This charmingly homemade amusement park outside of Salem, Oregon has been growing for 40 years.
This hillside theme park was built by Roger Tofte, who based many of its features on classic fairytales. Sections of the Forest include Storybook Lane, inspired by Alice in Wonderland and Mother Goose, as well as Tofteville, an old Western town.
Noticing that the Salem, Oregon area had little to offer in “family entertainment,” Tofte purchased a swath of land just off of Interstate 5 and single-handedly began creating a series of quaint, fairytale-based attractions. The Enchanted Forest opened its doors on August 8, 1971, and has drawn tourists and families for over 40 years.
Like a homemade Disney World
Attractions at Enchanted Forest include the Big Timber log ride, the Ice Mountain bobsled roller coaster, and most recently, the medieval-themed Challenge of Mondor. But the Forest’s most charming features are the folk art-inspired cement sculptures that showcase Tofte’s vision of a fairytale wonderland. Wander around, and you’ll spot Humpty Dumpty greeting visitors near the park entrance; psychedelic mushrooms, fairies, and dog heads poking out of flowers; an old woman’s shoe house; and a giant witch’s face in a tree.
Visitors can also treat themselves to an assortment of games and shows. The Fantasy Fountains are a particular highlight. The 359-water-jet fountain light show is complete with original music by Tofte’s daughter, Susan Vaslev (who, in fact, wrote and recorded all the music heard throughout the park). Other fun attractions include a rifle shooting game, haunted house, and comedy club.
The gift shops throughout the park also offer a plethora of items emblazoned with the Enchanted Forest name, from miniature pennants to pencil cases and plastic snow globes.
Know Before You Go
The Enchanted Forest follows a very particular calendar, so you should check the website before planning your visit. It is open for parts of March, April, May, and September—and for all of June, July, and August.
Content originally created for Atlas Obscura.
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