Save the dinosaur: the rollercoaster story of East Berlin’s forgotten theme park

In its heyday, 1.5m visitors flocked to Spreepark. But it went bankrupt in 2001 and plans to save it failed after 167kg of cocaine was found in the Flying Carpet. Now it’s a playground for raccoons, urban explorers – and edgy musicians

Spreepark’s hen house, the Eierhäuschen
Spreepark’s hen house, the Eierhäuschen / © Ciarán Fahey

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Spreepark’s hen house, the eierhäuschen
Spreepark’s hen house, the Eierhäuschen / © Ciarán Fahey

The mammoth vanished overnight in May. The Viking Ship has run aground. The graffiti-covered T. rex has been lying on its side for years, its puny arms aloft. Swan-shaped gondolas lie scattered in the undergrowth, the occasional head poking above the weeds. The Old England village’s mock-Tudor buildings are charred from a fire in the summer, and the Wild West Village is merely a pile of rubble.

Walking around Berlin’s Spreepark, which has been abandoned since 2001, is like a stroll through a post-apocalyptic future. Time is frozen. Barely anything moves. Sometimes a family of raccoons who have found a home underneath the old Ghost Train tunnel rustle in the undergrowth. On the other side of the river outside the park, longboats filled with Polish coal dock silently by the power station.

Only the Ferris wheel still has a certain stately grace. When the wind catches in its rusty spokes, it valiantly grinds back into action with a screech. People who have visited Spreepark at night insist it sounds more like a groan, as if the place is still having nightmares about the drama of its demise. ….


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