Failed 'Wizard of Oz' theme park to reopen for tours

Want to walk down a yellow brick road at a once-defunct, "famously failed" Wizard of Oz theme park? Of course you do. Head over to Beech Mountain in North Carolina in June for one of the six upcoming tours of the Land of Oz.

Visitors for these special "Journey with Dorothy" tours will follow Dorothy around the park and help her search for the "wonderful wizard."

The park writes:

Your tour's first stop is at the Fountain of Youth, where you be asked to drop all inhibitions and to remember your childhood. You may even get the chance to play one the roles of Dorothy's trusted companions or the wicked witch that she meets throughout her journey.

Tickets are $25 each and are somehow still available. They are also hosting a 3-day event in the fall called "Autumn at Oz."

According to the Charlotte Observer, urban exploration became popular at the park's site while it wasn't being used and many explorers helped themselves to the road's yellow bricks.

Here's the Observer's take on the park's rise and fall:

The park officially opened in 1970, with the intention of becoming a re-incarnation of the Land of Oz featured in the classic film "The Wizard of Oz." On opening day, actress Debbie Reynolds cut the opening-day ribbon as daughter Carrie Fisher ("Star Wars") stood by her side.

The Park would literally become an overnight success, with 400,000 visitors in its first season.

That success was short lived, however. A combination of factors, including a national gas shortage, cut into attendance and reduced profits at a rapid pace in the mid '70s.

In December 1975, a fire was set to the Emerald City, destroying the amphitheater and its contents, as well as damaging the surrounding shops and restaurant.

The park closed in 1980s, and has been open only sporadically in the years since.

The Land of Oz website has a longer, more detailed version of their history.

photo by bambithepig, Thanks, Whitney!