Spreepark / Spree Park – The strange abandoned theme park
Location: Berlin, Germany
Years in operation: 1969-2002
Creepy factor: 8
One of the world’s more photogenic derelict fun-zones, this district of toppled dinosaurs, rusted Ferris wheels and vandalized swan boats operated for 20 years as Kulturpark Plänterwald in the former East Berlin before becoming Spreepark in the wall-toppling year of 1989. Although the reason the park was shuttered isn’t exactly scandalous — good, old-fashioned insolvency — what happened to its former owner, Norbert Witte, is.
In early 2002, a bankrupt Witte fled from Germany to Lima, Peru, taking his family and several of the park’s attractions with him. There, Witte tried to open another amusement park but that didn’t work out apparently — in May 2004 he was sentenced to seven years jail time for attempting to smuggle 400 pounds of cocaine back into Germany, hidden in the masts of a “flying carpet” ride. Witte, understandably quite the tabloid fixture in Germany, was the subject of a 2009 documentary film, “Achterbahn,” and is said to live in a trailer parked on the grounds of his failed amusement park.