For most of us we are just beginning our summertime excursions. With such events as Bonnaroo kicking off a hot and sticky summer with music and sweat, you can be assured there will be chances to enjoy the summer heat. But, maybe crowds aren’t your thing? So what to do if you want to get out and enjoy some heat without having to bounce off sticky strangers? Go someplace abandoned! Here are 3 abandoned amusement parks to enjoy this summer!
In Chippewa Lake, Ohio there is an abandoned amusement park that stood tall for exactly 100 years. It was the home of the very first roller coaster and the last known place Jeffery Dahmer’s first victim was seen alive before he disappeared.
While Chippewa remained upright for 100 years, ownership changed several times. Most notably was owner Mac Beach, who left the park to his son who continued to run it until the roller coasters and Ferris wheel went silent in 1978. Beach spent so much of his adult life devoted to the park. He is said to be buried within the grounds in an unmarked grave. While most of the amusement aspect has since been torn down, a few relics still remain, including the Ferris wheel. Technically, the park is closed to the public, so venturing in is done at your own risk.
In Beaver, Ark., the remains of several prehistoric reptiles and a 42-foot tall King Kong-esque ape.The fossils aren’t real. but convey the same feeling of awe as real ones. Dinosaur World, aka John Agar’s Land of Kong, started in 1967 as an attraction for kiddies to come out and see realistic dinos in the flesh…er…plastic. Designed by Emmit A. Sullivan and Ola Farwell, the park was a sprawling ground with a variety of prehistoric beasts and rides. By the 1970s, designer Ola Farwell, decided the park needed something bigger. When his initial idea of a giant General Douglas MacArthur was nixed he decided a 42-foot King Kong replica would do just fine. The original idea incorporated movement from the giant ape, such as beating his chest with his fist while holding a smaller replica of Fay Wray. The outcome was significantly less cinematic and only featured red blinking eyes and a motorized jaw, which broke shortly after its unveiling and was never fixed. Dinosaur World was the last all dino park in the country when it closed in 2005. By 2006, the park was still intact, but completely grown over. Rumor has it the shelves in the buildings were/are still stocked. In 2011, a fire, which was chalked up to arson, destroyed the park’s main building.
In Citrus, Florida, just a few miles from Orlando, sits Splendid China. It was 75 acres of various Chinese symbology and culture. There were over 60 replicas, including The Great Wall of China which was handcrafted with seven million 1 inch bricks. At the beginning of its 10-year run, Splendid China employed a cast of 60 or more acrobats, dancers, artisans, and other performers directly from the People’s Republic of China. The park was partly owned by the Chinese government, and when several of the cast members escaped to seek asylum in the US, the park officials cut down on performers from China and hired local actors. Many were opposed to the park being run significantly by the Chinese government and protested the park. By 2003, lack of attendance and animosity towards the parks funding saw its inevitable end come crashing in. The most recent reports on Splendid China state it was scheduled to begin deconstruction in 2013.