Tags: land of oz | north carolina | theme park

'Land of Oz' North Carolina Theme Park on Another Planet

Image: 'Land of Oz' North Carolina Theme Park on Another Planet
The Yellow Brick Road. (Seph Lawless)

 

By    |   Tuesday, 08 Dec 2015 07:14 AM

"Land of Oz," a defunct North Carolina theme park based on "The Wizard of Oz," is drawing widespread attention this week thanks to a new photography book that showcases the haunting beauty of abandoned theme parks across the world.

The book, "Bizarro" by Seph Lawless, pays special attention to the park's fading Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy's windswept farm house, and, of course, the glorious emerald gates. 

The scenes are accompanied by photos from nine other abandoned theme parks in Germany, New Orleans, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, and an undisclosed location in the southern U.S.

According to The Huffington Post, the park was operated from 1970 to 1980, and saw some 400,000 visitors in a matter of months during its heyday. At the time, it was the second most-visited amusement park in the eastern U.S., right after Disney World in Florida.

The park was built on North Carolina's Beech Mountain, and frequently entertained local ski employees and their families during the summer months. There were hot air balloon rides, shows, attractions, and, of course, food and games.

"It sits hidden on top of one of the highest mountain peaks in the eastern U.S., so being there was almost like entering another planet," Lawless told the Post about his trip to shoot the park. "It was surreal and completely beautiful."

While the park is mostly defunct, parts of it are still functioning, and are occasionally rented out for weddings, gatherings, and private tours.

"With its maturing flora and graceful aging, it has evolved into its own unique entity. Dorothy's house is a lovely cottage we now rent to romantics wanting to escape," the park's website explains.

Once a year, the locals also throw an "Autumn at OZ" party, "where we all take a nostalgic stroll down the yellow brick road and see some of the original cast perform again. Volunteers and local charities help us with the event, and everyone is invited. Proceeds pay for the party and help with restorations."

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"Land of Oz," a defunct North Carolina theme park based on "The Wizard of Oz," is drawing widespread attention this week thanks to a new photography book that showcases the haunting beauty of abandoned theme parks across the world.
land of oz, north carolina, theme park
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2015-14-08
Tuesday, 08 Dec 2015 07:14 AM
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