The storied history of Geauga Lake might finally have come to an end. What is left of the once largest theme park in the world, officially will close its doors with the conclusion of the 2016 season. The waterpark posted this statement on its website today:
"Cedar Fair Entertainment Company has announced that Wildwater Kingdom water park in Aurora, Ohio, will not reopen after the 2016 season. Its final day of operation will be Monday, September 5.
Cedar Fair has been working cooperatively with both Bainbridge Township and the City of Aurora to redevelop the entire property into what will best benefit the surrounding communities. After examining its long-range plans, Cedar Fair has determined that the time is right to begin this transition and will continue to work together with community leadership in the positive future development of the property.
Cedar Fair would like to thank the residents of Northeast Ohio for supporting Wildwater Kingdom each summer."
The amusement park section of Geauga Lake closed its gates for good in September of 2007, but the Geauga Lake name survived through the water park. Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom remained open after the closure of the amusement park. However, the Geauga Lake name is now being dropped from the park's title. From now own it will be known as just Wildwater Kingdom.
Cedar Fair, the owners of Wildwater Kingdom and the property on which Geauga Lake's Amusement Park used to reside, cited declining attendance as the primary reason for closing the amusement park section in 2007. When asked about attendance numbers for the water park section by wkyc.com, Wildwater Kingdom/Cedar Point Director of Public Relations Robin Innes declined to give attendance numbers while noting that water park attendance numbers are highly dependent on the weather.
When asked by wkyc.com about the motives behind dropping Geauga Lake from the name ofWildwater Kingdom Innes said, "It has been a stand-alone attraction for four summers. This is more appropriate and better describes its offerings and the facility."
Despite their home closing in 2007, many of the coasters and rides that once operated in theGeauga Lake Amusement Park are still in operation today. Cedar Fair swooped in and relocated a large number of the rides to other parks in the Cedar Fair chain. For example,Thunderhawk was relocated to Michigan's Adventure, Dominator to King's Dominion, Steel Venom went to Dorney Park and was renamed, X Flight went to Kings Island and also underwent a name change, and many more rides as well.
After over 100 years of operation, Geauga Lake’s run as an amusement park has finally come to end. It was announced today by Cedar Fair that the rides section of Geauga Lake will close for good. However, the park’s Wildwater Kingdom water park, which opened in 2005, will continue to operate in years to come.
“The market demand simply isn’t there to support the park in its current structure,” Cedar Fair spokeswoman Stacy Frole said. She said Wildwater Kingdom, the $25 million water park Cedar Fair built on the south side of the lake, “has really been the most popular attraction at Geauga Lake. We believe that’s where the property is going to succeed — as a water park.”
Geauga Lake has been recognized as an amusement park rich in tradition and history. The park opened as a picnic grove in 1887, and the property became as amusement park in 1889. The park has changed ownership several times.
In 1969, Funtime Inc. bought the amusement park and had an impressive run of successful seasons while running the park. Premier Parks, Inc. then purchased the park in 1995, but when Six Flags purchased Premier Parks, Inc. in 1998, the park was renamed Six Flags Ohio the next season.
As a Six Flags park, the property continued to grow when in 2001, Six Flags purchased the nearby SeaWorld Cleveland at a cost of $110 million. The park was then renamed Six Flags Worlds of Adventure as it became a marine life, thrill, and water park. Then finally in 2004, the park was purchased by Cedar Fair and was renamed Geauga Lake. The marine life section of the park closed and from then on, attendance began to fall.
With the rides section of the park closing, the question is what will happen to all of the rides. That question has been left unanswered as of now, but Cedar Fair did confirm that some of the park’s major rides will be relocated to other Cedar Fair parks.
Geauga Lake’s 2008 operating schedule, admission pricing, and other operating details will be released at a later date. The 119-year-old park has had an impressive run, and it’s a disappointment for coaster enthusiasts and the general public to see the park fade into history.
On the Raging Wolf Bobs coaster at Geauga Lake, one of the trains stalled on one of the ride's hills and then rolled back.
None of the 24 riders were injured, although there was serious damage to the track and trains and might be closed for the rest of the 2007 operating season. Raging Wolf Bobs is one of eight roller coasters at Geauga Lake Amusement Park, a Cedar Fair park.
All passengers that were on the ride were checked and treated for any minor injuries and then released back into the park. This event is under investigation.
Raging Wolf Bobs has been operating since 1988 without any similar incidents. The wooden coaster reaches a maximum speed of 50 m.p.h. It was recently modified with new trains to replace the originals.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company purchased Geauga Lake amusement park, formally known as Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, from Six Flags Inc. in April of 2004 thinking that the park would continue to be a popular tourists attraction. Over the past couple years, the costs of renovations, operating and maintenance costs, and a lower than expected attendance rate has caused the park to look into a direction and become a more regional based family-entertainment park.
With Cedar Point, also owned by Cedar Fair and known as the roller coaster capital of the world, being located not that far away from Geauga Lake. They have decided to give the park a more family based image to differ itself from the other major amusement parks in Ohio. This process of changing the park’s image has already begun with the removal of X-Flight and soon Steel Venom will be dismantled.
Both of these major roller coasters were located near the park’s main entrance, which Jack Falfas, Cedar Fair's Chief Operating Officer, stated made the park “not as inviting.” X-Flight has already been dismantled and will reopen this spring as the Firehawk at another on of Cedar Fair’s amusement parks located in Ohio, Kings Island. Steel Venom will be placed in storage for this season and it will likely reopen for the 2008 season at another Cedar Fair amusement park.
The park’s monorail, which runs through where Geauga Lake’s original water park once stood located near the park’s main entrance, will also be removed. Also, before the 2006 operating season, the park dismantled Mr. Hyde’s Nasty Fall freefall ride, which was located in the same area of the park where these rides that are being removed were located. So with these changes to the park, Geauga Lake has made it clear that they want the park to appeal to families and become regional attraction rather than be a destination for thrill-seekers.
Even with the removal of these major roller coasters and rides, the park is currently scheduled to have new expensive paint jobs done on two of its major roller coasters. One of these newly repainted roller coasters will now feature cameras in every seat so now visitors will be able to buy a video souvenir of their ride. The Raging Wolf Bobs wooden coaster has now been completely refurbished, and the park’s movie simulation ride will be rethemed for this season. In addition to all of this, the park also plans to add some new attractions but it is not known what these new attraction will be yet.