Thursday, January 3, 2013

Six Degrees of Abandoned Amusement Parks


Over the years, some of the most incredible abandoned places I've photographed have been defunct amusement parks. The six locations featured on this site all have a historical link to each other ...sort of.

It's like "six degrees of separation," except with abandoned amusement parks...

Click the link above the photo to see a detailed history, more images and the story of each location.

In 1956, work began on The Detroit Children's Zoo. The facility on Belle Isle in the Detroit River gave rise to its iconic thatched roof and wooden walkway structure. Some time in the 1980's it became...

- The iconic structure's of "Safariland" aka The Detroit Children's Zoo.

Safariland/The Detroit Children's Zoo was subsequently abandoned in 2002. In 1956, as work began on the children's zoo, a brand new amusement park opened in Angola, Indiana known as...

- Funspot's signature ride: "The Afterburner."

Just 45 minutes north of Fort Wayne, Fun Spot operated until 2009 when the "economy," closed it down. The park's signature ride was "The Afterburner," a looping steel coaster. An identical ride once operated at Kings Island Amusement Park north of Cincinnati, which is located right across the highway from...

- A dried up water slide at "The Beach." The Beach is set to re-open in 2013!

The Beach abruptly announced its closure just before it opened for the 2012 season. While new owners have plans to revive and reopen the park for 2013, The Beach was void of water and visitors for an entire summer. In a marketing ploy nine years earler, it was accepting the non-refundable season passes of another Cincinnati waterpark that also closed abruptly. That park was...

- The wave pool attraction Surf Cincinnati filled with standing water and discarded lounge chairs.

Surf Cincinnati had closed one year after another nearby amusement park and marketing partner had shut down - a park that Surf used to share radio and coke can advertisements with. A park once known as...

- Americana's iconic "Screechin' Eagle" coaster with weeds growing through the track.

Americana/LeSourdsville Lake had been a local stable since 1922, closing eighty years later after its 2002 season. One of its iconic attractions was its wooden roller coaster named "The Screechin' Eagle." In the late 80s, Americana drew up plans to install another major, wooden roller coaster, but the plans didn't materialize. The never built coaster's design and layout was eventually used in the construction of a ride called "Thunder Run" which resides at the now defunct...

- The tracks of "Thunder Run" becoming overgrown with vegitation.

Kentucky Kingdom is currently in the middle of negotiations to try and reopen under a new ownership and lease agreement through the state of Kentucky's fair board, but the future is uncertain. Meanwhile, weeds continue to grow through the tracks of "Thunder Run."


  1. Great photos, and I especially like the "6 Degrees of Separation" twist...

    well done.

  2. Saw this today, and it brought to mind your entries:

  3. This story, (as all) is awesome! Thank you for taking your time and documenting everything that you do.

  4. Actually the Afterburner is from Kings Island it was the Screamin Demon.

    1. Actually, it's not. It's the same model, but a different ride. The one at Fun Spot was the original Arrow Dynamics prototype. Kings Island purchased the first model to be used in an amusement park and opened the Screaming Demon, making them the first park to operate one. As orders for these rides grew, the prototype at the Clearfield, Utah facility was purchased and sent to some park in Florida. Eventually it made its way to Fun Spot. Kings Island's eventually went to Camden Park in West Virigina where it operated for awhile, then sat forever and was finally torn down.

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  6. Who knows if its possible to get into the old park, and if there is some rides that still remain up defunct. I'm sure its fenced & possibly secure real well, but it would be so fascinating to just go in & take photos. Also does anyone know if they built the new park they said they were going too? Just a curious Ohio girl looking for adventure & I live close to this old park & would love to check it out!!

    1. I replied to your comment below. Forgot to hit the reply button. Sorry about that.

  7. Guess I should have been more specific is it possible to get in the old Americana park??

  8. Yes it is possible to get into Americana. But you do need to break in through the surrounding fence. I was lucky and found a spot that was already open, but had to walk a good distance around the park towards the rear on the train tracks. I went about a year ago. The midway is still packed full of the old stands and whatnot but I believe (someone correct me if I'm wrong) the Screechin' Eagle was sold, so it's no longer there. The old western water log ride in the back is till there, and a few more. Just be cautious if you go.

  9. Why are all of amusement parks in the United States closing? Is it like our super-malls whose businesses are shutting down because white people are afraid to shop there out of fear of being robbed? Are white people now afraid to visit amusement parks because of the non-whites who go there and cause trouble? Or is it the non-white employees that are rude to white people?

  10. You just made that totally racist. Maybe bc people can't afford anything since our bills are going up and a lot of businesses dont want to pay for Obama's bullshit healthcare so they cut our hours.. Your a dumb ass. Hopefully the next president is white.

    1. You and the commenter above you are both incredibly stupid.

  11. Yep, everything is black against white since good old Oblaama brought hope and change.