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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.

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26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.

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