Is there anything more frightening than a deserted amusement park? It’s a location where laughing and children’s laughs once filled the air, and where vividly colored Ferris wheels and exhilarating rides created lifelong memories. However, abandoned parks become host to apocalyptic vistas of rotting attractions and roller coasters being reclaimed by mother nature. Here are the world’s 13 most terrifying abandoned amusement parks.
Nara Dreamland, Nara, Japan
The park, which is located on the northern outskirts of the historic Japanese city, opened in 1961 as a rip-off of California’s Disneyland.
It even contained Disney-inspired attractions like as Sleeping Beauty Castle, Tomorrowland, and the Adventure Jungle Cruise. Dreamland performed admirably until Tokyo Disneyland debuted in 1983, when attendance began to decline.
The park lasted until 2006 and was a famous location for urban explorers before being dismantled almost a decade later.
All that remains are two sports stadiums erected in the 1980s to complement Dreamland and American-style chain eateries like Coco’s and Il Bene Italian Buffet that originally served theme park visitors.
Six Flags, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Six Flags New Orleans went out of business after suffering severe damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The park opened in 2000 and had only been open for a few years when it was severely damaged by the hurricane, which displaced 20,000 people and killed nearly 2,000. The park closed following Hurricane Katrina, and because there was little funding for restoration, it has deteriorated further in recent years. To this day, there’s still an ominous sign at the entrance of the park that states, ‘Closed for the storm’. It’s an apocalyptic scene that Hollywood has exploited for blockbusters like Jurassic World and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Pripyat Amusement Park, Chernobyl, Ukraine
The terrible background of this Ukraine amusement park revolves around the nuclear tragedy at Chernobyl, which is only a few kilometres from Pripyat. Many of the power plant’s employees and their families lived in the town, and the park was scheduled to open on May 1, 1986, for the May Day celebration. However, because the explosion at the plant occurred just a few days prior, on April 26, it never occurred—although, according to some sources, administrators opened the park early to keep inhabitants occupied before evacuation orders were issued.
Everyone fled fairly immediately after the announcement to leave, abandoning the park (and everything else) to the elements. The abandoned Ferris wheel has now become a symbol of the doomed town.
Berliner Spreepark, Berlin, Germany
The most amazing thing about this defunct German theme park isn’t the decaying relics of former rides that can be seen today, such as the giant Ferris wheel or the graffiti-covered Spreeblitz roller coaster, but the fact that it was built by East Germany’s Communist authorities as a way for the proletariat to have fun.
The park, named after the neighboring Spree River, was open from 1969 to 2001. The grounds are now a vast public park with walking paths leading to several of the decommissioned rides or the option of canoeing by on Backstagetourism’s guided canoe cruises.
Joyland Amusement Park, Wichita, Kansas, USA
Joyland Amusement Park, once a beloved gem of Kansas, now stands desolate and forgotten. The creaking echoes of a bygone era, when children’s laughter filled the air, resonates through the deserted pathways. Each forsaken ride and stall tells a heartrending tale of abandonment, symbols of a time when imagination and innocence were palpable.
The merry-go-round, once spinning with color and music, stands silent and colorless; the once-bustling roller coasters stand eerily still. The ferris wheel, a skeletal silhouette against the Kansas sky, no longer offers dreamy views of the horizon. The park’s decline came with a heavy heart, a melancholic farewell to a place that once nurtured dreams and created timeless memories.
Today, Joyland stands as a hauntingly beautiful relic of the past, its desolation an evocative testament to the impermanence of joy, youth, and all things vibrant. The lost echoes of Joyland continue to linger, reminding us of the fleeting beauty of human experience.
Gulliver’s Kingdom, Yamanashi, Japan
Gulliver’s Kingdom was only open for four years before closing due to poor visitor numbers. Today, the park is home to a colossal decaying Gulliver monument, based on Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travels – a terrifying sight that epitomizes the park’s decline.
Mimaland, Near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia, near the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur From 1975 to 1994, Miniature Land (Mimaland) was in operation. It was Southeast Asia’s first theme park, with an artificial lake, a massive swimming pool with big water slides, and a Prehistoric Animal Kingdom.
Mimaland was forced to close by the government due to a destructive mudslide and other safety concerns.
The park’s life-sized dinosaurs and megafauna, bumper cars, and other attractions have been strangely absorbed by the rainforest thirty years later.
Jardin de Tivoli, Paris, France
Simon Gabriel Boutin transformed the Tivoli Garden in Paris into a public amusement park in the late 18th century, making it one of the world’s first theme parks. Water fountains, theatrical performances, a menagerie, and a mineral collection were among the attractions.
Boutin was executed by guillotine during the French Revolution after being accused of excessive wealth. Despite this, the park thrived under new ownership, adding attractions such as a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, labyrinths, and acrobatic acts, including one starring the tightrope walker Coco the Deer.
The park closed in 1842, becoming an early victim of urban development. Square Hector Berlioz, previously known as Nouveau Tivoli when it was presented in 1859, is the only remaining vestige of the once rich gardens.
Yongma Land, South Korea
This tiny abandoned theme park has now become its own attraction. While you can’t ride the merry-go-rounds or dodgems at Yongma Land, you can roam about the abandoned grounds for a modest price.
Yongma, which opened in 1980, was popular among Seoul residents. When Lotte World opened in 1989, with indoor and outdoor rides, Yongma fell out of favor, and the park’s profitability declined. It was forced to close in 2011 owing to declining profits.
Dunblobbin Crinkley Bottom Theme Park, England, United Kingdom
Dunblobbin was established as part of Noel Edmond’s Crinkley Bottom Park, which was a Mr. Blobby themed amusement park based on the popular TV program character from the 1990s. Crinkley Bottom, sometimes known as ‘Blobbyland,’ first opened in Cricket St Thomas, Somerset in 1994, during the height of Blobbymania, when the pink spotty sidekick appeared in Noel Edmonds’ House Party.
When the theme park closed in the late 1990s, the structures were abandoned until 2009, when they were found by urban explorers.
When the rest of the park was refurbished and turned into a hotel, the amusement park was abandoned and left to rot. There are tales that the location is haunted today, and ghost-hunters frequently attend in the hopes of capturing something extraordinary on video.
Dunaujvarosi Vidampark, Hungary
Dunaujvarosi Vidampark, which established in 1953, was a communist-run theme park that provided free entertainment for anyone. Once surviving on communist party subsidies for 40 years, it was forced to close its doors in 1993 once the Soviet Union collapsed.
It’s a very haunting picture and an intriguing look at Soviet-era entertainment. Dunajvárosi Vidámpark appears to have been a lively place once, but graffiti, rust, and nature have all taken over.
Ho Thuy Tien, Hue, Vietnam
Ho Thuy Tien was a large-scale project that included amusement rides, aquariums, live entertainment, and restaurants. There was so much anticipation that it opened before it was finished, receiving tourists in 2004. However, it was not well received, and it eventually closed down.
This massive dragon sculpture overlooking a lake is perhaps the most remarkable feature in the park. Urban explorers have even ventured inside the beast’s body via a staircase to gaze out from its gnashing fangs.
It is now deserted, and its water slides, the only attraction that was ready when it opened, lie dormant, with no flowing water or shouting thrill-seekers. Instead, you’ll encounter the occasional curious traveller and possibly a herd of cows that are now helping to keep the weeds at bay.
Dadipark, located in Antwerp, Belgium, seeks to give inexpensive and memorable family experiences. Unfortunately, one young boy’s unforgettable experience included losing an arm while riding the Nautic Jet Ride. The park closed in 2002 after a heated outcry from visitors, who also complained about other safety problems. Apart from destroyed equipment and a foreboding ambiance, the abandoned park has little left to offer today. According to reports, plans are in the works to convert the park into a new recreation space. Will any restorations, however, be sufficient to erase the awful memories of the past?
The world’s abandoned amusement parks are the ghostly remains of joyous times past, places that once thrived with life, laughter, and the youthful spirit of adventure. They now stand in silence, their stories longing to be heard, their beauty yearning to be seen. These are landscapes that echo the impermanence of life, that resonate with the poetic beauty of abandonment. To visit these places is to honor the memories that once filled the air, the dreams that once took flight.
Join us in this unique journey as we explore the silent symphony of Nara Dreamland, the haunting beauty of Pripyat Amusement Park, the faded glory of Berliner Spreepark, and many others. Each park holds a tale waiting to be unveiled, a spectacle waiting to be beheld. Sign up for our newsletter and receive notifications on new secret places content.