Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strike

After entertaining happy families for decades, the Enchanted Forest amusement park of Ellicott City, Maryland was forced to shutter its premises in 1989. In the ensuing 23 years, the gumdrop cottages and fantasy castles began rotting away, giving the park the veneer of some weird post-apocalyptic fairy tale. Welcome to the happiest place at the end of the world.

When The Enchanted Forest opened in 1955, it was one of the first theme parks in the United States. Investors attempted to reopen the property in the mid-1990s, but that effort went nowhere. Nowadays, visitors are banned from the Forest — its only residents are a lute-playing dragon who guards the door and a statue of Old King Cole, who has been consigned to pointing at a nearby strip mall for all eternity. (Willie the Whale, above, left the premises in 2008, along with several other sculptures.)

Musical dragons aside, people still trundle into the Forest and inspect its unnerving architecture — these photographs were taken by an explorer at the Urban Atrophy message boards. If you've ever wondered what Munchkinland's skid row looks like, here it is. And for another rundown magic kingdom, see China's Wonderland.

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

Maryland's Enchanted Forest is like Candyland after a neutron bomb strikeS

[Via Atlas Obscura]