Last Fall I heard about the Land of Oz in Beech Mountain, North Carolina. Meant to look into it further and write about it, but didn’t. (Me and my good intentions will be engraved on my headstone.)
Anyway, the Land of Oz came to my attention again last week when I saw a story on the news about how it’s opening for special tours during weekends in June. Instead of procrastinating writing about it again, I took the time to check into it more.
A Brief History of the Land of Oz
This small amusement park (it’s only 18 acres large) had a short operating run. It was open for one decade: from 1970 until 1980.
Visitors were treated to seeing Dorothy’s House, walking down the Yellow Brick Road, which lead to Emerald City and a show with the characters and the Wizard.
A “specially modified ski lift…allowed allowed visitors to get a bird’s-eye view of the park and mountain scenery before leaving Oz.”
The park also displayed memorabilia from the movie.
In 1975, the Emerald City portion of the park burned down, destroying Dorothy’s movie dress.
When the park closed, it was left to the mercy of vandals and the elements. Some things were saved, like parts of the yellow brick road, some costumes, and even some of the witch’s castle, but the majority of the park fell into disrepair.
The Park Now
Eventually the land’s owner somewhat restored the park. (As much as possible, considering some props and memorabilia had been stolen.)
These days it is open during select times of the year for special events, such as Journey with Dorothy and Autumn at Oz.
As Emerald Realty and Rentals (who maintains the park’s artifacts now) put it on their website:
The park is not, nor will it ever be, what it once was. However, with its maturing flora and graceful aging, it has evolved into its own unique entity.
Journey with Dorothy
Take a tour of Oz!
Ride up Ski Beech’s chairlift, then enjoy Dorothy’s guided tour down the Yellow Brick Road and through the park.
Date’s for 2016’s tour schedule are:
- June 3
- June 10
- June 17
- June 24
Tour times are:
- 10:30 a.m.
- 11:30 a.m.
- 12:30 p.m.
- 1:30 p.m.
- 2:30 p.m.
- 3:30 p.m.
Tickets are limited and go on sale the Monday prior to each tour.
- $12.50 General Admission + $10 roundtrip lift ticket.
Autumn at Oz
Move over Dorothy. Autumn means it’s the Wicked Witch of the West’s time to shine at the Land of Oz.
Info for 2016’s Autumn at Oz festivities were not yet posted, so I’ll have to check back and write a new post when that becomes available.
For Rent: Park and/or Dorothy’s House
The thing that I think is cool is that the owners allow the park to be rented for special occasions (parties and weddings) and for smaller private group tours.
And if you want to stay in Dorothy’s house (which is a fully functional house where someone who once owned the land that Oz was built on lived), you can!
Emerald Realty and Rentals handles renting the three bedroom, one bath cottage atop Beech Mountain. It boasts lots of adventure and great views.
There’s a three night minimum rental, and is available June thru October. Prices are:
- $575 for 3 weeknights ($190 for an additional weeknight)
- $630 for a 3 night weekend
- $1,100 for a full week
Is the Land of Oz Haunted?
I didn’t come across any ghost stories related to the former amusement park. I wondered if perhaps one of the men who had created it, Grover Robbins, might still keep watch over it. He died of bone cancer six months before the park opened.
I did come across stories of people who were haunted by it in the nostalgic way favorite places from our youth and adolescence can haunt us though.
It certainly looks like a beautiful place. Here’s a couple of pictures from the Land of Oz Archival Photos section of Emerald Realty and Rentals site that I thought captured it’s essence most poignantly.