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.
7 thoughts on “Urban Exploration – Storybook Cottage and The Whacky Wood”
Im currently writing a story of my childhood for my kids, and remember going on a work trip with my dad as a kid, we drove from sydney to adelaide, and stopped at this place, i have photos of me standing next to the whacky wood.
I have photos from a holiday I took with family in February 2007. We have some awesome memories and some great photos of Wacky Woods and Storybook Cottage. The risk of getting tetanus was never quite so fun! Our photos aren’t nearly as arty as yours. Lol
We grew up in Williamstown 1964-1972 and 1 am now a pro-photographer and film-maker with an especial interest in the heritage of Australia and the Barossa Valley. See you out there one day. CJ.
Great Work! Nice to see some of my favourite haunts.
I went to Story book Cottage as a small child for a school trip and although I don’t remember much of it as it would of been in early 80s I do know I enjoyed it and would of loved to of taken my children there if it was still open.
sick photos! wish it was still there so I could go take a look. such a shame most things in Adelaide are gone/demolished..