Popular Deer Forest amusement park for sale in Southwest Michigan

A rural amusement park popular for decades in southwestern Michigan is on the auction block.

Visitors could pet animals, ride a Ferris wheel or train and listen to music at Deer Forest in Coloma. The 25-acre site in Berrien County is for sale, along with many buildings that are in rough shape but still standing.

"Perhaps residential might make sense for whomever buys it," said Rick Levin of Rick Levin & Associates, who is handling the sale. "I don’t know if the best use is a zoo and fun park anymore, but we’ve had a lot of people calling with their fond memories of going here."

The suggested opening bid is $450,000, though the property had been valued at $3.2 million, Levin said.

The deadline for the sealed bid auction is 4 p.m. EDT on Oct. 14.

Cecil Potts founded the park in 1949. By 1989, more than 3.5 million people had visited Deer Forest, The Herald-Palladium reported.

It has been closed since 2014.

Rachel Edwards of Coloma fondly remembers a small red house known as Santa’s Summer Village.

"You’d go inside and imagine it was where Santa went in the summer for vacation. There was even a sleigh you could sit in. ... I know it would take a lot of work, but I would love for whomever buys it to reopen it," Edwards told MLive.com.