40 Iconic Tourist Places That Had to Be Shut Down - Parents Dome

40 Iconic Tourist Places That Had to Be Shut Down

When we hear the stories from our grandparents about the wonderful places they visited and the memorable experiences they had during their youthful years, we can’t help but be fascinated and imagine their lives filled with fun and excitement sans technology. Sometimes, we’re also stunned to learn that their epic adventures are totally unavailable to us because the locales have been closed to visitors.

Their stories have turned into legends that we can only learn about second-hand. We can only wish and hope that one day we will be allowed to explore these spots and their unique majesty. You may be surprised to learn just how many famous tourist sites have been closed to the public. So, join us in the pages beyond as we explore these forbidden tourist spots. 

Penn Station – New York

Most trips to New York City used to include the original Penn Station. Indeed, for many, it was the very first place to find in the city. Only true New Yorkers realized that it was smarter to get in and out of there as quickly as possible.

Image Credits: Cervin Robinson/Wikimedia/Public Domain

The original Penn Station was built in 1910. As seen in this photo, it was an enormous spot with an astonishing design. Unfortunately, the renowned Madison Square Garden took the place of the Penn Station in 1963.

AstroWorld – Texas

Astroworld left a significant mark on children who grew up in Houston, Texas. The amusement park covered an incredible 104 acres of land. Sadly, after nearly four decades of successful operation, the place had to be closed.

Image Credits: Chris hagerman/Flickr

In 2005, park proprietors announced that the area would be completely destroyed. In any case, the park is still alive in the memory of those children. As a matter of fact, Travis Scott named one of his albums after the amusement park.

Lascaux Cave Paintings – France

Did you know that the Lascaux Cave works of art were discovered by a bunch of teenage boys back in 1940? They found it when one of their dogs ran into the cave during a walk. Shortly after, scientists learned that these paintings were very nearly 17,000 years old.

Image Credits: Totemic_tattoo/Instagram

As such, the cave immediately turned into a popular tourist destination. But why aren’t individuals visiting such an iconic spot nowadays? It was shut down in 1963 since it was deemed to be excessively hazardous.

River Country By Disney

Is anyone familiar with Disney’s River Country? It’s actually the first Walt Disney World water park, but Disney immediately understood that they hadn’t gotten everything right on the first attempt. In 2001, it was briefly closed for serious repairs and maintenance.

Image Credits: Abandoned Southeast/mediadrumw

As it turns out, this closure wasn’t so brief since we never heard about the water park’s reopening after that. Although the site still stands (for reasons we don’t know), it is a neglected park that resembles a spot from a creepy film.

Thailand’s White Sand Beaches

Thailand is home to stunning white sand beaches and fantastic views. For one, Maya Bay on Phi Leh Island boasts a huge number of tourists thanks to its incredible ambiance. However, the deluge of guests was so intense that the local authorities ordered its closure.

Image Credits: mathailande/Instagram

Unfortunately, mass tourism adversely affected the coral reefs and the famous beaches. We know this will break the hearts of every beach lover, but it won’t be opening at any point in the near future.

The Berlin Wall – Germany

During the 1960s and 70s, heaps of inquisitive western travelers would gather at the Berlin Wall in Germany that isolated East Berlin from West Berlin. Numerous entertainers would even perform close to the wall, which boosted the daily number of guests considerably.

Image Credits: Veronica.oporto/Instagram

The wall separating East and West Berlin no longer stands. It was knocked down in 1989 and then systematically disassembled. If you’re keen on seeing the original wall, bits of it are dispersed all over Germany.

Image Credits: _infamousmilli/Instagram

The Yosemite Firefall – California

Needless to say, the Yosemite Firefall is a sight to behold. It’s unfortunate that we missed out on seeing this beauty in real life! One of the most anticipated events during the summer season, the Yosemite Firefall truly was a stunning show.

Image Credits: thecoadsontheroad/Instagram

In the early days, the term “Firefall” was literal. Proprietors of a nearby hotel would spill hot embers from the Glacier Point, creating a sparkling Firefall for onlookers. It pulled in an overwhelming number of tourists. However, this man-made event was no good for the park, so they put an end to it in 1968. Amazingly, in 1973, a climber discovered a natural version of the Firefall in the park. 

The Statue Of Liberty – New York

We don’t know anyone who’d miss visiting the Statue of Liberty when going to New York. Can you imagine a trip to New York City without boarding the ferry and buying those Lady Liberty hats? While there are individuals who are scared of heights, there are also people who enjoy the view from above!

Image Credits: Crown Cam/earthcam.com

In fact, climbing up the statue and seeing the gorgeous view of Manhattan from the torch couldn’t be more exciting. However, in 1916 it was deemed too risky for tourists, and the practice was stopped.

The “Underwater Amazon” – Brazil

The Underwater Amazon boasts astonishing biodiversity and is known to be home to one of the most beautiful reefs in the world. However, things took a bad turn in March 2017 when a British cruise ship crashed into the Underwater Amazon.

Image Credits: Carloschasingsharks/Instagram

Consequently, about 1,600 meters of coral reef was destroyed. It will be quite a while before anybody witnesses the previous magnificence of this spot. This is because the reef-rebuilding process will take around 100 years, according to the experts.

The Azure Window – Malta

Did you know that this stunning natural arch was momentarily featured on the hit TV series Game of Thrones? It’s astounding that it was filmed before it vanished for eternity. Located in Malta, the Azure Window endured hundreds of powerful storms over the years.

Image Credits: Iamchrisbgr/Instagram

Unfortunately, it just took one storm in March 2017 for it to be destroyed forever. We aren’t liable for this misfortune since this one is on Mother Nature. However, numerous vacation destinations have met a comparable end due to overuse by humans.

Kaimu Beach – Hawaii

Considered one of Hawaii’s most celebrated beaches, Kaimu beach is famed for its black sand. Stepping out onto a black sand beach feels like stepping into a different universe since we are accustomed to seeing white sandy seashores. Everything was great here until the mid-’90s.

Image Credits: Butterflybrielle/Instagram

While the travel industry was booming, the Kilauea Volcano erupted, burying the beach and the nearby town in magma. Though the town has since been reconstructed, the beach didn’t fare well and has not been reopened.

Vance Creek Bridge – Mason County

Today’s generation pushes things to a higher level, taking outrageous risks just to get a good video for TikTok or pic for Instagram. It seems that they don’t care about the risks of such death-defying stunts. Nowadays, numerous millennials do exactly that in places like the Vance Creek Bridge.

Image Credits: Cedricth3gr8/Instagram

It’s the second-most elevated railroad bridge in America, and it was constructed by a logging organization. The bridge once attracted numerous vacationers, particularly millennials searching for thrills. It was closed in 2014 because the owners feared that someone could get injured while crossing it.

The Hippodrome Theater- New York

Nowadays, the Hippodrome Theater, also called the New York Hippodrome, isn’t what it used to be. Sadly, what was once a spectacle of theater architecture has now lost its charm and beauty.

Image Credits: beyondtheguildedage.com

During its glory years, the Hippodrome was famous for being the largest and most successful theater in New York. During the golden years of its prime, the massive theater had a seating capacity of 5,000. It featured films, carnivals, and many Harry Houdini exhibitions until it was demolished in 1939.

Legzira Beach- Morocco

Famed for its arched rock formations, Legzira Beach is undoubtedly one of the most incredible sights on the planet. Its spectacular rock formations have made it a truly well-known vacation destination in Morocco, and it is especially popular for witnessing sunsets.

Image Credits: Radoua.benbari/Instagram

One of the two famous arches of Legzira surrendered and fell under its own load in 2016. While the other arch still stands tall, it’s expected to topple soon as well. With that said, visit the spot now to see its remaining natural beauty.

Wedding Cake Rock – Australia

A wedding cake is (obviously) synonymous with marriage and love. This is not the case for this cake, though. It’s more synonymous with risk-taking and adventure. Australia’s Wedding Cake Rock boasts a gorgeous view and adrenaline rush that merits going on the exhausting climb.

Image Credits: Danna_m_/Instagram

This tourist-favorite place was closed in 2015 for the safety and security of tourists in the region. According to experts, the popular sandstone rock formation could break down at any time within the next ten years, and you don’t want to be standing on it when it happens!

Ise Jingu – Japan

Ise Jingu is a Shinto shrine that sits calmly in the Mie Prefecture of Japan. The sacred place is dedicated to the goddess of the sun, Amaterasu-Omikami. However, only the chief priestess and chief priest are permitted entry due to the holy nature of the area.

Image Credits: Sunnykoga.works/Instagram

Visitors and outsiders are more than welcome to watch from outside and experience the quiet energy of the spot. Interestingly, the shrines are rebuilt every two decades, in keeping with the Shinto beliefs about life and death.

Varosha Island – Cyprus

The photographs of these beachside resorts from the 1970s are recognizable, thanks to actors like Brigitte Bardot, who spent a lot of time enjoying the island. However, the once fun and peaceful Varosha was closed to the public when Turkey invaded Cyprus.

Image Credits: Guidetocyprus/Instagram

Despite the fact that entry to Varosha has reopened, Turkey has proclaimed the place forbidden, and only certain VIPs are allowed access to it. Some people have taken the risks involved in sneaking in, but they have likewise confronted the consequences of their actions.

Sana’a – Yemen

Considered one of the oldest cities in the world, Sanaa is famed for its stunning architecture. These structures are responsible for the city’s unique character and glory, and some date back thousands of years. Despite its beauty and rich history, Yemen’s largest city has become a perilous spot because of local unrest.

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Though it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, Sana’a remains a dangerous place for tourists. We hope everything gets settled in this beautiful city so it can be appreciated for its ancient beauty and splendor.

Timbuktu – Mali 

Timbuktu is so famous that it’s even mentioned in songs as being one of the most remote and amazing getaway spots. The reality, however, is far different. At present, it is out of reach for tourists because of the amount of armed conflict going on in the region.

Image Credits: Tamarastarostina/ Instagram

Countries all over the world have cautioned their citizens to wait until the city is restored from its desolate state. On the bright side, life in Timbuktu goes on, as salt vendors valiantly pursue their livelihood in order to earn a living amid the chaos.

Division Of Korea

It may seem unbelievable, but if you look into the history of Korea, you’ll learn that it used to be one country. Korea wasn’t separated until 1945. The entire nation used to welcome travelers before 1910. However, this all changed when Japan defeated Korea and invaded it for more than three decades. 

Image Credits: spaghetti_boba/Instagram

Following Japan’s rule on Korea, the northern part was conquered by the Soviet Union, while America seized the southern part. It’s not a secret that this division still exists, and we also know that it is troublesome and risky to visit the northern part.

Pravcicka Brana – Czechia

Looking for a natural landscape in Czechia? Pravcicka Brana, considered one of Europe’s best natural arches, has earned plenty of sightseers over the years. Guests used to have the option to hop on top of the sandstone arch and take pictures of the beautiful view.

Image Credits: Priyasaikumar/Instagram

However, Czechia (also known as the Czech Republic) has disallowed visitors from climbing. This is because erosion has caused the arch to become fickle, making it unsafe and dangerous. Anyone who tries to access its top is in great peril. 

Chichen Itza – Mexico

Visiting Chichen Itza is still possible, but exploring its huge pyramids is forbidden. Imagine visiting the ancient city and going inside the historic buildings built by the ancient Maya civilization. Imagining is all you’ll ever be able to do as this experience is not possible for tourists.

Image Credits: Jonathan Adato

Officials in Mexico have shut off Chichen Itza’s structures to ensure they’re not damaged by tourists. However, local people claim that individuals continue to label the spots with graffiti. It’s a shame that some people are so disrespectful. 

Cypress Gardens – Florida

Cypress Gardens was among Florida’s biggest tourist attractions, thanks to its lovely gardens and water skiing activities. While the theme park is still open to the public, it has gone through many extreme changes. Sadly, the botanical gardens were turned into Legoland.

Image Credits: Tradzak/Instagram

Sure, kids love such attractions, but it would have been better if the gardens were preserved. Who doesn’t love the relaxing vibe of nature? Of course, change is a constant thing in the world, but we’re sure nature lovers aren’t happy with this transition.

Haiku Stairs – Hawaii

The Haiku Stairs in Hawaii were constructed by the US Navy back in 1942 but went out of commission during the ’50s. The steel steps turned out to be truly hazardous since they weren’t managed well. So, the city attempted to shut down the area. Unfortunately, sneaky visitors figured out how to get in.

Image Credits: Xjustellex/Instagram

In 2003, the city disabled public access due to the rising number of accidents and missing person reports in the area. Unauthorized individuals who climb the stairs are now treated as trespassers. In recent years, 130 individuals have been caught and fined up to $1,000 for trespassing.

The Sutro Baths – California

From 1896 to 1964, swimming in San Francisco was truly thrilling, thanks to the Sutro Baths. Did you know that the public swimming pool was built by Adolph Sutro, the city’s former mayor? Famed for its freshwater and saltwater ponds, the massive structure was a major drawcard.

Image Credits: Unknown author/Wiki Commons/Public Domain

Unfortunately, the facility had to close because of the very expensive operating and maintenance costs. If that wasn’t sad enough, the Sutro Bath complex was destroyed in a fire in 1966.

Pioneer Cabin Tree – California

Who could resist passing through a giant sequoia tree? Considered one of the most famous trees in the United States, the Pioneer Cabin Tree once drew thousands of sightseers every year. Imagine experiencing its glory while basking in the beauty of nature.

Image Credits: Getlostbayarea/Instagram

It was possible to drive through it until it met its destiny in 2017. Sadly, the Pioneer Cabin Tree fell and shattered during a storm. Situated in Calaveras Big State Park, California, the tree was believed to be over 1,000 years of age.

Parts Of The Great Wall Of China

We don’t know anyone who’s not familiar with the Great Wall of China. Keeping up with all the fortifications would be a big task, but we didn’t realize just how big. Did you know that nearly two-thirds of the massive structure has been closed to the public?

Image Credits: Luiscon3.mx

Some portions are disintegrating because of natural causes, and sadly, some are crumbling because of incessant graffiti and theft. Although some portions of the Great Wall of China have been closed, it still draws many visitors who are keen on exploring its rich history.

Chacaltaya Glacier – Bolivia

The Chacaltaya Glacier used to be one of the world’s best places to ski. During its prime, the glacier was one of the tallest on the planet. It pulled in loads of snowboarders and skiers each year. During the 1980s, however, there were a few notable extreme changes in the glacier.

Image Credits: Spencerbrownphoto/Instagram

From that point on, it continued to break down. The final meltdown happened in 2009, which resulted in the disappearance of the 18,000-year-old glacier. Nowadays, it is little more than a memory in the minds of those who got to see it in its glory days. 

Mount Humboldt – New Caledonia

Without a doubt, ardent skiers would consider climbing the world’s tallest mountains just to encounter the best slopes on the planet, despite the fact that it’s perilous. However, skiers who are enthusiastic about exploring the famous Mount Humboldt in the northern Andes Mountains will not be able to do so.

Image Credits: Sambo07510/Instagram

Although the mountain still stands, skiing is not possible anymore because there isn’t enough snow anymore. Sadly, this is due to climate change. The snow on the peaks is expected to vanish entirely in a few years, according to experts.

Disney’s Discovery Island – Florida

As seen in the photo of the Disney World map below, the enormous green island doesn’t have anything on it. Even the park’s employees don’t have access to this particular region. Yet, some time ago, the island known as Disney’s Discovery Island facilitated a ton of attractions.

Image Credits: Google Earth/fox business

It served as a mini zoological park that housed different species of birds and animals. Today, it’s an old site that was deserted in 1999. All animals were relocated to the Animal Kingdom area of the same park.

Duckbill – Oregon

Needless to say, the Duckbill Rock Formation is one of the reasons for Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area’s charm. It has drawn a lot of visitors to Oregon’s shore and has captivated the attention of professional photographers and tourists alike. 

Image Credits: Mirrietze/Instagram

Sadly, on August 29, 2016, the duck head tumbled to the ground and met its devastating end. A group of teens toppled the landmark and argued that they did it due to fear of safety hazards. They said that one of their pals broke a leg on the popular rock formation.

The World Of Sid And Marty Krofft – Georgia

Today’s generation might not be familiar with Sid and Marty Krofft, but the sibling duo is the main reason why kid’s TV was a big hit back in the ’60s and ’70s. The Krofft brothers were behind the huge success of television shows like The Banana Splits, Land of the Lost, and H.R. Pufnstuf.

Image Credits: @SidMartyKrofft/Twitter

During their heyday, they launched an indoor amusement park in Atlanta, Georgia. The park was launched with great fanfare but had to be closed after six months due to low attendance. 

The Ténéré Tree – Sahara Desert

This tree was once regarded as the most isolated tree on the planet. Situated in the middle of the Sahara Desert, the Ténéré Tree is every bit a beauty. Intrepid travelers once utilized it as a landmark, and the tree was so old that its presence dates back to a time when the Sahara desert was habitable.

Image Credits: Michael Mazaeu/WikiCommons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Tragically, the tree was knocked down by an inebriated Libyan driver. The dead tree was taken to the Niger National Museum, and there it stands to this day. 

Old Man Of The Mountain – New Hampshire

Also called the Great Stone Face, the Old Man of the Mountain is famed for looking like a human gazing out at the view. It was among the most renowned attractions and also a cultural icon in New Hampshire.

Image Credits: Rob Gallagher/Wikimedia/Public Domain

Sadly, the famous face on the mountainside doesn’t exist any longer. In 2003, tragedy struck, and the head of the Old Man of the Mountain collapsed due to natural causes. Local people were so saddened that they left flowers on the ground to pay tribute to the old fellow.

Mukurob – Namibia

Mukurob means “Finger of God.” It was once the greatest vacation destination in the Namib Desert and the focus of various geographical studies. Visitors from different parts of the world would stop by to explore the place.

Image Credits: Sjqwatercolour/Instagram

The structure consisted mostly of sandstone and was shaped by 50,000 years of erosion. Unfortunately, it crumbled on December 7, 1988. It was believed that the Mukurob met its destiny as a result of the weighty rainstorms that hit the region in the weeks leading up to its collapse. 

Torres Del Paine National Park – Chile

This national park in Chile was once named among the most stunning attractions in the world, and we couldn’t agree more. It boasts the magnificent Towers of Paine and rich green fields. Sadly, tourism negatively affected this spot.

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In 1985, a camper lit a fire that burned 58 miles of the park. In 2005, a vacationer burnt around 60 miles of the preserve, and another visitor destroyed a further 68 miles from a prohibited fire. Although the park still fearlessly stands today, its splendor is not like before.

Christmas Island – Pacific Ocean

Aside from being nestled in one of the most beautiful coral reefs on the planet, Christmas Island was also well known for having a huge number (millions, that is!) of crabs take over the spot during their mating season. Unfortunately, this phenomenon doesn’t occur any longer.

Image Credits: jared_and_sarah/Instagram

The reef was dramatically cleared out in just a few months. Julia Baum, a biologist at the University of Victoria, described the island as a ghost town. After a one-month scuba excursion, she analyzed that El Niño devastated the coral reef.

The Borscht Belt – New York

The Borscht Belt was once an area filled with luxurious resorts in the Catskills Mountains in New York. These summer resorts hit their heyday between the 1920s and the 1970s. At the time, they offered plenty of specialty services, including Yiddish theater.

Image Credits: Marisa Scheinfeld/borschtbeltrevisited.comWhen air travel became readily available, the demand for these resorts deteriorated. Today, these hotels are practically deserted. Did we mention that this region was the setting for the movie Dirty Dancing? We’re keen to head up into the Catskills for a visit!

The Cave of Altamira – Spain

Aside from the Lascaux paintings in France, there are other ancient paintings in Europe, including the ones pictured below, estimated to be 14,000 years of age. We’re sure history buffs and painting enthusiasts wouldn’t want to miss this complex and superb cave art.

Image Credits: Ancientartarchive/Instagram

Some of the paintings may even be around 35,000 years old! Tragically, a ton of sightseers left their one marks on the cave, which weakened the material and made the art less distinct. As such, the caves were closed to the public in 2002.