The Little Dipper and other 70s Geauga Lake rides.

Remember the Little Dipper? It was a kiddie coaster in kiddieland near the ballroom. I rode in 1972 for the first time making it my first amusement parl coaster credit. { My first coaster ever was a portable kiddie coaster at the CNE in Toronto a year earlier. I don't remember who built the ride but it was a lot of fun and for a kid pretty thrilling. It was replaced with a zyclone coaster in 1976.

In the 1970s Geauga Lake had several classic rides such as the Cuddle-Up, Caterpillar, flying coaster, rocket ships, rock-o-planes, Trabant, Bayern Kurve, Flying coaster, loop-o-plane, fly-o-plane and a giant slide.

They also had a Tumble Bug and a train that when around the Big Dipper.

They also had a classic fun house with another slide and a human roulette wheel. Though were those wooden wheel that people would sit on and as the wheel spun people would be spun off. The goal was to be the last one on the wheel. I am sure with today's suehappy climate this time of thing would be out of the question but back then it was popular.

Of course you know, back in the seventies, those weren't classic rides. They were just "rides"....

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Mamoosh's avatar

Just like when you have dinner in Shanghai, it's just food.

(wait for it...)

I rode the spinning wheel in 1975. Being 5 yrs. old, I was amazed. I am not sure if it was in kiddieland, or an intermediate ride. It was good.

Mamoosh's avatar

I was lucky enough to ride Geauga's Traver Circle Swing the year before it was removed. It was the highlight of my day.

I rode the swing in 1995. How lucky I was also.

kpjb's avatar

I rode the swing with three different girls between 1990 and 1995. I always felt luckier later in the evening, though...

I loved that old fun house. That wooden giant slide was cool.

The Spinning wheel thing was awesome. Always made my sister sick.

Anyone remember the "rotating tube' thing you could walk through?

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john peck's avatar

The Funhouse eventually became the "Palace Theater". I think I speak for many of the old timers here, that growing up at Geauga in the 70's were some of the best times... ever.

I was born in November of 73, so I missed getting on the Little Dipper and doing the Funhouse.

One of my favorite memories was riding the Rocketships with my dad (when it was next to the lake) and I laughed as the Ship brushed against the trees.

I also miss the skyride, too... and how it whipped you around before returning back. (Kinda like what Waldameers does)

Good Times!

Last edited by john peck,

I lived in Cleveland as a kid, but we never went to Geauga - we were strictly Cedar Point for family outings, and in junior high I had a buddy who would invite me to go with them on his dad's company picnic day to Euclid Beach. That was it. So one day (probably in '74) I took one of my days off from Cedar Point and drove to see Geauga.

I was amazed and totally enchanted by the park and it's classic rides. (after the modern "newness" of Cedar Point, they seemed old fashioned to me, and most were pretty old) I loved the lakeside setting with the Rocket Ships, Cuddle Up, and Bug near the water. I went in the funhouse and while I don't remember the wheel, I do remember the slippery wooden slide. They had an old whip ride called the Snap, but it had the modern Jetson-style cars. Caterpillar with the cover. Flying Scooters. I had never seen the likes of a Fly-O-Plane, but there it was. There was also a Loop-O-Plane they called the Dutch Shoes.

The real treat of the day, though, was the Big Dipper, which at the time was still called the Clipper. I remember thinking it was not very large, but one ride was enough to endear it to my heart forever. This was before any major reprofiling, and it still had the flat spot at the top of the second hill. The curved double-down dip before the turn around was slammin' and scary, especially for a single rider. The return was air-time heaven. There was a wooden wall to the right of the train on the last turnaround, making it a "blind" turn into the brakes. Fabulous.

I left that evening thinking it was one of the best places I'd ever been. On my next visit, years later, I was heartsick to find most of these great rides gone and a waterpark in it's place. The Big Dipper had been altered and the funhouse was no more. I never understood why they "modernized" the classic park they had, then razed trees to expand the park with a nostalgic western themed area! It just seemed totally wrong, and after that Geauga was never the same to me.

Mamoosh's avatar

It's a shame Cedar Fair bought the park just to sell it and eliminate competition.

Oops! Can open...worms everywhere!

Jeff's avatar

The only classic ride I truly remember was the rocket ships, and it's odd how something so low tech could be so fascinating.

You may not have liked the water park development in the Fun Time days, but honestly I think that's what saved the park from extinction, along with the opening of SeaWorld. Those two factors gave the place new life while countless other parks around the state disappeared (Idora, Chippewa Lake, Euclid Beach). In retrospect, it's fascinating to think about the symbiotic relationship those parks enjoyed around the lake.

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Moosh- Now you've done it. :)

Jeff- while I was writing I was kind of pondering that same thing, wondering what really would have happened if Geauga had been allowed to remain in it's pre-historic state! You're right. The modernization of the park was necessary to keep it alive. It's just that if it had been up to me it would have been done differently. It's fun to think back, though, to days gone by.

Last edited by RCMAC,
LostKause's avatar

Yes Moosh. It was all part of Cedar Fair's evil plan to eliminate the park for good so that Cedar Point would remain the best park in Ohio! ;)

*opens one eye*


*realizes it's only a taunting and goes back to sleep*

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Actually I liked the original waterpark area that was added in 1983. I was just out of high school and I had never been on a water slide before. Water parks and slides just weren't around in the 1970s when I was growing up. If I remember corectly many of the rides were still in the area. This was before "The Wave" was put in. When that wave pool was added it really messed up that area.

By 1983 many of the old time classic rides were gone already for various reasons. I am sure lawyers would have a field day with that roulette wheel.

I am probably at least ten years younger than most who were born in the 70s and went to geauga lake. I do however remember some of the rides you guys spoke of. I remember the rocket ships and not being all that impressed by them as a kid. I know it sounds weird to give them all that praise, but when you look back that was truly one of the rides that endured there for quite some time. How many amusement parks even have a circle swing anymore, probably none.

Another great ride that kinda just went missing that many of us love, were their flying scooters/flyers. When did those go in, because i do remember those fondly as a child. I also too remember the sky ride, before it disappeared in the early 1990s. I remember looking down and checking out the animals hiding in the high grass and shrubs below.

Lastly, i remember the tilt-a-whirl they had as well, they had rides that many parks just do not have or are a dying breed to this day.

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