Modern Ruins: The Beauty of Abandoned Amusement Parks


Last week, we clicked through a gallery over at Gawker documenting the still-ruined state of Six Flags New Orleans and marveled at the strange, surreal beauty of the destroyed theme park. Abandoned spaces are always interesting in their own way, particularly, to our minds, when nature begins to reclaim something forced upon it by man, but we think abandoned amusement parks are especially fascinating. After all, much like clowns and small children singing, the pomp and wild colors of many amusement parks are only barely to one side of the line between happy and ominous. It all depends on how the light is hitting them. Though these theme parks have definitely crossed over into creepy, we think there’s something beautiful and nostalgic about them, reminders of an age that seems to be slowly dying. Click through to see our gallery of abandoned amusement parks from all over the world, and let us know what you think in the comments.

Six Flags New Orleans

Photos by Richard Thompson III via Gawker

Originally opened as Jazzland, Six Flags New Orleans has been abandoned since it was plunged underwater by Hurricane Katrina almost six years ago. Against pressure from the city, who owns the land, Six Flags has refused to rebuild the park. Though there are some rumblings that a Nickelodeon-themed park will eventually be built in its place, for now the park sits empty.

Spreepark, Berlin

Photo via Flickr

Images via Flickr

Photo via Nile Guide

Formerly known as Kulturpark Plänterwald, Spreepark was a theme park north of the Plänterwald in the Berlin district. Opened in 1969, the park was the only one of its kind in East Germany, and by the early 90’s was attracting 1.5 million visitors a year. However, the park fell into debt and closed in 2002, declaring insolvency.

Koga Family Land, Shiga Prefecture, Japan

Photos by Olivier Malosse, via Dark Roasted Blend

This park, once a family friendly adventure land, has been almost completely engulfed by the surrounding forest. Probably the most famous abandoned amusement park in Japan, the story goes that the golfers whose club shared an entrance with the park lobbied for it to be shut down. Yes, golfers.

Takakanonuma Greenland, Hobara, Japan

Photos by Spiral, via Dark Roasted Blend

To our eyes, this park is one of the creepiest. Built in 1973 and closed in 1999, the rusted roller coaster tracks and strange child-like figures seem frozen in time, disappearing into the encroaching forest.

Pripyat Amusement Park, Ukraine

Images via Artificial Owl

Image via Amusement Parks of the World

Unfortunately, the amusement park at Pripyat never really opened. In its first days of operation, the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl forced the park to be abandoned for good. Fun fact: the park served as source material for the designers of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.”

Dadiland, Dadizele, Belgium

Photos via Artificial Owl

Built in 1949, the once-colorful Dadiland was the oldest amusement park in Belgium until its closure in 2003 due to an accident.

Sea-Arama Marineworld, Galveston, Texas

Photos via Artificial Owl

Sea-Arama Marineworld was one of the first ocean theme parks in the nation. Opened in 1965, the park operated for 25 years, and spanned over 25 acres, complete with a 200,000 gallon aquarium. However, when Sea World opened in San Antonio, Sea-Arama Marineworld quickly fell off the map and quietly closed its doors.

Ocean Beach Funfair, Rhyl, North Wales

Photo via

Rhyl’s Ocean Beach Fun Fair operated for more than 50 years, opening in 1954 and closing in 2007. At the time of its closure, it boasted the world’s last circular water chute, built in 1972, which means that we are pretty happy never to have ridden on it.

Katoli World, Taiwan

Photos via Abandoned But Not Forgotten

This park, located outside of Taichung, Taiwan, was closed after an earthquake in 1999 and was never reopened.