Cedar Fair to close Wildwater Kingdom at Geauga Lake permanently

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Cedar Fair has announced that it will permanently close its Wildwater Kingdom in Ohio. From the statement:

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company has announced that Wildwater Kingdom water park in Aurora, Ohio, will not reopen after the 2016 season. Its final day of operation will be Monday, September 5.

Cedar Fair has been working cooperatively with both Bainbridge Township and the City of Aurora to redevelop the entire property into what will best benefit the surrounding communities. After examining its long-range plans, Cedar Fair has determined that the time is right to begin this transition and will continue to work together with community leadership in the positive future development of the property.

Cedar Fair would like to thank the residents of Northeast Ohio for supporting Wildwater Kingdom each summer.

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bjames's avatar

Tired of it cannibalizing *Cedar Point Shores*'s business I suppose.


"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

I wonder if any effort was made to sell the park as-is to another chain. I'm guessing not.


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Lord Gonchar's avatar

Who would have ever thought Conneaut Lake would outlast Geauga Lake?


^^^ I honestly don't think WWK was taking any significant amount of business from Soak City. The parks are 2 hours away from each other.

Last edited by Paisley,
bjames's avatar

Paisley said:

^^^ I honestly don't think WWK was taking any significant amount of business from Soak City. The parks are 2 hours away from each other.

And now all those people going to WWK have to drive two hours to get to cedar point shores. And heck it's such a long drive that while they're their they might as well pay for the dry side too, amiright?

Last edited by bjames,

"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

I'm sure plenty of the people going to Wildwater Kingdom went because it was close to them and Soak City is not. A quick trip to a relatively cheap park is attainable and easy for many people who won't be able to make a CP/SC trip without planning and saving. Especially people who live to the east of WWK for some CP becomes a 3 hour drive. Some of the business will go to Soak City but I think lots of people will head east into PA instead or just not go to a park at all.

Jeff's avatar

I suspect this is an Astro World situation. The property is simply more valuable as anything else other than a water park.


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Tekwardo's avatar

And yet that land sold for way less than they wanted and is still vacant. Just like the MB Pavilion.

But yeah, I'm sure the land value plus lack of customers was the reason it's finally going away.


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James Whitmore's avatar

I'm sure the timing of this release was well planned, late on a Friday. Less news coverage over the weekend. By the time it hits the Sunday or Monday papers will be pushed further back to make way for more current items. (I know, who reads papers anymore). I'm trying not to sound cynical. It is the best way to release bad news.


jameswhitmore.net

The GL ride side closure was also a late Friday afternoon nine years ago. The difference here of course is you still have a few weekends to go one more time.

Part of me is shocked it held on this long but part of me also thought it still had some time left. It obviously was in danger of going away at some point, I just thought it had another couple years to go.

Regardless on anyone's opinion of Geauga Lake and why it closed there is no arguing this is the end of an era. That property has gone by several names, had numerous owners, and has been a part of generations of Northeast Ohioans. Even though for me the place has been gone for nine years, it's definitely a sad day.

It lasted 9 years, sad day for sure but i'm hopeful Cedar Fair knows what's best for the property along with both the township and the city

birdhombre's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

Who would have ever thought Conneaut Lake would outlast Geauga Lake?

Last time I was at Conneaut, there was some dusty Geauga Lake merchandise in the gift shop. I guess now they can have some Wildwater Kingdom merch to go with it.

john peck's avatar

I also think the land was just too valuable. Parts of the area is upscale and commercial development is taking over.

Residents can venture to Waldameer which has been doing amazing business since GL closed and there is also Pioneer Waterland in Chardon.

I think the also big killer to waterparks is the community waterparks with a pool and slide complex that seems to be springing up everywhere.

I'm sad, but not surprised, but with WWK, I didn't have the emotional attachment as I did with GL itself. Their Pretzel Bun club sandwiches were good if you had the dining plan, though.

Last edited by john peck,
slithernoggin's avatar

I wish I had a corporatese to English dictionary.

After examining its long-range plans, Cedar Fair has determined that the time is right to begin this transition....

What transition? Why now? Inquiring minds want to know :-) Is it "we're working with the local communities to prepare this property for new development" or "hall-le-loo we're finally getting off our hands (and ledger).


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LostKause's avatar

I never believed the rumors of it closing. It's a great little waterpark. It's a shame to see it go.

Last edited by LostKause,

slithernoggin said:
I wish I had a corporatese to English dictionary.

After examining its long-range plans, Cedar Fair has determined that the time is right to begin this transition....

What transition? Why now? Inquiring minds want to know :-) Is it "we're working with the local communities to prepare this property for new development" or "hall-le-loo we're finally getting off our hands (and ledger).

I see it this way: Cedar Fair always knew Wildwater Kingdom was not in its extended range plans for the future (I wont even say long range because they did operate it for nine seasons as a standalone waterpark) - It was likely relatively inexpensive to operate all of these years, did well with the locals, and was worth hanging onto. As plans are finally being (possibly) made to unload some of that old Geauga Lake land, they have decided it isn't worth hanging onto any of the property.

I never, ever would have imagined in the height of the Worlds of Adventure days that the place would cease to exist like this. The place always had its issues and was easily one of the most criticized parks over the years from everything to operations, cleanliness, staff, coaster quality, etc. Was the criticism deserved? You bet. But for those folks (myself included) that grew up at the place, it is still sad to lose a place that was once such a big part of my life. I only went to the waterpark once after the main park closed, and it was mainly just for nostalgia and to see across the lake. But it was a nice little waterpark that still kept the legacy of the property alive. I fully understand and support Cedar Fair in getting out, but it's still sad.

I'm glad we at least know ahead of time instead of finding out afterwards like Geauga Lake. We've already been there this year but we've changed some plans to get in at least one more trip.

slithernoggin's avatar

BrettV: It seems to me that there must be something going on regarding the property being developed. Why shut down a small waterpark that was, I expect, generating a tidy profit (I mean, if it wasn't, why would have still been open)?


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Either they are close to making a deal on the property or the park is no longer making enough of a profit to keep open until they do.

I wonder what happens with Bill Spehn. He certainly has had an interesting last 12 years with Cedar Fair. The butthurt fanboys blame him for closing their park, but I believe he did a good job in both of his tenures with the property. He really seemed to have the best interest in the place in mind, and seemed to be given no resources. I know he was eager to give Geauga Lake a try back in 04, and I am sure he was upset that it didn't work out. Does he return to Cedar Point?

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