Isolated world’s largest theme park Geauga Lake, Ohio

Geauga Lake

It was called Picnic Lake in the 1800s. Sullivan Giles, one of the first people to settle in Ohio, chose this area to build a log cabin and later a bigger timber frame home.

After that, the place was called Giles Pond. All day fun: Giles also set up picnic areas and built a dance hall and other entertainment cabins near where people live and visit.

Afterwards, there was the Geauga Lake amusement park, which was a lot of fun.

Geauga Lake
Entrace to Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom, 2005 – Author: Chris Hagerman – CC BY-SA 3.0

During a picnic or a swim, people could go to the park and lake in 1872. Newspapers of the time had nothing but good things to say about the business of Mr. Giles at the time.

He kept working on the area. He added a large hall near the lake, and kept working on it. People were dancing on top of a large boat that was pulled behind by the steamboat.

Many people came through, and the lake became a popular place to relax and have fun. This is how it works:

Good care was taken to keep the grounds beautiful. In 1880, a newspaper said, “…without exception, this is the most charming place to spend a leisure day.”

In 1925, the largest wooden roller coaster of the time was built in the park. It was built in the same place. Known as the Big Dipper, the ride was 2,800 feet long and 65 feet high. It was called the Big Dipper because it was so tall.

Abandoned Geauga Lake
Big Dipper from across the lake – Author: IronGargoyle – CC BY-SA 3.0

The park has been owned by many people over the years. In 1969, Funtime Incorporated bought it for the first time. It didn’t change very much, and the main attractions were still swimming and water rides.

As time went on, Funtime kept adding to the grounds. They built big rides, and even bigger roller coasters. By the end of their time at the park, there were more than 30 rides, some of which were the Skyscraper, Double Loop, Raging Wolf Bobs, Mind Eraser, and Grizzly Run.

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Geauga Lake
View of Thunderhawk (yellow), Dominator (blue), and Raging Wolf Bobs (white) with the ferry boats (then unused) in the background in 2006 – Author: JonRidinger – CC BY 3.0

Geauga Lake, Ohio

In 2000, Six Flags Ohio bought Geauga Lake and spent $40 million on a new park. Twenty new rides were added.

In this picture, there is a junior roller coaster called Road Runner Express. There are also wooden roller coasters called Villain and Batman: Knight Flight.

A roller coaster called Ultimate Escape, Shipwreck Falls (a new shoot the chute ride), and a new pool with artificial waves have been added to a water area of the park.

Six Flags also bought SeaWorld, which is on the other side of the lake, for $110 million. When Geauga Lake and Sea World came together, it was a big deal.

As a group, they made the world’s largest theme park still today.

amazing Geauga Lake
One of the last standing rides, Ripcord, pictured in 2011 – Author: Jeremy Thompson – CC BY 2.0

It was just four years after Six Flags bought the park that things started to go wrong with money. They sold the park to Cedar Fair just before the summer season started in 2004. They closed down a lot of the park because they bought it.

It was then unbranded and the name was changed back to Geauga Lake, so it was called that again. During the summer months, Cedar Fair will only run the park. The rest of the year, it will not be open at all. In the summer of 2007, it was opened again. It wasn’t long before rumors started to spread about it.

The future of the park was not clear at first. Several rumors said that it was going to be shut down for good, but others said that only the lake would stay open.

It all came to an end with the news that came out on September 21, 2007. There will be no more rides at Geauga Lake, Cedar Fair said. The park will be called Wildwater Kingdom when it reopens. It will be a water park.

1200px geauga lake entrance 2011
What’s left of the Geauga Lake entrance, pictured in 2011 – Author: Jeremy Thompson – CC BY 2.0

A public auction will be used to sell the whole park on June 17, 2008. Before the auction, a lot of people came in for one last look.

The public auction didn’t work, and the park was left empty. For the second time in March 2013, Cedar Fair put the land up for sale. This time, you could buy smaller parts of the land.

Read another article from us: Bryn Eglwys – The quarry that sat atop three slate veins.


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