Aurora, OH – June 2008 – Death of an Amusement Park

Geauga Lake Amusement Park Obituary: The grand old amusement park called Geauga Lake was first opened in 1887 alongside a lake of the same name. By the late 1800s rides had been added, with the legendary Big Dipper roller coaster added in 1925.

While many amusement parks closed over the years, Geauga Lake hung on, continually adding and expanding, despite being an hour and a half away from one of the great amusement parks in America, Cedar Point.

Situated across the lake from Sea World of Ohio, the two parks worked in harmony providing a destination for millions of people over the years.

In the early 2000s Six Flags purchased the park, added more rides and operated Geauga Lake, as well as the acquisition of Sea World in 2001.

In 2004 Six Flags was losing money on the park, mostly from an apathetic approach to the customers, when they decided to sell the park to Cedar Fair, the owners of Cedar Point. Many believe this was just a ploy on Cedar Fair’s part to buy out the competition, which was confirmed 4 years later when the amusement park portion closed for good, while the Sea World portion became a large water park, sans attractions like the dolphins and whales. It too closed in 2016.

And thus, the Geauga Lake Funeral – auctioning off the assets of the park – in June 2008.

2008 06 17 2 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

2008 06 17 4 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

2008 06 17 8 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

2008 06 17 11 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

2008 06 17 17 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

2008 06 17 25 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

2008 06 17 29 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

2008 06 17 40 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

2008 06 17 44 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

2008 06 17 65 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

2008 06 17 80 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

And the final hammer swung on Geauga Lake

2008 06 17 93 Geauga Lake Funeral.jpg

 

 

 

 

Santa Clarita, CA – June 2005 – Magic Mountain Amusement Park

While we were in Southern California, we spent a day at Six Flags Magic Mountain Amusement Park in Santa Clarita. While it is a norm now, this was the first park I had to pass through a metal detector to get into, but once we did it had much the feel of any other amusement park.

While it had a great collection of roller coasters in my opinion it comes up short of Cedar Point, mostly I think because of ‘the Points’ unique location along Lake Erie, and the more efficient approach toward crowd management they have.

Regardless, it was a nice day at Magic Mountain.

2005 06 30 Magic Mountain California 6.JPG

 

2005 06 30 Magic Mountain California 8.JPG

 

2005 06 30 Magic Mountain California 10.JPG

 

2005 06 30 Magic Mountain California 12.JPG

 

2005 06 30 Magic Mountain California 26.JPG

 

2005 06 30 Magic Mountain California 34.JPG

 

2005 06 30 Magic Mountain California 35.JPG

 

2005 06 30 Magic Mountain California 38.JPG

Sandusky, OH – June 2005 – Cedar Point Amusement Park

Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio has been going strong for almost 150 years. While many of the old parks disappeared in the 1950s and 1960s, Cedar Point has continually expanded throughout.

These photos were taken in 2005, causing me to want to go back and document how much of what I captured then is gone now. In my opinion Cedar Point was, is and will likely always be the best amusement park in the world.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 6.JPG

 

Top Thrill Dragster – 400′ high, and 0-120 in 3.8 seconds.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 5.JPG

 

Max Air – A Giant Frisbee Ride

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 8.JPG

 

The Ferris Wheel – 136′ high

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 9.JPG

 

The train and Mean Streak coaster meet at the beach.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 19.JPG

 

A portion of Millenium Force

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 23.JPG

 

A jumble of coasters.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 27.JPG

 

Raptor from the bucket ride with Sandusky Bay in the background.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 30.JPG

 

Max Air in action.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 38.JPG

 

Mantis – Stand Up Coaster

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 43.JPG

 

The classic Wild Mouse

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 44.JPG

 

An aerial view from the top of the rotating elevator. The smugs on the right are from the dirty windows, but the view of the ferris wheel and Wicked Twister make it worthwhile.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 59.JPG

 

Wicked Twister with Lake Erie in the background.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 66.JPG

 

Raptor and the harbor.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 68.JPG

 

The classic Corkscrew. This ride has been flipping people upside down since 1976.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 77.JPG

 

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 79.JPG

 

The Blue Streak. Built in 1964 and named for the local high school sports teams.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 87.JPG

 

Top Thrill Dragster.

2005 06 03 Cedar Point 92.JPG

Pittsburgh – August 2004 – Kennywood Park

Kennywood Park is a classic old amusement park located in the Monongahela Valley just east of Pittsburgh. They have kept much of the old feel of the park, while interspersing new rides. This is another place I need to get back to for an update, since it has been 13 years.

2004 08 Kennywood Park 1.JPG

 

With the hilly terrain a couple of roller coasters start by going down a hill directly out of the station. The Phantom’s Revenge is their premier steel coaster, however it has a lift hill to start.

2004 08 Kennywood Park 4.JPG

 

There are many classic old time rides.

2004 08 Kennywood Park 5.JPG

 

Situated in the Monongahela Valley, the presence of the steel mills provide an interesting backdrop for the steel framework of the coaster.

2004 08 Kennywood Park 10.JPG

 

 

2004 08 Kennywood Park 11.JPG

 

Everyone loves an Elvis band.

2004 08 Kennywood Park 15.JPG

 

 

2004 08 Kennywood Park 26.JPG

 

The Thunderbolt – As mentioned before this coaster starts out by going down a hill directly out of the station.

2004 08 Kennywood Park 31.JPG

 

The Jackrabbit. An out and back coaster built in 1920.

2004 08 Kennywood Park 34.JPG

 

One final shot of Phantom’s Revenge.

2004 08 Kennywood Park 36.JPG

Johnstown & Altoona, PA – July 2004 – Curves and Hills

Lakemont Park in Altoona had a low price special for an all day ride ticket, and given that it was next door to the Altoona Curve AA baseball team park, and they too had a home game we made a trip over, but first we made a stop in Johnstown,

Johnstown, Pennsylvania has the misfortune of having been the location for one of the worst natural disasters in American history, having had a flood in 1889 that killed over 2000 people. The flood was a result of a poorly made dam that broke sending water down the narrow valley. Johnstown has had a number of other significant floods over the year as well

2004 07 03 Pennsylvania 1.JPG

 

The Johnstown Inclined Plane was built as a means to quick;y evacuate the city in the event of another flood; which it has served that purpose in 1936 and 1977. The Incline Plane is advertised as the worldest steepest vehicular inclined plane, going up a grade of 70 percent.

To fully experience this incline plane, we indeed put our car on it.

2004 07 03 Pennsylvania 2.JPG

 

At the bottom of the hill is Point Stadium, a 1926 era park that has survived some of the floods. Ironically, and without plan, I managed to capture a photo of the park in it’s last season before it was torn down and fully rebuilt.

2004 07 03 Pennsylvania 6.JPG

 

We eventually arrived at Lakemont and enjoyed our day at the park. With our all day ride pass we rode the classic roller coaster The Skyliner numerous times.

2004 07 03 Altoona PA Lakemont Park 5.JPG

2004 07 03 Altoona PA Lakemont Park 11 Beth.JPG

 

Lakemont is best known for having the the Leap The Dips, billed as the oldest operating roller coaster in the world, having been built in 1902.  It is the last known example of a side friction figure eight roller coaster in the United States and is recognized by coaster enthusiasts worldwide to be the oldest standing roller coaster in the world.

2004 07 03 Altoona PA Lakemont Park 39.JPG

2004 07 03 Altoona PA Lakemont Park 40.JPG

 

Our day ended at the baseball game with the Altoona Curve AA team. The team is named for the famous Horseshoe Curve railway curve in the mountains above Altoona.

2004 07 03 Altoona PA Lakemont Park 32.JPG

2004 07 03 Altoona Curve 7.JPG

2004 07 03 Altoona Curve 11.JPG

 

The view of the Skyliner at sunset was fantastic.

2004 07 03 Altoona Curve 10.JPG