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5 Tragic Reasons Why the World's Largest Theme Park Stands Abandoned in Ohio

So that’s it. After 120 years of history, Geauga Lake crashed and burned in seven, with Wildwater Kingdom following closely behind. The new millennium and the Six Flags Ohio moniker were the beginning of the end for the little Ohio park. What exactly went wrong? Keeping in mind that Geauga Lake’s downfall and closure are the result (and the blame) of many, many people and ideas and strategies, here are a few guesses.

1. Over-expansion

Definitely the number one culprit, Six Flags's idea to supercharge the park was not an altruistic one. Original plans called for an aggressive expansion of Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville. The park’s major competitor, Paramount’s Kings Island, launched a pre-emptive strike to combat that expansion by investing $40 million of their own into a new land and three new headlining rides. (To give you a sense of the time frame, one of those headlining rides was 2000's disastrous Son of Beast, the subject of its own Lost Legends entry.) Six Flags relented and left the Kentucky park to wither, instead shifting investment to their new Ohio venture, installing four major coasters in two years...

The idea was not to gift Northeast Ohio with investment. Plain and simple: it was to defeat Cedar Point. The reigning coaster capital of the world was decidedly ahead in the arms race of the era (now remembered as the Coaster Wars), and Six Flags sought to combat that with Worlds of Adventure. The influx of coasters might’ve evened out the statistics, but the artificial growth spurt put the park way in the red. It was a big risk to hope that the investment would be worth it.

In the end, we can begrudgingly admit that Cedar Fair was actually doing the right thing by paring the park back down to a local family park instead of clinging on to mega-destination dreams. It just didn’t read that way to locals who watched the company move in like vultures and pick the place apart while Cedar Point flourished. And then they went and ruined any goodwill by closing it altogether, as if no park of any size could reasonably exist there despite 120 years of history saying otherwise.

2. Bigger is not better

Different from over-expansion, we’re talking here about the sheer massive size of Worlds of Adventure. At about 700 acres altogether, the mega-park was literally created by building a bridge between a full-sized Six Flags and a full-sized SeaWorld. Consider the scope of it: Disneyland Park is about 70 acres (or one-tenth the size) while the garganuan Animal Kingdom is 500 (including the giant safari area traversed by truck.) Conceptually, it was brilliant and kind of incredible. But the reality of walking around the park was staggering. Consider also that creating one theme park out of two meant that Worlds of Adventure had two massive parking lots. Two main entrances. Two Guest Service centers. Two lost-and-founds. Two main gift shops. Two everything. It was not unusual for guests to end their day exhausted and find themselves in the wrong parking lot on the wrong side of the property.

And even if the park’s physical property doubled, it did not double the park’s infrastructure. Two local parks might combine to a mega-park on paper, but their facilities don’t. Restrooms and restaurants and internal facilities and queues and pathways were built for local crowds. Six Flags begged for crowd levels to rival Cedar Point's, and they got them! The massive groups that descended on Worlds of Adventure in its first years were simply more than either park was meant to handle, overwhelming the infrastructure. Cramped, crowded, and unprepared. Those were the words used to describe Worlds of Adventure’s premiere seasons. There wasn’t enough of anything, and everything was too small.

3. Six Flags’ management

Six Flags in the early 2000s was much different than the Six Flags of today. Concentrated on coasters and not much else, Six Flags parks at that time were infamous: poorly maintained, poorly staffed by poorly prepared employees, and poorly run. On a corporate level, it was all about massive rides. Six Flags did exactly as expected of them by pushing four massive coasters into what had been a charming family park of mild thrills. And there they stopped. In their effort to compete with Cedar Point, they forgot just about everything else that a winning park needs. A de facto policy of the company at the time was, “Build it and they will come.” And they did come to see the new spectacular park near Cleveland. Trouble is, they didn’t come back.

Six Flags’ financial position also lead to unusual business choices. At the time, their strategy for all of their properties was simple: admission was dirt-cheap. A season pass to Worlds of Adventure (which included admission to all Six Flags parks, by the way) was $49.99. The strategy was to pack the park by dropping admission to fatally low prices, then charge for games, food, parking, snacks, and toys. “If we can just them in the park,” they seemed to think, “then we’ve got them.” The plan only exacerbated the "Bigger is not better" problem, above, and attracted crowds from Cleveland who were brought in via an intentional bus line that Six Flags lobbied for. Like it or not, the park was quickly identified as a place families didn't care to be, packed with roving gangs of unaccompanied teenagers whose $50 season passes doubled as free babysitting all summer long.

As the composition of the park's visitors changed, the parents, grandparents, and locals families who had made Geauga Lake and SeaWorld their homes away from home for generations bailed.

Zooming out from the Worlds of Adventure property, Six Flags as a whole was drowning under massive debt when they sold the park in 2003. The rapid and insatiable expansion of the brand in the early 2000s had seen their property count swell to unprecedented numbers, and the issues detailed above seemed to plague most of them. Six Flags as a whole had expanded too quickly, and with the wrong underlying principles at their foundation.

It likely didn't take long for them to see that their investment in Ohio was not fruitful. To reiterate: Six Flags Worlds of Adventure did get the record crowds they'd hoped for. But those visitors didn't come back the next year. Or the year after. Six Flags was in trouble, and they needed to offload the inflated Ohio property as fast as they could. To put it into perspective, Six Flags inherited Geauga Lake and spent about $60 million to turn it into Six Flags Ohio. They then bought SeaWorld Ohio for $110 million – a relative steal. Just three years later, Six Flags sold the entire Worlds of Adventure complex (the combined marine park, ride park, and water park) for $145 million… In other words, they sold it at massive loss out of desperation. They unloaded their European parks and many U.S. parks shortly thereafter, and even filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. They've only now re-emerged as a strong company that has almost nothing in common with the Six Flags that operated the park in Ohio.

4. Cedar Fair’s management

When Cedar Fair took over the park in 2004, they were determined to do things differently. They publicly tried to de-emphasize thrills and recast the park as a family one, just as it always had been before Six Flags' overblown expansion. It was the right move, and the direction the park probably should’ve been heading in. Six Flags’ time at the helm alienated the many generations who grew up there. Humongous roller coasters aside, the very atmosphere of the park felt changed when the park was suddenly overrun by an influx of thrill-seekers and teenagers.

Cedar Fair may have been right to turn the clock back. They just took it too far, and made their own foolish mistakes in their rush to undo the park's rapid growth. Still-burnt fans call them greedy. Maybe. There's just no good way to explain to locals why a brand-new and groundbreaking roller coaster like X-Flight was being removed so that another park could have it.

What was probably the biggest hit to Geauga Lake's future had nothing to do with the Ohio park's performance: in 2006 – just two years after purchasing Geauga Lake – Cedar Fair expanded big time. Paramount Parks (a competing chain of five regional theme parks owned  by CBS) went up for sale. Apparently, then-CEO of Cedar Fair Dick Kinzel was so enamored with Ohio's Paramount's Kings Island, he decreed that Cedar Fair would buy the Paramount Parks come hell or high water. They met both when Cedar Fair paid $1.24 billion for the chain (a figure that many analysts agree was well above Cedar Fair's means), and the company was plunged into massive debt from which they're only now recovering.

Cedar Fair's game-changing purchase of the Paramount Parks almost doubled their park lineup, and this massive purchase required immense reorganization. First, the legacy and Paramount Parks would need integrated together infrastructurally as ticket systems, POS systems, pass systems, and more had to change. Just as importantly, Cedar Fair at once had to set out absorbing the former Paramount Parks into their own brand. That meant the hasty removal of any movie themes within the parks. (If you think Cedar Fair's de-branding of Geauga Lake was bad, imagine nearby Kings Island, which lost of the most incredible, well-themed rides ever to grace a regional theme park, TOMB RAIDER: The Ride.)

Languishing under the debt from the Paramount Parks purchase and still investing big money into tweaking those parks, Cedar Fair was ill-equipped for the absolute financial meltdown of 2007 recession, which hit at just the wrong time for the company.

Cedar Fair seemed to make their own desperate decisions as the chain struggled to make ends meet. Put simply:

  • Geauga Lake may have just been the newest and easiest to part with when times got tough. The recent purchase of the Paramount Parks overshadowed the also-new Geauga Lake.
  • Eliminating Geauga Lake also happened reduced competition to Cedar Point.
  • Closing the park allowed Six Flags’ over-expanded coasters to be re-distributed through Cedar Fair’s chain.

On paper, it was a win-win.

In hindsight, even Cedar Fair’s management would probably admit to big mistakes in closing Geauga Lake, and especially in the way they closed it. Sometimes decisions sting in the present, but make sense in retrospect. Geauga Lake’s closing still seems absurd since Cedar Fair manages tiny little parks like Michigan’s Adventure and Valleyfair that even a pared-down Geauga Lake would’ve fit nicely with. There's no reason Geauga Lake couldn't have been inched back down to a charming family park. It wouldn't have been ideal and locals would probably never forgive the death of SeaWorld, but at least there would still be a park to see.

5. Location, location, location

Despite brochures advertising the park as being located in Cleveland, the park was actually in Aurora, Ohio, a tiny town about 40 minutes from the city on a good traffic day. No interstates pass by, so a trip to the park was a trip along state routes and two-lane county roads through small Ohio towns amid vast expanses of nature. For most of the park's century-long life, it had been the people of those towns and the surrounding region who had visited the park – a complimentary relationship that had made it so successful. 

The park’s sudden growth to Worlds of Adventure (and its subsequent national advertising campaign) was quite literally overnight, and at once those little towns exploded in construction, hoping to widen their tiny roads to five-lane highways to prepare for the national tourists who would flock to the park. Locals were no longer the target market, yet it was their towns that were being uprooted to accomodate this new mega-park.

And guests who did travel from neighboring states to Worlds of Adventure were able to stay in the many, many hotels that popped up around the park… Err, wait… Located in the middle of rural Ohio and instantaneously shifted from a local park to a marketed destination on par with Cedar Point, there was no time for hoteliers to even try to open locations near the park. A motel down the road got to be Six Flags’ official hotel, if only because there was almost nothing else. There were a handful of hotels, sure, but nothing to support the theme park resort that had appeared. So while Cedar Point visitors can choose from a half-dozen official, partnered hotels and dozens more in the area that had grown with the park over a century, Worlds of Adventure had almost nothing... certainly not enough to handle the huge crowds. That's the price of shifting the marketing from Northeast Ohio to the entire country...

Location didn't help Wildwater Kingdom much, either... A standalone water park in Northeast Ohio didn't seem the smartest business plan, and rumors surfaced every single year that the tiny water park would follow in its predecessor’s footsteps and quietly close for good at the end of the season. By time its eventual closure was announced in 2016, it had gone a full decade without a notable investment.

Saying goodbye

Locals may never forgive Cedar Fair for what they did to Geauga Lake. To be fair, though, it was just a nail in a coffin that had been closing for some time. For the reasons above, Worlds of Adventure might have been doomed. That doesn’t necessarily mean Geauga Lake was. Despite Cedar Fair’s last comments on the subject, Northeast Ohio could support a family amusement park. Indeed, it did for 120 years.

As it is now, the case of Geauga Lake is closed. The property is flattened. Now, even the remaining Wildwater Kingdom is closed for good. Any hopes for a theme park operator to purchase the land and cobble together a nice, quiet family park can be pretty quickly abandoned, as Cedar Fair would never allow the property to be sold to any entity hoping to recreate an amusement park of any size unless they're willing to pay well over its value. 

It’s just especially a shame to see the entire infrastructure totally leveled. Truly like a vulture came through and picked it clean. It’s not even one of those ghostly-looking abandoned parks. It’s flattened. The knowledge that the overgrown paths of the park still weave around concrete foundations is haunting enough.

This is not the way Geauga Lake's story should end. And yes, it’s one of countless amusement parks in the world that were cut down in their prime, all of which have dedicated and loyal locals who will never forget their own parks' tragic stories. The difference is that Geauga Lake went out with quite a bang, not as a shriveled, sad underdog. The unique circumstances and story of this park's instant rise to international headlines, its fusion of two leading park brands, and its dismal destruction over a decade give it a story that is so unlike anything that's ever happened before or would ever happen again. 

Fans of the park never did get their goodbye, and pangs of guilt still ripple through their stomachs because of it. Even for those who never saw this park or never knew it existed, a mile in the shoes of locals should be gutwrenching and tragic – what if this fate befell your local park?

Still, we'll always wonder how this...

... became this...

... in just five years.

For lots more information on Geauga Lake, Six Flags Ohio, and Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, visit Geauga Lake Today & Forever, a fan community turned memorial site that tracked the park’s growth and decline, including invaluable images and park maps that were used in this feature. All of the photos used in this feature are via Geauga Lake Today & Forever unless otherwise noted.

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There are 342 comments.

wow! I lived in the little red house on Geauga Lake in 1996 and used to sit at the end of the dock at lunch time and the Sea World skiers during their routine would swing close to the dock and high five me. My Dad and I were hired to build "Grizzly Run".
I made some really cool friends while I lived there, I wish I knew Kevin's last name, and there was this girl, I really liked her.

JP Strait
Aspen CO.

I remember my family packing multiple coolers and picnic baskets and setting up our picnic under the double loop at one of the hundreds of picnic tables. Yes, you could actually bring in your own food and drinks (this was the 80’s). My cousin’s and I, along with a parent/aunt/uncle would take off and hit as many rides as possible, then meet up for lunch, as a family. Then, we’d split off again and go to the wave and the water park for the afternoon, and return again to our picnic table for a family dinner. Family dinner at an amusement park you’re your mom brought…imagine. After dinner, my family would spend the rest of the night riding our favorite rides (Witches Wheel, Big Dipper, Scrambler, Bumper Cars, Log Ride, etc…when I was around 10-12 year old, they added the Raging Wolf Bobs and Texas Twister – two of my favorites) and finally end the night on the Rotor and Musical Express. There were so many nights I was laughing so hard with my mom and sister riding the Musical Express I actually peed my pants. It makes me tear up thinking my childhood memories were degraded to nothing.

Does anyone know the answer to one of my childhood mysteries…Who was that guy that never got off the Rotor, and Why was he on there all the time? He was so interesting, yet I was afraid of him as a child. Ha!

I remember that guy. Some one told me he was trying for a world recorded. He looked like a drunk to me though... Lol

I'm SOOOOO glad you brought him up. You must be close to my age because I felt exactly the same way about that guy. Thinking back on it now, I bet he was one of those Millionaires who lived the homeless lifestyle. I think he bought a season pass and just sat on that ride all day. That is the memory I will never forget.

Haha!! I remember him!! Rotor Ron! He scared me as a kid too because his hair was all wild from riding that ride all day. I rode next to him one year as a dare :) So sad this park is gone...I remember going there during Physics class in high school as a field trip to take measurements on the rides. So sad...

Does anyone remember this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaJzgJMc5h4 and http://www.rbbi.com/folders/acc/seaworld/cnn19.htm
I remember this on the news very clearly. This was the demise of SW in Ohio. After the boat went into the crowd, it was over.

Thank you for sharing that video of the boat accident. You confirmed something that someone told me many years ago. I was not sure if that really happened or not.

Back to the girl. We used to ride roller coasters together, I still have out picture and Kevin was with us.

-Justin

Justin, I'm curious about the girl. Did you marry her or something, or are you seriously looking for her?

Justin, I'm curious about the girl. Did you marry her or something, or are you seriously looking for her?

As some other people have mentioned, I have to disagree with your idealized version of events with the Six Flags takeover. This was my local theme park. As many in Northeast Ohio, coasters became part of my blood. Cedar Point was the end-all be all. Geauga Lake was close and awesome. Kings Island was another heavy hitter in Ohio.

It was the Six Flags takeover that ended it all. In one year, they took on too much and produced mostly mediocre coasters. The batman ride was boring. The villain? It was the worst modern wood coaster I've ever experienced. Simply painful. And with steel foundations, isn't a true "wood" coaster. Spiderman was fun but hardly unique. X-Flight was amazing when it was actually operational (aka rarely).

The first year it combined with Sea World, you could already predict the end. The park was gross. Our perfectly clean and family friendly park had become overrun with rowdy teens (and I WAS a teen at the time) and everything was dirty, litter everywhere. Employees were rude, even corrupt (one employee was taking money from people's pockets to ride XFlight because they couldn't have change on the ride...so she kept it!).

And the worst part? We decided to venture over the the Sea World side. We were only there 20 minutes or so before we went straight back. We walked up to a seal exhibit (i love seals!) and were horrified to see a "trainer" that was our age. Simply commanding them to do tricks for the crowd in exchange for treats and getting irritated when they stopped listening to her. It was crowd entertainment pure and simple. The seals were tired and overworked. The atmosphere was awkward and quiet. The park dirty and mostly abandoned. Sea World was a staple field trip in our day. My science teachers often took summer jobs there. The place was never a theme park. It was more like a zoo with an extra emphasis on the educational. Trainers were science teachers. They cared about the animals and about preservation and education. Here, it was just for show. Six Flags wreaked so much havoc on the park in those few years, I'm not surprised that Cedar Fairs picked it up and later abandoned it. And rightfully so, got rid of the animals. In fact, there were rampant rumors before the park sold about animal abuse and adequate training for employees. The only way to even ATTEMPT to save the park was to get rid of all the animals.

By the time Six Flags was done, the park was already a shell of its former self. So I wasn't nearly as sad to let it go as some people. As you mentioned, Six Flags added 20 rides in just 2 years. What you didn't mention was how many old and historic rides were ripped out. They were not sold to other parks, just trashed. They got rid of a perfectly wonderful Tilt-a-Whirl. And the one thing I'll never forgive them for? The rotor. It was the last ride surviving of its kind perhaps anywhere. There MIGHT be one other left...I researched it once. Six Flags just threw it out and that was that. Besides the Big Dipper, they maintained nothing that made the park the wonderful family amusement park it once was. Cedar Fairs may have changed the named of copyrighted rides but the sheer addition of those rides (Superman, Batman, etc etc) to the park never belonged.

Never got to this park, but Boblo Island in the Detroit River had the Rotor too. That was a great ride, sticking to the sides while still being outside, unlike the carnival Gravatron.

Yes!!! The Gravitron!!

Oh my goodness, the memories.

It moves me to tears.

Thanks so much!
Take care!

This comment sums everything up better and faster than 5(!!) pages of hyperbole could not do. I grew up going to Geauga Lake--as a teenager in the 90's it was close enough that our parents would let us drive there but far enough away that it felt like we had so much freedom. It was the Six Flags transformation that did Geauga Lake in.

Furthermore... Don't title your post promising a numbered list when you have to go through 1000+ words of copy to get to it. Also, all the speculation and hyperbole is a bit unnecessary. Unless you titled the post "What I think Went Wrong With Geauga Lake" or "One Verbose Writer Speculates On The Downfall of Geauga Lake."

Absolutely agree with you on this. I went all the time as a kid in the early 90s and once Six Flags took over, it was terrible.

I so agree with you. Six Flags killed Geauga Lake. I love coasters, but one ride on Villian was enough. I was bruised for the entire day.

I know your comment is now like two years old but I want to say how glad I am that there is someone else who sees what happened to Geauga Lake. This article is clearly very biased. I was at Geauga Lake that last summer that Six Flags owned for the first time in years and I wanted to cry as soon as we pulled in the parking lot. Weeds growing up in cracks in the parking lot, landscaping overgrown and just HORRIBLE looking. The state of the rides...Six Flags had broken up kiddy land and just randomly scattered it all over the park. The rides were making noise, a lot of them. The Double Loop squeaked so much that I wouldn't ride it. It war horrible. And empty. It was like going to Geauga Lake in it's hayday, middle of the week, one a bad weather day. We got in line, rode rides than turned around and got right back on them. The place was a ghost town. It makes me sick that Cedar Faire got so much of the blame. Yes, they changed the names of things. They had no choice. That was a contract issue. They couldn't leave the rides with Six Flag-themed names. Same with King's Island. It was a copyright issue. See, the thing is, Geauga lake, even in it's hayday, was NOT competition for Cedar Point. It never was! Geauga Lake was a family park that ran at a slower pace. It had a few thrills rides but was geared towards families. Cedar Point was a coaster park. They had co-existed not terribly far from each other for what? 100 years? People forget this. Cedar Point ALSO was opened in the 1800's. As a swimming hole. And just like Geauga Lake, it grew from there.

Dont blame Cedar Fair for the downfall... Six Flags had a mentality if let em in the gate for free and they will spend money ... Didn't work... Also look at the millennium... Six flags added three coasters at the park for less money than Cedar Point spent on Millennium Force... Again an example of the sux flags mentality at the time... Give em anything they will come. By the time Cedar Fsur bought the park the park was over built for the true attendance

Dont blame Cedar Fair for the downfall... Six Flags had a mentality if let em in the gate for free and they will spend money ... Didn't work... Also look at the millennium... Six flags added three coasters at the park for less money than Cedar Point spent on Millennium Force... Again an example of the sux flags mentality at the time... Give em anything they will come. By the time Cedar Fsur bought the park the park was over built for the true attendance

i actually grew up in aurora where sea world and geauga lake was a place that I had season passes to every year! I loved that place and many of my friends and relatives had jobs there. I graduated in 2001 so I got to watch all of this unfold in front of my eyes. It sucked and stil does. I don't live far from there now and have to drive by it frequently and it makes me sad every time. The middle school and highschool memories I had a that place will never be forgotten. I as a regular at the park could see how bad the park was getting. As in the coasters were changing names, the cleanliness of the park was just going down hill! I really wish that someone that had money would buy the park and make it geauga lake again! As for now they use the parking lot on the geauga lake side for police training and drag racing. It's so sad. Thank you for this article. I really appreciated it.

This whole thing just breaks my heart. I lived in Aurora during the Six Flags era. It was fantastic. Now I go back and visit and it's a barren wasteland. What Cedar Fair did to Aurora should be considered a crime. They should NEVER have been allowed to leave it like that, with boarded up and dilapidated structures serving as a depressing eyesore. They have a responsibility to clean up that land and do SOMETHING with it at least! They need to be held accountable.

I went there the last summer Six Flags owned it. It was FAR from fantastic. The place was a run down mess. Did you actually GO there only drive by? The rides were run down. That last summer the place was all but a ghost town. Cedar Faire did NOTHING to Aurora. If Aurora loved the park so much and had actually GONE there those last couple of years then it would still be there. The place wasn't getting en ugh business to stay open. Should they at least clean it up now? Absolutely. That is there only fault here. And they are TRYING to do something with it. They are trying to sell off the land for other uses.

Also, I wish the park would be bought by the owner of Waldameer in Erie, PA. For anyone who hasn't been to that park, it is a fantastic little family park that is just a joy to visit. No two-hour lines, lots of flat rides, and even a couple of cool coasters. The current owner has been doing some expansion that really fits with the rest of the park, no MAJOR thrill rides aside from adding a large wooden coaster, just a bunch of cool flat rides that everyone can enjoy. They really focus on beautiful landscaping, clean facilities, and an enjoyable experience for all. And because of this, they're THRIVING. They don't get in over their head financially and they are growing organically. I'll always go to Waldameer but I'd love to see Geauga Lake turned into a family park like that. I'm a theme park enthusiast who likes the full experience, not just the big thrills. And I know there's probably PLENTY of families who would enjoy the same.

What a Great idea!! Really enjoyed Waldameer Park. But I miss Sea World and Geauga Lake and the many memories I have growing up in the 70's and 80's. Sad now but thanks for the article.

I'm from Erie and grew up going to Waldemeer several times a year. I loved that all the local businesses had family picnic days and the park would supply food in the picnic groves then afterwards everyone could go and enjoy the park, and all for a very affordable discounted price. Many of my friends had jobs there during high school and I took summer art classes there too. I loved it there and still do. I've moved away since high school but I still return to go there at least once a year. They're currently putting in the biggest Wavepool in the tri state area. That's definitely going to be hard to compete with.

Perfectly stated Kit! Thank you. I love Waldameer, and their model of building a family park should be duplicated.

Yes. I do not know her name but she was good friends with a guy named Kevin that lives pretty close to Geauga lake although while going through some old photos from 1996 I did find pictures of her and him. When my dad and I were building grizzly run we spent the summer there and I had one of the best summers of my life.

That was a well written article and nearly had me in tears. I've never been to the park and it was on my list of places to visit when I read the news on the Florida Coaster Clubs message board. I now understand why the residents of Northeastern Ohio resent Cedar Fair so much but it most likely can be traced back to Six Flags. It just seems that Six Flags expanded its brand too quickly and focused on roller coasters at all of its parks instead of focusing on the family aspect. I can see why Kennywood and Waldameer Parks God a bit of a bump in attendance numbers as well. I just that Conneaut Lake Park would've seen a bump in attendance or they migh not be in financial trouble as well.

That was a well written article and nearly had me in tears. I've never been to the park and it was on my list of places to visit when I read the news on the Florida Coaster Clubs message board. I now understand why the residents of Northeastern Ohio resent Cedar Fair so much but it most likely can be traced back to Six Flags. It just seems that Six Flags expanded its brand too quickly and focused on roller coasters at all of its parks instead of focusing on the family aspect. I can see why Kennywood and Waldameer Parks God a bit of a bump in attendance numbers as well. I just that Conneaut Lake Park would've seen a bump in attendance or they migh not be in financial trouble as well.

Would love to see a similar timeline run on the closing of Opryland in Nashville. Those of us in the mid-south still get sad every summer that we no longer have that great little park to take our families to. Very sad when people in authority make such stupid decisions.

i find this article very interesting because Cedar Fair came over to California and bought Great America.. And almost killed it off too. Thankfully it seems that they are getting a hold of it again and making it a little more exciting! They came in and sold all kinds of cools rides and left it with boring twirling rides.. But they built a water park that is fun and they are bringing more life to it. Hopefully the future will be much brighter than what happened to this other theme park. Maybe Disney should make another park there.

i find this article very interesting because Cedar Fair came over to California and bought Great America.. And almost killed it off too. Thankfully it seems that they are getting a hold of it again and making it a little more exciting! They came in and sold all kinds of cools rides and left it with boring twirling rides.. But they built a water park that is fun and they are bringing more life to it. Hopefully the future will be much brighter than what happened to this other theme park. Maybe Disney should make another park there.

I found this article to be very interesting even though I have never been to these parks or Ohio.
I knew Sea World had a park there but never really researched why it closed. I never heard of the other park nor the lake but for a place that was there for over a hundred years the people that own Cedar Point should be ashamed. You ever destroy history without eventually destroying yourself.

I remember this park so well. When our kids were little my youngest being only 3 we took them to this park. We had a ball there. We also went to cedar point one year in sand dusky and loved it too. I am sad to see it is no longer there as it brings back a lot of good memories.

Kings Island is my family's favorite amusement park. We were lucky enough to discover it before Cedar Fair purchased it. The movie themed rides and tons of characters from Nickolodeon made it extra enticing and fun. Now that Cedar Fair is running it the only characters you see are from Peanuts. Most children these days don't even know who Charlie Brown is. At 42 I can't even name most of the characters we ran into the last time we visited. We miss the old Kings Island!!

Well it was Paramounts that ran the park into the ground and Cedar Fair brought the park back to life.

The old Kings Island was Hana Barbara. I'm from Ohio and frequently went to all the parks, Geauga Lake, Sea World, Kings Island, & Cedar Point. They all bring back many memories. I'm Glad to see that some historic parks are left... Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh and Knoebels in Elysburg PA.

When Kings Island was part of Hanna Barbaria that is when I considered it to be fun.

Kings Island was at its best during 70s and 80s. 90s EH paramount RUINED it! Nickelodeon is not classic. the only good thing paramount did was build the water park. as for Cedar Fair owning it now they've done some good refurbishments I also very much enjoy the Snoopy and Charlie Brown's themed areas and gifts at least that's classic. who remembers Fairly OddParents from Nickelodeon. and to say you are 42 years old and don't know any of the Charlie Brown characters personally I think that's sad. I am 45 and still watch all the Snoopy and Charlie Brown seasonal cartoons its classic if you grow up in the sixty's seventy's and eighty's! as for this park I knew there was a SeaWorld in Ohio but I had never been I have only been to Cedar Point. I really didn't know about both of these parts together that's very sad that they let the sparks fall apart I truly hope Cedar Fair does not ever do this to Kings Island I grew up in Cincinnati I've had a season pass to Kings Island since I was 14 years old and I have gone every summer of my life since I was 2 years old. but this is why I prefer the Walt Disney World Resort when I want to travel you never know what you're going to get at any other park but with Disney or universal Studios you know you're going to have a good time

All of you blaming Cedar Faire for the change of themeing in these parks needs to do some research. They HAD to change the names of things and the themeing. It was part of the purchase. Those characters and names are copyrighted. They had to be changed.

parks like this only make is in Cali , FL ect ect . Too much $$$ to maintain the park in the 4 -5 month period where is not being used and bringing in 0 $ while sunny states have it open all year around !

Cedarpoint is on the shore of lake Erie. It is the coaster capital of the world and makes tons of money. It is owned by the same company.

Incorrect, Six Flags Magic Mountain is the capital.

Never even heard of Six Flags Magic Mountain....Cedar Point, I've heard of, and they currently hold the world record for number of roller coasters in a single park.

At the peak of the coaster wars, Magic Mountain and Cedar Point traded off on several different records several times, including most coasters in a park. Magic Mountain actually has Cedar Point beat at the moment, with 19 coasters to CP's 16.

SFMM might have CP beat in coaster count, but Cedar Point has a higher attendance number. CP is the most attended seasonal park in the United States.

CP also has the luxury of not having the competition of 3 other major theme parks (one of which is DISNEYLAND) that are only an hour's drive away.

Cedar Point has been there since the 1800's. They've never had an issue maintaining the park in a state with actual changing seasons. They park is just as popular as ever. A park doesn't need to be in a hot state to flourish.

Thanks for the article! I'm from Shelby Twp. too, and went to these parks once when I was a kid in 1995. Just wanted to set the record straight by saying that Six Flags, as much as they're trying not to be, is still all about thrills and nothing else. I live by Magic Mountain, and as thrilling as it is, it's basically just about the rides. I still like it, cause I'm a coaster fanatic and it's super cheap compared to the other parks in SoCal, but it's no Cedar Point. They're trying to add things like Halloween and Christmas events, and family rides but they just can't seem to get it right. The quality of these new additions is just not there; it's like, what's the point? They're still the same company they were back in the early 2000's. Anyone else agree with me on this or know about their other parks?

Soooo many great memories on these foot paths. My wife and I used to come here every year before our only child was born. Then when our daughter was about 8yrs old we started to bring her with us. In fact, my daughters first roller coaster ride was the Mind Eraser. Now the Mind Eraser, the park, and my wife of 19yrs. are gone. My wife passed tragically in 2010. Thanks to all who was involved in the closing of this park and destroying a lot of great memories for many people.

Interesting story and it breaks my heart. I spent many summers there in the late 60's & 70's. In fact part of my honeymoon was spent there in 1976 after spending time at Cedar Point. My husband had never been to either so it was a treat to share with him what I grew up with. As our children and then grandchildren came along we shared those same experiences with them. Last trip there came at the time it became six flags around 2004 and the change was most certainly evident.No longer a family oriented park, it was woefully over priced(ie food, souvenirs, games, etc)and gone was the close family oriented atmosphere. So sad and shame on six flags & cedar point for allowing this to happen. I still have my memories and will continue to hold them dear to my heart.

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