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8 Abandoned Theme Parks Abroad “Open” for Exploration

Featured — By Rachel Greenberg on August 28, 2010 at 8:30 am
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3. Prypiat, Ukraine

Image: Kadams 1970/Wikipedia Commons

On April 26, 1986 the most horrendous nuclear disaster in human history occurred when reactor number four of the Chernobyl power plant exploded, sending deadly plumes of radioactive fallout over much of Russia and Europe. Although only a relatively small number of people died from the explosion, the residual radioactivity was devastating for the communities living in the surrounding areas. Prypiat, the town closest to Chernobyl where all the power plant workers lived with their families, was evacuated.

Image: artificialowl

Today, Prypiat remains exactly as it was in 1986 when its residents were forced to flee. Since the town falls under the “Zone of Alienation” (a 19-mile perimeter around Chernobyl not considered safe for humans to inhabit), it has been left to decay. Alongside eroded apartment complexes, schools, and storefronts, an amusement park still stands in the heart of Prypiat. Many of the buildings have collapsed from abrasive Russian weather, but Prypiat’s ferris wheel eerily rises above the abandoned city.

Image: artificialowl

Image: artificialowl

Recently, radiation levels have dropped dramatically and it’s now safe to visit the city for short periods of time. Group tours are led to Prypiat, where tourists can hang out in the city and take pictures for a couple hundred dollars a day.

Tags: abandoned theme parks, Berlin, Ferris Wheel, Germany, Japan, roller coaster, russia, South Korea, Ukraine

    43 Comments

  • Ahi says:

    Major kudos. This is seriously one of the most original, coolest travel articles I’ve ever read.

  • Sasha says:

    Extremely captivating. Makes me want to scope out some Canadian derelict parks. What a brilliant idea for a photoshoot.

  • carmel says:

    what a sin how could someone let something so beautiful go unattended i would have love to have that give it tlc thats all it needs

  • Dave says:

    Beijing Amuseument Park is currently closed — was there on a business trip and tried to get in to take some photos, but it was all locked up.

  • Brilliant summary. Abandoned amusement park in Pripyat, in fact, never opened.

  • GretelVonBrute says:

    makes you think what the rest of the world would be like if humans were to disappear!

  • James Cole says:

    Being a fan of post-apocalyptic movies and imagery, this is a pure golden article. I had no idea such places really existed. I have to visit these places.

  • Rich says:

    This is one of the most fabulous articles I’ve ever read. As an complete self-confessed Roller Coaster geek and amateur photographer, I’ve been completely transfixed by this article. Thank you. Completely fabulous – thank you for posting.

    • Rachel Greenberg says:

      Rich,
      Thank you so much for the kind words. So happy you enjoyed the article. I had so much fun writing it!

      Best,
      Rachel

  • JC says:

    I love this article so much, creepy, sad but also wierdly beautiful.

    I

  • Ellen says:

    Very interesting! Thanks.

  • Shannon says:

    Lincoln park in North Dartmouth, MA. Right near my house. Not many rides left, but it still has some major parts of the huge roller coaster intact. And it also has tons of history and websites behind it. Definitely something to look into.

  • Jill says:

    Six Flags in New Orleans!!! It hasn’t been touched since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and it’s scheduled for demolition in the spring. Check it out!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bcja8UBtXdk

  • Ellen says:

    Oh wow! thats so cool :)
    have you had a look at San zhi/San zhr or Katolis world? <3

    • Rachel Greenberg says:

      Hi Ellen,
      I haven’t seen Katolis world but I did write about San Zhi in another post about tragic ghost towns. Take a look and let me know what you think. Such a shame it was torn down :(

      Thanks for the tips!!

      Rachel

  • A great article, and great photos (found via Tumblr).

    I visited a few abandoned roadside tourist attractions in Michigan over the summer and I’m in the middle of a photoblog series about them.

    Weird, interesting stuff. No roller coasters though! I’m jealous.

  • Sarah-Sophia says:

    That honestly may have been the coolest thing I’ve ever read and seen. Those pictures are amazing, and are like a photographers dream. I really love the disney rip off. It’s so cool, I wanna go so bad.

  • Mauri says:

    I don’t know why, but I find it scary and mysterious and I don’t know if I would walk threw there..would remind me of some typical horror-movie !

  • Heaven Sinclair says:

    Coolest article I’ve read. I really want to visit some of the parks too!

  • Emily says:

    This is one of the coolest articles i’ve read in a very long time. Great job!

  • STPo says:

    Reminds me “Planète Magique”, an abandoned theme park inside a 7 floors buliding in the core of Paris, France (Réaumur-Sebastopol). Totally invisible from the outside, incredible place with a viewpoint above Paris on the roof. It has been destroyed, what a shame!

  • Kathy says:

    What an interesting article. Frankly, I find the thought of an abandoned amusement park strangely eerie..

  • Tracie says:

    Awesome photos. I would love to visit these myself and take pictures. I will admit I find them pretty creepy though, and it would definitely take some courage.

    The amusement park at Prypiat, Ukraine really drew my attention because it looked so familiar. It was driving me crazy until I realized one of the missions in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare takes place there.

  • Francis Tacuyan says:

    You guys should right about the abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans after Katrina hit them. It got really creepy too. So creepy that my local radiohosts were talking about it. xD I’m from Sacramento,California if it matters. :p

  • Salena says:

    Hey,how about Joyland in south east Wichita,Kansas? It’s been abandoned for several years,but it was once was very popular to local church groups bringing their teens.It features a all wooden roller coaster that was considered shaky even during the parks hey-day.I think they could’ve made some money selling T-shirts that said,”I survived Joylands roller coaster”,lol.It also has bumper cars,a Mexican Hat ride,swings,tilt-a-whirl,scrambler(at base of the coaster),a merry-go-round complete with the creepy automated piano playing clown sitting next to it,a water log jam ride(the parks last attempt to bring in money),a skating rink,and plenty of ticket spitting games like Skeeball and shooting games.It also features a few kiddie rides,airplanes,little cars on tracks,etc. But the most famous ride would have to be the popular Wacky Shack.It had glittery cars that could hold 2 or 3.The cars would roll into a building that had weird music,strobe lights,black lights,neon colors,and automated robots of different sorts.There was also the famous “dip” the cars took when the car suddenly emerged from the darkness in a quick rush downwards only to be crashing through another set of doors when you go back up,lol.There was also a quieter area on the other side of the rides.It had walking paths,trees,and a creepy swinging bridge.There was also a slow,quiet train ride that circled the perimeter of Joyland,and it was the only time some guests saw the tree filled area on the north side.The top hill of the roller coaster can still be seen,but unsure what remains of the park below.It’s been abandoned for years,and I think one of the owners passed away recently.This park is in everyones hearts and memories that ever went there,it’s sad to see it in it’s current condition.

  • Abby says:

    Hey,
    This blog entry/article/whatever you want to call it spark my attention and got me doing a little of my own research.
    I’ll start with Prypiat, the nuclear disaster and evacuation were actually on the 27th April 1986, the day the theme park opened to the public, this meant the the rides were either never ridden at all or ridden by incredibly few people. I thought that was rather interesting (unfortunate, but interesting).
    Also, ‘Koka Family Land’ is the wrong name, it’s actually ‘Koga Family Land’ – a mistake often made apparently. Some people say that it was bulldozed in 2008 because of the golfers from the country club literally next door, asking for it to be so.
    I didn’t find much else, apart from a couple of other abandoned theme parks but I don’t have much detail on them, so I won’t mention them.

    But this was fantastic, really interesting!
    Thanks.

  • Sarah-Sophia says:

    Awh man. This article is just so amazing. I would give anything to visit the disney rip off. That one is beyond cool. I wish I could go to them all, and take pictures at night. How cool would that be? And the thrill of knowing you are not supposed to be there… So cool!

  • Brandon says:

    The is also the 6 Flags in New Orleans, US… that was shut down before hurricane Katrina and has so far not been re-opened….

  • shwat? says:

    and why are these parks just left to rot and deteriorate instead of renovating the space for something useful?

  • amazing article, i thought neverland ranch would have been on the list.

  • Richard says:

    I came in contact with Nº 7: Spreepark. My company in Peru performs cargo inspections, and in May of 2002 we were nominated to inspect a shipment of used amusement park rides. Half of it was in crappy condition and the other half was sad to look at. No one could understand who would ship such a large collection of used rides, in questionable condition, which would obviously require a good deal of repairs.

    I just checked my photos, and I actually have the infamous “Flying Carpet” mentioned in the article. Checking the pics I see that the only unit where there actually are some Shipper’s representatives congregating around a unit, is that very one. It must be a coincidence since at that time the rides were coming into Peru, not going out. Interestingly, it was imported on the m/v “COLUMBIAN EXPRESS”.

    Now it all fits in. One mystery solved, 9700 more to go.

    Richard
    r.fistrovic@gmail.com

  • Love posts like this, I have actually seen one of these in China – very scary!

    Emma x

  • SH says:

    Hi, beautiful photographs, thank you. Just wanted to go back to the Chernobyl story – where it says there were no deaths, that’s not correct. Two people died in the explosion itself, but a further 28 died within a few weeks of Acute Radiation Sickness. The ongoing birth-defects and much higher incidents of thyroid, throat and lung cancers have resulted in many, many deaths as a direct result of the Chernobyl disaster – 500,000 people have died in total, with five million people exposed to the radiation in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine.

    There’s a fascinating story about it on the UK newspaper the Guardian website too:

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/pictures/0,,1756958,00.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/mar/25/energy.ukraine

    Thanks for the great photographs Rachel.
    Sophie

  • MR says:

    i can’t believe that people waste places like this, after they have finished using them.

  • Susan Medyn says:

    There is one at the intersection of Route 6 at Head of Westport in Massachusetts. I have a photo posted on panaramio.
    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/39977908
    Nice shots!
    Susan

  • erin says:

    wow. amazing

  • Jan says:

    Many thanks for sharing this. I’m always looking for new perspectives. You might wish to visit http://smithjan.com/blog/2011/02/02/chernobyl-25-years-revisited-wanderings-in-pripyat/

  • There are several sites across Russia and Ukraine that are not mentioned. I find stuff like this really interesting thanks!

  • Travis says:

    amazing article about some truly amazing places. thank you for sharing!

  • jodie says:

    i would love to visit these places. I remember back when Broad Walk And Base Ball closed down we use to sneak in there all the time to play hide and seek it was amazing.

  • Florian says:

    I’ve been to Pripyat, Koka Family Land, sevrral times to Nara Dreamland and several other abandoned amusement parks – amazing experiences… http://abandonedkansai.wordpress.com/category/amusement-park/

  • Jeph says:

    Great article.
    Very interesting because I lived in Okpo, South Korea (#1) and explored that amusement park many times. It was extremely fun and interesting to see everything. I was talking with my brother-in-law recently and he brought up the subject of abandoned amusement parks and I told him how I would go explore one in Korea when I lived there. He said that there was a list of abandoned amusement parks online and that he thought there was one from Korea. So we found this site and found that indeed, this was the amusement park I had visited so many times.
    I have plenty of cool pictures too.

    Cheers.

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