abandoned places, berlin, germany, travel

Breaking into Berlin’s Abandoned Theme Park

September 5, 2016

It’s 11pm on a Friday night, we just finished our vegan fine dining, and we’re wondering what would be cooler. Attempting to get into the exclusive club, Berghain (um, no), or getting up at 5am to break into Berlin’s abandoned theme park. The latter was the clear winner.

Spreepark was actually the number one thing I wanted to do in Berlin but a lot of the friends we made on the CTR programme warned us that there would be “guards with dogs” if we tried. First of all, I love dogs, and I wasn’t about to let any guard scare me into not doing the single coolest thing in the world. Besides, maybe everyone else was just too frightened to try? I knew I would regret it if I didn’t at least try.So, we ended up waking up at 6:30am and getting to Plänterwald station at around 7:30am, walking 20 minutes until we found the fence. It was pretty clear that it was the fence because of all the ‘danger of loss of life and limb’ signs. Also, the gigantic Ferris wheel on the other side tipped us off.Many an early morning jogger passed us as I attempted to climb the fence. And not a single one batted an eyelid as we gave up and decided to go under instead. What about the guards with dogs? Surely it should have been more difficult? I had envisioned getting lost on the way there, circling the fence at least twice to find the best entry route, but no. It really was that simple. After about five minutes of burrowing under, we were inside and ready to explore.Firstly, there was the Ferris wheel and it was pretty magnificent. Unfortunately we arrived on a clear, hot day with no wind to eerily spin the wheel but it was still beautiful to witness.Funnily enough, the extra protection (fences and police-tape) around the attraction let us know we weren’t in serious danger. Berlin kind of expects tourists to break into Spreepark, but they don’t want you to climb the Ferris wheel. Breaking in is like, class-C dangerous and climbing the wheel is class-A. I imagined extra signs that said “alright, you disobeyed us once, but you have to listen to us this time, guys. DO NOT CLIMB THE FERRIS WHEEL.”Next we followed the path for the next ride. This is when we saw movement. I practically dived in a nearby bush to hide but there was no fooling the people I thought were guards. Next thing I know they’re shouting “hello fellow tourists” at us and we briefly befriend some Americans before they point us in the direction of an abandoned roller-coaster with a face and we start running in that direction. Thanks guys, bye guys. Love to hang out, but roller-coaster beats new friendships.And yeah, it was pretty cool. There’s a face in amongst the trees with the roller-coaster track going inside its mouth. You can probably walk inside and you could definitely gather up your friends for a photo op sitting on the track if you’re taller than 5,3ft but alas. We’re not so lucky and did not have unlimited time. I did, however, manage to climb the steps to get to the roller-coaster itself. They don’t want you to climb the steps, made apparent by the sheer amount of wooden blocks in the way, but you can get around them easily and sit yourself in one of the carts if you wish. Next we headed for the abandoned carnival tent that I believe was once an outdoor cinema thing? I’m not sure on that but it definitely looked cool and was one of the spookiest things in the park. I imagined clowns with chainsaws coming out of the shadows to get me. I have a thing about clowns with chainsaws.After following the path for a little longer we saw what turned the creepy, abandoned park into a beautiful dreamscape. There was a roller-coaster track over the water with frogs hopping in and out of the turquoise pond.According to my friend, Amanda, this was where the movie ‘Hanna’ was filmed. According to me, it’s an epic spot for a new profile picture.You can follow the path round some more to see more roller-coaster carts, covered in dried-up Autumn leaves, a Viking ship, fake houses which have been half-demolished and you might even spot parts of a broken dinosaur cornered off with tape and scaffolding.Unfortunately, this is where our journey ended. We heard from the Americans that there might have been an old teacup ride and everyone knows I tried to find the swan boats, but we saw movement again. This time it wasn’t tourists and it definitely wasn’t guards with dogs either, but a van. So we ran back to our burrow under the fence and left.When we got back to our accommodation, we told Lütz about it later that day (Lütz was that crazy meme-esque character from the CTR programme), and he said that the park shut down due to parking spaces. There simply wasn’t enough for visitors to get there and they couldn’t get permission to cut down the nearby forest. Still, Spreepark probably got more attention as an abandoned fairground than it ever did as an active one.Unfortunately, Lütz told us the van might have been there to clear away some of the stuff. Apparently, Spreepark isn’t going to last much longer as they are turning the space into something more productive for the locals. That might have been why we couldn’t spot any of the stuff that made Spreepark so famous, the swan boats, the teacup ride, the dinosaur pieces. It might have also explained why there was police-tape around certain rides and another fence around the Ferris wheel.So if you want to see Spreepark for yourself, make sure to get there in the next few months before it’s gone forever. It’s a good idea to head there early in the morning between 5am-8am. I know, it’s an ungodly time of day, but trust me. If we had stayed any later, we would have almost certainly been caught. My last advice is to bring a pair of gloves if you plan on climbing the fence (if you’re small, burrowing is a lot easier) as the top of the fence is spiky and can injure your hands. Other than that, good luck! And if you’re too late and the park is gone, enjoy my pictures.

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