Cincinnati's Coney Island removing rides, focusing on water park

Posted Tuesday, September 10, 2019 11:10 AM | Contributed by bigboy

Coney Island will shut down all its rides at the end of September to pursue what officials described Monday as a “new singular focus on (the) water park experience.” Instead of an all-purpose amusement park, CEO and president Rob Schutter Jr. said he hopes to transform the park into “the region’s premier swim and play destination” in time for Sunlite Pool’s 100-year anniversary in 2025.

Read more from WCPO/Cincinnati.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019 12:15 PM

I thought parks were supposed to wait until the conclusion of a season before announcing the closure of the rides side to focus on the water park?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 12:43 PM

That's only when a company buys a park just to close it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 1:04 PM

Taking a page from Lakemont...

I guess I’m glad that at least the long, storied history of Coney Island isn’t coming to a close. The venue itself has been host to many community festivals and Sunlite Pool is still a big draw. The ride side was a secondary part of the experience there- maybe a family would catch a couple of rides after a day at the pool and maybe festival goers might give one a spin- but probably not.

The rides themselves weren’t much, consisting mostly of aging carnival flats. Having said that, there are a few relics among them- the Tempest and the Music Fest being two. The report says they plan to sell the rides to theme parks. We’ll see about that, they aren’t on top notch condition.

The place holds a certain nostalgia for me, as I remember and attended Coney Island when I was a kid and when the park was in its hey day. A stroll around the grounds these days reveals quite a few original structures and the old Moonlite Ballroom still stands and hosts events to this day. The park has endured a lot and there have been so many changes over the decades and this seems like a necessary one. I hope with the change to water park attractions that the place in general manages to remain as unchanged as possible.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 2:05 PM

I'm sad to see this news.

They certainly didn't have a large collection of thrilling attractions. But if you wanted to take the kids out for an evening on some rides without spending a fortune, Coney was the place to do it. Our oldest child made his first "big boy" trip to CP this summer and went on every coaster, yet still asks when we can go to Coney. Our youngest kids are now at that transition point to bigger rides; so at some point soon here Coney won't be on their radar.

Still, I feel for the families that are in that "sweet spot" that will no longer have that option. Obviously Coney believes their bottom line will be healthier by expanding the water park and who could blame them. Time marches on I guess.

Last edited by Danimales, Tuesday, September 10, 2019 2:06 PM
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 10:08 PM

The move that darned near killed Conneaut Lake, killed Geauga Lake, is about to kill Lakemont Park...sorry, but I have seen this before and I've never seen it end well. Heck, even Coney Island tried this once.
What worries me about this is that traditionally (that is, since they separated from common ownership with Kings Island in the early 1990's), Coney Island has been a catering business. And what they figured out early on is that (a) company picnics are dreadfully boring if you're a young family member, and (b) the midway is a seamless complement to the picnic grove. You don't have to buy a ride pass to be there; but if you do, the midway activities are seamless: you can go from roller coaster to buffet line to merry-go-round to volleyball court to Ferris wheel to BINGO game. More important, the midway is a tangible differential advantage that Coney Island has over all the other picnic groves and banquet halls in the region for those companies that can't get a slot at Stricker's Grove.
The good news is that Coney Island has tried this before, and has demonstrated that it's a fundamentally reversible decision so long as the damage isn't too severe. I just have a feeling that the group sales bookings are going to be down a lot in 2021. Maybe that's what Coney wants...but I'm not sure that's the best idea.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 8:30 AM

Who really wants to see their co-workers or their boss in a bathing suit? Corporate group sales will certainly decrease.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 9:07 AM

Fun said:

Who really wants to see their co-workers or their boss in a bathing suit?

*quickly raises hand, sees no one else do it, and lowers it nonchalantly*

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 3:58 PM

The Banana Splits aren't going to be happy about this!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 5:42 PM

Schwarzkopf76 said:

The Banana Splits aren't going to be happy about this!

They're clearly not and looking for revenge.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 11:13 PM

The interesting question, and I don't know the answer on this, is is the company picnic something that long term will last? I know that used to be a staple of many parks - Geauga Lake, Kennywood Park, Euclid Beach, etc., but of these 3, the only one left is Kennywood. I think overall less companies are doing the "big picnics" than in the past, as I don't know if they have the number of employees to warrant them.

Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:06 AM

One consequence of the country's continuing decline in its legacy picnic parks is that there are less and less corporate picnics.


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