North Carolina Amusement Parks

North Carolina Amusement Parks—the History Project

North Carolina amusement parks
The roller coaster at Bloomsbury Park in Raleigh (circa 1911).

North Carolina amusement parks have a strong history. Although most are long-gone, the parks located in North Carolina helped to shape the future of amusement parks and theme parks.

UPDATE: I’ve been contracted to write The Lost Amusement Parks of North Carolina for The History Press. Check out this page for more information about the book!

This project will look to document the lost, vanished and current North Carolina amusement parks. Using newspaper databases, research tools and local history collections (usually at public libraries) to record and tell the story of the more than 80 parks that existed in the Tarheel state.

Contact me ([email protected]) if you have any information about a North Carolina amusement park!

New Article: The first Roller Coaster in North Carolina!

North Carolina Amusement Parks

NameCity, StateOpenClosed
Airport Amusement ParkCharlotte, NC1940s?1958
Arkland ParkFranklinton, NC??
Atlantic Beach, Inc. (Idle Amusement Center)Atlantic Beach, NCMentioned in 1951 Billboard?
Atlantic Amusement ParkAtlantic Beach, NCMentioned in 1955 Billboard?
Bear Creek Scenic RailroadKannapolis, NCOpen
Bloomsbury Park-Electric ParkRaleigh, NC19121915
Brookside ParkRaleigh, NC18881915
Carolina Amusement ParkGastonia, NC19571958 (?)
CarowindsCharlotte, NC1973Open
Chavis ParkRaleigh, NC1938Open
Cherokee Fun ParkCherokee, NC
Cherokee WonderlandCherokee, NC 19621967
City ParkBurlington, NC1948 (?)Open
Cool WorldWilmington, NCRCDB lists steel 1997-1998
DeadwoodWilliamston, NC19922008 ?
Dowdy’s Amusement ParkNags Head, NC1963-2005
East Carolina Chapter NRHS-Farmville, NC 1964? 1981
Exhilarama Park-Prehistoric ParkCary, NC 1993 2001
Frontier Land – Magic Waters ParkCherokee, NC19681982
Frontier VillageBlowing Rock – Boone, NC1966 ?Open
Fulton Heights ParkSalisbury, NC19061910
Fun N WheelsAtlantic Beach, NC
Fun-Land ParkGreensboro, NC1945
Ghent ParkNew Bern, NC1913
Ghost Mountain ParkMaggie Valley, NC1961 ?
Ghost Town in the SkyMaggie Valley, NC1960 2002
Gold CityFranklin, NC1965 1980s
Goldston’s Beach, Crystal Beach, Marshburn’s BeachWhite Lake, NCCrystal Beach mentioned in 1956 Billboard.
Greenfield ParkWilmington, NC1918
Greensboro Amusement ParkGreensboro, NC19431944
Highlander RailroadMaggie Valley, NC1963 ?
Hillbilly ParkEvergreen, NC1967
Hitching Post Drive-In Theater & Kiddie LandSalisbury, NCMentioned in 1957 Billboard?
JeepersConcord-Gastonia, NC20042005 or 2006
Jubilee Amusement ParkCarolina Beach, NC 1977 2004
Jungle RapidsWilmington, NCOpen
Jungleland ParkAtlantic Beach, NC 1999 2005
Lake Hickory Amusement ParkHickory, NC 1940s? 1950s?
Lakeside ParkWilmington, NC19181919
Lakewood ParkDurham, NC19021932
Lakewood ParkCharlotte, NC19101933
Land of OzBeech Mountain, NC19701980
Lindley ParkGreensboro, NC 1902 1918
Lumina ParkWrightsville Beach, NC 1905
Maggie Valley RailroadMaggie Valley, NC1966 ?
Nissen ParkWinston-Salem, NC19001919?
North ParkBurlington, NC1952Open
Playland ParkCharlotte, NCMention in 1957 Billboard ?
Professor Hacker’s GolfSalter Path, NC?Open
Pullen ParkRaleigh, NC 1888 Open
Recreation Park – Nature CenterAsheville, NC1930, Mentioned in 1955 Billboard2000
Reynolds ParkWinston-Salem,NCRCDB lists steel sitdown in 1957
Riverside ParkAsheville, NC19041916
Santa’s LandCherokee, NCOpen
Sea View Wilmington, NC (Wrightsville)1889
Shelby City ParkShelby, NCOpen
Stith ParkRocky Mount, NC1960Open
Sunset ParkRocky Mount, NCOpen
Suttle Pool & ParkCharlotte, NCMention in 1955, 1957 Billboard ?
Toyland ParkDurham, NCMentioned in 1953, 1957 Billboard?
Tweetsie RailroadBlowing Rock-Boone, NC 1957Open
Village ParkKannapolis, NCOpen
Western North Carolina Scenic Railroad CompanyLake Lure, NC1966 ?1968
Wrightsville BeachWrightsville Beach, NC

Are there any that I’m missing from my list?

Feel free to email me if you have any information or details about a long-lost park.

North Carolina Amusement Parks Video

North Carolina Amusement Parks Page Updates

5/7/2018

As I’m working on the Lost Amusement Parks of North Carolina book project, I will update this page with changes, additions and deletions. After my initial flurry of research on the amusement parks in the Old North State, I removed 11 parks from the table and added a few dates.

6/8/2018

I removed 14 parks from the list based on research conducted so far. Most of the parks removed simply didn’t have a mechanical device (like a carousel or another ride) or was considered a water park.

6/9/2018

Added Western North Carolina Scenic Railroad, Maggie Valley Railroad, Frontier Village, Bear Creek Scenic Railroad, Highlander Railroad and Ghost Mountain Park to the list.

Removed North Carolina Amusement Parks

NameCity, StateReason Removed From ListDate
Crystal LakeWinston-Salem, NCNo Mechanical Rides or Devices 5/7/18
Dan Nicholas Park-Hurley Station Salisbury, NCNo Mechanical Rides or Devices6/8/18
Electric ParkCharlotte, NCNo Mechanical Rides or Devices – mention of a carnival the first year 5/7/18
Emerald PointeGreensboro, NCNo Mechanical Rides – a water park6/8/18
Fantasy IslandHope Mills, NC Water Park Only 5/7/18
Fontana Village ResortFontana Lake, NC No Mechanical Rides or Devices 5/7/18
Fuquay SpringsFuquay-Varina, NC No Mention of Mechanical Rides or Devices – But Still Need to Dig Deeper 5/17/18
Great Smoky Mountain RailroadBryson City, NC No Mechanical Rides Besides the Railroad – Not an Amusement Park 5/7/18
Handy Dandy Railroad-Denton Farm ParkDenton, NC Not an Amusement Park 5/7/18
Harden Park-Piedmont ParkGraham, NCNo Mention of Mechanical Devices6/8/18
Heritage USACharlotte, NCActually in Fort mill, SC6/8/18
Hill Ridge FarmYoungsville, NCJust a Full-Size Train – No Amusements6/8/18
Lake TahkeeosteeWeaverville, NCNo Amusements – Just a Dammed-Off Lake6/8/18
Latta ParkCharlotte, NCNo Mention of Mechanical Rides or Devices – But Still Need to Dig Deeper6/8/18
New Hope Valley RailroadBonsai, NCNo Mechanical Rides Besides the Railroad – Not an Amusement Park6/8/18
Paradise ParkGreenville, NCCouldn’t Find This Park – There is a Paradis Fun Park in KillDevils Hill6/8/18
Piedmont ParkWinston-Salem, NCFairgrounds and Circus Grounds for the City – No Amusement Park6/8/18
Overlook ParkAsheville, NCNo Mechanical Rides or Devices6/8/18
Queens LandingMooresville, NCNo Mechanical Rides or Devices6/8/18
Rays Splash PlanetCharlotte, NCMunicipal Water Park Only6/8/18
Silver LakeRaleigh, NCNo Mechanical Rides – a water park6/8/18