J’s Amusement Park was a small family run operation hidden away in the woods near Guernville California. It originally opened in the 1960s and closed in 2003. These images were shot in November 2008 and January 2009.
The Mad Mouse Roller Coaster dominates the site. Getting close to it, you can see its rusty silver paint flaking off in big chunks and its oddly twisted ricketyness. The whole thing looks ready to collapse with a sneeze. In the center of the yard is a rusty old Scrambler ride, one of those spinning, County fair-style pot-metal puke-inducers that you can just picture flinging its parts and children’s bodies into the parking lot. Nature has almost completely reclaimed the Disney Autopia-style go-kart track, disappearing into landscaping run amok. There’s the rusting remnants of a Tilt-A-Whirl and bumper car ride too.
The most interesting structure on the site might be the rotting, walk-through haunted house called “Dr. Evil’s House of Horrors.” Stinking of mildew and decay, the claustrophobic, pitch-dark spaces were difficult to work in, but it’s not very often you just find a real casket in an abandoned location.
Late in the night I wandered off on my own and got a little lost exploring the wet and foggy woods behind the amusement park. The dense forest screened out most the full moon’s light, leaving the muddy trail dark and mysterious. Deeper in, some buildings from a long defunct resort are slowly caving in as they slither down a steep hill. The son of J’s founder, Mike, told me the resort was haunted (as he competitively threw hatchets with a friend into a block of wood from 20-feet, outside the haunted house, at midnight), but to me the entire place had an overwhelmingly haunted quality. I felt like an extra in a Scooby Doo cartoon.