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What is Cedar Fair going to do with Geauga Lake?

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Published: June 14, 2006 at 2:14 PM

I was just looking at the press release that Cedar Fair put out last month when they announced the purchase of the Paramount Parks (PDF), and one thing in particular really jumped out at me: Geauga Lake's anemic attendance figures. Last year they only had 700,000 visitors! Compare that to the numbers for Cedar Point and Kings Island (both in the 3-million range), and it got me to wondering if Cedar Fair is planning on hanging onto Geauga Lake in the long term.

[Editor's note: Cedar Fair also announced today that it will raise up to $250 million through public offering of its limited partnership interests, in an effort to help pay off part of the Paramount Parks acquisition costs.]

Geauga Lake's completely redundant in terms of market coverage, and it's by far the largest physical property in the whole chain at more than a square mile. It's nearly twice the size of Cedar Point, their flagship property! I have no idea what real estate goes for in that part of the country, but a square mile of property anywhere near a major city is usually worth a pretty good chunk of change.

Geauga Lake has some really good rides (in addition to a couple of clunkers), so why not sell the land and relocate all of the good rides to other parks in the chain? Carowinds and Great America could use some help in the ride department, that's for sure. They could even leave the water park open since water parks tend to draw more of a local crowd anyway. The bottom line is that the vast majority of people who go to Geauga Lake would just switch to Cedar Point or Kings Island if Geauga Lake were closed. Where else are they going to go? Kennywood near Pittsburgh is about an hour and half from there, but so is Cedar Point. Which park would you rather go to?

Readers' Opinions

From Derek Potter on June 14, 2006 at 7:00 PM
I don't see them selling Geauga Lake or plundering it's rides. It's true that Geauga Lake is big, but remember that most of it is lake. The $25 entrance fee is one of the best deals around....thats a park full of coasters and a free waterpark, which makes for a economical getaway for those in the Cleveland area.

I think that Geauga Lake has a place in Cedar Fairs collection as an economical alternative to a place like Cedar Point and Kings Island, as well as a nice addition to some kind of park hopper pass (if they ever get around to something like that). That being said, I don't look for any massive additions to Geauga Lake in the near future. There will surely be improvements, but don't look for the expenditures to go in their direction. My thought is that Cedar Fair would probably be happy with about a million plus guests a year for Geauga Lake, given it's proximity to the mother ship.

While Carowinds and Great America could use some attention, the park that needs the most work in the new Cedar Fair chain is Michigans Adventure. CF bought Michigans Adventure a few years ago as a small park with a lot of land. After three years of battling with the public officials, they finally will be getting public water and sewer systems. This clears the road for expansion, and an attempt to tap into the Detroit market.

I also look for Cedar Fair to pump some money into Carowinds. The company could really use another park that can extend it's season past September. Carowinds in Charlotte offers that oppurtunity, so naturally they will examine those possibilities. I do hope however, that they elect to continue the holiday time events such as Winterfest.

From Ray Wagner on June 15, 2006 at 7:14 AM
I think Peter may be on to something. It would not be the first time an attraction was torn down for sake of profit on the land deal. I used to live in NE Ohio and Geauga Lake was very convenient for our family. I sure would love to see the old wooden coaster put into Carowinds which is near to where I now live. Carowinds does need help though they may have a space problem.

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