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Echoes of Fun, Silence of Decay

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" -

"Flying to the Moon never looked so impossible:"

(images credit: John Dunbar)

Overgrown into the next dimension

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:

(images credit: Penelope Jonze)

Out of Place, Out of Time

Not in Japan, but in Spain, in Tarragona's forest stands this powerful 10-meter-high statue of Mazinger Z.

(image credit: johanqf)

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.

(image credit: Miquel)

It's big, but not as big as the "real" Mazinger Z supposed to be:

(artwork by Jose Manuel Liébana)

Other Sources: 1, 2



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Blogger Myku said...

These pictures sooo remind me of "Spirited Away!"

Blogger jscoutt said...

What about the abandoned "Rock-a-Hoola" water park near Barstow, CA? Anyone that has driven the I-15 between LA and Vegas will remember this depressing site:


Blogger racetraitor said...

There are so many abandoned amusement parks out there. Here's a Wikipedia list which misses a ton of abandoned parks in Japan

The best one ever is Gulliver's Kingdom, which I wish I could've visited before it was demolished. There are a couple pictures here:

Blogger Bob Flaminio said...

I went to Chippewa Lake park back in the 1970s, before it closed -- rode the roller coaster and everything. Sad that it closed, but it does make for some nifty pictures.

Anonymous Koyi Kabuto said...

Mazinger Z !!!!


Blogger Roo said...

Man, I'd love to have a good wander around there. Looks fun to explore.

Blogger Lamar The Revenger said...

there's this place in western Pennsylvania called Storybookland that has been left go since the
70s. it had a giant pied piper at the entrance and had a big shoe (old lady who lived in a shoe) with a slide in it. the park is abandoned but there's a craft store built in the front.

Anonymous Neil Russell said...

Terrific posting.
There's another park being taken over by nature in Arkansas called "Dogpatch USA" that opened in 1963 and closed in 1993. There are numerous sites online dedicated to photo tours of it as it is today.
I suppose closed up parks are everywhere!

Anonymous tom said...

Have anyone pictures of neverland of michael jackson??Isnt it also abandoned?

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Tom, try this link - lots of Neverland pics there

Blogger racetraitor said...

Tom: Shhh!!

This is one reason that urban explorers are such a secretive bunch.

Anonymous George said...

anyone know of any sites like this that offer lists of abandon mental hospitals from the 20's to now?

Blogger Shelly said...

There's one in Youngstown, Ohio called Idora Park. For the longest time the ballroom was still in use but alas, that too has been abandoned. I could probably have my friend go take some pictures for me.

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Shelly - thank you for info. We are collecting material for the next part of series, so by all means send us the pics if you have any!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about "Australia's Wonderland" it was an awesome place that was ABSOLUTELY RUINED by shady foreign devils!

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Japanese website with plenty of abandoned theme park pictures. well worth a look.

Blogger David Cuen said...

I realy enjoy your post. The pictures defitely tell a past story. Well done.

Blogger Andrew R said...

I've been to some of the parks mentioned: Idora, Storyland, Chippewa (some so young that I have no personal recollection, but there are pictures) Just last summer, a park that had been a large part of my family in many ways over four generations was closed by Cedar Fair. It was Geauga Lake, in Aurora, OH. It has been reduced to a water park on the property that used to be Sea World. I think the steel coasters have been sold off, but the wooden ones still remain, looking for a home. Pics can be found at www.geaugalaketoday.com

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Andrew thank you! Will fit into next part, great info.

Blogger NomadRip said...

Wow, these are great finds!

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Spooky fairground- no longer exists.

Blogger Shelly said...


How long has Geauga been closed? I know that Six flaggs tried to take it over and sea world moved to orlando, but I though Geauga Lake Park was still open!

Anonymous Gutter Monkey said...

I visited Okpo Land last year as well:

Blogger comatose said...

Just stumbled upon the gem known as Okpo Land myself. I'm posting the pics here :)

One of my adult students told me the government mandated that it be shut down because is overlooked where DSME was manufacturing submarines for South Korea...

Anonymous Jon said...

Oops, looks like I accidentally directed a vandal to one of my favourite sites.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lincoln Park, Westport, Mass:

Anonymous Mark said...

Here is a site that details the history of Wonderland in Sydney including plenty of pictures of the abandoned park, the dismantle of some of the rides and the eventual demolition of the rest.


Anonymous Asia said...

That korean tourist impersonating the accident wants me to kill her for good. How disrespectful.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess it's all in your perception...

I have NO DOUBT that the lady in the photos is having A BLAST! All for free! No screaming kids, long lines or over priced food...

And Tranzor Z (who was actually my favorite in 1st grade and WAY cooler than Voltron) looks to me like he is saying "WHEW WHO! IT'S MINE! ALL MINE! EAT YOUR HEART OUT!"

And to jscoutt, THANK YOU SO MUCH for mentioning "Rock-a-Hoola"!

I have passed by that place so many times on the way to and from Vegas and wondered just what it was doing there out in the middle of NOWHERE. I've always wanted to research it but had now idea what it was or really even exactly WHERE it was. It's literally in the center of hundreds of miles of desert between California & Las Vegas. The very definition of "out in the middle of nowhere". Which probably explains why it didn't last. Such a waste...

I'm off to follow that link so I have a story to tell on my next road trip (I live in Vegas & my family lives in California). I think I may have to explore that one some day too.


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