People love roadside attractions and theme parks, and why wouldn't they? There's the anticipation, the expectation, the excitement, the good old fashioned road trip fun! Today, visiting attractions in Orlando, California, and anywhere in between is nothing short of non-stop thrills. While you're there, no place on earth seems so full of life. But what of the shuttered theme parks and weird roadside attractions of bygone eras?
Time has passed by many roadside stops. Some travelers might find such sites creepy as they stand stand frozen in time. Dead roads leading to decaying structures and abandoned buildings crumbling in ruins. It doesn't take long for nature to overtake places that have been left exposed to the elements. Soon, the only visitors to these sightseeing stops are tourists seeking the strange, weird, and maybe ghosts. There's just something about looking at old abandoned tourist traps and deserted roadside oddities. Once symbols of the great American road trip, they now appear only as haunted, desolate, or just weird slices of retired Americana. From dinosaur statues to a bunch of giant busts of American Presidents, there are plenty of creepy abandoned sites to see.
What does one do with a plot of land that has the dual history of being both the scene of a pioneer massacre and a burial ground? Why, build an amusement park there, of course! Chalk this one up to the worst idea in the history of... well, ever. In 1966, after two children were killed on its rides, Lake Shawnee Amusement Park closed forever, becoming the playground for no one but ghosts.
Source: New York Daily News
For all of its purported holiness, the creepy quotient of the desolate and neglected Holy Land, U.S.A. seemed to be on par with that of hell. Closed to the public since 1984, the 18-acre religious theme park has long been rumored as haunted, but the 2010 rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl there sealed its legacy.
Probably the oldest and most history-rich attraction on this list, Chippewa Lake Park was established in 1878 and closed 100 years later, in 1978. Chippewa Lake is a favorite of roller coaster aficionados, as the impressive coaster structure left behind (and the Ferris wheel), has been almost completely reclaimed by Mother Nature. Spooky, haunting, and sad.
Source: Ohio Forgotten
What? There are totally abandoned, decrepit Disney theme park properties out there that you didn't know about? Yup! Complete with creepy backstories, too. Disney's River Country was a water park with an aesthetic that harkened back to the good ol' days of Mark Twain, opened in 1976. Tragedy struck in 1980, however, when an 11-year-old boy was killed as a result of swimming in the freshwater of the park. The boy died of the rare infection, amoebic meningoencephalitis, which attacked his brain. Still, River Country kept its head above water until Disney shut its doors after 2001. Reports suggested the park might reopen as a new nature-inspired Disney resort set to open in 2022.
Source: Theme Park Tourist