15 Fascinating Theme Parks That Closed Forever

Once epicenters of fun, these derelict parks are mere shadows of their former glory.

unfocused scene of a crowd at theme park
Updated May 28, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Theme parks are usually a source of joy and excitement for all kinds of folks, with thrilling rides, endless entertainment, and treats that taste like the stuff dreams are made of.

However, not all of them can stand the test of time, and many once-beloved parks wind up shutting down for a host of reasons, from poor financial fitness to unfortunate accidents.

What’s often left behind runs the gamut from creepy to strangely fascinating to empty. Here are 15 parks that have closed forever.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive travel discounts and trip-planning resources

Over 50 and love traveling? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member, you could be missing out on huge travel perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, car rentals, and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

An AARP membership not only unlocks discounts that could save you hundreds on your next trip, but you’ll also have access to deals on vacation packages, guided tours, and exclusive content to help plan your next getaway.

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (do not skip this step!). Doing so will allow you to take up to 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Atlantis Marine Park

Paulo/Adobe disney springs

Inspired by the lost city of Atlantis, this popular marine-themed park in Perth, Australia, was open from 1981 to 1990. It was known for dolphin shows, immersive sculptural exhibits, and water rides and attractions.

Despite its initial success, the park struggled financially and shuttered, leaving behind graffiti-covered statues and overgrown enclosures.

Camelot Theme Park

dannyburn/Adobe abandoned theme park mannequins

First opened in 1983, Camelot Theme Park was a medieval-themed playland in England. The attractions were based on Arthurian lore, including rides, live shows, and jousting tournaments.

Though wildly popular for decades, waning interest caused the park to close in 2012. The graffiti-adorned site sometimes hosts spooky functions, thanks to its decrepit state.

Dadipark

Aneese/Adobe old wooden rollercoaster

Dadipark in Belgium had become a full-fledged amusement park by 1980. Featuring rides and attractions, including a giant slide, the park was extremely popular for decades.

However, in 2002, after a child tragically lost an arm on a ride, Dadipark shut down after public outcry. Thanks to demolition, not much is left (other than the bad vibes).

Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card

There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.

If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply now.

Discovery Island at Walt Disney World

chokniti/Adobe amusement park in summer

“Treasure Island” themed Discovery Island was a wildlife sanctuary at Disney World. Opened in 1974, many animals called the island home, including birds and tortoises.

However, in 1999, Disney relocated the wildlife to Animal Kingdom, and ever since the island sits empty in plain sight.

Dogpatch USA

Me studio/Adobe friends enjoying at amusements park

Inspired by the Li’l Abner comics, Dogpatch USA opened in the Ozarks in Arkansas in 1968. The country-themed park had a roller coaster, rides, attractions, and characters roaming about in its heyday.

Dogpatch USA had a good run, finally closing in 1993. Several redevelopment attempts followed, with another currently in the works, this one nature-oriented.

Ghost Town in the Sky

Ruslan Gilmanshin/Adobe abandoned shopping mall building

Perched on Buck Mountain in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, Ghost Town in the Sky was open from 1961 to 2002. The Wild West-themed park had a dramatic chairlift, gunfights, live music, and rides.

The original Ghost Town in the Sky shut down in 2002 and was never revived despite multiple attempts.

Heritage USA

Ryan Tishken/Adobe old town amusement park in kissimmee during day time

Opened in 1978 by televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Heritage USA was a wildly popular Christian-themed park in South Carolina. It had attractions, including a water park, a hotel, and a shopping mall.

However, after the Bakkers' fall from grace, Heritage USA closed in 1989. Today, only The Upper Room Chapel remains in use.

Hồ Thủy Tiên

New Africa/Adobe little girl on slide at water park

Hồ Thủy Tiên was a waterpark that opened in 2004 but never fully got on its feet. The main attractions were waterslides and a dragon-shaped structure that still remains today, slowly being reclaimed by the jungle

Hồ Thủy Tiên permanently shut down in 2011 due to money problems, and today is a destination for curious urban explorers.

Jungle Island

trentinness/Adobe vanuatu after cyclone pam

The owners of Knott's Berry Farm in So Cal opened Jungle Island in 1964, adjacent to the property. The main attraction was several hundred carved sculptures called "Wood-imals."

In 1982, Jungle Island ceased operations, and the property has since been repurposed. However, you can catch glimpses of its remains from Knott's Soak City.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Lake Dolores Waterpark

Jan/Adobe row boats in lake

This water park was a popular destination in the Mojave Desert. First opened in 1962, the park had waterslides, ziplines, a lazy river, an arcade, and more.

Despite its popularity, the waterpark closed in the late '80s. After a brief revival, it closed forever in the 2000s. Today, it's a hot spot for skaters and graffiti artists.

Nara Dreamland

Joni/Adobe slinky dog dash roller coaster ride

Nara Dreamland, which opened its doors in 1961 in Japan, was inspired by the Disney parks. The site featured Disney-inspired attractions, including a "replica" of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, Adventure Cruise, and Tomorrowland.

Nara Dreamland was super successful until competition from Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, and Universal Studios: Japan sapped attendance. It was demolished in 2011.

Pripyat Amusement Park

Mark Howard/Adobe colorful ferris wheel at carolina beach

Located near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, this park opened on April 27, 1986 — the day after the infamous and tragic Chernobyl disaster. The park was barely operational when it was abandoned (before it could even have its grand opening).

The decaying Ferris wheel and other attractions remain. creepy reminders of the nuclear disaster.

Six Flags New Orleans

Joe Hendrickson/Adobe Cedar Point Amusement Park

Originally opened in 2000 as Jazzland, Six Flags New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Six Flags filed for bankruptcy and the park never reopened.

Today, Six Flags New Orleans sits abandoned, but plans for redevelopment into a massive complex with water parks, hotels, an amphitheater, and so much more are underway.

Williams Grove Amusement Park

galitskaya/Adobe happy friends in amusement park

Opened in 1850 as a picnic area, this site evolved into a full-fledged theme park over the next century. Located in Pennsylvania, it had roller coasters, rides, and other attractions.

While Hurricane Agnes took its toll in 1972, the park permanently closed its doors in 2005. Today, the bones of the attractions remain, decaying slowly.

Yongma Land

Phongsak/Adobe People riding roller coaster

Located in Seoul, South Korea, Yongma Land operated from 1980 to 2011. Featuring colorful rides, games, and pop culture characters, the site was a popular destination until competition from flashier theme parks prompted its closure in 2011.

A unique twist is that you can still go to Yongma Land and wander about the decay for a small fee. You can even pay to have the deserted carousel turned on.

Bottom line

Sunshower Shots/Adobe pathway through southern live oak trees

From iconic attractions like Six Flags New Orleans to lesser-known parks like Dadipark, each of these theme parks has its own unique story to tell.

If you step up your travel game and visit any of these destinations, take care to follow the rules to avoid trespassing or dangerous conditions. Otherwise, safely enjoy the energy of these fascinating and once-glorious parks.

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards

Benefits

Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Apply Now
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
4.1
Apply Now

on Bank of America’s secure website

Read Card Review

Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee

$0

+

Why we like it

Author Details

Cat Lafuente

Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.