by James Glazebrook
Rumour has it that this weekend is your last chance to visit Spreepark Plänterwald! The former theme park’s future has been in question ever since its owners abandoned it to set up another failed amusement park in Peru, and then were caught trying to smuggle cocaine back hidden in their Flying Carpet ride. (True story. The documentary Achterbahn, which we borrowed from Dave andberlin, tells the full, fascinating tale.) And now, in a sign of the times, Spreepark is set to be auctioned off, although, this being Berlin, the closing date keeps shifting. Having said that, if you don’t visit before July 3rd, you might never get the chance.
And visit you should. Although we’re sure that taking the tour doesn’t come close to the thrill of breaking into the park, which used to be the only way to get in, Spreepark Plänterwald is still an unmissable, uniquely Berlin place. Apart from your fellow visitors and the odd security guard, the theme park still feels very much vacant – the big wheel still eerily turns, creakily blown by the wind, the only warnings about the parts that aren’t safe to walk on come from the guide’s mouth. It’s worth risking his wrath by sneaking away from the group, so that you can discover for yourself the lion’s mouth through which the rainbow-coloured roller coaster used to travel, or take a quiet walk through the graveyard of toppled dinosaur statues.
If you’re in Berlin this weekend, make sure you book a spot on what could be the last tour of Spreepark Plänterwald. You can find details, in German, here – hope you make it!
Photos by Zoë Noble Photography.