BEECH MOUNTAIN, N.C. — North Carolina’s former “Land of Oz” theme park will open for a limited time next month.
The park will be open every Friday in June and tours will be held at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., according to organizers.
The first tour, Friday, June 3, is sold out. Other dates are still available.
This is the third year The Land of Oz has participated in Family Fun Month by offering an intimate tour with Dorothy.
"This is an opportunity to walk through a classic story with the main character," Jana Greer, who plays Dorothy, told WGHP.
The theme park is located in Beech Mountain on the western part of the state and operated from 1970 to 1980.
"Escape the 'cyclone' and run to the storm cellar and enter into the magic Land of Oz. Skip and sing with the Dorothy as you try to find your way home," Greer said.
When Oz was open year-round, tourists could explore Dorothy’s farmhouse, meet their favorite characters from the movie and participate in a hot air balloon ride.
Watauga Lake Magazine reported that the park had 400,000 visitors during its first summer in 1970. It was once the second most popular tourist park on the eastern side of the country.
Emerald Mountain Broker Cynthia Keller provided different reasons on Emerald Mountain’s website on why the business may have semi-closed.
The owner died shortly before opening and “changing times, economics, liabilities, maintenance, and other interests of its owners, along with the lack of change at OZ, took their toll on the park,” she wrote.
Tickets cost $12.50 plus a $10 roundtrip lift ticket and online tickets go on sale the Monday before each tour. Participants are asked to arrive early to make it up the chairlift in time for the tour, according to GoCarolinas.
Visit the park’s website for more information.