“Land of Oz” was a theme park that was located in Beech Mountain, North Carolina from 1970 to 1980. The park was the brainchild of Grover Robbins, an entrepreneur from nearby Blowing Rock, NC (he had had previous success with the Tweetsie Railroad park, not to mention starting a quaint little park called “Rebel Railroad” over in Pigeon Forge, TN. The latter park had a few ownership and name changes, but maybe you’ve heard of it).
The park is located at the top of Beech Mountain, and they hoped that its location would help make the ski resort become more of a year-round attraction. Considering the park welcomed 4,000 visitors on its first day of operation, I think they may have been on to something (there seems to be some debate on how many people showed up on day one. While Wikipedia claims 20,000, I don’t think that’s feasibly possible. I’m going with the number cited in a Charlotte Observer article. In either case, it was a buttload of people on day one).
When the conditions are right, Beech Mountain consists of 15 separate ski trails. It seems to be a pretty popular area for folks who do that stuff (I’m intrigued, but I’m pretty sure I can fall down without needing to wear expensive equipment).
Even though it’s out of season, the two restaurants in the village area were still open.
Oh, maybe the ice skating rink is open!
Well, duh. I guess it’s unlikely to have that open when it’s 75 degrees out.
I have to imagine this is a pretty fantastic fire pit when it’s snowing.
To get to the Land of Oz, we had to take the ski lift up to the top of the mountain.
Karen was a little concerned about the lift, but this was a much better one than those janky chairs they had at Ghost Town in the Sky.
One thing they do during the spring and summer to drum up business is allow mountain bikers to take runs down the mountain. That actually looked hella fun. They also have a disc golf course up there, which is nice if you like chasing a frisbee down the side of a mountain.
All told, it takes about nine minutes to get up to the top of the mountain.
You know, the rental prices up here aren’t that bad at all. We stayed 45 minutes away in Boone, but there are actually some pretty nice places available through these Emerald Mountain people (more on that later).
Probably not much need for first aid folks up here in the off-season, but I guess they have to be there just in case a biker wipes out something fierce on the way down.
This is the 5506’ Skybar, named for the elevation of its location (hey, that rhymed). It’s nothing particularly special, but it’s nice to be able to have a seat and a drink.
The beers, incidentally, come from the Beech Mountain Brewing Company, located down mountain in the alpine village area. These are the Beech Blonde and the Wee Heavy Bevvy Scotch Ale.
The view from up here ain’t bad.
Karen’s looking the wrong way.
Oh, damn. I almost forgot why we were up here. About 100 feet away from the Skybar, you’ll find the current entrance to the Land of Oz (but do note that it’s private property).
So I definitely remember going to Land of Oz when I was a kid, but the memories are a little scrambled so I can’t remember what was Land of Oz and what was Tweetsie Railroad.