Follow the yellow brick road to the Land of Oz. In the 1970s, the Land of Oz theme park was one of the most popular amusement parks in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, but it closed in 1980 due to increased competition from flashier theme parks with more thrill rides
But now, the Wizard of Oz theme park has experienced a rebirth and is welcoming visitors again. Now there’s more to Beech Mountain than just the ski resorts. You won’t want to miss this unique spot in North Carolina.
LAND OF OZ BEECH MOUNTAIN NC THEME PARK
The abandoned Wizard of Oz theme park has come to life again with a yearly Wizard of Oz festival, Autumn at Oz, is the largest Oz festival in the world!
A combination of a standard festival with arts & craft, handmade trinkets, memorabilia, & food vendors, it also includes a completely immersive theatrical experience where guests are engulfed into the classic story as you travel into the Gale Kansas Farm, through the tornado experience, and down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City.
Along the way, meet all of your favorite characters for photo opportunities, see many live performances, and shop for your favorite Wizard of Oz Memorabilia. If you are a Wizard of Oz fan, you need to add this event to your bucket list.
LAND OF OZ BEECH MOUNTAIN NC THEME PARK: AUTUMN AT OZ
Every fall, Dorothy, the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow make a pilgrimage down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City.
If you are a fan of the original movie and cast featuring Judy Garland, Grover Robbins, con-man Professor Marvel, and others, this event is for you!
This year, Autumn at Oz is spread out over three fun-filled weekends. These weekends are:
- September 8-10, 2023
- September 15-17, 2023
- September 22-24, 2023
Guests to Land of Oz, Beech Mountain, take a ski lift through the clouds to an enchanted world where they can relive the magic of L. Frank Baum’s book the Wizard of Oz. If you’d rather, there are also buses that go from the Beech Mountain Ski Resort to the Land of Oz theme park.
To spread out the crowds (which can be formidable), tickets are timed, and visitors must load for the trip to the Land of Oz during their timed session. Be sure to double-check your timed tickets before you come.
Once you arrive at the Autumn at Oz Festival, you’ll find craft and food vendors, as well as entertainment. Bypass these folks for now, and get a ticket to enter Dorothy’s House. There can be a wait here, so you can use that time to peruse the vendors and crafts or watch the entertainment.
Note that fall can be cold and blustery at the Land of Oz. Beech Mountain weather is significantly warmer at the bottom of the mountain than at the Land of Oz theme park, which sits at the very top. So dress in layers and bring a jacket, even if it’s warmer at the mountain’s base. We recommend checking out the weather before you visit.
For families with younger children or handicapped individuals, know Land of Oz theme park has uneven paths, ramps and stairs, and therefore is not wheelchair or stroller friendly. If you need additional assistance, consider one of the afternoon sessions. For young children, consider using a backpack rather than a stroller.
SUMMER JOURNEY WITH DOROTHY
Although this has been canceled, we really hope it returns! It’s definitely one of the best OZ events.
Journey with Dorothy is an interactive experience where guests have the opportunity to play one of the characters from the classic story. What fun for the whole family to see Dad “Putting ‘Em Up” as the Cowardly Lion or Grandma cackling like the Wicked Witch of the West. During this event, you just don’t watch Oz, you’re a part of it!
LAND OF OZ: MORE TO EXPERIENCE
Be sure to add these Oz-mazing adventures to your experience this year! These experiences are an extra fee.
OVER THE RAINBOW OBSERVATION DECK
An experience that is literally over the rainbow!
At 5,506 feet above sea level, you can reserve your tickets to this exclusive view atop the majestic Beech Mountain in the heart of America’s own Appalachian Mountains. This spectacular site sits above the Land of Oz Theme Park, and — until last year — had not been open to the public in over 20 years.
It is truly a one of a kind view not to be missed! You will see more than a hundred miles radius and multiple states from one vantage point!
SCENIC LIFT RIDE
The Scenic Lift Ride at Beech Mountain Resort is your direct transport to the Land of Oz Theme Park. Your ticket includes a round-trip chairlift ride to the Land of Oz Theme Park. Festival admission is not included.
BEYOND THE LAND OF OZ IS FUN FOR ALL AGES
MOUNTAIN BIKING THE EMERALD OUTBACK
A summer in Breckenridge, CO, got my boys into mountain biking, and we were excited to tackle the eight miles of trails that wind through Beech Mountain. The Emerald Outback is the first phase of the Beech Mountain Adventure Trail Park, which will eventually include 25 miles of trails.
There is plenty of parking and easy access to the trail in the heart of Beech Mountain, next to the Brick Oven Pizzeria. Weather foiled our attempt to experience the trail, but I read some reviews on Single Tracks that give a decent overview of what you can expect. If you don’t have your own mountain bike, you can rent one from Magic Cycles.
HIKING AT BEECH MOUNTAIN
In addition to mountain biking along the Emerald Outback, we were excited to hike Beech Mountain, along with some of the 33 miles of trails in the beautiful North Carolina High Country.
BUCKEYE RECREATION CENTER
Buckeye Recreation Center is located in the town of Beech Mountain and isn’t just for locals. Visitors can use it too. This 22,500 square-foot facility has indoor tennis, a fitness room and classes, an indoor basketball court, and a foam mat-filled room for the little kids. The Center offers an affordable daily pass fee schedule, as well as weekly, monthly, and yearly passes.
Outside is an unusual playground built by Beanstalk Builders, the same folks that did the playground and zip line adventure course at Catawba Meadows Park in nearby Morganton NC (see below for more info on this playground) and the Beanstalk Forest TreeTop Challenge in Birmingham, AL.
The Buckeye Recreation Center has special programs throughout the year, including guided hikes, and sports leagues. During summer months, rent a canoe from the Center and paddle around Buckeye Lake.
BANNER ELK LODGE
Banner Elk is a popular getaway near Boone in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the North Carolina High Country. It’s a place that blends small town relaxation with the amenities of a larger city.
Enjoy a richness of culture and adventure. Within 15 minutes of the town’s lone stoplight, you can experience the great outdoors, fabulous dining, theater and the arts, family attractions like Grandfather Mountain, and the South’s two largest ski resorts: Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain.
HIKING THE FALLS TRAIL LOOP
The weather during our trip kept us from doing too much hiking, but the rain held off long enough for us to make the moderate 1.5-mile Falls Trail loop, which starts at the Buckeye Recreation Center. We passed gorgeous waterfalls where families can cool off with a swim during the warmer summer months.
The trail ended at Buckeye Lake, which is stocked with trout. Visit the rec center and borrow a fishing pole. You must provide your own bait, but that shouldn’t be too hard to find in the forest. Rumor has it the trout like corn, so maybe pick up a few ears at the Food Lion on your way in. Soon a crossover will connect the Falls Trail with a new section creating 15 miles of interconnected multi-use trails.
In nearby Linville, NC, is Grandfather Mountain, home to the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The admission fee may seem steep at first, anywhere from $15-$28 per person ($10 per child), but there is a lot to do here, and the views are stunning.
BEECH MOUNTAIN CLUB
Beech Mountain Club is a private country club on top of Beech Mountain opens its doors to guests during Beech Mountain’s family fun month in June. To access the club during other times of the year, rent a membership holding home or condo. Ask a local realtor for details.
Members enjoy golf, tennis, pickleball, bocce ball courts, and an outdoor heated pool. In addition, they have a wellness center and recreation department that operates programs and events throughout the year.
FAMOUS BRICK OVEN PIZZERIA
After an afternoon at the Land of Oz, Beech Mountain favorite Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria is a must for dinner. Located in the heart of Beech Mountain, it also has an arcade and mini-golf course.
BEECH MOUNTAIN RESORT
Beech Mountain Resort transitions from a snowy ski slope to a warm weather playground in the warmer months.
The resort offers disc golf, scenic lift rides and mountain biking, including mountain bike lessons and equipment rental.
MORE FUN NEAR LAND OF OZ BEECH MOUNTAIN
We visited Beech Mountain during our fall break, so we had three days to really explore. We started in Morgantown NC zipping through the trees at Beanstalk Journey Zip Line at Catawba Meadows. Beanstalk Journey is about an hour and a half from Beech Mountain and located within the Catawba Meadows public park, with ball fields on one side, picnic pavilions and unique playground on the other, so it’s easy to make a day of it.
The Beanstalk Journey is a guided course that incorporates ropes elements to get you up to the zips. No hand braking is required, so most zips are an easy fly through the trees. One of the best parts about this zip line is they allow children as young as 4 years old to enjoy the entire adventure. The catch is — kids under 70 pounds fly tandem, which didn’t bother either of the younger kids on our tour.
Other zip lines we’ve been on limit younger kids to lower zips or ground level ropes elements. For younger children, the Beanstalk Playground at Catawba Park across the street is a perfect way to swing on the ropes a little closer to the ground.
In addition to the Beanstalk playground, picnic tables and ball fields, Catawba Park also has disc golf.
Bring bikes with you and after your zip, ride along the Catawba Greenway. A paved bike path you can pick up at the park that goes along the river to downtown Morgantown.
LAND OF OZ BEECH MOUNTAIN FAQ
When was Land of Oz originally open?
Land of Oz park opened in 1970 and operated until 1980. After that, the park returned to the originally landowners, who then worked to offer the Autumn in Oz event. Autumn in Oz began being offered in 1993.
What is included in a General Admission ticket to the Autumn in Oz event?
A general admission ticket includes parking, shuttle to/from the park, meet-and-greets with all of the characters, all the live shows throughout the park, and unlimited time along the yellow brick road. While your ticket is access for one walk-through along the yellow brick road, you are able to travel it at your own leisure.
The Scenic Lift Ride & Over the Rainbow: Observation Deck are not included with this ticket type — they are an extra fee.
How long does it take to go through Oz at the Autumn at Oz festival?
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO NORTH CAROLINA
- YOUR NORTH CAROLINA VACATION
- SLEDDING: Beech Mountain Sledding Hill (+ 3 More Absurdly Cool Ways to Frolic in the Snow)
- BOONE: 24 Fun Things To Do in Boone NC You Can’t Miss
- BLOWING ROCK: 21 Fun & Amazing Things To Do in Blowing Rock NC
- APPALACHIAN SKI: Appalachian Ski Mountain NC: An Awesome Beginner Slope
We make no guarantees of any price listed on our site. We are not responsible for content on external web sites linked from ours, including linked resources, an external blog post, any partner site, hotel property sites, or affiliate sites. We only write about places we love in an attempt to help you in your adventures, but we can’t guarantee you will love them, too.
Posts may contain affiliate links at no cost to you. Several of our trips are also compensated by the respective tourism boards for the city or state we are visiting. This never impacts how we share the destination with you – opinions are always our own and we pride ourselves on that. We do not sell links or accept unsolicited guest posts under any circumstances. Don’t even ask.
United States Copyright, 365 Atlanta Family, LLC