Opening in 1955 (a month after Disneyland), The Enchanted Forest was a roadside amusement park in Ellicott City, Maryland that featured figures from nursery rhymes and fairy tales.
Visitors paid less than $2 to clamber through Cinderella’s castle, ride through the caves of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and take a teacup ride to the underground scenes from Alice in Wonderland. On a large excavated pond, guests rode the Little Toot tugboat and visited Mount Vesuvius and Jungle Land.
After nearly three decades of operation, the park grew to over 52 acres, drawing close to 400,000 visitors each summer during its prime in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Unfortunately, The Enchanted Forest began to face tough competition from the roller coaster theme parks that were being built in the Baltimore area. Enthusiasm for a low-tech park eventually faded and led to an inevitable close in 1989.
While the Eastern side of the park was bulldozed to allow room for a shopping mall, the other half remains untouched. Many of the artifacts were moved to Clark’s Elioak Farm, but a few tattered attractions still remain scattered among the brushy undergrowth.
Faded cement gingerbread men, which once formed a welcoming border along Route 40, are now clumped together like crooked tombstones. The sagging Dish and Spoon, with flaking paint, are propped against the fence. The dilapidated Willie the Whale still floats on the pond.
Today, the carefree sensations that once permeated the park are lost, and the remainder of the grounds have been bulldozed.
UPDATE May 2016: Almost every remaining sculpture from The Enchanted Forest theme park has been moved from the original site. They are now found on Clark’s Elioak Farm at 10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City. What remains at the park site is now mostly rubble and the remains of a faux volcano near a lake, also mostly destroyed.
UPDATE March 2017: Everything has been removed from the site and a U-store facility takes up part of the space.