1 of 55 Seph Lawless/@seph_lawless on Twitter
Abandoned theme parks
From a Kansas tornado to German cops, photographer Seph Lawless has faced more than few scrapes while capturing his favorite subject: decrepit amusements around the world. He's even been banned from Disney World.
Hisbook, "Abandoned: Hauntingly Beautiful Deserted Theme Parks," documents bygone attractions in a state of almost unsettling decay. CNET obtained these images, some of which are not in the book and have never been published before.
Here's a photo of the shuttered fun house at Bushkill Park near Philadelphia.
The park was closed in late 2006. But volunteers have been working to bring new life to the nearly 118-year-old park.
Originally published July 12, 2018.
Update, Jan. 7, 2020: Adds additional images.
2 of 55 Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images
Unleash the dragon
No, this isn't a scene from the opening credits of Game of Thrones. This is the abandoned Ho Thuy Tien waterpark in the central Vietnamese city of Hue.
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Returned to nature
The park opened in 2004, before construction was completed, and closed within a few years.
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Watch your step
Explorers report that the park is covered in graffiti and the water slides are slippery, cracked and coated with mold.
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This town ain't big enough for this theme park
The Western Village, a 1970s cowboy-themed amusement park in Nikko, Japan, has been abandoned since 2007.
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The Western Village's replica Mount Rushmore is a post-apocalyptic vision.
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There are creepy, disintegrating cowboy statues all over the park.
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These unsettling lady-bear statues were still going strong in 2017, when this photo was taken.
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More like CAN'T Alley
There's no winning at this game... not anymore.
10 of 55 Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto/Getty Images
A ghost town
The amusement park in Pripyat, Ukraine, was only open for one day -- April 27, 1986, the day after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred just a few miles away. Yes, you read that right.
11 of 55 Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto/Getty Images
This ferris wheel has become a recognizable symbol of the aftermath of the Chernobyl blast. People can visit this amusement park on guided tours.
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Overgrown Ferris wheel
Here's an overgrown Ferris wheel at the spooky Lake Shawnee Park in West Virginia.
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Lawless found this reveler at the Enchanted Forest Playland in Toledo, Ohio.
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The critters at the Prehistoric Forest in Onsted, Michigan, look fully petrified.
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Beast of Bushkill
Parts of Bushkill have reopened, but others remain shuttered.
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A cost of Katrina
Six Flags New Orleans has been closed since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.
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Lancashire, England, hosts the abandoned Camelot Theme Park. In 2001, a park employee was struck by a roller coaster and killed. The park closed 11 years later.
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Storms over Ohio
Chippewa Lake Park in Ohio closed in 1978 because of lack of attendance.
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The Depression-era Bar'l of Fun at Bushkill Park was one of America's oldest operating funhouses before it closed.
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Something tells us it's not too late to rescue this overturned dino at the Prehistoric Forest in Onsted, Michigan.
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This annoyed-looking whale is beached at the Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo in Angola, Indiana.
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Cold War relic
Spreepark opened in the former East Germany in the 1960s. It closed in 2002.
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Roller skates untouched
The roller skates at Bushkill sat untouched until the rink was renovated and reopened in January 2017.
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No longer bumping
The bumper cars at Six Flags in New Orleans are at a standstill.
"I'm passionate about using my art and activism to promote positive change in social injustice, environmental awareness and corporate corruption," Lawless says.
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Et tu, Disney?
This is an abandoned portion of the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida.
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Prehistoric Forest 2
Along with these dinos, the Prehistoric Forest in Onsted, Michigan, used to have a live (man-made) volcano.
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These retro-looking bumper cars are still sitting at the Fun Spot of Angola.
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The Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was built on the site of the Clay family massacre. In 1783, local Native Americans kidnapped and killed a family of settlers.
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Not-so-merry old land
The yellow brick road still winds through the derelict Land of Oz in North Carolina, which closed in 1980.
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Disney has sent a cease and desist letter to Lawless, the photographer said. "When I published my recent book, I and my publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, decided to publish all the photos as a direct slap in the face to the Disney corporation."
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Where has Li'l Abner gone?
Much of Dogpatch U.S.A. in Arkansas has remained closed to the public since 1993.
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Lawless found this egg in Prehistoric Forest in Onsted, Michigan.
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The fate of Berlin's Spreepark is unclear at present.
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Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was abandoned in 1966, after two children died in an accident.
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Land of Oz
Here's another forlorn view from the Land of Oz in North Carolina.
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Up in the air
This ride is still standing at Lake Shawnee Amusement Park.
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Lawless photographed this face at the Land of Oz in North Carolina.
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More than a decade of dereliction
Joyland Amusement Park in Wichita was once the largest of its kind in Kansas before it closed in the mid-2000s.
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The city of Berlin currently owns the run-down Spreepark.
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Ray of hope
A new group is hoping to spend $100 million to renovate the former Six Flags New Orleans. Until then, the city has this.
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A ride rots away at the Enchanted Forest Playland in Toledo, Ohio.
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Clouds over Joyland
The owners of the Joyland Amusement Park in Wichita, Kansas, have begun to tear down the derelict structures there.
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Moss grows at an abandoned shack at Spreepark. "All the rides were still there and it was very eerie," Lawless told us.
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Here's another haunting shot of Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo in Angola, Indiana.
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While photographing Spreepark, Lawless was arrested by German police. He photographed the Ferris wheel just before police handcuffed him.
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There is no more swimming in this moldering pool at the Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo.
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"To date, no one has documented more abandoned amusement parks all over the world than me," Lawless said.
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Watching the skies
Geauga Lake was a theme park in Aurora, Ohio. "I photographed all the parks either during a thunderstorm or right after a storm to enhance the effect I was going for, which was to display these places as hauntingly beautiful," Lawless said.
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Geauga Lake closed in 2007.
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Creepiest place on Earth
Lawless' images of abandoned sections of Disney World in Florida have gone viral. "I started challenging the Disney corporation in press interviews, saying that Disney should clean up its mess," he said.
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"I was caught in a tornado while photographing Joyland in Kansas City," Lawless said, "but escaped unscathed."
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The wizard's not home
This structure at the Land of Oz has seen better days.
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We don't recommend riding this amusement at Joyland.
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Geauga Park went through several owners before shuttering.
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Lawless says he has seen alligators basking in the sun in the abandoned areas of Disney World.
According to the National Amusement Park Historical Association, there are approximately 1,000 defunct amusement parks in North America, with a significant number being in the United States.When did joyland close? ›
Joyland Amusement Park was an amusement park in Wichita, Kansas, United States. It was in continuous operation for 55 years, from June 12, 1949 to 2004, closing permanently in 2006.Who is the owner of Fantasy World? ›
Tyre Sampson fell from the Orlando FreeFall drop tower, which takes riders up and then drops them nearly 400 feet at speeds that reach more than 75 mph, according to ICON Park, where the incident happened.What amusement park did the 14 year old fall? ›
Tyre Sampson, 14, died in March when he fell from the drop tower at Orlando's ICON Park while visiting from Missouri on Spring Break, CNN reported. According to WKMG, KPRC's sister station, an autopsy report showed that the teen weighed 383 pounds -- 100 pounds over the maximum weight limit for the ride.Why was Disney island abandoned? ›
Although Disney never officially stated its reasons for closing the park, poor attendance and high maintenance costs, combined with the newer and bigger Disney's Animal Kingdom being opened a year before, are the most likely causes. Since its closing, the island has sat largely abandoned, with no signs of development.What are the 2 abandoned Disney parks? ›
River Country is one of only two Disney parks to permanently close, along with "Discovery Island", which is situated parallel to the water park.What is the biggest abandoned place? ›
- Kangbashi, Ordos, China (also known as Hia Bagx District or Hia'bagx District) ...
- Varosha, Cyprus. ...
- Craco, Italy. ...
- Pripyat, Ukraine. ...
- Hashima Island, Japan. ...
- Oradour-sur-Glane, France. ...
- Kayaköy, Turkey. ...
- Plymouth, Montserrat.
It was her background and influences that inspired Horace to create the children's fun park that is Joyland. It is fantastic testament to Horace that both the Snails and Tubs remain in operation today and are still as popular today with young and old alike.Will there be a Joyland movie? ›
|Distributed by||Film Constellation|
|Release dates||23 May 2022 (Cannes) 18 November 2022 (Pakistan)|
|Running time||126 minutes|
It was in continuous operation for 55 years, from June 12, 1949 to 2004, closing permanently in 2006. In its heyday, Joyland was the largest theme park in the Midwest and featured a wooden roller coaster and 24 other rides.Is there an abandoned Disney park? ›
Located in Bay Lake near Magic Kingdom and several Disney hotels, Discovery Island was once a tropical rain forest oasis that welcomed guests for 25 years before closing in the late '90s.Can you enter Fantasy World? ›
Most of those who would park in front of the castle usually are just there to take a photo and not to enter. But that's partly because they're not aware that they can enter. Fantasy World Operating Hours: Open from 8am-5pm.How old do you have to be to go to Fantasy World? ›
A: The minimum age of check-in is 21 years.How far did the boy fall from the ride? ›
ORLANDO, Fla. —
The Office of the Medical Examiner in Orange County has released the autopsy report for Tyre Sampson, the 14-year-old boy who fell to his death from the Free Fall ride at ICON Park in March. The report released Monday explains that Sampson died of blunt force trauma after a fall from more than 70 feet.
Tyre Sampson fell from the FreeFall drop tower that takes riders up 430 feet and then drops, according to ICON Park in Orlando.How far did TYRE fall from ride? ›
Tyre, of St. Louis, was on spring break when he visited ICON Park and got on the Orlando FreeFall ride, then described by its operators as the world's tallest freestanding drop tower. The ride took riders up and then dropped them nearly 400 feet at speeds that reach more than 75 mph, according to the park.How did the kid fall from the ride? ›
A field report from Quest Engineering and Failure Analysis Inc. in Tallahassee said Tyre slipped through a gap between the seat and an over-the-shoulder harness that lowers over riders' torsos.How much did the kid weight that fell off the ride? ›
Tyre Sampson died March 24 after he fell from the Orlando Free Fall — a ride at ICON Park that drops nearly 400 feet at speeds of more than 75 mph and is advertised as the “world's tallest free-standing drop tower.” The teen, who played football in Missouri, stood more than 6 feet tall and weighed 383 pounds, the ...What happened to the boy who fell off the roller coaster? ›
Tyre Sampson, 14, fell to his death from the “Orlando Free Fall” ride at ICON Park on March 24. Civil rights and personal injury attorney Benjamin Crump and Sampson's father held a news conference to discuss the recently released autopsy of Sampson's son.
No, Walt Disney's head is not frozen underneath (Walt was cremated). One is absolutely true: There really is an underground city below the Magic Kingdom. So what really goes on inside this 9-acre circular network of subterranean tunnels called the Utilidors?What Disney park failed? ›
Disney's Animal Kingdom
It was replaced by Camp Minnie-Mickey due to budget cuts after the failure of Disneyland Paris. Much of the land designated for use by Beastly Kingdom is now used for Pandora–The World of Avatar.
Disney World sits on roughly 25 THOUSAND acres — about 39 square miles! That's pretty massive! But that doesn't mean we can have close to 40 square miles of theme parks and fun and a LOT goes into why not.What is Disney World's biggest secret? ›
1. There are secret tunnels under Magic Kingdom. The existence of the utilidors — a system of tunnels underneath Magic Kingdom — is perhaps the best-known Disney World secret. The tunnels are key to keeping this park running — and the magic alive.What is the oldest living thing in Disneyland? ›
Twenty-two topiary animals and characters call the Disneyland Resort home. The oldest living tree at the Disneyland Resort is a two-foot-tall Mugho Pine, which is more than 150 years old.Are the Disney tunnels real? ›
The largest system of utilidors is beneath Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, but they are not a basement, contrary to popular belief. Because of an elevated water table, most of these tunnels were actually built at ground level, and the Magic Kingdom was built above that.What is the biggest ghost city? ›
An curved arrow pointing right. Ordos, China, once flush with cash, has been called the world's largest ghost town.What is the scariest abandoned place? ›
- Oradour-Sur-Glane, France. ...
- Kolmanskop, Namibia. ...
- Hashima Island, Japan. ...
- Dolls Island, Mexico. ...
- Prípiat, Ukraine. ...
- St. ...
- City of the Dead, Russia. ...
- Parma Psychiatric Hospital, Italy. Psychiatric hospitals can be real places of horror.
Factors leading to the abandonment of towns include depleted natural resources, economic activity shifting elsewhere, railroads and roads bypassing or no longer accessing the town, human intervention, disasters, massacres, wars, and the shifting of politics or fall of empires.Can you touch mystery snails? ›
Handling Mystery Snails
Holding these aquatic snails out of the water for a few minutes shouldn't harm them. In fact, I've had some try to climb out of the tank — so keep a lid or cover over the aquarium to prevent escape. If you have your hand in the tank, they may come and investigate you, or they may be afraid.
Size. Mystery snails are among the largest freshwater snails in the hobby, growing to a maximum diameter of 2 inches or more. Some specimens may stay around 1 to 1 ¼ inches in diameter. Most of the Mystery snails we ship out are very young and range from ½ to 1 inch in diameter.How did the amber snail get to Georgia? ›
"We now suspect that these snails may have hitched a ride into Georgia on a fishing boat that had been in Florida waters, where the apple snail has also been introduced," said WRD Fisheries Technician Chad Sexton. The discoveries were of particular interest to biologists because of the invasive nature of the species.Is Joyland lgbtq? ›
Joyland has received top global awards, including the Queer Palm, which is the Cannes Film Festival's LGBTQ prize. The movie also came away with rave reviews after it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and the American Film Institute Festival.What does wearing the fur mean in Joyland? ›
He learns the Talk, gets a crash-course on how to be a ride-jockey, and spends sweltering days “wearing the fur” — that is, dressed up as Howie the Happy Hound, mascot of Joyland, dancing the hokey-pokey with delighted crowds of kiddies.What was not white in Joyland? ›
Thanks for the explanation. "It't not white" refers to the fact that the few strands of hair are not white, but blond. Hence, he's not getting old, his hair is dyed. Hence, he's hiding the fact that his hair is the same color as the killer's hair.Who is the killer in Joyland? ›
Devin returns to his boarding house, which is preparing for an upcoming storm. He begins looking through the pictures again and suddenly realizes that the murderer is in fact Lane Hardy.Who owns Joyland Lahore? ›
Khan Bahadur - Owner - JOYLAND (Pvt) LIMITED | LinkedIn.Who is the owner of Joyland? ›
The new owners are two local business owners, Jim and Kai Evans and Darryl and Stephanie Holland. “We are so excited that the Evans and Holland families will continue to make Joyland a family-friendly amusement park for years to come,” David Dean said in a statement.Where are the 500 abandoned Disney castles located? ›
The Burj Al Babas is an abandoned ghost town in Turkey filled with Disney-like castles. Construction of the luxury community began in 2014. When Turkey's economy fell, the project halted. Today, 587 castles remain empty, and tourists often visit to see the eerie ghost town in real life.Who made abandoned by Disney? ›
"Abandoned by Disney " (along with its prequel and sequels) is one of the more famous and popular Creepypastas out there, written by Slimebeast.
One of the oldest and most high-profile amusement parks to be abandoned, Ohio's Geauga Lake first opened in 1888.Is it healthy to live in a fantasy? ›
Living in a fantasy or always daydreaming about positive change is one of the more subtle effects of trauma, but it can be toxic to our health and lead to: Strained relationships. Unhealthy relationships. Behavioural addictions.What is it called when you want to live in a Fantasy World? ›
Fantasy prone personality (FPP) is a disposition or personality trait in which a person experiences a lifelong, extensive, and deep involvement in fantasy. This disposition is an attempt, at least in part, to better describe "overactive imagination" or "living in a dream world".Is fantasy a skill or a luck? ›
There are some elements of luck involved, but it is mostly skill. If one of your best players suffers a season-ending injury, that's terrible luck.Is fantasy OK for Christians? ›
Throughout history, Christian have used every art form they can to glorify God and point people towards him, so the genre of fantasy should not be seen any differently.Is fantasy a crime? ›
As long as the activity is only between adults and everyone consents, it isn't illegal to engage in fantasy.Is fantasy football OK for kids? ›
Kids can learn executive function and problem-solving skills playing fantasy football. 5. Academic skills such as math and reading are also routinely used in fantasy football. 6.What is the most popular abandoned place? ›
- Plymouth, Montserrat. ...
- Kolmanskop, Namibia. ...
- Bodie, California. ...
- Pripyat, Ukraine. ...
- Hashima Island, Japan. ...
- North Brother Island, New York. ...
- Kennecott, Alaska. ...
- Glenrio, New Mexico/Texas.
Death Valley, California. This place got its name from a group of pioneers who were lost there in the 1800's.What is the scariest cave? ›
- Mammoth Cave: Kentucky. (iStock) ...
- Wind Cave: South Dakota. (NPS.gov) ...
- Bell Witch Cave: Tennessee. ...
- Hellhole: West Virginia. ...
- Cathedral Caverns: Alabama. ...
- Moaning Cavern: California.
There are some 3,800 ghost towns in the United States, most abandoned in the 19th and early 20th centuries in favor of bigger cities, or casualties of changing industry. Some languish as ruins, others are designated as national parks. And a rare handful are in the midst of being developed into luxury vacation spots.What Disney parks closed permanently? ›
River Country is one of only two Disney parks to permanently close, along with "Discovery Island", which is situated parallel to the water park.Can you explore Ghost Town in the Sky? ›
Ghost Town in the Sky is currently a closed and historic Old-West themed amusement park, located in Maggie Valley NC. The park was a huge attraction during the 60s, 70s, and 80s with families visiting the area. For a number of reasons, the park closed in 2009 and has not re-opened since.Why is Ghost Town in the Sky abandoned? ›
While multiple plans have been in the works over the last decade to revamp and reopen Ghost Town in the Sky, none of these have panned out. The owner of the park, Alaska Presley, passed away, thus leaving its future uncertain.Which city is known as Ghost city? ›
The town of Dhanushkodi, India is a ghost town. It was destroyed during the 1964 Rameswaram cyclone and remains uninhabited in the aftermath.What is the biggest ghost town? ›
An curved arrow pointing right. Ordos, China, once flush with cash, has been called the world's largest ghost town.What is the fear of abandoned places? ›
Kenophobia is a fear of empty spaces and voids, such as an open field or an empty room.What is the most toxic town in America that is now abandoned? ›
Considered abandoned by most, currently Picher still has a small handful of remaining residents; however, what is left of the town only serves as a memento of what it used to be.What is the most abandoned house? ›
1. Lynnewood Hall, Pennsylvania. A neo-classical revival marvel built in Elkins Park between 1897 and 1900 for someone considered as one of America's richest people and copious art collector, Peter Anel Browne Widener, was once one of the finest real estate examples which are now dilapidated and abandoned.What is the biggest ghost town in America? ›
Welcome to Jerome, Arizona, America's largest ghost town.