Inside an Abandoned Geauga Lake with Photographer Alice Heart
Ten years have passed since Cedar Fair announced that Geauga Lake in Aurora, Ohio, would not reopen for the 2008 season. Remnants of the park, once owned by Six Flags, still dot the 550-acre property, which has yet to be redeveloped.
The Wildwater Kingdom water park, which operated across the lake from the amusement park, continued to operate until permanently closing last year.
Many of the 120-year-old amusement park’s (at the time of its closing) attractions were distributed to other properties in the Cedar Fair chain. But some, like the historic Big Dipper, remained on site (the Big Dipper was razed in September of last year).
Photographer Alice Heart took photos inside the park in 2008. Most were taken during the park’s auction as attendees — buyers and members of the general public — watched auctioneers sell off the park’s assets piece by piece.
Nature had not yet fully encroached on the park’s infrastructure, but the eeriness of a deserted amusement park is nonetheless unsettling.
I asked Alice a few questions about her connection to Geauga Lake:
C101: Did you visit Geauga Lake before it closed? What was your favorite ride?
I visited Geauga Lake multiple times before it closed. My favorite ride at Geauga Lake was called the Tumble Bug. It was in a area called Rainbow Island. It was a simple, small circle-shape roller coaster.
I also loved the Rocket Ships, which was a ride located close to the street. You would sit in these silver rocket ships and it would lift you up and spin you around and being on that fast ride, made me feel like I could fly off into the sky.
C101: What was your favorite memory at Geauga Lake?
My favorite memory would have to be when I went to a karaoke booth near the front entrance in the mid 90s and sang along to an Ace of Base song and I heard the song played throughout the park shortly after. That was a lot of fun.
C101: How did you feel while walking through the park?
I felt extremely sad when I was taking photos of Geauga Lake during auction day. It was so quiet there. Standing near certain areas of the park and remembering my 7th grade field trip to the amusement park. Remembering the original water park that included “The Wave” pool that I was terrified of as a child. To know all of these memories and the place was going to disappear. It was heartbreaking.
All Photos © Alice Heart
C101: What do you hope becomes of the former Geauga Lake site?
My hope is that it becomes a park for the public to use. A walking path, trees and maybe a gazebo. A small stage for the community to do plays or concerts. Something that families could really enjoy.
Do you have any memories of Geauga Lake? Share them in the comments section below.