sarah;
    You might try listening to the other songs on it, as well. The only other option is to have someone fade out the song early. Someone online might have taken and shortened it too, you never know. I always loved the lyrics and the sound of it. He went through a Middle Eastern phase that was really pretty to listen to. I have a fantastic other CD that you might want to hear--I'll tell you about it on your site at your last post.

  6. Devin;
    If you don't write a book about mysticism in the Middle Ages, it'll be a crime. I think you should be a college professor in literature, myself, but then I'm biased. I love your posts! I went to a progressive junior high/high school back east that had us test out and find our talents. Then, they focused our education on our area of strength. I got English and I was shocked. At the time, I hated to read. Loved to make up stories, hated to write them down. Somehow, I got over it when a teacher told us to write with our own voice and screw the rules. If it sounds good in your head, it's your own voice and that's what people get. They don't get stilted run-on sentences with big words. He also said that reading is not for the teacher, it's for the curious. It changed everything for me. I know the voice in my head is goofy, but it sounds legit. You write from your inner voice--that makes you a writer!

  7. Oh my goodness, Legend City!!! I went there many times with my friends and we had so much fun. Wow, that is a blast from the past just as much as Wallace and Ladmo, who we saw there on several occations. Too bad Legend City is completely gone. It would be a fun place to investigate.

  8. WOW! I don't know how you find these things, but I'm glad you do and that you share them like this. Way cool.

  9. Very Very cool! I love stuff like that. Although I haven't actually discovered many myself. The only abandoned amusement park I have been to was Lake Shawnee in WV, its very very small and the only things still standing are the ferris wheel and the swings. I added this picture today to my Flickr page so I could share it. I really need to go back there if I could remember the way.


    Try this website it gives a list and pictures of parks in Japan. Some due to deaths but the pics you have posted above are the same pics of the Pripyat Amusement Park in Ukraine and it closed the same day it opened. Nobody ever got to see it.

    Situated in Pripyat, a city once home to workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the park was effectively closed the day it was opened.
    On April 27, 1986, the park was unveiled. Little did the organizers know that on the same day the city would be evacuated due to the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.
    After 24 years, the park’s attractions are unmoved. The still-standing, yet sad-looking Ferris wheel has become a symbol of the city and The Zone of Alienation – the exclusion zone surrounding the site of the Chernobyl disaster. Players of the popular video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare may recognize its structures. The park, including its Ferris wheel, provided source material for the game.
    Hope this helps. It is so sad that the abandoned amusement parks sit while parts and pieces could be sold off and rides sold off to be enjoyed by a new generation.


  12. Turtle Dove;
    Fantastic information. I have always been so fascinated with carnivals and amusement parks. The thought of something so active going quiet is just the saddest thing.