Zoombezi Bay

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Zoombezi Bay
Zoombezi Bay Logo.png
Location Powell, Ohio, United States
Coordinates 40°09′18″N 83°07′12″W / 40.154896°N 83.119866°W / 40.154896; -83.119866Coordinates: 40°09′18″N 83°07′12″W / 40.154896°N 83.119866°W / 40.154896; -83.119866
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)
Total 11
Website www.zoombezibay.com

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's Logo 199?-2006

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.[1]

Funtime was later acquired by Premier Parks in 1995.[2] 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.[3][4]

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.[5] 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.[1][6] 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.[7][8]


Construction of Zoombezi Bay in 2007

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. The zoo continued normal operation as the rebuilding of the park took place.


Picture Name Description Height Requirement Notes
Wild Tides 544,500-gallon wave pool with a maximum depth of six feet. Waves can reach up to four feet high. Children 36" and smaller must wear a PFD unless accompanied within arms reach of a parent. Same Name as Wyandot Lake's wave pool but all new.
Croctail Creek Adult-only lazy river containing 203,000 gallons of water, 850 feet (260 m) in length, and just a little under 28 inches (710 mm) in depth. Age: 21+ only Same river as Canoochee Creek when Wyandot Lake was around. Croctail Island Bar in the middle of the river.
Roaring Rapids 1,570,000 gallons of water for 1,500 feet (460 m) at 32 inches deep and an average of 17 feet (5.2 m) wide. Children 36" and smaller must wear a PFD unless accompanied within arms reach of a parent.
Barracuda Bay 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) pool/playground aimed at children 54" and smaller. Parents may accompany small children on the slides. Formerly Christopher's Island
KatoombaLagoon.JPG Barracuda Bay 4,000-square-foot (370 m2) water playground for smaller children Under 36" 0" depth entry to 22" max
Slippery Seals 48" Three slides. Part of the "Sea Splash" Complex. Similar to the three body slides at Wyandot Lake
Sea Snakes One- or two-person raft slides starting from a 51-foot (16 m) tower with the premier attraction being a bowl shaped slide section where the rider slides around the side of the bowl in a circular motion. 48" Two Slides. Part of the "Sea Splash" Complex.
Sea Tubes One or two person raft from 51 feet (16 m) 48" Two Slides. Part of the "Sea Splash" Complex. (Green one is the fastest)
Cyclone Waterslide that ends in a reducing-radius tunnel 48"-700 lb (320 kg) combined Four person clover-leaf tube
(See Above) Tahitian Twister Five-person raft ride 48" or 42" and accompanied by an adult, 800 lb (360 kg) combined
Dolphin Dash "Race" style slide 42" Can accommodate six riders at once (side-by-side), uses blue mats.

Old Wyandot Lake Attractions[edit]

A very old picture showing the original carousel and the Sea Dragon, which was then called the Jet Flyer.
Name Type Description Operating Notes/Fate
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.
Seahorses 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.

Theme Song[edit]

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.[9]


  1. ^ a b Burns, Adrian (October 16, 2006). "Changes idling Wyandot Lake in '07". Business First. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ Shea, Jim (November 1, 1995). "Lake Compounce Owner Optimistic About Expansion". The Courant (Hartford, CT, USA). Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  3. ^ Clavé, Salvador Anton (2007). The Global Theme Park Industry. CABI. pp. 107–108. ISBN 1845932080. 
  4. ^ "Premier Parks changes to Six Flags Inc.". The Baltimore Sun. July 6, 2000. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "Six Flags put up for sale". CNN Money. August 25, 2005. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ Mason, Everdeen; Ashley, Billy (January 13, 2008). "Zoombezi water park to open in May". Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ Wilder, Brent (February 25, 2008). "Zoombezi Bay slides toward its May opening at Columbus Zoo". Business First. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  9. ^ Warner, Kelly. "Score Chamber". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 

External links[edit]