Theme parks are supposed to make your dreams come true, not haunt them. As a little kid, nothing would excite me more than going to Holiday World in Indiana as I didn’t live too far from it and was one of my favorite places to be. But many amusement parks across the world will now give you chills, not thrills.
Dadipark in Belgium
The park, located south of Antwerp, opened in 1950, making it the oldest amusement park in Europe! Early on, it was a normal playground for kids all around until it evolved later into a theme park separately. Swings, bumper cars, carousels and slides (like the one above) were all included to entertain and bring about affordable and budget entertainment!
Although, not all good things last in the case, as many accidents occurred due to the rides malfunctioning, which I have to say is one of my worst nightmares! The most notable and most threatening accident occurred in 2000 when a 9-year old boy was riding the Nautic Jet ride and lost an arm. It not only turned away visitors and caused a rapid decline, it did close down, although it was stated for renovation reasons. Throughout the years that followed, numerous attempts were made to renew the park and it’s rides, though each time, failure followed. And in 2012, demolition began for Dadipark. Almost nothing remains of the original park and you know, maybe that’s for the best?
There are urban explorers that visit the grounds today, and while there are no reported hauntings, I can’t help but wonder…
Gulliver’s Kingdom in Japan
Located near Mount Fiji, the park is pretty infamous for the statue of Lemuel Gulliver, a character in the 18th-century story, Gulliver’s Travels. The tied-down statue stretches to reach about 147 feet and is represented in great detail and remarkable artistic talent! While it opened in 1997, the park only remained open for four years until its closure in 2001 due to poor sales. Though it’s not exactly the park itself that detoured visitors but where it was located. Near Gulliver’s Kingdom is the macabre and creepy Aokigarah Forest. If you are unfamiliar with this forest, it is known for the suicides that occur there. More on the ‘suicide forest’ HERE. While that may have prevented a majority of the sales it’s not the only place that frightens. Also near the theme park is the Kamikuishiki Village, as it was known for being the meeting spot of a doomsday cult and a production facility for nerve gas.
Though that doesn’t stop the courageous and curious from taking a look around! While doing so, some have reported feeling that they’re constantly being watched, and not just from the Lemuel Gulliver statue!
The Pripyat Amusement Park In Russia
The name and image above will likely ring a bell as the park is located in Ukraine where the tragic Chernobyl Nuclear Explosion (more HERE) occurred on April of 1986. Due to the accident, the previous plans to open the park in May of that year never came to fruition as some of the rides were never fully completed. Rides included the infamous Ferris wheel, bumper cars, a paratrooper ride, swing boats, and it also had a carnival shooting game. I must warn of the radiation that still lingers today as it’s still considered very dangerous, especially concreted areas (due to helicopters that carried radioactive materials using the site as a makeshift landing strip), though unfortunately, that fact doesn’t persuade everyone. The grounds will likely remain radioactive and uninhabitable for approximately twenty to thirty thousand years and will continue to shadow what could of been.
Six Flags New Orleans in Louisiana
While starting my search, the first and most prominent result was Six Flags in the well-loved city of New Orleans. The park (formally known as Jazzland) opened in 2000 though met its demise upon the horrifying even of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Over 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded and the park was included in the destruction. While there have been many attempts to renovate and redevelop the park (one example was to turn it into a large mall) not have been successful and in 2019, a proposal was made to actually demolish the site instead though it would cost about $1.3 million dollars to do so! The main reason being that the park has been disturbing residents in the area as the earth continued to reclaim the land, bringing about an uncomfortable feeling. As with almost all abandoned locations, many still try to explore and witness the desolate park for themselves, though I wouldn’t advise it. To this day, the city pays close attention to the security as police officers have been patrolling to arrest those who dare to trespass, however it is possible to lease the area for filming if you happen to be apart of a production company. Maybe there is hope for this place that once brought so much joy, but for now, it sits in ruins, a dark example of Hurricane Katrina and the widespread devastation it caused.
The Enchanted Forest in Maryland
Who doesn’t love a good fairytale or nursery rhyme? The Enchanted Forest ran for about forty-five years and warmed the hearts of many children throughout its years in operation! It was located in Ellicott City and opened its mystical castle entrance to the world in 1955 to welcome seasonal visitation at a very low rate of just one dollar per adult and fifty cents for children. Talk about a cheap thrill! Rides included the Alice in Wonderland tea cup ride, Cinderella’s Castle ride, the Jungleland Safari, as well as the Little Toot boat. But no matter how fun the park was, it closed permanently in 1995 and preservation efforts began in 2005 with a goal to reopen the park later on, though in the end, some of the rides were replaced, other rides were demolished, taking fond memories with them. Not long after building the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, a woman by the name of Martha Clarks claimed 100 of the park’s remains and took them back to her farm for preservation and longtime admiration! She hopes to keep them looking as beautiful as she remembers!
I could not find alleged hauntings with the park/shopping center, however, I am a firm believer that memories and past emotions spent at a location can bring about residual energy as this location would be a top candidate!
I may do a part 2 if you guys enjoyed this one! It was fun to research and write about these places as most of them I hadn’t even heard of! Have you been to any of these locations? Let me know in the comments and stick around for more spookiness to come!
I know my posts have been very spaced out and lacking, though I am working on things with myself and managing my time better so I can bring you guys more! I wholeheartedly appreciate the support you guys have been giving me so far, thank you!