Beech Mountain, North Carolina: Land of OzA long-abandoned Oz mountaintop theme park, opened by local residents to the public every October.
- Beech Mountain Pkwy., Beech Mountain, NC
- NC-184 takes you up to the town of Beech Mountain. A winding 2-lane road just to the left of the Chamber of Commerce building -- Beech Mountain Parkway -- will take you up to a sign that says "Emerald Mountain." Through that gate, it's another 1/2 mile, past a bunch of ski lifts.
- 1st weekend in Oct. - Sa 10 am - 4 pm Su 11 am - 4 pm. (Call to verify)
- $20 in advance, $25 at the gate
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour
Visitor Tips and News About Land of Oz
I was fortunate to grow up in the shadow of Beech Mountain, and my parents took my brother and me to the Oz park when it was in full swing in the late 1970s until it's closing in 1980. I have also been fortunate to be able to attend the annual "Autumn At Oz Party" every year for the last 10 years or so.
No, the park isn't what it used to be, as its website states it's growing into a flora and fauna park. I am just thrilled to be able to relive a great part of my childhood once a year! Yes, there are lines, yes the weather is TOTALLY unpredictable, but it's all worth it! I dress up (as the Wicked Witch!) and my family dresses up too. We have a blast! We get to forget the real world for a while, get into character, smile, and have a good time.
My advice to everyone going is to check the Oz website, and come prepared with good shoes, good clothing, and a positive attitude![BethAnn, 03/26/2013]
Drove through beautiful sunny weather, but by the time we got to Banner Elk -- the highest town in the Eastern U.S. -- it was cold and overcast. We drove to the top of Beech Mountain, parked at the ski village, and went up to the theme park on the ski lift (I learned later that I could have taken a bus to the top, but the lift was fun). Got the top and there was quite a crowd. The wait was long but everyone seemed happy. The wet mist made the attraction different and kind of like an old movie. All the workers and actors were very nice. Just remember if you go up there: bring a good water-resistant coat no matter what it's like down below.[B Carter, 10/12/2012]
Land of Oz is a seasonal 1-weekend reopening of an attraction that recreates the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz at the top of a mountain.
Attended the Autumn At Oz Festival this year and had a wonderful time. The event was much more organized for crowd flow and the weather was perfect. The park was very nicely decorated and the characters were all fun; loved watching the children enjoy themselves, I talked to a pretty "witch" in the line with me and her little girl, who was dressed as Dorothy -- they were first-time attenders and they seemed to be having a great time.
I wanted especially to go since the original Theme Park opened 40 years ago this year...[Bill Carter, 10/04/2010]
I am a huge fan of the Land of Oz theme park; I have been going since it re-opened in the 1990s. Yes, you may have to stand in a long line and the weather may not always be the best, but we should all be happy the park is still there for us to enjoy and that it has not been taken over by homes(well some of it has).
The actors are volunteers (they don't get paid) -- they should not have to rent costumes if they would have some made of their own. Some friends and I have land of oz costumes (I am the Scarecrow) that I made. I put less than $200 into those costumes. We went up to the park to take the pictures and had a great time at the Land of Oz.[Billy Ferguson, 09/14/2009]
In response to tip by "S. Rhodes, 10/23/2008": No, it is not "Disney Land" quality, because it was NEVER meant to be Disneyland quality (it's one word, not two). The Land of Oz was meant to be more rustic and home like. If you look at Dorothy she was not a glamor girl, so the park that was lovingly created by Mr. Robbins and his team was to reflect the home and prairie qualities of Mr. Baum's books. You want Disney? Go to California or Florida and leave Beech Mt. alone!
I have visited the park every year for the last 5 or 6 years and have NEVER been disappointed because I knew going into it that there WOULD BE LINES. You're not going to be the only person there, shocking, I know! The party is meant for other like-minded people who love Oz, so put on your Ruby Slippers, shut your yap and ENJOY IT! I like being in the lines, talking to other people who remember the park in it's glory days, or have never been there and I can educate them on what the park used to be. I like people and I like making friends. Also, I bet the people who don't enjoy it go on Saturday, and are not ready for the weather that the mountain brings, am I right? Pack properly with cold weather clothing, rain gear, good shoes and get up there at 7AM on Sunday morning, trust me, you'll be a happier person for it!
NO, there are no fancy places to eat, just tents set up in the fields where people sell Oz related items and food, and guess what, that too reflects the down-to-Earth nature of OZ! Since the park doesn't have rides any more, it's only open TWO days a year, and the land is being sold off for homes WHY would they set up a permanent building? During the rest of the year people come to ski at Ski Beech which crosses the OZ property, and sadly vandals like to attack and destroy everything they can so it would be a waste. My husband and I have gone up several times to help the owner fix and paint things that skiers, hikers, and bored teens have destroyed!
Again, setting up a permanent structure would be financial suicide. AND, while I'm on the finances, yes, they take in quite a bit during the two day party, but you have to remember that the buses are about $20,000 per bus per day, plus what ever the people running the hay ride charge, there are building inspectors that have to be paid, water, power, food, actors, costume rental, police, advertising, security and about a dozen other things that I haven't even mentioned, so after everyone is paid what is left is usually a few thousand dollars that go right back into refurbishment of the park, NOT into the owners pocket!
I know I've rant and raved, but take it from someone who has loved the park since 1974, and would defend it to her death. Land Of OZ is a GREAT place, IF you know how to pack, when to go, what to expect, and DON'T TAKE YOURSELF SO SERIOUSLY! Yes, it's cheesy, but it's old fashioned memories, love and fun![Mrs. RBD, 05/24/2009]