Cedar Fair to close Geauga Lake; waterpark to remain open

AURORA, Ohio Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom will only be about water next year. Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., which o
May 24, 2010



Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom will only be about water next year.

Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., which owns the combined amusement park and waterpark attraction, announced Friday it is shutting down the amusement park side.

The company plans to concentrate exclusively on waterpark operations next year.

"The market demand isn't there to support the park as it is currently structured," said Stacy Frole, Cedar Fair's director of investor relations. "This definitely wasn't an easy decision."

Cedar Fair's planning and design team is evaluating the best use of the remaining assets at Geauga Lake.

The property will be reviewed for other uses and development, while some of the rides will be sold or transferred to other parks owned by Cedar Fair, Frole said.

Geauga Lake's amusement park boasted 40 rides, including eight roller coasters. Cedar Fair has operated the park for four years as a combined amusement park and waterpark attraction.

In the last three years, Cedar Fair invested about $25 million to create and develop the 30-acre waterpark. Since it opened in 2005, Wildwater Kingdom has been the park's highest-rated attribute, officials said.

First billed as an attraction in 1887, Geauga Lake was frequented by visitors for camping, fishing and picnicking. Its first roller coaster, The Big Dipper, was built in 1925.

The name was changed to Six Flags Ohio in December 1999, and four new roller coasters were added the next year. In 2001 the name was changed to Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. Cedar Fair bought the park in 2004.

"Geauga Lake has a long history and has evolved over the years since its beginning as a picnic grove," Geauga Lake vice president and general manager Bill Spehn wrote in a letter to guests posted Friday on the Geauga Lake Web site. "The tradition of family entertainment will continue, but in a new and exciting way."

Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom attractions include Tidal Wave Bay, a 30,000-square-foot wave pool that features seven different types of wave patterns; Liquid Lightning, a 60-foot-tall tornado slide and Thunder Falls, Ohio's tallest waterslide complex.

The waterpark's 2008 operating schedule, admission pricing, group programs and other details are being finalized and will be announced at a later date, Frole said.

Geauga Lake's operating season ended last weekend with its Oktoberfest celebration.