Fairy tales are part of our shared cultural history. They seem to occupy a part of our subconscious, so it is no surprise that many parks feature derivative sculptures we’ve seen a dozen times before. Just about every park I’ve been to has their version of a Humpty Dumpty, Mother Goose, The Old Woman who lived in a shoe, or Jack and the Beanstalk. Most have Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, an Itsy Bitsy Spider, and a Cinderella. Every now and again you’ll see 3 blind mice and Hickory-Dickory dock. That’s why when you stumble onto something you haven’t seen before, it is so exciting! Some might even say it is like wandering into a den of thieves, and finding gold. This is how I felt when I happened upon the Enchanted Forest’s Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves Cave.
“Ali Baba found the Cave”
The cave is at the bottom of a steep incline, set back away from the crowds. I had to wonder if this was intentional, meant to be found only by true treasure hunters. The truth is, It began to pour just as I saw it in the distance; and it made an excellent shelter to wait out the storm.
“and he beamed with pleasure.
He did battle with forty thieves
to keep the treasure.”
The attraction itself is small-Just 3 figures are inside, along with a gold chest, and some low lighting by faux candlelight. It was built in 1956, the same year as the park, indicating that it was likely original to the property.
Apparently, The thieves have returned since then as it appears Ali Baba used to have 4 gold Chests surrounding him based on this 1957 post card photo. It also appears that the 2 other figures may have been added to the scene later, or perhaps moved from another part of the cave.
Sadly, times have changed and the Old Forge park now focuses more on its water slides and pools than its history as a Fairy Tale Park. I’m glad they have left these statues for those of us that cherish this part of the park’s story, and I hope you’ll continue to express your interest to the Enchanted Forest so we can keep these statues alive for years to come.
Maybe it was being trapped inside during a rainstorm, or maybe it was the rarity of this scene, but I was so happy to have found the cave and known the password. I’m only aware of two other Ali Baba attractions, and both are now long gone. One was at Fairyland Forest in Conneaut Lake, PA, and the other stood at the Enchanted Forest in Ellicott City Maryland. It does not appear to be among the surviving rescued statues at Elioak Farm.
Here’s another version of the now defunct Fairyland Forest version.
Do you know of any other Ali Baba dioramas out there? Let us know in the comments!