South Park City | Fairplay, Colorado - Atlas Obscura

South Park City

Fairplay, Colorado

This open-air reconstruction of an Old West town, a cross between a theme park and a museum, provides an immersive historical experience.  

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Fairplay, Colorado started as a mining camp under the name of South Park City. In the 19th century, “park” was a common term in the Western United States for a wide valley, and Fairplay is located in South Park. (The animated sitcom is set in the same area.) Hence, this re-creation of a late 19th-century camp at the edge of modern Fairplay uses the original name. It consists of some 44 period buildings, seven of which are original. The rest were moved in from other old mining towns in the area. 

The buildings include mock-ups of businesses typical in a settlement like this, including a blacksmith shop, livery stable, hotel, dry goods store, drugstore, carpenter shop (which doubled as a funeral parlor), assay office, print shop, and so on. There are also living quarters, a church, a school, and even a mine and a locomotive. Contemporary equipment such as mining tools, carriages, and wagons are also extensively displayed.

Unpaved streets run between the buildings, some with authentic boardwalks, and you can wander around as much you wish. Sometimes exhibitions of 19th-century trades such as blacksmithing are also presented.

Know Before You Go

South Park City is on the southwest side of modern Fairplay and is straightforward to find. Check the website for current hours and admission prices, as well as for information on current special events.

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July 21, 2023

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