When Dinosaurs Fought In The Civil War

Between 1861 and 1865 the bloodiest battles in US history were fought on American soil during the American Civil War. For more than four violent years, armies fought and died after 11 Southern Confederate states seceded from the United States of America over the right to own slaves. After 750,000 American citizens died, combat finally ended with the abolition of slavery and surrender by the Confederate army. But what if something else had happened?

Try then, to imagine that 200 million years earlier (on land that would come to be known by us as a historic Civil War battlefield) massive dinosaurs walked on the same ground fighting their own bloody battles for survival.

Leave it to the imagination of Mark Cline to show us what things might look like had these two events taken place concurrently.  In his now defunct attraction Escape from Dinosaur Kingdom (2005-2012), visitors could see what might have transpired had the Union army captured and used carnivorous dinosaurs as weapons against the Confederate troops!

Dinosaur Kingdom 2

Located in Natural Bridge, VA’s tourist complex, Cline had created four unique and separate attractions. Visitors could stop to his free sculptural attraction “Foamhenge” (a true to scale Styrofoam replica of Stonehenge), the could “Hunt Bigfoot with a Redneck” (I’ll give you one guess who the Redneck was!) and they could walk through his beloved Haunted Monster Museum (which turned out to be one of our most popular Enchanted Kiddieland posts!). Included with your value price 2 for 1 admission to the Monster Museum, you also got to travel back to 1863 and visit his imaginative”Dinosaur Kingdom.”

Already an expert after building more than 400 dinosaurs for roadside attractions and theme parks, Cline knew that his Dino park would need to be different if it was going to stand out. valley-of-gwangi-pic-3Lucky for us, he possesses an incredible imagination and an even more powerful sense of humor! The park’s concept is loosely based on the 1969 Ray Harryhausen film, Valley of the Gwangi, (Which pits cowboys against dinosaurs in a special effects Dynamation spectacular!)

Cline imagined a similar scene substituting cowboys with Union Soldiers as villains who use the Dinosaurs as weapons against the South (after all, this attraction is in the former Confederate state of Virginia!) Before you get too upset about the political ramifications of the south winning the Civil War, Cline has stated that he had hoped to build a second Civil War dinosaur park in Gettysburg wherein the Confederate soldiers are the bad guys. Regrettably, that dream never came to fruition.

Dinosaur Kingdom begins its storytelling through journals violently strewn about a campsite with pots and pans, and overturned wagons. By reading the notebooks, visitors can surmise that a family of paleontologists entered a cave in search of fossils only to find living dinosaurs that had escaped (and were now being used by the North to win the war!)! You can see the civilian mother and father Garrison danging precariously in the trees above the sharp teeth of a hungry carnivore.  Dinosaur Kingdom

As guests entered the self guided wooded park, they’d hear the sounds of nature; sticks cracking under shoes and birds- but beyond this, was the omnipresent laughter of children (and adults!) as they were welcomed into wacky the mind of Mark Cline for a short while. A button with a hand painted sign reading “Feeding Time” begs to be pushed, only to discover that you are standing directly beneath the motorized jaws of a hungry T Rex and a dangling deer carcass! A sign tacked to a tree warned “Don’t Look Up!”, but of course you did, only to see an angry reptile climbing straight toward you. In one scene, a herd of curious raptors surrounds farm animals who had all stacked themselves on top of one another until there was a trembling rabbit sitting on the back of a deer who was sitting on the back of a cow resulting in classic cartoon imagery. One of my favorite gags was a full sized port-a-potty that looked no different from any other, but if you were brave enough to open the door you were met with a shocked looking Yankee soldier being attacked by dinosaurs that had busted through the back walls while he was taking care of business.

Dinosaur Kingdom 3

Part Wild West park, part Dinosaur Park, part Roadside tourist trap, this place was a dream come true for some road weary travelers who didn’t even know it was here. The park opened in 2005, and our visit was in 2008, meaning it was in a mostly complete state. However, as an ongoing project, Mark Cline continued to add characters and beasts as the years went on. I’m told that later iterations included Abraham Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address, and even a gorilla wearing a cowboy hat. (Hey, don’t tell me you’re getting upset about historical accuracy now!)

Unfortunately, along with the heartbreaking loss of the Monster Museum, much of the attraction was destroyed in a devastating fire in 2012. The park sat vacant for years with an online notice to “check back in 2013.” Folks like me started to lose hope, checking back not only in 2013, but in 2014, and 2015  as well finding no status change.

However, you can’t keep a good dinosaur park down, and like a Phoenix  no, like a Pterodactyl rising from the ashes, the park has some exciting news on the horizon. Last fall, the dinosaurs made a limited engagement appearance at Clark’s Eliok Farm  to terrorize some fairy tale characters (YES, PLEASE!) in the temporary “Enchanted Dinosaur Forest“.  Clark’s Farm, which regular Kiddieland readers will recognize as a sanctuary for rescued Enchanted Forest, MD figures housed the salvaged dinosaurs from September to November 2015 in a hysterical mash up of Dinosaurs and storybook characters that could only come from the off-kilter mind of Professor Cline!

12029854_965742953487166_5093873876560254521_o

Photo Courtesy of Enchanted Castle Studios

We were so thrilled to see that many of the dinosaurs had survived, but this story has an even happier ending. According to his Facebook page, Mark Cline is planning to bring Dinosaurs back to Natural Bridge, Virginia with the opening of Dinosaur Kingdom II in June 2016! Based on this concept art, my guess is that guests may be riding through this one on by train? Oh, I am so there!

12604889_1030934516968009_3146792937267377625_o

Photo Courtesy of Enchanted Castle Studios

So don’t fret, though you may have never gotten to experience the weirdness of the original Dinosaur Kingdom and Haunted Monster Museum, it looks like this summer you may be able to marvel at these Jurrassic giants once again in Natural Bridge!

Thanks for all the memories, Mark!

Advertisements

A Story Book Forest Memory

SBForest
Throwback Thursday! I remember being a child in the 1980s and standing at the entrance to this gigantic story book in a forest in Pennsylvania. Two children were welcoming me to enter and the pages read:

“Here is the Land of Once upon a Time …Step through the pages of this big Story Book…and visit the people and places every child knows…and Loves. Here Dreams are real And so are your Story Book Friends.”

My family didn’t go on many trips, and my excitement was tangible. I loved to read, and I knew that once I walked through this door, wonderful things awaited me. Story Book Forest was my first Fairytale Park, and this trip is the very reason Enchanted Kiddieland exists!

I visited the park again in 2009 and stepped through the book as an adult. (it is still a massive sight to behold!) I felt the same excitement I had felt 30 years prior. I’ve been back one time since and each time that childlike wonder returns to me. I am so grateful that its still around today and remains, for the most part, unchanged!

What memories do you have from these parks? Did you walk through the pages of the big book?  Tell us here or on our Facebook page!

A real life Jurassic Park…sort of

IMG_4394

Are you eagerly awaiting next week’s theatrical release of Jurassic World? In Kiddieland, we love larger than life dinosaurs too, and we’ve been visiting dinosaur parks long before it was the focus of this summer’s big blockbuster! The Jurassic Park films imagine an attraction with life sized living, breathing dinosaurs, but did you know you can visit such a place today!…except for well-OK so they don’t move or breath-But trust us, it is still a pretty incredible sight to behold!

You won’t believe your eyes when you step back 200 million years into Dinosaur Kingdom! Opened in 2003 in Cave City Kentucky off Route 65, this park harkens back to earlier roadside attractions like Dinosaur Land in VA. Classically designed billboards and giant highway adjacent dinosaurs call out to drivers encouraging them to stop. The park takes the best of the old roadside and updates it as a fun self-paced walk-through under lush and shady trees. (A welcome refuge in the KY summer heat!)

Although this attraction is less than 15 years old, The entrance feels like a movie set attempting to recreate the look and feel of a 1960s attraction and reminded me of something out of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure! Something is so perfect and clean about it, yet it is reminiscent of ballyhoo entertainment from a bygone era.  It looks like a place you might see in an old postcard at a vintage shop, but you can actually step inside.

DinosaurWorldWelcome

Once you enter, you’ll see dinosaurs doing all sorts of odd jobs. Some point visitors to the gift shop is, some double as playground equipment, and others take on the very dirty job of cleaning up the smoking section.
DinosaurWorldstrange

Don’t be fooled by these silly characters though, once inside you will see breathtaking views of life-sized, realistically portrayed prehistoric creatures; many of them taller than the large trees that cover the property.

The concrete walkways on the self-guided “Dinosaur Walk” include benches, so I recommend taking it slow on your visit to this 20 acre park. There are over 150 dinosaurs, so take breaks and enjoy it, and be sure to take plenty of photos! Aside from other passing families, my time spent here was very serene and peaceful. I almost wish I’d brought a book or a picnic lunch (encouraged by the park since there are no food stands). Small children can take time to learn about each dinosaur on educational plaques near the display, while mom and dad can take pictures of these giant creatures along the way.

DinosaurWorldDinos

Take a little time extra time to appreciate the exceptional attention to detail and lifelike features of some of these charismatic characters. Look at their faces long enough, and you could almost swear that they’re alive!

DinosaurWorldPersonalities

Aside from the main walk, The park also features a Boneyard where visitors can uncover a 27 foot dinosaur under the sand. There’s a Skeleton Garden, and a Fossil Dig too. There is also a dedicated picnic area and of course, a Gift shop! We found all sorts of vintage trinkets hiding in corners of the shop.

There are plenty of other nearby attractions to make the trip worthwhile, but we’re sad to report that the longstanding Guntown Mountain and its famous “Haunted Hotel” which was once across thguntowncovere street has recently closed. The silver lining is that it looks like some folks are working on preserving and revitalizing the old park and it is soon to be re-opened as “Funtown Mountain” later this month. We’ll be watching this, as Guntown Mountain was closed for the day by the time we left Dinosaur World and I never got to go inside…roadside regrets.

The park is open daily (Except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM and is absolutely worth the stop! Check it out the next time you’re travelling down Route 65, or visiting Mammoth Cave. You can’t miss it, just look for the giant Dinosaurs beckoning you from the side of the road.

What Big Eyes you Have!

Little Red Riding Hood, Never Never Land, Hill Island, Ontario
A barefood Red Riding Hood & Overall clad Wolf  from  the now defunct Never-Never Land in Hill Island, Ontario. (1967-1980)

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? You might be when you see some of these photos!

Ellicott City, MD
In Ellicott City, MD a vintage postcard shows a living breathing Red Riding Hood on her walk near Grandma’s House at the now defunct Enchanted Forest.

Little Red Riding Hood is a classic European fairy tale that has been frightening children since the 10th century. In it, Red takes a walk through the woods to visit her sick grandmother, and take her some food. The simplicity of the story means that despite its age, it rarely deviates much in theme and language. There is always a little girl in a red hooded cape, a basket of food, and a big bad wolf disguised as grandmother in her bed. (The implication being that the wolf has already consumed dear old grandma as an appetizer and has stolen her nightgown.)

Red enters the house and launches into the memorable exchange with her grandmother:

What big eyes you have!
The Better to see you with, my dear

What big hands you have!
The Better to hold you with, my dear

What big teeth you have!
THE BETTER TO EAT YOU WITH MY DEAR!

Most parks wisely focus on the climax of this conversation and the best ones feature a terrified red riding hood and a scowling wolf.

StorytownUSA2007RedRiding
In What was formerly Storytown USA (now the Great Escape) Red Riding Hood and the Wolf  are found in Grandma’s filthy concrete bedroom. This 2007 photograph of the scene found on The Tourist Trap almost makes it appear as though Red won the battle! A victorious Red Riding hood stares at guests as a dead looking wolf lies nearby in bed like a hunting trophy. I don’t believe this display still existed when I visited a few years later.

Storyland Red Riding Hood

Over in New Hampshire at Story Land, We are warned by signs notifying us both of the path to Grandma’s house, as well as the wolf spotted in the bed. Red doesnt’ seem to frightened in this one, as Grandma Wolf pants happily. Their eye contact and expression sort of makes it seem like they are catching up after a few weeks away from one another! Maybe we have caught her in her last moments of innocence and she hasn’t yet realized that this is the wolf in disguise.

Story Book Forest RedRidingHood
Storybook Forest in Pennsylvania has signs that also warn of a wolf in the woods,. Another (bearing a wolf illustration) recommends that we take the high road. This sign reminded me of a cartoon, as I imagine that the wolf put it there himself in order to lead Red right to his big teeth! This scene is very effective, despite featuring no Red Riding Hood figure. I believe that the viewer is meant to play the role of Red here, which thrusts you right into the story. As you approach the door of the house, the wolf inside can be seen in bed with one eye open awaiting a delicious morsel!

HolidayWorldRedRidingHood
Holiday World’s (in Santa Claus, IL) is now known as a coaster destination, but it had its start as both a Santa park and a Kiddie park! Most of their vintage fairytale figures can be seen from the train ride, so of course this is where we found Red and the wolf hiding! This simple scene is also quite effective and features an innocent looking child who appears to be unaware of the sinister wolf lurking a few steps behind her. Though they abandoned the Grandmother disguise motif, I believe that the thoughtful positioning of these two figures convey the mean-spirited nature of this story more than some of the displays with stronger attention to detail.

EnchantedForestRedRidingHood
At the Enchanted Forest in Old Forge, NY, a brightly colored house from 1956 contains this familiar scene with a smiling mannequin standing in for Red Riding Hood, while a scraggly wolf sits upright in Grandma’s nightgown and cap. The wolf’s neck is so thin, I sort of want him to get something to eat!

Storybookland Red Riding Hood

Finally, my favorite Red Riding Hood and Big Bad Wolf are busy  terrifying children in Egg Harbor, NJ at Story Book Land. The display is newer, but I think that works to its advantage. First, take a moment to appreciate the location of Grandma’s house. Once you walk through the woods, down a winding brick path to a somewhat remote cottage (by tiny kiddie park standards, anyway!) you could be lucky enough to be the only person at the window when these two figures begin to move…that’s right. They move! Audio-animatronic figures retell the story in frightening detail. The wolf blinks, opens his mouth, and grabs at Red Riding Hood with a growl before resetting to scare the next group of kids. This display either mesmerized or horrified children and parents were seen either dragging them toward it or away from it. That alone puts it high on our list!

So, what do you think? Are you afraid of the Big Bad Wolf now?

Santa’s Land USA-Putney, VT

Santaslandbadge2You better watch out…No really, you better watch out, because this one is a doozy. Santa’s Land in Putney, VT has a history dating back to 1957, when Jack Poppele, a radio broadcaster from Newark, N.J. first founded the park. Perhaps by some sort of Christmas miracle, the park has survived through various owners for more than 55 years. However, in recent years it has fallen on hard times. It nearly closed in 2011, until a mystery buyer bought the property.  WWF wrestler,  Mick Foley  (who is a big fan of the Jolly Old Elf, and is even known to don a red suit at the holidays) was considering purchasing the park, but decided against it as he would be unfit to care for the animals that live there.

The park sat dormant for about a year, and reopened in 2013 under the new ownership of Lillian Billewicz. Just as things were looking up, and the park was preparing for its 2013 season, a Sheriff’s office investigation resulted in a grisly discovery of 16 deer carcasses that had died on the property due to neglect. The investigators also found a dead pheasant and a pot bellied pig.  Lillian Billewicz and animal caretaker, Brian Deistler were both cited with animal cruelty, and a strict care plan for the remaining animals was established and mandated by the court. However, the new owners failed to follow the plan and due to worsening conditions, the animals were removed and sent to foster care earlier this year. This recent tragedy is the worst in this Santa’s Land history, and has tarnished the image and the memories made in this once happy land.

We visited the park in 2010, and despite being a bit run down and barren, we had a great day.

SantasLand1

The park has a lot of the things that readers of this site have come to expect. We were advised by the cashier that there were no rides for adults in the park, which we knew going in. We told her we just wanted to walk around and take some photos, and she seemed pleased to see two paying customers. We entered the gates, and saw familiar fiberglass statues of Frosty, Rudolph, and of course Santa! There was the Candy Cane Cupboard snack bar, and Iceberg Slide for kids. A dusty little arcade dubbed “Santa’s Arcade” housed a few games and some strangely juxtaposed Christmas ornaments between the cabinets of shooters and fighting games. The park was mostly empty, save for a few other local families with small children.

SantasLand2
It is not unusual for a Santa Park to have a reindeer and a few other animals, but unlike many Santa parks, this one was primarily a petting zoo with peacocks, pigs, and donkeys. There were Emu,  camel, and the visiting “Goat Girls”. The most fascinating aspect, though, was the deer enclosure. On our self guided tour, we found a sign for “Santa’s Deer Park”.  Unmanned dual fence doors opened into several acres of forested land, and inside, deer roamed free; some so used to people that they would eat right out of your hand! We were some of the only calm and slow-moving adults that were not chasing the deer, so the less skittish ones came right up to us and licked our hands or cautiously allowed us to touch their flocked antlers.  Even though I grew up in rural Western Pennsylvania, I had never been this close to a deer in the wild, and Some stood so still that I was able to take Polaroid portraits of them.  Sadly, my memory of this is now somewhat unsettling, as many of these deer are the ones that were found dead on the property two years later.
SantasLand4
We never did find Santa, but the Mrs. was waiting to greet us, in her Birkenstocks and white socks…It is Vermont, afterall!

Although it should have been a merry place, there was a strange sadness to the whole park. Paths were a bit overgrown, paint was chipped, and children seemed bored looking for rides.  Some of the run down buildings were no longer in use, and a satellite dish sat atop the now abandoned “Igloo Pancake House“. Inside the dirty windows, you could still see tables and chairs along with dusty books and stored park items. Apparently the park’s former owners have lived in the igloo house in the past, and perhaps they do again. I would have loved enjoying some real Vermont maple syrup on my pancakes with Santa, but alas…it was not to be. You could sense that it used to be an exciting place filled with laughter. Now the only sounds were our shoes cracking the branches beneath our feet, and the noises made by the caged animals. An occasional parent could be heard warning children”Don’t touch that, its dirty!” Vintage souvenirs in a glass case reminded us of the past glory days of Santa’s Land.
SantasLand3

Before leaving, we rode the small train. When the operator called “All Aboard” we realized that other than his two grandchildren, we were the only paying passengers on board. We exited through the gift shop, and as usual, bought one of everything bearing a “Santa’s Land” logo. Everything was inexpensive and cheaply made, but we cherished each piece, and felt good putting some money back into the park. It would not surprise me if some of this merchandise was sitting quietly in this shop since 1957’s opening season. The cashier again, thought us peculiar with our armloads of souvenirs, but seemed happy to be making a large $23 sale while parents dragged their kids toward the exit  in lieu of taking out their wallets.

Santa’s Land almost did not open for its annual Christmas visits with Santa as they encountered issues having proper electrical permits. Despite its tragedies, near closures, and investigations, the park remains open, with today marking the final day of the 2014 season. Without the animals, we sincerely hope to see it revitalized; but I’m not sure how they plan to progress from here. Although bittersweet, naturally we agree with the seizure of those remaining animals due to continued neglect, but it is heartbreaking to see the memories of this once beloved place tarnish in light of this tragic story. Though the current owners do appear to have their hearts in the right place, I am not sure that they have the resources or information needed to maintain an animal themed attraction like Santa’s Land. The loss of the animals is yet another blow to an already struggling park.

We hope that Santa can pull out another Christmas miracle and that Santa’s Land will open for the 2015 season.
Have you ever visited the park?

They’ve got the World by the Tail-The Enchanted Mermaids of Weeki Wachee

Weekipostcard

Imagine a place
Serene, tranquil, and peaceful
Full of weightlessness
A world as old as time,  and as new as a dream.

Kiddieland is based out of the Philly area, so locals may have seen some billboards popping up in our area from Adventure Aquarium promising MERMAIDS this November. If you’re not already a fan of kitschy roadside attractions, you may not be aware of the rich history of the Weeki Wachee Mermaids (who will be gracing the aquarium with their first northeast tour date their 67 year history!) The mermaids hail from Weeki Wachee Springs in central FL, a national park /town that has affectionately been dubbed “Mermaid City” and their kitschy show has to be seen to be believed. In fact, I’m sure you’ve never seen anything else like it in your life.

WeekiWachee2

The mermaids have been swimming since 1947 when Newton Perry, a former Navy Seal saw a business opportunity and opened an underwater theater 6 feet into the limestone of the spring. After some experimentation, he invented a forced air breathing tube that could be dropped into the water allowing the mermaids to “breathe” underwater without the use of SCUBA equipment or air tanks. Now all he needed were some pretty girls! He scouted and trained girls to swim, breathe, smile, and even eat in this new underwater ballet. This was no easy feat considering the currents run at over 5 miles per hour. It takes a very athletic mermaid to stay perfectly in place in a 5 mile current, but they do it with grace and beauty.  The girls now go through a full year of training and are required to pass their “mermaid test” to become a mermaid! Since cars were sparse in the 1940s, the sirens were said to have lured roadside travelers to the attraction by running to the highway in their bathing suits! Needless to say, cars started stopping. Interest in the attraction grew greatly in the 1950s and 1960s and the area was eventually purchased by ABC who built the current theater-16 feet below the surface. Plenty of Movies and TV shows have been filmed there since, and the show was a worldwide sensation, even bringing in celebrities like Elvis Presley to see the mermaids in action. The full history is long and worth your time. You can check out more on the Weeki Wachee website.

We’re not like other women,
We don’t have to clean an oven
And we never will grow old,
We’ve got the world by the tail!

      -Lyrics from the Weeki Wachee Little Mermaid show

If it all sounds too good to be true, think again. The mermaids still swim today. Twice daily, live mermaids with bright tails and glittery tops dive into the deepest natural spring on earth to put on shows for eager families, usually with children (mostly little girls) in tow. I was lucky enough to catch them in June for both of their daily shows.

The day that I visited they put on “The Little Mermaid” (adapted from the Hans Christian Anderson story) and “Fish Tales” featuring segments from some of the best loved shows over the decades. Past shows have included Snow White, Alice in Waterland, Underwater Follies, We got to see the famous “eating and drinking” underwater act, which they still do in the Fish Tales show. The elaborate 1960s props and costumes speak to the popularity of the attraction at that time.

WeekiPastShowsWeekiPast2

I came across this treasure of a 1964 Super 8mm film of Alice in Waterland that still has my mind spinning.

You can see photos and video, but nothing compares to seeing these talented, strong, yet graceful mermaids (and mermen!) swim up to the glass in person. It is truly breathtaking and I’m not surprised to see that the show still brings in a crowd. Sure, at times the shows feels dated, but isn’t that what we’re here for? The music, the props, and the costumes are an amazing time capsule to a simpler time when a good idea and a little bit of money could lead to an empire worthy of network television and celebrity attention. This is the legacy of an entrepreneurial diver with a dream to make people believe in mermaids, and almost 70 years later, the gimmick still works. Every little girl in that place left with the dream of becoming a mermaid.

The kitschiest kookiest part of the modern show can be seen here with the mermaids performing their brassy theme song:

WeekiWachee1In other areas of the Weeki Wachee National Park, you can take a Riverboat Cruise, See the Wilderness show or visit the water park at Buccaneer Bay. You also won’t want to miss a stop by the Mold-A-Rama machines (A beloved retro treat for roadside kitsch fans like myself!) Unfortunately, one of the Mold-A-Rama machines was down when I visited, so if anyone makes it back, and can make me the green mermaid on the seahorse,  I will love you forever! The grounds are full of lush Florida greenery, and beautiful Grecian inspired  mermaid statues, and at times it is very serene. If it weren’t for the squawking of the peacocks, I imagine that this might be the kind of place I could visit often to be alone with my thoughts, sort of like that muffled perception you have of the world  when you are submerged in water, and you can’t hear anything above the surface.
WeekiWachee3I encourage you to visit for yourself and see the mermaids swim live.  The day filled me with a sense of deep history. You could feel it in the air, the memories of almost 7 decades in the bubbles of the deep water-days spent with family,  nostalgia for a simpler time, and enchanted magic under the water. If you don’t believe in mermaids now, once you step inside, you can’t deny it. Mermaids are real.

Lost Kiddieland Treasures-Monster Mini Golf-Ocean City NJ

The mission of this blog has always been to help preserve the amazing attractions that exist in the world and to educate people about them in hopes that they can remain open. Unfortunately, this one left us too soon.  Not everything in Kiddieland is candy-coated mother goose statues, so today we’ll be looking at a spooky mini golf course, once a treasure for monster kids in Ocean City NJ. This boardwalk  is home to at least a half dozen mini golf courses today, but none will stick in my memory as much as the now defunct “Graveyard Golf”.

Graveyard Golf was one of those ramshackle attractions that you couldn’t believe was real. In fact, all of my internet searches on it come up empty…but I was there, and I know it was not just in my nightmares-Right?

Occupying a small area contained in chain link fence on 12th street and the boardwalk, not far from Jilly’s , Graveyard Golf had some of the most jaw dropping fiberglass statues I’ve ever seen in person. A larger than life Dracula perfect for a “high five” photo op guarded a fanged hole, spiders, goblins, and ghosts dotted the landscape. You could even find a vacationing Freddy Krueger donning his beach wear and beads at the exit.

Fotor0603144341
All the classics were represented, but seemed just a little “off” like The Creature From the Black Lagoon, whose sculpt was just different enough to keep the Universal lawyers away, or the Wolfman who slightly resembled the cowardly lion with pointed ears.
Fotor0603150742
Then there was this Gargoyle, who looked suspiciously like the Gargoyle played by Bernie Casey in the 1972 made for TV movie, Gargoyles. (Didn’t think I’d catch that one, did you, statue sculptor ?)
Fotor0603153042
The sculpts were like nothing I’d ever seen, and I don’t know what became of any of these figures. After several more trips to Ocean City, Graveyard Golf had vanished and become a memory. A few people remember it when I bring it up, but many have no recollection of this place ever existing. These photos are from the summer of 2006. Now there are no more witches, devils, vultures or skulls. Does anyone out there in kiddieland know anything more about this course? It was a favorite, and I’d love to see (or possibly purchase) any of these statues if they are sitting out there in a garage somewhere.
Fotor060314358
There are still plenty of places to play golf in Ocean city. For those looking for a spooky experience, there is even a “Haunted Golf” featuring an indoor course with animated figures and high tech lighting effects and modern pop music blasting like a night club, but it can’t hold a candle to Graveyard Golf’s simplicity and charm. This is one that is really, truly missed.

Happy haunting and here’s to hoping these guys all survived and are out there somewhere! I can’t be the only one who wants to see them back on the boardwalk!