Modern Living: Fantasia in a Gulch

"This is where reality ends," intones an artful codger togged up as old Father Time. Indeed, for the visitors he greets, the mundane is exorcised for a few hours by a free-form fantasia of mummers, monsters and midgets, pirouetting puppets and Barnum spoofery. All this is encased in The World of Sid & Marty Krofft, a spectacular amusement center that opened last week in Atlanta.

In the 20 years since Walt begat Disneyland, "theme parks" have become a staple of the American family vacation. Their diversions range from reconstituted Old World Gemütlichkeit (as in...