Believe it or not, Cedar Point's in a new book

SANDUSKY Did you know Notre Dame's legendary football captain and coach Knute Rockne worked
May 24, 2010



Did you know Notre Dame's legendary football captain and coach Knute Rockne worked as a lifeguard at Cedar Point along with his teammate Gus Dorais (and future best man at his wedding in Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church) in 1913?

Or they perfected the forward pass on Cedar Point beach?

This is just one of more than 350 "Believe it or Not!" facts listed in Ripley's new book about amusement parks, "Ripley's Believe It or Not! Amusement Park Oddities & Trivia: A Journey Through the Weird, Wacky, and Absolutely True World of Parks, Rides and Attractions."

"We're typically known for our roller coasters and thrill rides, but we also have these fun and interesting facts that not too many people know about," said Cedar Point spokesman Tony Clark.

"We have a special plaque near the beach that marks Knute Rockne's presence here. There's a lot of history at Cedar Point, and I'm sure there are even more fun facts and stories to be told."

The infamous Ripley brand has published many books in the past 75 years, but this is the first book the company has published that covers the industry in which it specializes -- visitor attractions.

Before joining Ripley's in 2004 as its vice president of communications, Tim O'Brien was a reporter with Amusement Business, a business trade magazine for amusement parks and attractions.

O'Brien spent many of his 18 years with the magazine traveling to different parks, roadside attractions and tourist destinations.

When he made the move to Ripley's, he came up with the idea of publishing a "Believe it or Not!" book about amusement parks -- merging his past with the present.

"It was a no-brainer," O'Brien said. "When I started thinking about all the cool stuff ... the off-beat stuff ... I thought, 'this is a perfect marriage.'"

O'Brien is familiar with the nation's amusement parks, especially Cedar Point. O'Brien grew up in central Ohio, and Cedar Point was the first amusement park he ever visited. He still considers it to be the "best amusement park in the world." Today, his amusement park and attraction visits total more than 500.

Once O'Brien received the green light to proceed with the project, he went ahead and reconnected with his old amusement park contacts, having them send him what they thought would make the best, almost unbelievable facts to include in the book.

"Believe me, I have enough for two or three of these books," O'Brien said.

The book also features more than 50 original illustrations by Ripley's official cartoonist John Graziano. Cedar Point appears in a few of the illustrations.

"You can't put together a book like this without including Cedar Point," O'Brien said.

Susan Shick, Great Ohio Coaster Club secretary and a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts organization, said she was unaware Cedar Point was featured in the book.

"I think it would be fun to read and find out about interesting facts of the park," Shick said.

"One never knows when one might be asked a question or two. I would love to take a look at the book."

Other than Walt Disney, Cedar Point is cited the most in the book.

"Cedar Point has had an amazing journey through life," he said. "When you have history, you also have a lot of fun facts."

"I'm real proud of it," said O'Brien about the book. "I definitely had more fun with this one."

To order "Ripley's Believe It or Not! Amusement Park Oddities & Trivia", visit, or