(The Pacific Northwest)
My family always went to the Oregon coast for vacations. Specifically, we always went to Lincoln City, and we usually camped at Pixieland.
I was born in 1972 - I don't think I ever got to see the place (the amusement park) actually OPEN. Oddly, we only rarely ate at the Pixie Kitchen.
I know we ate there, I do remember it, although I have more memories of eating fruit and whipped cream covered waffles at Lil' Sambo's, and enjoying the story about the little native boy and the tiger. (Still don't understand the racist elements people associate with it - to me, it was never like that). Anyway, we camped at the RV park…a lot.
It was old, run down, and a little scary. I remember seeing a tiny whale boat in one of the canals, and my dad daring me to try to climb in it - I touched it, it started to sink, and he used to jokingly threaten to put me in it whenever I was bad (which actually gave me nightmares - I was TERRIFIED of that stupid little smiling whale boat, half-sunk in the algae-choked canal...).
There are two things I remember most, really. One was a house we found, back behind the park, built around the trunk of a tree. Unfinished, the tree literally grew up through the middle, and the house had been built around it - totally not smart, considering the tree would continue to grow, and the space between was open, meaning it would be hard to heat, and always letting in the rain. Still, it was only a little creepy, and very cool, to me and my little brother.
The other was the time my mother and I 'broke in' to the abandoned park. I remember I was 11 - I'm not sure why I remember that detail so specifically. I know my brother was along for part of the adventure, but I also remember he couldn't cross the bridge we crossed.
Near the opera house were the remains of some sort of bridge. I think it might have been part of the log flume ride (i didn't know that there had been one at the time, I assumed it was just a bridge). The only parts left were two narrow beams across the water, about as far apart as the left and right tires of a car. We assumed they were the supports for the actual deck of the bridge, but I'm not sure now.
We carefully crossed them, balancing over the water below. Once across, we wandered through the horror-movie-set-like place. The buildings looked almost as if they had just closed the place down - and left. Even though it would have had to be 1983, we found tickets all over the floor of one of the buildings - I'm sure if I looked through all of my old boxes of stuff, I'd find I still have them. They were special to me, as this was a sort of once in a lifetime sort of adventure, to me.
We saw the lagoon... and the huge, terrifyingly pale pink body of the "momma whale" for the little whale boats. I think she used to submerge and surface. She lay at one end of the central lagoon like some sort of dead creature. I avoided going near her. Many of the buildings were literally falling in on themselves, floors collapsing, windows gone. We didn't really go into many of the buildings - my mom was all for the adventure, but she wouldn't let us do anything stupid and get hurt. Plus, we were pretty sure we were probably trespassing or something.
There was a building I remember looking like a cupcake - I think it was the scone shack, with the 'cherry' on top being the pompom on the Tam. I remember the log house (Franz bread shack), and the western building. I remember seeing the opera house, but again, didn't get to go inside. We walked around a lot, looking at everything, looking in anywhere we could. Mom actually went inside one of the buildings to grab a handful of the tickets scattered all over the floor. I remember thinking that they had laid there for something like ten years, just scattered like that, no one coming along to pick them up, to clean them up, no one caring.
It was quite an experience.
For years after, we still camped there, seeing all the buildings disappear more and more. I remember the pixies everywhere, cavorting on the walls inside the building housing the pool. On the signs... everywhere - the signs for each camping space, the signs with rules, with directions... everywhere.
The RV park was taken over by a time-share like RV club called American Adventure. They renovated the place, finally removing all signs of pixie anything. We still called it pixie land.
Whenever we drive to Lincoln City, after we pass Otis, I watch along the right hand side of the road, and I wonder... where was it? I remember how there was a huge sort of clearing, how there was water, how it all looked.
The last time... I couldn't see it. We got the highway interchange thingy, and I realized.. I missed it. It had truly been erased. For everyone else. For me, it'll always be there, in my memory... the abandoned, would-be nightmare-like empty amusement park that never really scared me. Only the little whale boat ever frightened me. I still hate that little boat.