While Busanites will have to wait for another year until the large-scale theme park in East Busan Tourism Complex will open, amusement parks have a long, interesting history in the city.
Currently, there are no parks open within the city after Gwangan Beach Land closed for good in December.
Let’s take a look back at some of the old theme parks that used to be in Busan.
Geumgang Park — The first theme park in Busan which opened in June 1973, the park remained open for 40 years before shutting down for good in 2013 as it became a worn-down version from its heyday in the 1980s.
The park was once considered the best in Korea with amusement rides, a zoo, a botanical garden, and a cable car.
Taejeongdae Freeland — Opened in May 1988, the small amusement park had rides which aged badly over its 20-year existence. The park was changed to the rest area and parking lot in 2008.
Cho-eup Children’s Grand Park — Opened in 1989, Children’s Grand Park was a must-visit for every family in the city back in the day. During its prime, it would attract up to 700,000 people per year. It also wore down and eventually closed in March 2011.
Busan Lotte World Sky Plaza — There was a lot of excitement when Lotte brought their popular rides to the Lotte Department Store in Seomyeon, covering the 9th to 12th floors and being the first indoor amusement park in the city in 1996. The excitement didn’t last long — just under three years later it was closed after people referred to it as “dangerous and unsafe” due to constant blackouts and vibrations.
Gwangalli Me World — This controversial park was built in 2004 not far from the beach in Gwangalli but within close range of a bustling housing community who became quite upset with the noise the park brought to the area. So much so, in fact, that some rides stated you had to wear a mask to try and contain the sounds from the screams from the riders.
It closed in 2013 and has been unsuccessful in trying to sell and develop the land for years.
Yeongdo World Carnival — Tragically, this large portable theme park that was brought in from Hong Kong only lasted 40 days when in August 2007, the spinning gondola detached from the Ferris Wheel, collided with another car and caused the door to open sending five family members to their death.
Gwangan Beach Land — Opened in 2004, it became a must-go in the early days for young couples and teens to mingle. Famous for its “Viking” ride, the small park also became known for its “Tagada” ride and the guys who ran it, who would target young female riders susceptible to a “wardrobe malfunction”. It closed for good in December of last year as part of a revitalization of the area.
Hwangryeong Snow Castle — Though not an amusement park per se, the indoor snow and skiing facility didn’t live up to the hype and failed to survive long. They didn’t build an access road for buses which could bring in larger groups and eventually became the poster child for useless tourism facilities in the city until its bankruptcy in 2008.