An Abandoned Water Park Reminiscent of Summers’ Past
Welcome to Waterfall Park
Waterfall Park…or what is left of it in Rodanthe, North Carolina is an urbex (urban exploration) photographer’s dream. It is the kind of place that makes me want to jump fences and ignore “no trespassing” signs. Sadly I wasn’t dressed for that sort of adventure, nor did I want to get arrested for breaking and entering into an abandoned water park.
I stumbled across this abandoned water park as I was driving south on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Once I saw it I knew I had to stop. The goal of that particular trip had been to photograph the abandoned Frisco Pier and Cape Hatteras Light – finding an abandoned water park was a happy accident!
The rise and fall of Waterfall Park
Waterfall Park was built in the 1980’s and boasted not just waterslides, but a swimming pool, go-cart tracks and a bungee jump tower. It began to decline in popularity around 2007 and was abandoned in 2010. In 2011 it was hit by Hurricane Irene, which caused considerable damage.
Area residents see the abandoned water park as an eyesore and safety hazard and would love to see it torn down. More on that here. However, the property owners don’t seem keen to sell (or clear) the property . There is no telling how long these structures might stand. For only being closed seven years mother nature is sure working hard to take over!
I’m glad I got the opportunity to document this fascinating place. Who knows how much longer it will be around.
All of the photos in this series were captured handheld with my Canon 6D and either my 16-35mm lens or 24-105mm lens. Processing was done in Lightroom and On1 Photo RAW.
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I used to love going to this place in the summer as a kid. We would go I. The slides, ride the dune buggies, go karts, and bumper boats. This was the main thing I wanted to do each summer whenever we arrived. I drove by today and saw the same things your photos have shown me, a park taken over by nature. It did bring back the 80’s for me. I was able to tell my wife all about it and she could envision what I was telling her. Thanks for the awesome pics.
Thanks for stopping by, Mike! I’m glad you liked the photos. I can certainly see how it would have been a childhood summer dream come true in its heyday.
I just spoke with a local at the thrift store next door; she says the owners had asked too much money for the property, that is why it did not sell for all of this time. However, it is going to be torn down soon. We were told this area is unincorporated, so nothing could be done about the property until now. I remember when it was still open, as my family and I have been visiting the Outer Banks for many years now. It was a shame to see it looking worse each year. ( I, too, enjoy photography and took some photos right before getting the information from the thrift store employee, so I am glad I got them when I did!).
Thanks for the info! That makes me glad to have photographed it while I had the chance, too. I’d love to see what it is looking like now. Do you have your photos shared online anywhere? If so – reply with the link and I’ll have a look. :) Thanks!
July 2021 and it’s still all there… sad!
Wow…I have to imagine it’s in a bit sadder state than when I capture these images. If you have any photos of the way it looks today, send me a link!
June 2022… still there. Im hoping to get better pics before the week is done.
Articles I read indicated the county offered $1.6 million for the 12-14.5 acres in 2014. That seems too low for this area, even with clean up costs. The property includes acreage across NC Hwy 12, not just the amusement park.
Articles are clear that the whole story hasn’t been published yet.
Very interesting…thanks for sharing!
I used to work and live there back in I think in 95. They were still building the bungee jump which I helped with. My main job was the track with the Honda Odyssey’s . Brings back so many great memories. Sad to see it in this state.
Hi James – Thanks for the comment! These photos were taken a few years ago, sadly, probably in worse shape now. I’m glad you have good memories there, though!