The Enchanted Forest was closed in 1989 but some of the structures still remain at the original site

Ellicott City’s Enchanted Forest, based on nursery rhymes and fairy tales, was one of the earliest theme parks to open in the United States in August 1955. The debut of this Maryland amusement park was followed by the opening of Disneyland in California less than a month later. Adults paid $1 to enter, while children paid 50 cents.

Many people associate the Enchanted Forest with joyful childhood recollections. Before closing in 1989, the Ellicott City theater hosted families for nearly 30 years.The park began on 20 acres and expanded to 52 acres at its height, when 300,000 tourists visited the Enchanted Forest each year. The land was reduced to 32 acres in its final years.

Visitors to the Enchanted Forest might wander and become lost in a beautiful environment that appeared to be straight out of a children’s tale. That could be youngsters running around Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage imagining Prince Charming was ready to come, or climbing into the tiny old lady’s huge purple shoe and sliding down to the bottom.The Harrison family, the venue’s original proprietors, sold the site to JHP Development in 1988, and by the following year, the iconic castle entry to the park was closed to guests. The east section of the theme park was removed when it was sold to make way for a retail mall. The remainder of the land remained undamaged, and there were some hopes that it may reopen.Children playing on Willie the Whale at the Enchanted Forest in 1972, By Jose Behar, CC BY-SA 3.0
Hopes were especially high when the location was utilized as a set in a Johnny Depp film, Cry Baby, in 1990. Alternatively, during the summer of 1994, when the facility reopened, it was largely used for children’s birthday parties. There was little attempt made to bring the old spark back to the park, but the castle and drawbridge entry point, as well as its renowned dragon, remained to turn heads when passing on Route 40.The Sliding Board at the Enchanted Forest (1987), By ConneeConehead101, CC BY-SA 3.0
The Enchanted Forest remained closed until 2004, when the new landowner, Kimco Realty Group, consented to transport the majority of the fairy tale figures and edifices to the adjacent Clark’s Elioak Farm for exhibition and preservation.
The Gingerbread house at Enchanted Forest damaged by a fallen tree, By Forsaken Fotos, CC BY 2.0 / Flickr
The farm, which was only a few miles away from the original Enchanted Forest location, did showcase some of the amusement park designs when it first opened.The abandoned castle at the Enchanted Forest, By Forsaken Fotos, CC BY 2.0 / Flickr
The move was formally completed in the summer of 2015, on the 60th anniversary of the Enchanted Forest’s inception. The original area has been completely devoted to the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center.The structures were rotting at the Enchanted Forest after so many years of neglect, By Forsaken Fotos, CC BY 2.0 / Flickr
The Enchanted Forest buildings were not entirely transferred and repaired at Clark’s Elioak Farm. Some attractions, such as Cinderella’s Castle and the Gingerbread House, were deemed immovable by officials.Vandals also left their mark on the deteriorating structures, By Forsaken Fotos, CC BY 2.0 / Flickr
These two wooden and concrete constructions have been neglected for many years. The castle’s second story became structurally insecure, and the Gingerbread House was damaged by a tree that fell on it.Nature reclaimed territories at the Enchanted Forest, By Forsaken Fotos, CC BY 2.0 / Flickr
The largest Enchanted Forest attraction to be transported to Clark’s Elioak was the Storybook Castle. To do this, restorers had to remove the whole building, pack all of its elements into a large truck, and reconstruct.A sad photo… from the last day, By Forsaken Fotos, CC BY 2.0 / Flickr
Perhaps transferring and preserving the bulk of the park’s attractions was the best solution conceivable before the entire property vanished.Remakes and new versions: Enchanted Forest gingerbread house in the pine tree maze at Clark’s Elioak Farm, Photo by Don Woods, CC BY-SA 3.0
As a relic, Old King Cole rests atop the retail center’s sign, and a plaque detailing the park’s history honors the original Enchanted Forest.

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