When I posted my exploration of Fairyland early last year, a number of people commented that they seemed to recall another children’s theme park in South Australia. I remembered it too and went on the hunt for what remained. If you grew up in Adelaide in the 70s and 80s then it’s highly likely that you visited Storybook Cottage in the Barossa Valley at least once.
Storybook Cottage was, as the name suggests, a cottage based around storybooks. One large room within the cottage featured various dioramas depicting children’s fairy-tales, nursery rhymes and storybooks. As the cottage grew in popularity a large outdoor park was established – The Whacky Wood – with outdoor games, play equipment, animal nursery and picnic grounds. The park won several major tourism awards and was a must-see destination for any family with children visiting the Barossa. The park owner continued to add to the various displays and activities, and even sourced some arcade machines and displays from the now defunct Magic Mountain.
The park survived until around 2008 when dwindling attendances and increasing insurance costs finally forced it to close its doors. Without regular visitors nature took over and the park became overgrown and run down. I visited in early 2016 and took the images you see here.
After my initial visit, I returned to take more photos six months later only to find that the contents of the park had been removed and the block cleared. The park owner still resides on site. Please do not disturb his privacy – nothing remains to be seen.