Coloma, Michigan: Deer Forest Animal Park

Overgrown ruins of a petting zoo/story book kiddie park that had a ferris wheel and miniature train ride. Opened in the early 1950s, closed in 2015.

Address:
6800 Indian Lane, Coloma, MI
Directions:
West side of Interlochen Rd, Indian Lane.
Hours:
Closed since 2015, but ruins still visible. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Deer Forest.

Deer Forest

The now abandoned theme park in Coloma named Deer Forest was first conceived in 1949 and closed in 2015, but leaves behind an indelible impression. It was a fairytale-inspired theme park complete with a petting zoo with live animals, little storybook-inspired houses situated on "Storybook Lane" (along with speaker boxes you could put an "enchanted key" into to read a story), gift shops, an Old West saloon replica, animal sculptures, rides, and a playground with slides and swings.

I visited twice as a child over 25 years ago and visited recently with my husband to see what became of it. I couldn't believe how different it looked compared to what I remembered and it was quite eerie to be honest. All of the animals of course are gone now, and the atmosphere is very haunting because of how dilapidated and empty it is.

It is located near a residential area by Paw Paw Lake in Coloma, in a seemingly random location, but is situated on 32 acres and there is still plenty to see and explore. The abandoned and dilapidated buildings and fairytale-inspired houses are intact. There are worn animal statues and sculptures as well as equipment left there, open and dried-up fields where the deer and other animals were kept, as well as run-down rides, slides, and swings. It has been for sale for the past three years with no interested buyers, so it just sits and waits.

[Jennifer Millering, 01/07/2019]

This privately owned property is not open to the public.

Deer Forest

Deer Forest to open for another season as efforts to sell it continue. Train and Ferris wheel were sold.

[Michele Marek, 04/20/2010]
Delightful Deer Forest

Depressing petting zoo/story book kiddie park. You can feed all kinds of deer or camels and walk through nursery rhyme exhibits. There is an annoying commercial on local tv, complete with jingle that gets on one's last nerve.. "feed the deer, ride the train, eat a hotdog, ride a llama, feed the deer..."

[Gwen Shirk, 04/22/2001]

September 2009: Michele Marek writes: "After 60 years of business, sadly, Deer Forest is for sale at public auction 9/26/09."


Nearby Offbeat Places

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In the region:
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