By Guest Author Dyonte Worthing
If you want to strengthen your Armageddon survival skills, consider a trip down doomsday lane. Explore these five post-apocalyptic vacation ideas reserved for only the most daring. But be sure to bring a thick skin and a sound mind.
River Country, Florida, USA
To see what it’s like when the good times stop and the veil of darkness descends, check out Disney’s River Country water park in Bay Lake, Florida. The park was abandoned in 2001 several months after 9/11, which caused a drop in business. There are also rumors that difficulty treating the water for dangerous brain-eating bacteria in the waters, (which AP reports killed one boy in 1980), also factored in the park’s eventual closure. In addition to the bacteria death there were two drownings in the park’s history, but for the most part, it was a place of fun and laughter. Now, however, instead of the good ol’ days, River Country is a twisting concourse of decaying slides, fetid pools and overgrown walkways.
River Country’s rise and fall since its opening in 1976, is a humbling reminder of how far downhill things can go in just a few decades. Disclaimer: be advised that technically trespassing is not allowed at River Country. Looking through binoculars or peering at it from the water may be your safest bet. The park is reportedly monitored by Disney employees and you may be banned if you are caught walking around it.
Box Hill Brickworks, Melbourne, Australia
Want a taste of colourful decline Down Under? Visit the Box Hill Brickworks in Melbourne, Australia for a steampunk-style sashay into a world gone mad. Examine formerly useful machines that are now obsolete piles of junk. The brick-making factory opened in 1884 and ran successfully for just over a century until it was closed in 1988. It provided many jobs to the surrounding community, but now it provides none. Stroll through its decaying machinery and old offices with papers strewn about. Look at the rusted-out hulk of a once-thriving industry and contemplate the relentless march of technology. Outside the factory, a landfill sets the mood by occasionally flaring into flame from buried methane. It isn’t difficult to imagine someone in the future walking through a demolished computer lab in 2100 after the technology is also obsolete and the world is ruled by a self-aware cyborg caliphate.
Cold War tunnels near Birmingham, UK
With the powers-that-be in the West doing all they can to bring back the Cold War and make it hot (and make us ash), consider checking out England’s eerie Cold War tunnels near Birmingham. This underground nuclear tunnel complex is called the Drakelow Tunnels and was completed in 1943. It was originally used as a clandestine site to build aircraft during World War II and were later repurposed as a blast-proof site for continuance of the UK government in the event of nuclear war. There is still a vast amount of water stored below, an abandoned cafeteria, and large areas that were walled off for unknown reasons. The 250,000-square-foot site was decommissioned and sold off in 1993 and is currently being made into a museum – although it’s likely it won’t be open for years to come, so you’ll be without a guide.
To walk around a site of true devastation, book a tour of Chernobyl in Ukraine. As the man in this YouTube video says: “This is what a real post-apocalyptic world looks like.” Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor melted down in 1986 and caused the worst nuclear disaster in human history, propelling radioactive clouds throughout the former-USSR. It is unknown how many people were killed from the meltdown, but some estimates place it at around 40,000 cancer-related fatalities, with low-level radiation impacting many more. It is possible to book reportedly safe tours (there are various options of tour companies) that take you through the 30 kilometre exclusion zone, which is still being recovered to this day.
The tour takes you through various interesting sites including visits to field workers cleaning up the radiation, the abandoned towns of Zalissya and Kopachi, the Red Forest where the leaves turned red in the blast, various areas of the New Safe Confinement area (“Arch”) observation point, the town of Chernobyl and some memorials. Touring Chernobyl is a dark reminder of the heavy cost that nuclear technology can take on human beings.
The Zombie Apocalypse, Reading, UK
If you want to see how you’d stack up when you’re about to lose your head (and your brain) consider travelling to Reading, UK for a four-hour simulated fight against zombies. For $189 USD organizer Zed Events will be teamed up with 14 other fighters and trained with airsoft guns before being set loose in a mall that’s under sustained zombie attack. You must flee, strategize and watch your back or you could soon find yourself devoured. The mall is large enough for many situations to unfold at 250,000 square-feet. Many players haven’t made it, so it certainly isn’t easy. With nerves of steel, teamwork and limited ammunition you must do what it takes to survive the zombie apocalypse.