Abandoned 'Wizard of Oz' Theme Park to Offer Guided Tours

During the 1970s, you could visit the Land of Oz—but it wasn’t in an alternate universe, or, for that matter, in Kansas. The Wizard of Oz-themed amusement park was located in the resort town of Beech Mountain, North Carolina. Visitors could tour Dorothy’s farmhouse, meet their favorite characters from the film, take a hot air balloon ride, and check out memorabilia and movie props in the park's museum.

Sadly, a series of tragic events (the death of its founder, Grover Robbins, and a mysterious fire, among other things) caused the Land of Oz to close in 1980. Now, it's time to return to Oz: The Charlotte Observer reports that the deserted park will re-open for four Fridays in June.

Visitors ride a chair lift to reach the park's lofty grounds located on top of a mountain. Once they’re inside, they can take guided tours of the Yellow Brick Road—complete with a guide dressed like Dorothy Gale—and get an up-close look at relics like a scale replica of Auntie Em's house and a witch's castle.

For the last two summers, the Land of Oz has offered public tours on Fridays in conjunction with Beech Mountain’s annual “Family Fun” month, as WRAL.com reports. The park is also used as a venue for weddings, parties, and group picnics, and is home to an “Autumn at Oz” festival in October. However, the Land of Oz—once featured in a book called Bizarro: The World's Most Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned Theme Parksremains eerily empty most of the year.

Want to take a trip to Oz this June? Admission tickets are $12.50, plus a $10 round-trip chair lift ticket. The park will open every Friday in June, and tours will take place at half-past the hour every hour from 10:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m. Tickets will go on sale on the Monday prior to each tour.

Can't make it to North Carolina? You can always visit one of Kansas’s Oz-related attractions, or take a virtual tour via the video above.

[h/t The Charlotte Observer]

Banner image courtesy of iStock.

The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.

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A Florida Brewery Created Edible Six-Pack Rings to Protect Marine Animals

For tiny scraps of plastic, six-pack rings can pose a huge threat to marine life. Small enough and ubiquitous enough that they’re easy to discard and forget about, the little plastic webs all too often make their way to the ocean, where animals can ingest or become trapped in them. In order to combat that problem, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has created what they say is the world’s first fully biodegradable, compostable, edible six-pack rings.

The edible rings are made of barley and wheat and are, if not necessarily tasty, at least safe for animals and humans to ingest. Saltwater Brewery started packaging their beers with the edible six-pack rings in 2016. They charge slightly more for their brews to offset the cost of the rings' production. They hope that customers will be willing to pay a bit more for the environmentally friendly beers and are encouraging other companies to adopt the edible six-pack rings in order to lower manufacturing prices and save more animals.

As Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove says in the video above: “We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board.”

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