Lakemont Park will remain closed for summer

Posted | Contributed by LostKause

Lakemont Park’s amusement rides and related attractions are expected to remain closed this summer while the park operator undertakes improvements. Plans call for removing some of the older rides, with exceptions, to make way for a mini golf course, a volleyball court, a basketball court, a bocce court and an expanded picnic area. Older rides to remain in the park include the Leap the Dips and Skyliner roller coasters, the Lakemont Train, the Tin Lizzy’s Antique Car rides, the paddle boats and the go-karts and Mini-Indy kids go-karts.

Read more from The Altoona Mirror.

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rollergator's avatar

Thought is that by opening before year-end, they might be able to avoid the recertification necessary when rides go a full year without operating...? Thinking of Clementon's JackRabbit...and definitely want to avoid anything like what happened there.

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

My aunt and uncle live in Altoona and I made a yearly visit to Lakemont from 2000-2007(ish) before I moved to Florida. While Leap The Dips is historic and I am glad I had the chance to get several laps on it over the years, the park was always deserted and had a run down carnival feel to it. Skyliner was ok - scary airtime on the first drop but then it just sort of petered out. The waterpark was old and consisted of a pool and slide tower that looked like it was ready to be condemned at any time. I honestly never knew how the place stayed in the business.

I would usually be done in an hour and take the 20 minute drive to Delgrosso's, which was always comfortably crowded and a very nice park.

Oh no! I just bought my plane ticket!

In all the times I've been to Hershey, I've never once stopped at Lakemont or Delgrosso's and they're both on the way or on the way back. I'm not sure why, because I've been known to take sidetrips to parks that are new to me. Maybe on the drive from Ohio I'm just anxious to get there, and on the way back I'm too tired and just want to get home. Plus, the trip is manageable on a day's drive and I don't want to get home so late, or have another hotel night somewhere.

Anyway, they're both parks I still need for my list. And I don't have a problem with a permanent carnival, or a plate of skettie. So maybe 18 will be the summer.

This is not good folks.

Doubt they recover. :(

bjames's avatar

"Lakemont Park will remain closed for summer"

It must be closed for the fantastic new attraction it's building, scheduled for next autumn. The thing must span the whole park!

"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

LostKause's avatar

They want to renovate into a different kind of park. They don't want to do it over the winter season because their holiday lights attraction is so popular and profitable. The renovations will span over the entire park. When Lakemont Park opens in 2018, it will not be a traditional amusement park, nor a carnival ride park. It will be unique. I don't remember seeing a park anything like they are describing, anywhere.

It will be a picnic park, with play areas like a playground and sports fields. The roller coasters and water park will stay, and accompanying them will be attractions like the existing peddle boats and the new mini-golf course. The emphasis wont be on rides like it has been. It will be on family entertainment center type attractions.

It seems to me that this was necessary. Rumors have been that since DelGrosso's opened their new water park additions last summer, Lakemont Park was losing a lot of business, and they were going to close. Someone from Lakemont Park publicly said that the rumors were false, and that the park was not going to close. Last summer, they extended their lease with the city until 2066, I believe, because they said that a lot of their buildings needed repairs, and they didn't want to invest in the repairs unless they were sure the park was going to be there for a long time.

I never saw that the park was ever busy since I moved back to the area a few years ago, with exception to the holiday lights thing. That can get pretty crazy sometimes.

Many locals are still upset with changes to the park that happened decades ago, when Boyer Candy bought it and cut down a lot of trees. The park had some really large trees, as far as I understand. I moved here a few years after that happened, so I didn't get to see it. It's still a hot topic after all these years.

It's going to be interesting to see how people react to the new Lakemont Park. Their plan could work, in my opinion, as long as they spend some money making whatever they do to it look nice, and less like a carnival.

I don't feel that the Altoona area is populated enough to sustain two amusement parks.

Schwarzkopf76's avatar

Maybe it could function like a smaller Bay Beach. That place is fun and beautiful!

My one and only visit to Lakemont park, in 2011, A ride wristband was five dollars. They really need to charge a little bit if they want to run nice rides.

I loved leap the dips, I think it was an extra $2.50 to ride that - totally worth it. And I also loved Skyliner. We don't have many classic coasters, with traditional seating. These are very important rides.

Last edited by Schwarzkopf76,

Skyliner was my first "big" rollercoaster when it was at Roseland in Canandaigua, NY. It was sad when that park closed then sat as an empty lot for years. I was excited to find Skyliner still running, one of these years I'll get to PA to check it out!

Last edited by ShaneDenmark,

But then again, what do I know?

LostKause's avatar

I have heard some really bad news about Lakemont Park today. I suppose right now it's more like an unconfirmed rumor. I know rumors are not something CoasterBuzz is all about but I thought I should share this.

The park closed this season for construction, but there hasn't been any construction yet. I heard from someone who knows the park manager that the park can't find the funding to do these renovations, and so after Lights on the Lake this winter season, the park will close for good.

Lakemont Park has two classic wooden coasters, one that is known as the oldest operating coaster in the world, and one that was rescued and relocated from another state. This will be a big loss to the roller coaster enthusiast community if this turns out to be true.

The rumored closure of the park comes after neighboring Delgrosso's Park upgraded their water park with many new food locations and attractions, including a wave pool and a lazy river.

Right now, it's just a rumor. People living in Lakemont, and the Altoona Area have been talking about it a lot. The person I heard this from is a pretty dependable guy with a respectable position in the community.

Last edited by LostKause,

Fingers crossed that this is just a rumor, but truth be told this has been my fear since this first posted. I never quite understood not opening up this year and not to mention that this park has struggled in the past.

Always sad to see a park go. I have only been able to attend once and it was an enjoyable time for what it was, but that was back in 2004. I had always summed it up as being a nice little park that seemed to be well maintained. To me, it didn't have the same feel as CLP or Williams Grove (RIP).

Oddly enough, I attended each of those parks on the same day, on the way back to Cleveland coming home from Hershey. Only time I did 3 parks in one day!

Best of Luck to Lakemont!

There is no such thing as a terrible Coaster just ones that haven't been taken care of

Vater's avatar

Certainly wouldn't surprise me if this is true. The only standouts the park has are Skyliner and of course the world's oldest standing coaster, but beyond that, the park is little more than a permanent carnival. I was there in 2004 as well; it was the second of 3 stops on a Saturday (Williams Grove being the first, DelGrosso's the third, and then Knoebels was a full day on Sunday), and it was far from memorable, except for the two coasters. All three of the other parks mentioned had a better atmosphere, and most (Williams Grove excluded) had better rides.

Leap the Dips is a neat one-time experience and a nice look at coaster history, but that's about it. I think the ACE restoration probably boosted Lakemont's attendance for a while, but without any significant growth over the next two decades, how would anyone expect it to survive?

I drove by Lakemont on my way home from Knoebels last week. I could see the top of Skyliner peeking up and I wondered then what possibly could be it’s fate. Ugh.

Speaking of Knoebels, they might look at those classic woodies and plan a move or two. With their aesthetics and operations, Leap the Dips would be especially nice in their hands.

sws's avatar

Just booked my trip to MeetGeorgeJetson's backyard for a chance to ride Leap the Dips...

I don't know that the problems are limited to Lakemont. The Altoona Curve baseball team has also had a drop in attendance: 390K and 365K in 2005 and 2006 versus 294K in 2017. That's a drop of approximately 1100 per game. I have to wonder if the general economy of the area is impacting the viability of the park as well.

I'd be curious as to what exactly the status of that park is. My understanding is the land is city / county owned. I'd have to wonder then what the status of ownership is for the permanent rides. Part of me believes the coasters would also be owned by the city / county as well, but I'm not sure how that works with PA laws.

ShaneDenmark said:
Skyliner was my first "big" rollercoaster when it was at Roseland in Canandaigua, NY. It was sad when that park closed then sat as an empty lot for years. I was excited to find Skyliner still running, one of these years I'll get to PA to check it out!

Crap. Maybe not...

Count me in those who thought this whole “close for a year for renovations” deal sounded like a really poor idea... Not many businesses would survive a full year with no revenue.

But then again, what do I know?

Lord Gonchar's avatar

This was all over Facebook this weekend, but it looks like at least some of Lakemont's rides are up for sale:

I get nothing. Is the page removed?

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