The story of Geauga Lake’s downfall is infuriating

One of the best parts for those of us growing up in the Cleveland area was having Geauga Lake/Six Flags right in our backyard in Aurora. I remember spending days upon days there during the summer months, taking school field trips there, and going in the fall for their annual Halloween Haunt/Fright Fest. Well, that is until 2007 when it closed its gates forever.

If you ever visited Geauga Lake, I highly recommend reading this article by Theme Park Tourist. If you don’t have 20 minutes to kill, here are the Sparknotes:

– Geauga Lake was founded in 1887 and started out as a picnic meadow before it was soon home to a ballroom, and a steamboat that hosted dance parties on weekends. In 1925 the Big Dipper opened and it was the fastest and tallest rollercoaster of its time. Yep, the Big Dipper was its generation’s Top Thrill Dragster.

– Sea World opened across the lake in 1970. Shamu and co. were located only hundreds of feet from Geauga Lake.

– Geauga Lake was bought by Premier Parks in 1995 and they added Mind Eraser and Grizzly Run.

-Renamed Six Flags Ohio in 2000, the park opened 20 new rides including 4 major rollercoasters. Villain, Batman Knight Flight, Superman: Ultimate Escape, and X-Flight.

-In 2001 Anheuser Busch (the owner of the adjacent Sea World) wanted to buy Six Flags Ohio. It would have probably been branded “Busch Gardens, Ohio” but we’ll never know. Six Flags countered Sea World’s offer and bought Sea World for $110 million. Sea World would be combined with Six Flags.

-The park opened up as Six Flags World Of Adventure in 2001 and became the largest amusement park in the entire world. Amazing. Largest in the world. I had no idea.

– In 2004, 4 years after the park was called Six Flags and 3 years after it combined with Sea World, Six Flags Worlds of Adventure was purchased by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. The same people who own Cedar Point. They changed the name back to Geauga Lake and eliminated everything having to do with Looney Tunes or Marvel characters. If that wasn’t enough they also changed the names of all the popular rides and rollercoasters.

– Cedar Fair wanted nothing to do with animals so the Sea World side of the park was left with only stupid climbing nets, a 4D simulator and boring rides.

-The park changed its name in 2006 to Geauga Lake and Wildwater Kingdom and everything started going to shit.

-The park removed X-Flight and Steel Venom (Superman) from the park in hopes to give off a more local and family feel to the park. Or so they say. Everyone knew that getting rid of 2 prominent rides lessened competition with Cedar Point. The main takeaway I had from this article is that Cedar Fair really sucks.

– In 2007 the park shut down the Raging Wolf Bobs at the beginning of the season and eliminated the spring and Halloween events and closed on September 16, 2007.

-Five days later, FIVE DAYS, Geauga Lake closed it’s gates for good. “There were no goodbyes. No last rides. No apologies. No final tours or memorial events. No last chance for photos. Nothing.”

– Six years after becoming the largest park in the world, Geauga Lake was reduced to just one little rinky dink waterpark. Cedar Fair said this was best for business. No more competition to Cedar Point. Dicks.

– Geauga Lake wasn’t just closed. It was scrapped. Any relocatable coasters were moved, finding new homes at Kings Dominion, Carowinds, and Michigan’s Adventure. Flat rides, too, found their way to the chain’s other parks. The Villain – just seven years old – was scrapped. So was the Raging Wolf Bobs coaster. That’s all expected. But everything from food stands to gift shops were ransacked and cut to their foundations. Obliterated.

-The only remaining attraction at Geauga Lake today is the Big Dipper. There aren’t even any bathrooms still standing.

– But that’s all good. At least there are some sick waterslides left.

– So if you’re keeping score at home, the biggest park in the world:

Became this:

Sigh.

Pretty sure I blacked out every time on the first loop of Batman

Read the full article here

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30 thoughts on “The story of Geauga Lake’s downfall is infuriating”

    1. It has all been very sad watching this disappear little by little. I remember the day Shamu was being escorted out of town, and wondering if this was the beginning of the end. The only thing people seem to be doing is building more stores, for buying more stuff we don’t really need, while there are relatively new buildings that are empty.

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  1. While it is a shame what happened to Geauga Lake, your write-up is a bit misinformed, specifically:

    – In 2004, 4 years after the park was called Six Flags and 3 years after it combined with Sea World, Six Flags Worlds of Adventure was purchased by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. The same people who own Cedar Point. They changed the name back to Geauga Lake and eliminated everything having to do with Looney Tunes or Marvel characters. If that wasn’t enough they also changed the names of all the popular rides and rollercoasters.

    Cedar Fair had to change the names of the rides/park and remove anything involving the Looney Tunes/DC Comics characters because they don’t own the rights to use them like Six Flags did.

    – Cedar Fair wanted nothing to do with animals so the Sea World side of the park was left with only stupid climbing nets, a 4D simulator and boring rides.

    Six Flags retained the Sea World animals when they sold the park to Cedar Fair. Cedar Fair has zero experience caring for animals so it was probably for the best that Six Flags moved them.

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    1. Honestly the death blow for this park was when Six Flags bought Sea World. They over expanded, and couldn’t recupe their money… At least most of the rides were salvaged by Cedar Fair. The only really infuriating thing is how they closed the park for good. They really should’ve warned people…

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  2. This article is done incredibly poorly. While yes it is sad that the park closed, if we remember the park was constantly empty. You had the largest park with no major highways for easy access, few unique attractions, numerous onsite hotels, and obviously was over invested in and couldn’t return on the investment. If it wasn’t Cedar Fair closing the park, it would’ve been Six Flags as it was built way too big for its own good.

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    1. Obviously that’s compete congecture and speculation. When two companies invest millions of dollars into something it seems that your comment doesn’t hold much weight. I think it makes much more logical sense that someone saw it as a threat and they bought to remove the threat…..too big! If their is a will there is a way perhaps your accustomed to thinking “too small” like the general population…..that’s exactly why they are the “little guys”

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      1. Your comment is silly conjecture. To say that Cedar Faire paid $145 million dollars for a park just to close it because it was competition is ridiculous. See, Geauga Lake had co-existed with Cedar Point for 100 years. If Cedar Faire bought the park how did closing it benefit them? It is now sitting empty costing them millions of dollars a year.

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  3. People should boycott Cedar Point for some of the terrible things its recently done to its employees. Cedar Point is nothing more than a Disney wantabee and it obviously destroyed anything in its path.

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  4. I grew up at this park. When I was little the sign said “Geauga Lake – 33 rides. Then came Sea World. Good times and fond memories. I hated when 6 Flags bought it. At first it was nice…but slowly saw the decline. If your from the area, they destroyed our nice little park. Should of left it alone

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  5. Okay… make absolutely no mention of Six Flags’ significant share of mistakes and blame Cedar Fair 100 percent. That’s cool.

    A local park like Geauga Lake can’t successfully become the next greatest mega-park overnight. It was doomed from the moment Six Flags tried to make that happen. Yes, Cedar Fair handled the park poorly. And the Paramount Parks acquisition and impending financial crisis made it worse for CF to control GL. But you can’t point the finger just at them when SF abandoned generations of customers and tried to make it something it couldn’t be.

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  6. Reminds me of the death of Euclid Beach Park. Ask any Cleveland resident. So now we lose the last of any Amusement parks for Cleveland. It’s drive to Cedar Point or nothing . It sucks for the owners to do this.

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  7. The collapse all started when hurricane kachina hit new Orleans six flags and completely destroyed the place. This set up a chain reaction that six flags couldn’t avoid bankrupcy.

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  8. This is nothing short of disgusting. It is a sign of the times. Get used to it. It is the younger generation that has no idea what the idea of nostalgia is or history. In a throw away society we watch as older home with real character are left to abandonment and left to decay and rot. Developers come in and bulldoze them to make way for the new upgraded square and ugly as shit condos that offer no lasting beauty. In the end watch and get used to everything you know now and will know in the future is “MODERNIZED” INTO THIS LANDSCAPE OF 90 DEG. ANGLES. iF you think I am kidding look on “youtube at all the abandoned homes throughout the country that were build by hand, with hand tools, with the backs of men that knew what pride in workmanship that 6-12 months to BUILD, and not a 30 day slap together LEGO home. Say good-bye to memories or get the them on you “cell-phone” if you can pull your face out it long enough to see what is going on around you. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE BEFORE YOU GUYS SAW THIS…. Though it grieves me to say. YOU DESERVE IT! Look at what is going on around you. Become involved then if you don’t like something about it, then you can bitch. Reply direct if you like.(dondiego2012@gmail.com) I welcome my critics. I have the facts to show you as your cities and neighborhoods are changed. JUST AS DETROIT!! People are finally trying to save some of these beautiful pieces of history. My heart breaks as I see what you are allowing to happen to countries landscape that built some of the most beautiful home fro the 1820’s to the 1950s. What the rural farm home fade into oblivion. Homes made of wood, plaster, hardwoods, Not plastic recyclable homes. Best of luck, if you have not grown callous hearted.

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    1. I 100% agree. I call the lego homes cookie cutter homes. I am very sad that I can’t take my kids to an amusement park in our backyard like geauga lake. I am 34 now and I remember the good times at that park. Im sad to see nothing but crap being built around us when we need more places for sharing good memories with our families. Shame on todays world. I cant even drive down the street without seeing kids walk down sidewalks with their heads down looking at their damn phones. Disgusting.

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  9. Cedar Fair closed the doors on this amusement park the same exact year that they bought our precious Kings Island down here in Cincinnati Ohio. We have almost if not all of these rides with different titles of course. It’s sad to see such a happy place be completely destroyed within just a few short years. I couldn’t imagine Kings Island closing and how it would affect people in this area. I know Americana is one of our abandon amusement parks down here from 2002 and I personally had childhood memories there as well. It’s sad to hear whenever a place that was once filled with such happiness is now filled with nothing but emptyness.

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    1. What’s sad is that everyone blames Cedar Faire just because they are the owners that closed it….without doing some research and finding out WHY they couldn’t afford to keep it open. Research points almost 100% to Six Flags for it’s demise.

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    1. What exactly is that supposed to mean? How is a park that the own competition? ALL the money from ALL the parks go to them. Therefore it’s not competition. And Cedar Faire owns a number of small, hometown, family style parks. They have kept them just that and they do very well.

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  10. Suck my dick cedar dair your a bunch of asswipes. Not only I but alot of other Geauga Lake visitors said and kept our word we would not visit anything that has to do wih cedar fair. Now,Im an old man who was raised on Geauga Lake Park. Now 53 and I still havent been ro cedar dump in sandusky ohio. So see you fucked your selves out of visitors. Geauga Lake was the best. So I say with pride FUCK YOU ALL INVOLVED WITH THE CLOSING OF A GREAT PARK.

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    1. I understand you being upset and I would be upset too. My home park is a Six Flags In Chicago…..why not move to a location close to a Six Flags park like Chicago? We have Batman! We have Superman! We have X flight! Just like your park had! We have raging bull…..you gotta ride the raging Bull! We have Goliathe…..we have the America eagle and we have a lot of flat rides too….come on down to Chicago man! I just think it’s a shame that your missing out on all this stuff as a coaster fan…..don’t miss any more riding man……if my park closed I would find another park but I hope it never closes because like you I got mad love for my park. Anyway come on down to Chicago man

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  11. This saddens my heart!!!!! It was a great family adventure!!! Seeing all these abandoned photoes makes my eyes water!!! The big dipper was my very 1st roller coaster ride. And I still have photoes of it!!! Rip geauga lake!!!! You are truely missed😥😥😥😥😥cedar point is practically in my back yard, I do have to say, ive never ever had as much fun there as I have had at geauga lake!!! I remeber geauga dog and everything else!!!! I’m so sorry!!!!!

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  12. I am just going to say this: Cedar Fair the people that’s over Cedar Point are dicks. Real fucking dicks. They can’t take competition at all. They saw Six Flags as a real threat, a real problem for their business. Plus, Six Flags was a real convenience for people that lived in and around the area or neighboring counties. You had to drive almost two hours or more, depending on where you live to get to Cedar Point.(I could be wrong on that one.) Six Flags and Cedar Point was good competition, they could have kept it going. Cedar Point saw their money going down and saw that Six Flags was getting the money. So that’s what happened, they saw that customers was going to Six Flags more than Cedar Point. I wish someone or somebody buy back Geauga Lake and really put fear in Cedar Point once again.

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