Call it exoticism: theme parks outside the US seem just a smidgen creepier than those we grew up visiting. Safety guidelines are questionable, attractions are a bit lees planned-out, and themes are chosen with a decidedly laissez-faire attitude. Although these factors might be a detriment to theme parks while they’re still in business, they certainly increase foreign parks’ appeal to urban explorers with an eye for the bizarre once they’ve been abandoned.
Between South Korea’s affinity for anthropomorphic roller coasters, Japan’s misguided desire the please the Ruskies, and Berlin’s story of a carnival master turned Peruvian drug smuggler, exploring international abandoned parks is a big notch on any urban explorer’s camera strap.
But take note! Breaking into these parks is not for the faint of heart (or slow of step). Just like at abandoned theme parks in the US, theme park operators abroad don’t much like nosy foreigners making a mockery of their failures. But unlike the US, other countries have significantly stricter rules about breaking and entering and American intruders don’t have the same rights abroad as they do in the USA.
So if you do get caught snapping a photo before a leisurely roller skate ride, we recommend that you feign the inability to speak the mother tongue, smile really big, and don’t tell them NileGuide sent you!
1. Okpo Land, South Korea
Located on little Geoje Island in South Korea, Okpo City (population 200,000) enjoys some enviable modern conveniences given its small size. Namely: Dunkin’ Donuts, Quiznos, Baskin Robins, and an abandoned, fatality-ridden theme park that looms over the city.
Okpo Land theme park was shut down in 1999 after a series of…”accidents.” After the first fatality in the ’90s, the park continued to operate without remorse. But after a second fatal accident where a young girl was killed after she was thrown from a chick-shaped kiddie ride, the park finally shut down. Although it’s unclear who was responsible for maintaining the park, one thing was clear: whoever they were, they weren’t interested in taking responsibility for the tragic deaths.
The family of the young girl received no compensation (or even an apology), and the park’s owner disappeared overnight, leaving everything as it was the day the park closed. Although the story is tragic and the theme park owner’s response deplorable, the park itself is an absolute gem for urban explorers. Since Okpo Land’s cowardly owner didn’t have time to sell off the park’s rides, everything has been left intact to rot and rust…even the derailed car that killed the young girl is left suspended in the air.