|Location||Powell, Ohio, United States|
|Owner||Columbus Zoo and Aquarium|
|Opened||May 26, 2008|
|Previous names||Wyandot Lake - 1984 to 2006
Gooding Zoo Park - 1946 to 1984
|Operating season||Memorial Day to Labor Day|
|Area||22.7 acres (92,000 m2)|
Zoombezi Bay is a water park owned by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio. The water park was originally part of Wyandot Lake, which was purchased by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in 2006. Wyandot Lake was closed for the 2007 season for renovation and was divided into an amusement park and water park - Jungle Jack's Landing and Zoombezi Bay, respectively. Zoombezi Bay reopened on May 26, 2008.
Wyandot Lake originally began as a picnic and recreational park in 1896. In the 1940s, the area was purchased by a carnival operator to be used as winter storage for the carnival's rides. The area soon developed into an amusement park and added its first roller coaster, Jet Flyer, in 1956. Following the owner's death in the 1970s, ownership was transferred to the city of Columbus who began leasing the park to Ohio-based Funtime Inc., in 1983.
Funtime was later acquired by Premier Parks in 1995. Premier Parks, originally an Oklahoma-based real estate company named TierCo, ventured into the entertainment industry when it purchased Frontier City in 1983. It later acquired Six Flags in 1999 changing its name to Six Flags Inc., in reference to its flagship property.
Under new ownership, the amusement park continued to operate under the name Wyandot Lake. In June 2006, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced that it had entered an agreement with Six Flags to purchase Wyandot Lake for $2 million, which would be finalized later in the year. Six Flags – struggling with annual losses since 1999 – was eager to negotiate with the nearby zoo amid city plans to realign Powell Road, which would cut through a portion of Wyandot Lake. Shortly thereafter, the zoo announced plans to renovate Wyandot Lake, deciding to close it for the 2007 season. When the park reopened on May 26, 2008, it was split into two areas. Zoombezi Bay represented the water park, and Jungle Jack's Landing consisted of the amusement park.
Work began on October 2006 to remove the former picnic area and clear trees and other out-dated rides. Many of the rides and equipment were auctioned off in order to offset the cost of some renovation. One signature Wyandot Lake water slide complex, with "The Jet Stream" and "Zuma Falls", was purchased for $500 by The Beach Water Park, located in Mason, Ohio. As of July, 2007 everything had been removed from the former Wyandot Lake except the "Sea Dragon" and Christopher's Island. The zoo continued normal operation as the rebuilding of the park took place.
Old Wyandot Lake Attractions
|Starfish||Ferris wheel||A 16-seat Eli Bridge chain driven "Aristocrat" Ferris wheel.||unknown-2006|
|Christopher's Island||Water Treehouse||A three section water treehouse. Pirate themed.||1997–present||Exact same location today, partially fixed-up and renamed Barracuda Bay. The "Geysers and Gizmos" section was recently removed.|
|Hum-Dinghies||Allan Herschell "Wet Boat"||Old kiddie boat ride with real water and boats with bells attached.||unknown-2004||Part of "Kiddie Land" Replaced with Kiddie Stage and Seating|
|Dune Buggies||Hampton "Combo"||Circular Hampton car ride with two sets of motorcycles. Red, yellow, and blue spinning canopy.||unknown-2006||Part of "Kiddie Land"|
|Sand Dollar||Miniature Ferris wheel||Miniature Eli Bridge chain-driven Ferris wheel||unknown-1997||Part of "Kiddie Land." Almost always broken down. Never Replaced.|
|Cod Cars||Allan Herschell "Midge-O-Racer"||A car ride where riders would go in a circle, but be able to change the position (radius) of their path by turning the steering wheel.||unknown-1999||Part of "Kiddie Land." Replaced by "Guppies".|
|Guppies||Eyerly "Bulgy the Whale"||A small circular fish ride where colorful fish would go up-and down. (similar to the motion of a Merry-Go-Round)||unknown-2006||Part of "Kiddie Land." Replaced the old circular car ride.|
|Tottering Turtles||Chambers "Kid Turtle"||A circular ride with a hill in one point. Almost like a roller coaster, but very small and electric powered throughout the ride (no chained hill).||2000–2006||Part of "Kiddie Land." Replaced the space-ship ride.|
|Sea Horses||Allan Herschell "Rodeo"||This ride was almost like a little carousel (no music) and was actually horse-themed, not seahorse-themed||unknown-2006||Part of "Kiddie Land." Possibly made by the same manufacturer as the old circular car ride.|
|Dune Cycles||Hampton "Dune Cycles"||A Hampton motorcycle ride with hills throughout. Spinning red and white canopy.||unknown-2006||Part of "Kiddie Land."|
|(?)||Flying Ships||Four (or two?) metal spaceships hanging from an overhead canopy.||unknown-1999||Part of "Kiddie Land."|
|Jet Fighter||Allan Herschell "Skyfighter"||A spinning ride where all the ships rose to 6' in the air and came down all at once.||unknown-1999||Part of "Kiddie Land." Replaced with "Flying Elephants"|
|Flying Elephants||Sartori "Elephant Ride"||A spinning ride where all the elephants rose to 6' in the air and came down all at once.||2000–2006||Part of "Kiddie Land." Replaced "Jet Fighter" Similar to the current elephant ride in Jungle Jack's Landing, but not the same.|
|Monsoon||King Amusements "Frolic"||Circular ride with carts seating two people (facing each other) that could be manually spun by a wheel in the center of the car. Painted Blue with white and yellow fluorescent bulbs at top.||unknown-2006|
|Black Squid||Eyerly "Spider"||This ride had six arms, and has the two cars attached right above the arm. The cars spun independently and each car had to be loaded separately by an employee. Had yellow and green fluorescent bulbs along with yellow incandescent bulbs under the downward-curving arms.||unknown-2006||Not operating often, as it was subject to frequent breakdowns and long wait times (because of loading)|
|Neptune's Revenge||Eli Bridge "Scrambler"||This ride had three arms with three cars on each prong that spun as the ride goes around. Was painted white with a future-theme.||unknown-present||Moved to Jungle Jack's Landing, renamed "Dust Devil" and painted brown.|
|Barracuda (Original)||Eyerly "Rock-O-Plane"||Ferris wheel with completely free spinning cages. Painted Blue.||unknown-1999||Removed due to safety concerns, though this is questionable. The ride that replaced it kept the same name and sign, but was actually a Tilt-A-Whirl.|
|Barracuda (Replacement)||Sellner Tilt-A-Whirl||This ride had seven cars that moved with chaotic motion around a bumpy circular track. Had generic red, white, and blue theme.||2000–present||Moved to Jungle Jack's Landing, renamed "Whirligigs" and painted in a pond theme.|
|Sea Dragon||Figure-Eight Junior Coaster||This ride was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and has been giving rides ever since.||1956–present||Originally named "Jet Flyer." While now part of Jungle Jack's Landing, the coaster has remained in the same location. It also kept the same name and sign (on the station), but received a fresh coat of white paint.|
|Grand Carousel (original)||Carousel||This Mangels-Illions Carousel had 52 Horses, 2 Chariots, and a Wurlitzer 153 Band Organ.||1938–1999||Beautifully and completely restored. Now sits at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.|
|Grand Carousel (replacement)||Carousel||Typical amusement park carousel. Had white and blue incandescent bulbs. No band organ, but played music from CD.||2001–2006||Kept name and old signage of "Grand Carousel"|
|Wild Tides Wave Pool||Wave Pool||Large wave pool||unknown-2006||New wave pool in Zoombezi Bay kept name, but is actually a completely new and different wave pool.|
|Buccaneer Bay||Kiddie play area||This was a small kiddie play pool||unknown-1997||This pool became home to the exit of "Shark Attack" when the bigger "Christopher's Island" was built in '97. ("Christopher's Island" is now called "Barracuda Bay" and is part of Zoombezi Bay)|
|Frog Pool||Kiddie Play Area||Small circular pool with small slide where toddlers would slide through a frogs mouth. Featured red mushroom water feature.||unknown-2006|
|Canoochee Creek||Lazy River||This lazy river had features such as a leaky tunnel, air bubbles, steam (coming from the scenery), a bar along the way called "Croctail Island", and a "mill".||unknown-present||Still used today as "Crocktail Creek" in Zoombezi Bay. It is for Adults only and still has Croctail Island. Also toned down, for a "lazier" effect. Some of the scenery was burned down in a fire, but replaced soon after.|
|Bait-n-Bump/Havoc Harbor (original)||Duce Bumper Cars||These bumper cars were the classic style, one/two rider type. Had an island-themed backdrop with a concrete center island.||unknown-2001||The cars were destroyed in a fire, and replaced with gentler cars under the same name. Originally named "Bait-n-Bump", name changed to "Havoc Harbor" around 1994.|
|Havoc Harbor (replacement)||Bumper Cars||These bumper cars were the one-rider, tank type. Two hand controlled sticks were used to operate the car that had an inner tube-like bumper. Cars were in all different colors. Power was distributed through the floor, rather than the ceiling.||2002–present||These cars were the replacement to the cars that were destroyed in the fire. They now occupy Jungle Jack's Landing as "Condor Craze."|
|Shark Attack||Water Slide||This red slide held up to three people and let sliders go up onto the side of the slides through centripetal force while turning.||1997–2006||Occupied former home of "Buccaneer Bay. The Shark Attack ride was moved to Sams Surf City in Pensacola Florida. The ride is still called Shark Attack and is due to be open in summer 2011"|
|Zuma Falls||Water Slide||Two gentle generic white water slides. Riders rode tubes down this open slide.||1994–2006||Started from same tower as the "Jet Stream." Auctioned off to "the Beach" when Wyandot Lake closed.|
|Jet Stream||Water Slide||Two fast black covered water slides, with small holes of light throughout.||unknown-2006||Started from same tower as the "Zuma Falls." Auctioned off to "the Beach" when Wyandot Lake closed.|
|Splash Slides||Body Slides||Three body slides (one straight down, one curvy, and one completely covered) The two open slides were light blue, while the covered slide was a greenish color. These slides could be seen well from the parking lot.||unknown-2006||Name changed frequently with different sponsors, such as "Ice Mountain Splash" and "Sunkist Splash". The covered slide, named "The Phantom", was hardly ever open and eventually was permanently closed around 2003.|
The Zoombezi Bay theme song "Zoombezi Bay" was written and produced by freelance musician Kelly Warner from Columbus, Ohio. Vocals were performed by Nachilus Kezuck and Brian O'Dell.
- Burns, Adrian (October 16, 2006). "Changes idling Wyandot Lake in '07". Business First. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Shea, Jim (November 1, 1995). "Lake Compounce Owner Optimistic About Expansion". The Courant (Hartford, CT, USA). Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Clavé, Salvador Anton (2007). The Global Theme Park Industry (in English). CABI. pp. 107–108. ISBN 1845932080.
- "Premier Parks changes to Six Flags Inc.". The Baltimore Sun. July 06, 2000. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Rose, Marla Matzer (June 13, 2006). "Zoo to keep Wyandot Lake afloat: Six Flags to sell 17-acre water park for $2 million". The Columbus Dispatch. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- "Six Flags put up for sale". CNN Money. August 25, 2005. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Mason, Everdeen; Ashley, Billy (January 13, 2008). "Zoombezi water park to open in May". Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Wilder, Brent (February 25, 2008). "Zoombezi Bay slides toward its May opening at Columbus Zoo". Business First. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Warner, Kelly. "Score Chamber". Retrieved 2009-07-15.