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.
And the final hammer swung on Geauga Lake
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.
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.
Top Thrill Dragster – 400′ high, and 0-120 in 3.8 seconds.
Max Air – A Giant Frisbee Ride
The Ferris Wheel – 136′ high
The train and Mean Streak coaster meet at the beach.
A portion of Millenium Force
A jumble of coasters.
Raptor from the bucket ride with Sandusky Bay in the background.
Max Air in action.
Mantis – Stand Up Coaster
The classic Wild Mouse
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.
Wicked Twister with Lake Erie in the background.
Raptor and the harbor.
The classic Corkscrew. This ride has been flipping people upside down since 1976.
The Blue Streak. Built in 1964 and named for the local high school sports teams.
Top Thrill Dragster.
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.
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.
There are many classic old time rides.
Situated in the Monongahela Valley, the presence of the steel mills provide an interesting backdrop for the steel framework of the coaster.
Everyone loves an Elvis band.
The Thunderbolt – As mentioned before this coaster starts out by going down a hill directly out of the station.
The Jackrabbit. An out and back coaster built in 1920.
One final shot of Phantom’s Revenge.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The view of the Skyliner at sunset was fantastic.