This Belgian theme park began as a refuge for bored church children and was closed down when a boy lost an arm.
From its humble beginnings as a church playground for the children of the Basilica of Our Lady of Dadizele, Dadipark would became Belgium’s first private amusement park.
Originally built in 1950 as a playground for the children of pilgrims visiting the nearby basilica, by 1980 the schoolyard equipment had been replaced with amusement rides and opened to tourists and those in town on pilgrimage. For a time the park enjoyed great success, entertaining a million visitors during its peak year, and for a time containing what was, at 800 meters, the longest monkey bridge in Europe. However things took a turn for the worse as the increasingly rundown rides became more and more hazardous. Finally in 2000 a boy lost his arm on the Nautic Jet ride, and by 2002, the site was closed down for “renovations.” Unfortunately these improvements never took place and the park was simply abandoned, never to reopen.
Today the park lies in shambles, slated for demolition since 2011. Most of the larger rides were demolished, but many of the buildings and simpler attractions remain. Where Dadipark was built to cater to local Catholic children and religious tourists, the rusting site only ended up catering to pilgrims as urban explorers. Unfortunately Dadipark was demolished, and plans are underway to turn the site into a hiking park.
Update June, 2017: Unfortunately, there is really not anything worth seeing left. The only thing that is there now are two buildings surrounded by a fence. It’s not evident that those buildings have anything to do with an amusement park. All the small attractions are now demolished.
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