We woke up at the crack of dawn, the sky a navy blanket with a crease of pink orange sunlight peeping through. Our plan was simple at best for breaking into an abandoned amusement park. Find the fence. Climb under. Don't get caught.
My good friend Davi Russo, (an amazing director by the way) had been in Berlin for a location scout before and recommended the abandoned amusement park to us. Once a popular destination, Spree Park was abandoned in 2001 after the park fell into bankruptcy and the owner, Norbert Witte and his son were caught trying to smuggle over 14 million EUROS worth of Cocaine in the masthead of one of their rides, "The Flying Carpet Ride" (ironic, huh?) from Peru to Germany.
Since then, the amusement park has been in disrepair and fallen subject to nature's spoils, adventurous teens, and thrill seekers like myself and my friend and professional fence climber, Justine. There's only one teeny, tiny obstacle. The place is illegal to break into. It's completely surrounded by tipped fences and huge, intimidating signs that say "DO NOT TRESPASS" in German, English and French.
A little adventure never killed anybody right? I mean, besides in every single teenage horror film.
Breaking in was easy. Not getting caught involved a heavy amount of luck. The park is behind the Plänterwald Forest in the Treptow-Köpenick District of Berlin. Since there were a few joggers circumventing the outskirts of Spree Park, we felt safe enough to sneak in, and should any creature, ghost or djinn come out to snag us, we could call for help from a passing jogger. If Law & Order has taught me anything, it's that hikers and joggers are the greatest at discovering missing people and possibly limbs.
There were already pre dug holes under the fence where others had snuck in before us. All we had to do was walk around the fence to spot them. If you go, maybe bring a shovel just in case. We had been warned there would be security guards as well as guard dogs, but since we were going so early in the morning - we beat the morning shift that.
It was as creepy as you'd think an abandoned amusement park would be. Before we even saw it, we could hear the Ferris Wheel creaking and groaning with the wind. I kept expecting a kid to be bouncing a red ball around the corner somewhere. Rumor has it that a 90 something year old woman had to be rescued from the ferris wheel a few years ago after getting stuck at the top, but I guess that's not scary.
Books were still left open on tables inside the buildings, and menu signs declaring the day's lunch specials still stood unchanged. The circus tent remained a sad reminder of all the laughter that once took place here.
We got away without being caught or running into anyone else at all. The park was solely ours for two or three hours. As for what will happen to Spree Park, I'm not sure. All I know is that the lease on the land stipulates that the land MUST be used for a park or recreational purposes, so it'll be nice that they won't use it for new condos. If you happen to make it to Berlin, try and see if you can go visit before they really tighten the ropes on the place.
Would you do it? Comment below!