If you're traveling through North Carolina and head north on Highway 184, you'll be transported into the Land of Oz.
Tucked into a piece of family land in the Appalachian Mountains, the Wizard of Oz-themed destination continues to attract visitors from around the world every year.
The park first opened back in 1970. A team of brothers, Grover and Harry Robbins dreamed up the idea. Sadly, Grover passed away of cancer shortly before the park opened and never saw his creation.
When the Land of Oz did open, it had a difficult time staying that way. Just five years after its grand opening, vandals broke into the park, stole costumes and set a fire that damaged a lot of the property. A new management team took over the following year and kept the park running for another five years before closing.
During the time the park was closed, vandals and Mother Nature took over. But during the '90s, some volunteers decided it was time to bring the Land of Oz back to life.
For a few glorious weeks each year, the park reopens and creates something magical. In 2017, the park held two events, Journey with Dorothy and the Autumn at Oz Festival.
When the park is open, organizers take visitors on a journey through Oz. Visitors get to see all their favorite characters, from Dorothy and Toto to Scarecrow and even the Wicked Witch.
The park itself is filled mostly with character houses and scenery dedicated to the movie.
For the most part, those dedicated to restoring the park are keeping with the original theme, to provide an emotional experience rather than an exhilarating one. They focus on providing a positive experience to those who love the Wizard of Oz for all that it is.
Proceeds from the events go directly to restoring the park to its former glory. You can find out more about this unique destination here.
This article was originally published in January of 2018.