Abandoned places are great for letting the imagination run wild. Whether they were once used for housing or work, buildings and sites which have been forgotten and allowed to fall into disrepair are fascinating glimpses into the past. Some of the most haunting abandonments, however, are those that were once used to entertain and educate – filled with vast once-vibrant gathering and learning spaces.
Abandoned Japanese Amusement Park
Is there anything more desolate than an abandoned amusement park? These photos from a Japanese amusement park have just the right combination of beauty and creepiness. After the park was abandoned, metal began to rust and trees began to find their way into the left-behind rides.
Abandoned Splendid China Amusement Park
(images via: Illicit Ohio)
In 1993, a new $100 million theme park called Splendid China opened in Kissimmee, Florida. From the beginning the park was plagued with controversy and disapproval. Though a Chinese tourist company apparently owned the park, it was said by many that the Chinese government actually owned and operated the attraction. The park was the site of numerous protests and eventually closed in 2003 due to low attendance.
Abandoned Chippewa Lake Amusement Park
(images via: Defunct Parks)
One of the best-known and most often photographed abandoned theme parks in the US is Chippewa Lake Park in Medina County, Ohio. From 1878 to 1978, the Chippewa Lake site grew into a popular tourist attraction in a beautiful setting. After its closure following its centennial celebration, many rides and buildings were left standing. It’s still possible to see many of the structures today, although they are dilapidated and covered in 30 years of plant growth.
Dead Amusements Series by Suzy Poling
(images via: Suzy Poling)
Abandoned amusement parks aren’t just for urban explorers and curious kids. Photographer Suzy Poling has made a fine art of documenting old and forgotten amusement parks. In her “Dead Amusements” series, she depicts the desolation of old parks and their elements with grace and an impeccable eye for composition.
Abandoned Theaters in Gary Indiana and Detroit Michigan
(images via: Silke S.)
Whether they showed the work of Shakespeare or Spielberg, theaters make for fascinating sights when they’ve been abandoned and left to nature. Their ornate details begin to crumble and fall, and the seats once filled by dazzled viewers sit empty and cold. This derelict theater in Gary, Indiana (top two images) and the Detroit United Artists Theater are spooky but enchanting sights.
Abandoned Uptown Theater in Philadelphia
(images via: Abandoned But Not Forgotten)
The Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia has been the setting for many memorable performances. First opened in 1928, it functioned as a movie theater and as a venue for national music acts. After closing its doors as a theater, the building was once used as a church. Current reports say that the building is vacant, though several attempts have been made (and subsequently fallen through) to restore it to its former glory.
Abandoned Theater in Russia
(images via: English Russia)
Like many locations in 21st century Russia, this theater is just a ghost of its former self. Where crowds once anticipated the raising of the curtain and the first breathless moments before a performance, there is now only dust and debris.