What Are the Best & Worst Defunct Amusement Parks?

Coaster Questions Defunct Roller Coasters

Abandoned Six Flags New OrleansA while back I asked you about your worst defunct and best defunct coasters were. A reader suggested a similar post about defunct amusement parks. And after my last post about Freestyle Music Park appearing on Revolution I thought it’d be fun to hear from you on the topic.

Thankfully, there haven’t been a lot of amusement parks go defunct in the last decade or so. Here are a few that come to mind:
Recently Defunct Theme Parks
Six Flags AstroWorld
 (Houston, Texas) 1968 – 2005 | roller coasters
Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom (Louisville, Kentucky) 1987 – 2009 | roller coasters
Six Flags New Orleans (New Orleans, Louisiana) 200 -2005 | roller coasters
Geauga Lake (Aurora, Ohio) 1887 – 2007 | roller coasters
Freestyle Music Park / Hard Rock Park (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina) 2008 – 2009 | roller coasters

A Few Smaller Defunct Amusement Parks
Kiddieland (Chicago area) 1950 – 2009 | roller coasters
Myrtle Beach Pavillion (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina) 1948 – 2006 | roller coasters
Wild West World (Wichita, Kansas) 2007 | roller coasters
Miracle Strip (Panama City, Florida) 1963 – 2004 | roller coasters
Whalom Park (Lunenburg, Massachusetts) 1893 – 2000 | roller coasters

My Take – Missing the Music

I’ve written quite a bit about my visits to Freestyle Music Park and Geauga Lake. I had some fun rides at Geauga Lake, but of those two, I’d Hard Rock Park - Free Air Guitarssay that Freestyle was my favorite. It was small, but really had some potential. The music theme, with on-board audio on a number of the park’s coasters was pretty neat. Signature ride, The Time Machine, randomly played a mix from hit songs of a particular decade. Many have discussed the causes like the depression and its high prices as Hard Rock Park. I still think that park’s location (away from the beach) was one of the most damaging factors. You could visit Myrtle Beach and have no clue that the park existed.

I don’t really have a least favorite or worst. I can vaguely remember visiting Boardwalk and Baseball (Haines City, Florida) on our way back from Disney World when I was 8. This was way before I rode full-sized roller coasters so all I mainly remember was a long log flume ride. The park had an interesting-looking Schwarzkopf shuttle coaster (Wiener Looping) with steep ends more like a Vekoma boomerang and a loop that wraps around the station. Like most of you, I hate to see abandoned amusement parks, but they’re a fact of life. Like in all forms of business, there are winners and losers.

Here’s an ultra-creepy video showing the state of an abandoned Six Flags New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

After a few different false starts Nickelodeon and Southern Star Amusements, now an outlet mall is planned for the former site of Six Flags New Orleans. More about that on Wikipedia.

One last thing, I highly recommend against venturing into abandoned amusement parks. There’s a chance you could hurt with no one around to help, arrested for trespassing, or worse, you could end up like Gillian. It’s not worth it. Instead go watch a movie like Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters. It was filmed at Six Flags New Orleans and it’s set to open on roller coaster day next year (August 16, 2013).

Can you think of any other abandoned amusement parks? Have you been to any of these or some others? Leave a comment below. Images via CC – Flickr user zeterberg

22 Comments

  1. Nice article! I live practically next door to Euclid Beach which was a famous amusement park for many years. Few remnants are left but they are there to be found. If it were still open I can only imagine how much better it would have been for the neighborhood which is really struggling. RE: other parks, there are some great pics of Chippewa Lake also here in Ohio rotting away. Those of nature reclaiming the old woodie are pretty cool.

  2. Joyland in Wichita, KS is still sitting abandoned, although there now is a movement to bring it back.

    Of the defunct parks you listed, definitely Geauga Lake was my favorite.

  3. here's a pic of what used to be about a 1,000 feet away from my home in the North Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland, OH lot of interesting stuff to see at the euclidbeach.org website too
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thu

    The only other now defunct park i've visited (other than Geauga Lake) was Crystal Beach and I was too short to ride the Comet when it was still there (must have been 88 or 89). That's one lucky coaster, I'd like to ride it finally!

    • That image from Euclid Beach looks awesome! And thanks for the post idea Firewalk.

      • Thanks Joel! Was thrilled to see your post.

  4. The only defunct park I've been to, aside from small roadside attractions, is the original location of Elitch Gardens outside of Denver. I visited it on a couple of trips to visit relatives in the West, and later when I was working at NCAR in Boulder. It was a good, fun place, with a couple of well-known classic woodies. I haven't been to the relocated version.

    In the "small roadside attraction" category, in my childhood I visited Storybook Land in Woodbridge, Virginia, one of the many dozens of fairytale-themed kiddie attractions with similar names that sprung up all over the US in the Sixties.

    (Most of these are long-dead. If you want to see what these places were like, Story Land in Glen, NH survives to this day in considerably expanded form, as a pretty nice amusement park for families with young kids, with the original fairytale dioramas and buildings still operating in one corner of the park. I think they've got a similar thing still operating at Idlewild in PA.)

  5. I went to Rocky Point a bunch of times as a kid back in the early-mid 80's. It was a sweet little beach park in Rhode Island.
    They had some decent rides for back then.

  6. Dadipark was a small amusement park in Belgium. Here's some footage

  7. The only theme park I’ve visited that is now
    gone is Celebration City in Branson, MO
    it was sad because it had the only wooden
    coaster in Branson then 😉

    • I forgot about Celebration City. I wonder what will happen with Ozark Wildcat. I'd read mostly good reviews and now it's just been sitting there for 4 years.

    • What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It pietoivsly helpful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & help different users like its aided me. Great job.

  8. I don’t know what will happen to it I know there steel coaster the jackrabbit was sold but when I went to Branson last weekend to see how outlaw run was progressing (looking epic by the way) I drove by CC and Oz Cat was
    in horrible shape it should just get torn down its a shame it was a nice coaster

  9. Now Myrtle Beach has no amusement parks! Do you know what they replaced the pavilion with? A zipline! They said they were gonna build condos but instead they tore down an entire amusement park for a zipline.

  10. Geauga Lake man…what a shame! It was a great park and not as pricey as Cedar Point. I wish they'd do something with some of these coasters sitting at these defunct parks though. Its just depressing

  11. My vote is for Opryland USA. I know it wasn't the greatest park ever built, but holds a special place with me. When I was a kid, we used to visit friends in Nashville & Opryland was always a part of that trip. I remember the sense of family as well as the food & the music. It was also the park where I took my first ride on my first adult coaster. It was an Arrow Looper called Wabash Cannonball. It started my love affair with the steel coasters that continues to this day. With its 70ft hill, loops & its 45mph speed, I was terrified, but mustered all the courage an 8yr old could & rode it. It was love at first sight. Luckily, Cedar Point has a near twin of that coaster in its park & I brave the complete discomfort of Corkscrew & still ride it out of nostalgia. What's even funnier is when ascending MF or getting ready to be launched on TTD, I will look ever at that coaster & smile remembering how terrified I was riding its twin the first time & then thinking that I am about to plunge hills ranging from 300-400ft. It's a good feeling.

  12. Kentucky Kingdom is BACK!

  13. I’m guilty of Breaking into Six Flags over New Orleans. I had never been to the park pre-katrina, but the friend I was visiting in NOLA had.

    We didn’t climb structures, but just walked and took pictures. It was amazing. I can’t find words powerful enough to describe the emotions you feel walking through the park. It is highly vandalized, but I think that adds to the experience. The log flumes were scattered all over the park where they had floated to when the waters receded and you could clearly see the water lines from the flood on most structures.

    There was also a lot of stuffed animal prizes scattered throughout. My favorite graffiti said “Where do theme parks go when they die?” The sign out front still read “Closed for storm”. The place hadn’t been touched at all, but they were beginning working at the far end of the park, which made it a bit difficult to sneak around. We went early morning. So we didn’t see most of the Mardi Gras section.

    It was eerie. The park is covered in crows also, which made it feel straight up horror movie-esque. I’m not sure if I fully believe in afterlife souls sticking around, but I definitely felt a presence in the park. Anyways, one of the more foolish things I have done, but it was a top experience for me.

  14. Geaga lake used to be a big part of my life. My first coaster (beverland mine ride) is now in france :/

    • Your article was exlencelt and erudite.

  15. My vote is for Six Flags New Orleans. I think it is cool that they used the park in the new Percy Jackson movie. The only other movie I know about that takes place at an abandoned amusement park is Hanna, which takes place at Spree Park in Berlin.

    I hope that the Six Flags company or the city of New Orleans re-opens SFNO because I have seen videos on YouTube and it is really sad to see an amusement park in that condition.

    Also, Kentucky Kingdom is scheduled to make a comeback in 2014. I would like to see SFNO re-open. But Six Flags wanted to end there 75 year lease with Jazzland, (Six Flags New Orleans`s former park name) before Hurricane Katrina even existed, but then devastation happened and its name is Katrina. So yeah, it would be a miracle to see the standing-but-not-operating Six Flags New Orleans aka Jazzland be restored to its former glory!

  16. I just saw that defunct B&M coaster Led Zepplin ride from the Myrtle Beach Skywheel. Man what a shame to see her just sitting there.
    I’m wondering why nobody has relocated her?
    FYI I think your correct in your theory about the location being the problem. A local told me it was not only too far from the beach but also that it was in a weird spot that was hard to get to.

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