Posts Tagged ‘wonder’

Remember the Magic

The Abandoned Enchanted Forest Theme Park

Written by: Wilk
Photographs by: Lassie

Do you feel that? The wind through the trees? The current through the mountain streams? The rays of sunshine peeping through the dark clouds? It’s something that we don’t appreciate enough anymore. They are, dare I say, magic. Our ancestors lived and died with these elemental beings. But magic is something that disappears a little more each day. We’ve forgotten about it. It can be argued that we don’t need it anymore, that it has outlived its purpose. People walk around lost in the screens of their cell phones as opposed to appreciating the natural beauty of our own world. Even as it slowly shrinks from the corners of our universe. But what happens when there’s no more magic? What happens when all that makes the world wondrous and green is gone? What would the world be like without magic? We found out: in the Enchanted Forest.

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It is one of the darker and more ominous places we have ever visited. The Enchanted Forest was a fantasy styled amusement park that opened in 1971. Based out of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, The Enchanted Forest was always more oriented towards children and families with its fairy tale style theme. The main attractions of the park included a live petting zoo, go-cart tracks, a mini-golf course, and a few rides geared more towards its younger audience. For years the park was a mainstay attraction of the local area, with people coming far and wide to visit this fairy tale place. But as time wore on, the magic began to fade. In her final years, attendance and interest in the park began to wane. Finally, in the year 2005, The Enchanted Forest closed forever under financial strain. Though technically still for sale, the park has been left abandoned ever since.

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We made the long journey to The Enchanted Forest on a sunny day during the tail end of winter 2016. She’s not too difficult to find, the only problem is that what’s left of the park sits along a heavily trafficked road. There old parking lot has also been blocked off by large bricks of cement. And to top it all off, the neighbors of this old park do not take kindly to strangers and have no hesitation when it comes to reporting trespassers to the local police. We had heard many stories in our travels of explorers being caught and arrested for trying to sneak into this place. Getting inside is not the difficult part. Slipping inside the park without being noticed and where to park your car are the difficult parts. But, through some strange form of luck, we managed to get inside this former wonderland.

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Regrettably, there isn’t too much to see here. The old rides that once were the star attractions of The Enchanted Forest were sold off to neighboring theme parks long ago. But the large sign still sits out front, bearing a few scars from the elements and the local vandals. Buried in the brush behind the parking lot are the remains of the old petting zoo and mini golf course. Even deeper into the woods is all that is left of the old go-cart track. A couple of old buildings are still standing, though they are clearly very heavily used by the local teenagers. Mountains of trash and liter coat the ground, and the walls have all been defaced by cruel and unusual graffiti. There may have been more left behind here, but it has long since been lost to the think brush and unflinching grasp of the woods.

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If you ever plan on visiting The Enchanted Forest, do not take this journey lightly. It is a dangerous and risky mission, unless of course you know someone in the area. It is a remarkable sight, indeed. Besides the fact it is a local legend, there is just something about this place. Dare I say, enchanting? Or perhaps the better word is magical. You see, whether we acknowledge it or not, there is still magic in this world. And it can be felt strongly here in The Enchanted Forest. You can almost still hear the laughter of the children and families who once frolicked down these old paths. You can almost still see the colorful rides and attractions swirling through the trees. You can almost still feel all of the love and joy that this place must have felt all of those years ago. Though all of that is gone, the magic is still here. You just have to look for it.

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The Thrill of the Hunt

Thoughts on Urban Exploring

By: Sean L.

We all do this for different reasons. For some of us, it is just a hobby. To others, it is an adrenaline fix. But to some, it can even be a career. Me personally? I love the thrill of the hunt. Too many people in this community expect everything to be handed to them. They see a post on a website and simply ask questions. Where is this place? How do you get in? Then these people just sit there and wait for an answer, only getting upset when none comes. These questions go unanswered because research is part of the experience. A true explorer does not want to be fed answers, they seek them out. They hunt for answers, both online and onsite of abandoned places. It is called urban EXPLORATION. Not urban TOURISM. Aside from the few places that we have just stumbled upon, we research all of the places that we explore very in depth. As made clear in our articles, we love history. We cannot truly appreciate an abandoned place without knowing what it was once like before the dark times.

It is one of our 5 rules to know your route. Safety and smarts are the best tools that you can ever bring with you while urban exploring. Before an investigation, we find out everything we can about a place. It is imperative to get as much information as you can and be as prepared as humanly possible before exploring an abandoned place. Especially if it is illegal to be there. Once you have all of your information, the next phase of the hunt is to find the place you are going to explore. Sometimes it’s really easy. Sometimes it’s really difficult. But just like the research, this is part of the experience. Some locations we have visited you just drive up to. But some others, like Fort Mansfield in Rhode Island or Cedar Hill Rail Yard in Connecticut, require a lot of real exploring.

But once you find these places, the real experience begins. A lot of us like to take pictures. Some of us enjoy making videos. I personally like to write these articles. There is just something really great about researching a place, finding it, then successfully documenting it. It is the thrill of the hunt that makes these places fun for us. It is all a part of the experience of being an urban explorer. Not to destroy or deface these forgotten beauties. But to enjoy something that few people will ever see, and even fewer are even aware of. Now it’s your turn. Why do you do what you do? What’s your favorite part of urban exploring? Don’t be shy.