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.
Lake Shawnee Amusement Park: Rock, WV
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
Holy Land, U.S.A.: Waterbury, CT
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.
Disney's River Country: Lake Buena Vista, FL
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
Six Flags: New Orleans, LA
After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina was assessed, Six Flags New Orleans (otherwise known as Jazzland) was declared a "total loss" and left as a devastated ghost town. There has been talk about trying to find a developer for the property. But as of now, it's still abandoned.