Freedomland, Paradise Lake and other parks that failed.

Over the years there have been many parks that opened but which never became successful. Such parks would limp along for a season or 2 or 3 and then disappear altogether.

Two that I remember were Freedomland and Paradise Lake.

Freedomland was opened in New York City in the earoly 1960s. It was a park themed around the USA and had an initial cost comparable to Disneyland. Unfortunately the park was a flop and was gone in several years. Several of its rides eventually made it to parks like Cedar Point and Kennywood.

Paradise Lake was a park in eastern Ohio with four themed areas. This park lasted for two seasons in the early 1980s before it closed.

Does anyone have any more details on these parks or on other parks that disappeared soon after they originally opened.

Arthur Bahl

How about the most spectacular theme park failure of all time. Six Flags Auto World in Flint Michigan. Opened July 14 1984 with a cost of over $70 million - much of the funding from public funds. Went Bankrupt and closed in it's first year of operation. It was an indoor park (no coasters) with one of the first IMAX theatres in the USA. What a disaster.

Pleasure Island in Wakefield, Massachusetts. It was built by the same man behind Freedomland, Cornelius Vanderbuilt Wood, and operated from 1959 - 1969. Wikipedia's Freedomland page has some of the backstory behind Wood.

*** Edited 11/5/2006 1:11:00 AM UTC by Dukeis#1***

Add to that list "The World of Sid and Marty Kroft" It was a multi-story building (in Atlanta, I believe) that didn't last more than a couple of seasons.
Old Chicago opened in the late 1970s in Bolingbrook, Illinois. This was an Indoor Amusement Park which featured a Corkscrew Roller Coaster called "The Chicago Loop". It was an attempt to combine a park with a Shopping Mall, unfortunately most major Store Chains (Including Department Stores) Shunned the Park, and it closed in the early 1980s. Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire now has the Corkscrew Roller Coaster.

Another Failed Theme Park was Marco Polo Park which was located on Interstate 95 just north of Daytona Beach, Florida. It opened in the early 1970s and closed a few years later, the victim of Gross Mismanagement. :(

International Village just south of Gettysburg, PA was another dismal failure during the theme park boom of the 1970s. It featured an international themed shopping, dining, and entertainment area across the parking lot from a large Sheraton resort hotel. The ride section of the park was very small, almost carnival like. Among the rides were a Matterhorn, Eli Wheel, and the very rare Chance Turbo ride. They also had a 'hippo train' (hippo themed tractor that pulled 2 or 3 hippo shaped cars that drove around the park and the parking lot, plus a sky ride connecting the park with the hotel that took riders over the parking lot. Unfortunately, Civil War buffs ignored it, and the park was soon closed. The International Village shops closed a year or two later.

Hanna-Barbara Land in central Texas was another failure. It was a smaller children's park that was started by Taft Broadcasting after the success of their Kings Island and Kings Dominion parks. The junior steel coaster was sent to Great America in CA after the park closed.

Both Busch Gardens in Southern California and in Houston, TX both failed as well during the 1970s.

Florida has had more than its share of Failed Theme Parks. Splendid China near Orlando was a park that showcased Chinese Culture. A controversy arose when it became known that the park had ties with the Chinese Government. As the years went by attendence fell, and the park closed in 2003. :(

Another failure was Little England. It was to have been across the Freeway (Interstate 4) from WDW but after a few Historic Buildings were brought "Across the Pond" from England the park never opened. The Florida Climate wrecked havoc on the buildings, which were eventually torn down. :(

In South Florida a Theme Park called Pirates World opened in the late 1960s. One of its attractions was the old Steeplechase Ride from Coney Island. Unfortunately this park fell on hard times and was closed in the mid 1970s. :(

Near Ocala there was a Western-Themed park called Six Gun Territory. It had some success when it opened in the late 1960s, but attendance dropped after WDW and other Theme Parks opened in the Orlando area. The park closed in the early 1980s, It was replaced by a Shopping Center called (Ironically) Six Gun Plaza. :(

I fondly remember Circus World/ Boardwalk and Baseball, which opened in the late 1970s west of Orlando. Featuring a Circus Theme when it opened. It was home to an Arrow Shuttle Loop called "Zoomerang" and a Wooden Coaster called "The Florida Hurricane". It featured some top-notch Circus Shows, (Including one where members of the Audience were selected to do Juggling, High-Wire and Trapese Acts) but it could never compete with the other Theme Parks in the area. In 1983 it was rethemed to resemble an old-time Traditional park with exhibits about Baseball (And had a Stadium where the Kansas City Royals had their Spring Training.) Unfortunately the park tanked, and was closed in 1986. A Housing Development is now being built where it was once located. :(

:) (The Zoomerang was relocated to Fun Spot, in Angola, Indiana (Near where Indiana, Ohio and Michigan Meet) while the Florida Hurricane now operates as "The Arkansas Twister" in Magic Springs Park in Hot Springs Arkansas) :) *** Edited 11/5/2006 2:10:48 PM UTC by Borntocoast*** *** Edited 11/5/2006 10:25:41 PM UTC by Borntocoast*** *** Edited 11/5/2006 10:28:19 PM UTC by Borntocoast***

What about Wildlife preserve?

Sure it was an animal park between 72 & 82 but of course it wasn't successful & let's not forget that Wild World didn't last too long either after going bankrupt in 90 I believe & the entire park remained SBNO for nearly two years facing demolition before premier parks bought it.

Wasn't there also SF power plant in Baltimore,which was a failure as well?

Dutchman said:

Add to that list "The World of Sid and Marty Kroft" It was a multi-story building (in Atlanta, I believe)

I'm not sure if it's the same park but I know that the current CNN building in Atlanta used to house an indoor amusement park. The escalator still operates today.

Prowler. Opens May,2 2009.

Speaking of animal parks, another failed park of this type was Arkland in eastern North Carolina, NE of Raleigh. This park was in operation for a short while during the 1980s. One example of the problems this park had was that the road it was on wasn't even paved when the park first opened.

Arthur Bahl

The World of Sid & Marty kroft was located in the CNN Building (I believe it was called "The Omni" when the park was running.)
rollergator's avatar
Short list of parks I've visited that are gone...

Erieview, Myrtle Pavilion, Williams' Grove, Miracle Strip, Six Flags' AstroWorld, Funtown Pier...SFMM, Frontier City, Adventure City and Elitch's are still operating...Wyandot only had to close for a year following my visit... ;)

I swear, Conneaut was having financial trouble before I ever got there! ;)

Well of course there was Praiseland.
There was the amusement park at the MGM hotel in Las Vegas. That lasted a really short time, and the park was fairly unique.
Parks like Erieview, Miracle Strip, SFAW etc. were succesful parks at one time that just happen to be no longer around. This contrasts with the parks mentioned here that never became profitable and now are gone.

Arthur Bahl

Shady Lake Park 1978-1982. It was owned by the Humphrey family that had owned Euclid Beach. It was a nice start, but they could not draw any real crowds in Streetsboro Ohio. The park had several Euclid Beach rides.

Great Lakes Brewery Patron...


So gator, are you some kind of grim reaper? ;)
rollergator's avatar
^ "Wyandot only had to close for a year following my visit"...

I thought that pretty much summed it up.... :(

Wonder how Sandy Lake and Kiddie Park of San Antonio are doing? I guess Holy Land Experience won't close *until* I pay a visit... ;)

^Hmmmmm, you didn't happen to visit Heritage USA, did ya Gator?

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Stay out of my area, Bill! ;)

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