Along side I-5 in the Salem area sits Enchanted Forest, Oregon’s only theme park. Oddly enough there were four different, unrelated “Enchanted Forests” in the United States, and sadly all have closed with the exception of Oregon’s. While unrelated, they did have similarities, mostly that they were classic fairy-tale themed. Oregon’s Enchanted Forest began in the 1960s, when creator Roger Tofte, a father of four, felt Oregon had little to offer with regards to family outings. In 1971, seven years after purchasing the 20 acres, Enchanted Forest finally opened to the public and has continued to grow. Today the park still is a family affair, with three children working hand in hand with their father to create new attractions and even composing and writing for the comedy theatre that shows daily.
For a few of us in my group of friends, our trip to Enchanted Forest was a walk down memory lane, having spent summer days there with our parents as children, but for Katie and Pat, it was their first trip.
We enjoyed our trip through Storybook Lane, which included hand sculpted concrete creations of classic storybook characters and moments, ultimately leading us to the Little Old Lady in the Shoe slide.
We spent quite a lot of time in the Western Town, between the keen displays, fort slide and shooting gallery.
Other portions of Enchanted Forest include an old English village with many walk through attractions, a haunted house, a log flume ride, as well as a snow themed roller coaster.
Since Enchanted Forest was built in the 70s, it lacks the kitschy charm of the 1950s parks, however, it is nevertheless entertaining for its novelty. Oregon lacks the climate of California and has been home to few and rather unsuccessful amusement parks, including Janzten Beach (1927-1970), Lotus Isle (1930-1932), Pixieland (1969-1975) and Thrill-Ville (1975-2008). Enchanted Forest stands with the first amusement park in Oregon, Oaks Park (which opened in 1905) as being one of only two amusement parks in the state.