Spreepark Berlin
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Graveyard of Fun
Even fun has a shelf life. This is what runs through my mind as I walk around Spreepark, the abandoned, dilapidated amusement park in Berlin. When East Germany and the GDR fell, so did many of the businesses operating under the rules of communism. They were never really able to make the transition to capitalism successfully. Spreepark, located in the East German part of Berlin, was one such casualty. Even though Spreepark is "dead," it is now a present-day photographic amusement park. The park is closely guarded, and trespassing is typical but also dangerous, so an enthusiastic, enterprising young man has started running tours on the weekend, providing access to shoot away to your heart’s content. The rides and stands have all deteriorated in place over the years, which makes for an eerie photographic landscape. More Information: Tour information (only in German) – www.berliner-spreepark.de/ – Tours are given mainly on the weekends. If you want to go on a tour, contact him, as he does know a little English and you can at least book yourself into a tour and get access for photography—even if you don’t understand the stories.
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A final look at an abandoned Berlin amusement park going extinct
The excitement at learning Berlin's iconic abandoned amusement park was now open for weekend tours could only be dampened by the fact that the re-opening of these doors was to be a short-lived endeavor. With years of back taxes and millions owed to banks - not to mention an unanswered eBay listing for its sale - the city finally stepped in and bought the place, running tours through the finalization of the sale (end of April 2014). While the park's future is unclear, there is much speculation that like so much open land in Berlin, the city will get its money's worth and respond to the demand for more affordable housing. It seems like a crime to dismantle such an iconic piece of Berlin's history, the park's inception dating back to the GDR in 1969, but progress it seems is inevitable. Even those who were once up for hopping the fence and risking arrest for a little unofficial sightseeing will be out of luck. It appears this Berlin landmark is about to go as extinct as the fiberglass dinosaurs littering its grounds.
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Spreepark, Still Making History
Spreepark Berlin was an abandoned amusement park when I visited a few years ago. After an hour of exploration, I was chased out by a security guard. Now the park has been repossessed by a group of German artists, and it reopened to the public in June of 2012. Since Spreepark—in German known as Plänterwald—is a significant part of German history, the artists have left most of the rides intact, like the Cat Coaster you see here. However, they have transformed the rides into sculptures, paintings, and interactive works of art. Although the excitement of being chased out by security is no longer there, I am glad Spreepark is still making history.
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