(CNN) – Driving through Brazil to Rio de Janeiro, you might spot an eerie sight on the side of the…
(CNN) – Driving through Brazil to Rio de Janeiro, you might spot an eerie sight on the side of the road: a derelict walk or Santas, lying abandoned surrounded by palm trees and greenery.
Look closely and you’ll see these Father Christmas clones are not alone.
There’s a sad looking sleigh and dilapidated reindeer nearby. Soon you’ll spot the faded candy canes, battered slides and an eerie house.
Welcome to Park Albanoel, in Itaguaí, Brazil – an abandoned Christmas theme park.
The park was the brainchild of politician Antonio Albano Travel, colloquially known as the “Santa Claus of Quintino” because he dressed as Santa every Christmas.
It was going to be a series of fun, themed lands over an expansive area ̵
1; about 30 million square meters – but only the Santa area was completed.
Following Travel’s death in a road accident in 2004 , Park Albanoel closed and fell into disrepair.
Several years later, British school teacher Christopher Jones was driving from Rio to Paraty with a group of friends when they spotted the spooky Santas.
Jones, a keen photographer, snapped a series of striking images capturing the park’s foreboding atmosphere. He tells CNN Travel about the unnerving experience.
Park Albanoel is an abandoned Christmas theme park in Brazil. 19659014] Courtesy Christopher Jones
Climbing out of the car and edging closer, Jones and his friends were struck by what they saw.
Jones recalls. “It’s this huge compound, completely open to the road.” “I think there was a very small wall, about a foot, two feet high and it’s just it’s completely abandoned. There’s some sort of big house or residence behind it, but the sort of lawn area at the front is just completely open.”
Exploring the park was surreal, thanks to the juxtaposition between many people’s regular associations with Christmas – joy, new life, celebration – and this macabre, ominous environment.
“[Christmas] is designed to be so happy , is not it? And joyful, “says Jones.  British School teacher Christopher Jones, a hobbiest photographer, took these shots of the park. “/>