Friday, June 22, 2012

Underground Ozarks - The Land of Kong!

For years I posted a link to a website called Artificial Owl.  The site featured all sorts of wild abandoned man made features and vehicles, from shipwrecks to Soviet war memorials.  It is an awesome site and one you can get lost in for hours.  People build such crazy stuff, and then in the drop of a hat they throw it all away.

Same goes for VW Transporters, Kombis and Sambas.  These things were manufactured in ridiculous numbers and were utilized, much like Land Rover Series trucks, for everything from school buses to fire trucks to airport and military bucket trucks and support vehicles. The choices and uses available from the VW factory were endless, and there were nearly as many variants from outside coach builders and specialty conversion companies  Some of the funkiest of the retired 'working trucks' are the second or third hand private business vehicles scattered across the country, retired now and sitting waiting for resurrection after years of supporting some bizarre poorly conceived business venture.

Take for example, the Land of Kong / Dinosaur World bus from Beaver Arkansas.

Shown sitting here advertising in colorful if historically inaccurate murals, "65 acres of Dinosaurs".

Here is a shot of the now defunct Land of Kong from Google Earth.  Land of Kong was a drive through park with a gift shop and a restaurant back in the day, playing on the love affair the middle class America had with the automobile in years past.

And from Street View, an awesome shot of a concrete Stegosaurus just chillin' out in the woods, roadside in Beaver Arkansas.

Today the Land of Kong bus is preserved, on the road, and being enjoyed, as it should be.  Land of Kong still awaits it's fate.  According to Wikipedia, Land of Kong has been closed for a few years now, and in fact the main building that housed the gift shop and restaurant apparently burned recently, the possible victim of arson.

More derelict and forgotten goodies from the area can be found here..

More info on the Land of Kong bus can be found here...

For more gloriously documented weirdness and urban decay, visit Dark Passage and The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit.


Steve Reed said...

Wonder how much it would cost to buy that stegosaurus and ship it to London to inhabit my balcony?

Dan O said...

I grew up in New Jersey. During the '70s, a similar park known as "Jungle Habitat" existed - drive through zoo deal. Folded up after a few years.

Cool thing now - the land is used for mountain biking. Dirt Rag did a recent story on it and have friends back east who ride there.

No left over VW buses however...