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Cedar Fair Closes Geauga Lake Park

On Friday, September 21, 2007, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company announced that Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom in Aurora, Ohio, will become exclusively a water park attraction beginning with the 2008 season. The amusement park’s 40 rides, including eight roller coasters, will be sold or transferred to other parks owned by Cedar Fair. Geauga Lake has been in operation as an amusement park since 1888. In 1968 a group of investors from Cedar Point formed Funtime, Inc., and purchased the park. In 1970 Sea World Ohio opened on the opposite shore of the lake, and the two parks enjoyed a synergy that benefited both for decades. The Funtime corporation successfully managed the park for almost 30 years, gradually adding new attractions including a waterpark. In 1996 Funtime was sold to Premier Parks which later became Six Flags. The park was rebranded as a Six Flags in 2000 and massive amounts of capital were added. At the end of the 2000 season, Busch Entertainment sold the SeaWorld park to Six Flags and the two parks were combined, drawing record attendance that first year. But as the novelty wore off, and the guest experience declined, attendance began to drop. The cash-strapped Six Flags sold the park to Cedar Fair shortly before the start of the 2004 season. The sale did not include any of the marine life or animals from the former SeaWorld property. Cedar Fair built a waterpark on the SeaWorld side of the property but without the marine life and animal exhibits, interest in the park waned further, and attendance was never high enough to support such a large park of over 650 acres. During its peak as a Six Flags park, Geauga Lake/Six Flags Worlds of Adventure was home to 10 roller coasters, including a classic John Miller out and back, the world’s first double looping roller coaster, and the world’s first twisted impulse coaster. Of the coasters that remain, Dominator, a B&M floorless; Thunderhawk, a Vekoma SLC; Head Spin, a Vekoma Boomerang; and Beaver Land Mine Ride, a Zierer Tivoli, will likely be moved to other Cedar Fair properties. Last year Cedar Fair removed X-Flight, a Vekoma Flying Dutchman, from the park and moved it to Kings Island. Steel Venom, a twisted impulse coaster had already been disassembled at the start of the 2007 season and has already been transported to Dorney Park. The fate of the remaining coasters including three wood coasters is unknown at this time. Big Dipper was built in 1925 by John Miller and is an ACE Coaster Classic. Double Loop, the world’s first coaster with back to back double loops was built by Arrow in 1977. Raging Wolf Bobs, one of the first Dinn and Summers coasters, opened in 1988. Villain, built by the now defunct CCI was added to the park in 2000.

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