There's nothing quite like a trip to your favorite amusement park: the excruciating night before filled with sleepless anticipation; the knot of giddy excitement rooted in your stomach as the giant park gates first loom into view; that gut-wrenching moment of weightlessness at the apex of a roller-coaster's serpentine track. It truly is a magical feeling. None of that, however, is applicable for visitors of the now abandoned, ghostly Enchanted Forest theme park in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Officially opened on August 15, 1955, the Enchanted Forest set up shop just one month after Walt threw open his doors in California, though the Forest would go on to become something wholly different to Disney's magical wonderland - something much more sinister.
At its peak, the Enchanted Forest welcomed 300,000 children through its gates each summer season (admission was $0.50), before being shut down in 1995. Since then the park has fallen into grave disrepair, now a creepy shell of its former self. These eerie images, documenting the tragic fate of the park, are both unsettling and strangely sad, capturing a desperate echo of the fun once had within its now dilapidated walls...
Welcome to vagrant country - the magical kingdom of used needles and empty beer cans. Stay a while and submit to the enchanting odor of stale piss that pervades all.
Willie the Whale
Here's Willie at the height of his career. It was all going so well - kids loved larking around in his mouth, until...
Willie the (Killed) Whale
...Willie succumbed to rust and neglect. They say that sometimes, late at night, you can hear the poor lonely mammal weeping for lack of mouth-based company. Heartbreaking stuff.
The Magical Realm of Nondescript Concrete Slabs
This is quite possibly the most tragic looking slide I have ever seen in my life.
The Mystical Grotto That's Definitely Not a Crack Den
I particularly enjoy the 'lust not love' graffiti tag left on the roof.
The Celestial Woodland Bill Changer
Because every magical forest needs inexplicably placed cash converters.
The Asbestos Kingdom
Make sure you pack your gas masks, kids.
I'm Not Sure I'd Go Anywhere That Thing Pointed Me to
There's nothing that says 'family day out' like 'Jilly's Wine & Spirits'
In 2004 the owner of the park's land, Kimco Realty Group, arranged for most of the structures to be moved to the nearby Clark's Elioak Farm. Living in the shadow of Disney, the Enchanted Forest was just never meant to be.