It’s tough to know the intentions of theme park creators. Their strange creations leave us only making a few educated guesses. Walt Disney wanted to make Epcot a self-sustaining community and model for the world. Argus Wynne, the man who built Six Flags, wanted to see people throwing up. The people who made Spreepark in Berlin were probably just insane.
The Spreepark in southeastern Berlin has been abandoned for the last ten years, and it looks like it. Each part of the park is scattered with remnants from the previous three decades, making a hodgepodge of bizarre entertainment, children’s rides, and life-size dinosaur statues.
Originally constructed by the communist government in East Germany in 1969, the park stood until the fall of the Berlin Wall twenty years later. It thrived throughout the communist era but fell on hard times when it was taken over by Norbert Witte in 1991.
During the time Witte controlled the park, he changed the scenery multiple times, even adding an English village and water landscape. Unbeknownst to police and Berliners, Witte had also become involved in cocaine smuggling in pieces of ride equipment between Peru and Germany during his time as park administrator.
Due partly to his criminal activities and due partly to lackluster visitor numbers, Spreepark was shut down to the public in 2002, and Witte was tried on smuggling charges two years later.
The result of this shutdown is the majestic wonderland Spreepark is today. Among the highlights of the park ruins are life-sized dinosaurs, including a fallen Tyrannosaurus as well as an old roller coaster leading out of a rabid-looking animal’s mouth. The whole park was recently featured in the film “Hanna,” and the main sites are prominent in the film’s climax.
Update: A recently installed green fence makes it nearly impossible to get in. Dogs and night crews are now responsible to ensure the property’s security as it is in the process of being demolished. The promenade around the park still is really nice and allows a sneak peak at the abandoned installations.
Update: Sadly Spreepark is no more. Everything has been either destroyed or removed.
Update: As of June 2017, many of the major attractions still stand, including the Ferris wheel, roller coaster, and log flume. Tours are offered on weekends through September by the city for 5 euros. Tickets can be purchased on Ticketscript by going through the Grün Berlin website.
Know Before You Go
Accessible from Berlin city center via S-Bahn (S8 or S9) to Plänterwald station.
- Wikipedia: Spreepark: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spreepark
- Bearings: An Abandoned Amusement Park in Berlin: http://www.terrastories.com/bearings/an-abandoned-amusement-park-in-berlin
- io9: Berlin’s Abandoned Spreepark Is Where Fun Goes To Die: http://io9.com/5528826/berlins-abandoned-spreepark-is-where-fun-goes-to-die/gallery/