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
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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.

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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.


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).

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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.

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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.

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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.