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 Parks—remains 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.