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Here's some history / background of property around Geauga Lake

Published: August 24, 2016 3:11 PM


Aurora / Bainbridge -- The land around Geauga Lake was first used as a picnic grounds in 1888, and became known as Picnic Lake Park.

It erected its first amusement attraction in 1889, and its first major roller coaster -- the Big Dipper -- was added in 1925. It is one of the only structures still standing in the area of the amusement park that formerly included rides.

A handful of individuals and companies owned the park over the years, including Funtime Inc., which operated it from 1968 to 1995 as Geauga Lake Park.

Sea World of Ohio opened on the south side of the lake in the early 1970s. In 2001, then-owner Six Flags acquired Sea World and renamed the complex (marine and amusement parks) Six Flags Worlds of Adventure.

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Cedar Fair of Sandusky acquired the complex in 2004 and closed the animal park. Cedar Fair opened Geagua Lake's Wildwater Kingdom in 2005, then after the 2007 season, the amusement park was shut down, leaving only the water park, which became simply Wildwater Kingdom.

Rides were either sold off, scrapped or moved to other Cedar Fair parks, and nearly all of the structures at the site were razed.

Wildwater Kingdom billed itself as "Northeast Ohio's Premium Waterpark." It boasted Thunder Falls, which was Ohio's tallest waterslide; and Tidal Wave Bay, a nearly 400,000-gallon wave pool; and a lazy river.

Cedar Fair has been marketing the vacant parts of the park since the amusement side's closing in 2007, but no land has been sold yet.

A 200,000-square-foot Meijer superstore has been proposed on 41 acres in the park's former main parking lot on the east side of Route 43 just across the Bainbridge Township border.

Aurora and Bainbridge Township have been working for months on redevelopment plans for the property, which call for a multi-use area of retail, commercial and housing development.

Cedar Fair owns 14 parks nationwide, including Cedar Point in Sandusky.

On Aug. 18, the company announced plans for a "multi-year investment" in its Sandusky operations with "an extensive transformation" of its Soak City water park into the 18-acre Cedar Point Shores Water Park.

Wildwater Kingdom was Cedar Fair's only standalone water park outside of California.

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