The day the music stopped, the fun ended, the rides halted and the gate closed up for good - that day the park fell into the brooding silence, deep and desolate, yet fraught with echoes and afterimages of former joy.
Specters of happy crowds, romancing couples, over-active children, memories of devil-may-care atmosphere and addictive/indulgent food - all came to haunt the place, seemingly stronger with every passing year. As the forest grew and reclaimed its own, the grounds were sinking deeper into the "loud silence", a sentimental oblivion, leaving behind a tangible presence of the past, and a longing... and bringing scores of urban explorers to sample its past glory and savor its present decay.
Okpo Land in South Korea
Southern Korean island of Geoje holds the remains of Okpo Land park. Jon Dunbar sent us these photographs, full of suppressed (and sometimes all-too-obvious) weirdness:
"This amusement park sits on a ridge on the edge of Okpo City (pop. 200 000) in Geoje Island, for all to see. It has been closed since 1999, when the park's second fatality-causing accident saw a young girl fall off a chick-shaped skybike. The owner of the park shut it down and never paid the girl's family a cent (or won)"
"I believe this is where the accident occurred, or at least this is the ride that killed her:"
Taken from the highest point on the roller coaster:
"The roller coaster was cute. Also, the building in the background turned out to be an abandoned swimming pool" -
Joel Styer has amassed quite a collection of abandoned or destroyed park properties in every state of the US. With his permission, here is probably the creepiest park of them all:
Chippewa Lake in Ohio
The following is a place you don't find too often - a forest growing THROUGH the roller coaster, and the roller coaster itself, being made out of wood, growing, blending, merging with the forest into a magical haunted whole.
Closed down since the late 70s, due to the fire, this fascinating overgrown park was home to three roller coasters, including the wooden coaster, built in 1924 by Fred Pearce. Other rides were pretty rare as well, for example, The Tumble Bug (only three in the US and one in the UK). Today the park looks like something Ewoks would have enjoyed, a shady green Ewok's paradise.
The brake run:
The ferris wheel peeks out of the tree growth. Squirrels love it.
(images credit: David Sandborg)
Post-apocalyptic imagery aside, it's also amazing how much growth occurred in only 30 years of abandonment:
Mazinger Z is a robot colossus from famous Japanese manga, it was known in the US under the name Tranzor Z. The statue was built at the time when Mazinger TV series was on the air - 25 years ago. Maybe somebody got so impressed with the show that he built the "life-size" model in his backyard? Well, actually there was supposed to be an amusement park with Mazinger at the entrance. The park was never built, but the statue still stands surrounded by the pine forest. The huge robot arms are raised in perpetual defiance of the stupid fate that put him here: at the wrong time, wrong place, and even wrong country.
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