Have you ever wished that you could visit the worlds depicted in your favorite movies? Wouldn't it be great to explore lost temples with Indiana Jones? Or observe once extinct dinosaurs in Jurassic Park? What about fly alongside the rebels as they take on the Death Star? (I now realize that these are all terribly dangerous examples, but you get the idea.)
One of the most iconic settings in all of film history is the Land of Oz. Full of witches, flying monkeys, munchkins, and adventure, this faraway place has been enchanting kids and adults alike since 1939. For years, fans thought that following the yellow brick road with Dorothy was something they could only dream of doing, but now those dreams are actually coming true.
It was just announced that Beech Mountain, North Carolina will be opening up a Wizard of Oz theme park for a limited time this summer! The Land of Oz theme park was fully-functioning during the 1970s, but has been shut down since 1980. Every Friday this June, visitors will have a chance to return to the newly-restored park. If you're interested in visiting, click here for more information on planning your trip. Scroll down to see photos of what this enchanting park looked like in its prime. I can only imagine how great it's going to look this summer!
Deep in the heart of Beech Mountain, North Carolina is a forgotten road. It’s been over 30 years since it was used. Nevertheless, most will find its yellow bricks and winding pathway familiar. Follow it and you will make the incredible discovery of …
... an abandoned Wizard of Oz theme park! The park was opened in 1970 by entrepreneur Grover Robbins and Hollywood actress Debbie Reynolds, who had purchased several props from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
Visitors could visit their favorite characters as they walked down the Yellow Brick Road, such as the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, and Dorothy. Today, these stone munchkins are the only ones left.
Along with this stone munchkin house.
Here is a replica of Dorothy’s house, which can actually be rented for $165 per night – but more about that later.
Of course, the Wicked Witch’s castle is still standing.
Sadly, in 1976, the park’s Emerald City was destroyed by a fire, along with several artifacts from the movie, and the park was forced to close in its tenth year. The park was abandoned, left to destruction by the elements and vandals who stole entire houses. Some restoration efforts were made, but the Land of Oz would never be the same…
However, photos do exist of the Land of Oz in its prime, taken by Billie Nenninger. Here is a performance in 1973.
Every character had their very own home. Here is the Scarecrow, alongside his house.
And the Tin Man.
The Wicked Witch had quite an elaborate setup, completed by this cave entrance.
This family looks like they are having fun.
Visitors could get the true Oz experience and take in a bird’s-eye view of the park on this artificial balloon ride, brilliantly constructed by modifying an old ski lift.
The good news is that the Land of Oz has not been totally forgotten. In the late 1990s, former park employees began the tradition of “Autumn in Oz”, a two-day festival that brings together locals and tourists alike to celebrate the wonder that is The Wizard of Oz. June 2016 marks the first time it's been open to the general public for over three decades, so don't miss your chance to see it!
If you do miss it, however, the park can also be rented for weddings and other private parties, and the replica of Dorothy’s farmhouse can be rented from May 1st until January 1st. A recent review reads: “This perfect private farm tucked away atop Beech Mountain has an antique kitchen and parlor, three bedrooms, one bath, down comforters, every appliance, great views, lots of adventure!”
Be sure to SHARE this amazing location with your friends and family!
H/T: Messy Nessy Chic