Home AttractionsAmusement Parks Finding Fairyland Forest at Conneaut Lake Park

Finding Fairyland Forest at Conneaut Lake Park

by Rachel
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There is something about storybook parks that has always fascinated me. Maybe it has something to do with Storyland in Schellsburg being my first love along the Lincoln Highway, or maybe because they have all but disappeared. Regardless, when I found out about Conneaut Lake Park’s Fairyland Forest I was intrigued. 

Noahs Ark and Jonah and the Whale

Some of the attractions that can be seen in this photo are Noahs Ark as well as Jonah and the Whale.

We saw some old pictures of nursery rhyme-type characters in the gift shop but we weren’t sure what they were from or where they were located. We had seen remains of what seemed like an old attraction back in the woods but we weren’t sure if that had something to do with it. Then while having dinner at the Hotel Conneaut we saw some old pennants from the park on the wall and there was one for the Fairyland Forest. 

Conneaut Lake Park’s Fairyland Forest

Petting Zoo at Fairyland Forest

Animals were a major part of the Fairyland Forest attraction. The letters to the sign are visible in the background.

Fairyland Forest was actually located across the street from the main entrance of Conneaut Lake Park on the ground which is now Camperland. It was opened in the 1960s as a walk-through attraction featuring storybook houses and figures as well as animal attractions and a petting zoo. 

Noah's Ark attraction

The Noah’s Ark attraction was very popular, often attracting large lines. The waterfall which is seen in the background is still visible today.

old lady in the shoe attraction

The old lady in the shoe seemed to be a staple at many of the story book parks of the time.

the cow jumped over the moon

The cow jumped over the moon featured a small farm and characters.

In fact, these sort of storybook parks were very popular all across the country in those days. In fact, there were two additional ones located here in Western Pennsylvania. 

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty was another staple at manny of the story book parks.

Ali Baba’s Cave held mysteries for those who dared to enter.

A giant rabbit was also part of the displays.

The 1980s weren’t good to many of the story lands with the majority closing their gates for good. The exception to this is Storybook Forest at Idlewild Park which is still operating today. 

A view of Fairyland Forest in its better days with a lighthouse, Jonah and the Whale, Noah’s Ark, and animal attractions visible.

By 1985, Fairyland Forest was falling into disrepair and the decision was made to close the attraction. Many of the fiberglass figures and buildings were auctioned, sold, or destroyed. The area was pretty much entirely cleared in order to make way for Camperland, Conneaut’s campground. 

In doing “research” over our dinner I discovered that despite closing 33 years ago, some revenants of Fairyland Forest survived. This meant I HAD to check it out. We all hopped in the car and headed across the street. 

The Remains of Fairyland Forest

The Bavarian-style buildings once served as the gift shops for the Fairyland Forest.

The two most obvious buildings that once were part of Fairyland Forest are a Bavarian-style cottage and what appears to have once been a windmill. The cottage once served as Fairyland Forest’s gift shop and the windmill was the ticket booth. Now, both serve as part of the camp store. 

I knew there was one more piece hiding in the campground. We slowly drove around the grounds until Ryan exclaimed “What’s that?”

There it was.

Now in pretty rough shape and in desperate need of a paint job, one of the last remaining remnants of Fairyland Forest can be found in a swampy pond.

Tucked into a swampy pond was the fiberglass figure of a whale’s head and right behind it, sticking out of the water, was the tail — although the tail is in pretty rough shape these days. Now painted black and white, the whale was originally blue and was part of a Jonah and the Whale display. You could look down the whale’s mouth and see Jonah in its belly.

Jonah and the Whale Display

The original Jonah and the Whale Display. Note the head and the tail are the same as what remains today.

Although overgrown, we were definitely able to tell that there was a remnant of the old park hiding behind the trees.

While the area that you used to be able to look into to see Jonah is now boarded up and covered with a bench I can’t help by wonder if Jonah is still in there and what he originally looked like!

I can’t help but wonder if the Jonah figure is still in the whale’s boarded up belly?

It’s finding the revenants of these things that once were that are so fascinating to me. While I wish more remained of Fairyland Forest, just finding what I did was exciting. What is even better is that Conneaut Lake Park itself has a ton of amusement park treasures and last-of-its-kind rides that are an amusement park lovers dream!

Plus, if you want to see ruins of the former Storyland fairytale park check out this blog post about Storyland in Schellsburg.

If you want to check out a fairytale park that is still in operation and is currently part of the oldest operating amusement park in the world, check out this blog post about Storybook Forest located at Idlewild Park in Ligonier.

Be sure to check out more amusement park history

Storyland Park in Schellsburg PAKennywood The RacerBurke Glen

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1 comment

Kevin Brennan May 31, 2019 - 8:28 pm

Fairy land forest is something that should be brought back. Don’t ask me how or who would do it, but it should be brought back.
It would be great. It is something from the past, but it can still work in today. the whale should also be cleaned up in the meantime.

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