defunct parks

Apr 4th, 2004, 09:08 AM
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Another vote for Norumbega Park in Newton Ma.

Now that a Marriott sits on the same reminds me of the song..."They paved paradise"...and put up a parking lot.
Dick is offline  
Apr 4th, 2004, 12:00 PM
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SandyP and SFImporter,

You are thinking of LION Country Safari and it was in Irvine. I have a vague memory of a giraffe getting it's head inside of our car, and my mother not knowing to close the window on it to keep it from getting to us kids in the back seat or opening the window to let it out.

It shut down back in '84. Probably had something to do with it's legal feud with The Irvine Company.
malvado is offline  
Apr 4th, 2004, 01:23 PM
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Dew1990: I recently did the interior for a beautiful weekend home on Boblo Island. The developer tried to rename it Bois Bland Island but it wouldn't stick. It is a spectacular location if you want to boat. I do remember taking our children on that big steam boat down to Boblo many years ago.

There are still ostrich and some other animals left over from the park past that wander around. Lots of deer wandering about. It is lovely and the pavillion and marina are still there. LMF
LilMsFoodie is offline  
Apr 4th, 2004, 02:09 PM
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I'd imagine drewbari already knows this, judging by his his or her choice of words, but there's actually a website devoted to this kind of thing:

While looking around on this site, I've been able to find some very interesting ones, and if you look hard enough you can actually find websites maintained by people who have visited these parks and taken pictures to post on the Net. There are few things more eerie than pictures of an amusement park in ruins, with nature reasserting itself.

Two of the best photo-documented parks I've found online are Dogpatch USA and Camelot, both in northern Arkansas. Dogpatch USA was a theme park, with Al Capp's "Lil' Abner" characters as its theme. It thrived throughoug the 60's and 70's until poor management and Lil' Abner's disappearance from America's comic pages conspired to doom it. Largely intact, it's still there decaying gracefully with bumper boats still floating in the trout lake, brightly colored signs and advertisements fading in the sun, and a towering waterslide strangled with vines. Its stores still stand, with their signs and counters inside adrift in dead leaves. And ironically, several authentic "hillbilly" cabins purchased from around the South and tranported to the park are still there too, and are in much better shape than any of the new bulidings that were just made to look rustic.

The other Arkansas park I found was Camelot, which was meant to be an ongoing Renaissance Faire with the nation's foremost medievalists putting on a year-round show. It was open only two weeks in the early 80's before closing its gates, and it's been there decaying ever since. Both Camelot and Dogpatch USA are so entangled in lawsuits and red tape that it's doubtful they'll ever be redeveloped.

Now, looking closely at, I noticed a mention of one in North Carolina, near where I live. Apparently it was a Wizard of Oz themed park, though the only thing remaining today is the park's yellow brick road, which according to what I've read, will be incorporated into a residential development planned for the site.

One North Carolina park not mentioned was what I've been told was some sort of Old West park in Chimney Rock, which at one time aspired to be the next Gatlinburg before it decided it was content with its current level of tackiness and wanted to pursue a more respectable development pattern. I don't know what else is there, but the chair lift to the park, leading from the village of Chimney Rock down in the gorge to the park at the top of the moutain opposite Chimney Rock Mountain, is still there. You used to be able to see it from Chimney Rock Park. I don't know what might be up on the mountaintop though.

hauntedheadnc is offline  
Apr 4th, 2004, 02:15 PM
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Forgot to mention that, unfortunately, hasn't been updated since 2002, but it's still interesting!
hauntedheadnc is offline  
Apr 4th, 2004, 03:27 PM
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O gosh: fdecarlo! I was not all that interested in this thread until you mentioned Busch Gardens and POP. I went to POP just before it closed when I was 4 or 5 and I just loved Busch Gardens. Thanks to you and drewbari for bringing back those memories.
lahainaluna is offline  
Apr 4th, 2004, 03:41 PM
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Typo alert ! Re: Bois make that Bois Blanc Island...white forest? anyway...Boblo by anyother name.

What about Cypress Gardens, put out of its misery by 9/11 and an aging clientele. It was Kaput and now given the chance for a new life this spring. Bring on the southern belles and the water skiers. LMF
LilMsFoodie is offline  
Apr 4th, 2004, 03:49 PM
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My husband often mentions Ramona Park, in East Grand Rapids MI. I looked up the website and it was listed there. His grandparents managed it in the late 1940s,early 50s, and he has lots of memories of the rides and concessions. Does anyone remember this park?
mlw is offline  
Apr 4th, 2004, 06:11 PM
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Yes, I have been to that web site, has any one herd River Side park? It was my Grandparents fav. park. It went out in 1969.
drewbari is offline  
Apr 4th, 2004, 06:39 PM
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SandyP, we still have Lion Country Safari here in West Palm Beach. I don't think anyone gets out of their cars though...
kkraczek is offline  
Apr 4th, 2004, 07:12 PM
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Yes! Dogpatch USA. I remember going there in the early 70's, with the whole hokey Li'l Abner theme. The Daisy Mae costume was capable of having quite an effect on a 8-10 yr old kid.

I found the site showing what it looks like now. Quite a shame. It was pure kitch at it's best/worst.
Clifton is offline  
Apr 4th, 2004, 07:36 PM
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lahainaluna: You're welcome! POP was definitely a magical place, and was my favorite spot in the whole world when I was a kid. Check out this website, it really brought back some fond memories:

Especially the diving bells, where you cound go underwater to see all the sealife.. I had a major time warp inside my head when I saw that photo. And the Sea Serpent roller coaster.. the Banana Train Ride.. the Ocean Skyway etc etc. Wonderful stuff!
fdecarlo is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 03:29 AM
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Another vote for Boblo. My family of 5 kids never had any money to travel and the day at Boblo was our big treat for the year back in th 60's. We loved the boat ride, going down to the lowest deck to look at the hot smelly engines, riding the rides, doing the "Mexican hat dance" with the live band on board the boat.
Pat_in_Mich is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 06:52 AM
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Glen Echo, Marshall Hall, and Story Book Land. Washington D.C area. The "Mad Mouse" and "Jungle Ride" I still have vivid memories of these after almost 40 years. Yikes-- I am old.
poochie is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 07:01 AM
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Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio was great in the 60's. The jackrabbit was a great wooden coaster.
Some more recent closures Circus world in Haines city , Florida which changed to Boardwalk and baseball in the 80's and then that park went under also.
MarthaT is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 07:26 AM
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Palisades Park in NJ was a magical place to a teen back in the 60's. Amazing rides, a huge salt water pool, and live rock concerts. They also had the best french fries in the universe. It's all long gone however.
zootsi is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 07:48 AM
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I checked out the defunctparks website and was delighted to see Sunnyside (in Toronto) listed. It was one of my favourite places when I was a kid. It had a huge merry-go-round (is that a Canadian term for carousel, or do Americans use it as well?); I remember my dad going on it with me. There was a donut shop there - Downyflake - that was probably better than Krispy Kreme. Sunnyside Beach, right on the shore of Lake Ontario, was the place we would go in the summer, pre-air-conditioning, to cool off in the evenings. What great memories!
Meesthare is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 08:53 AM
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I think it's a shame that the Nut Tree on 80 in Vacaville was closed years ago. As a child it was our stopping point on our long drives from southern Ca through the Bay area and then onto Lake Tahoe for our summer vacation. We remember the amazing Toy store, the GIANT rocking horses out front that you could ride as long as your parents would allow and the little train that ran around the grounds, out to the private airport and back to the main building. The parking lot was shaded by a large number of trees. Sister and I used to meet there when our kids were very young and we have pics of them on the train. Though the kids are now 10-14 years old we still meet at the Nut Tree though the spot is a weed littered side street.

The other place that we loved (5 cousins and the 5 of us) as children was Playland in San Francisco. The funhouse was a terrific palce for 10 kids to play all day. They had this giant disc you could sit on and they'd start it spinning and we'd all fly off into the padded walls. Whe did that all day!
Suzie is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 11:13 AM
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Anyone in NY or NJ remember Jungle Habitat? (also one of those "drive through" animal parks).

Anyone from Queens, NY remember Adventurer's Inn in Whitestone?
laurieb_nyny is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 11:43 AM
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SFImporter and kimamom,
I loved both Frontier Village and Santa's Village -- too bad they are long gone!
KathrynT is offline  

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