Big Dipper (Geauga Lake)

Coordinates: 41°20′57″N 81°22′41″W / 41.349145°N 81.377964°W / 41.349145; -81.377964
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Big Dipper
1940s postcard view
Geauga Lake
LocationGeauga Lake
Coordinates41°20′57″N 81°22′41″W / 41.349145°N 81.377964°W / 41.349145; -81.377964
Opening date1925 (1925)
Closing dateSeptember 16, 2007 (2007-09-16)
General statistics
DesignerJohn A. Miller
ModelOut and back roller coaster
Lift/launch systemChain lift hill
Height65 ft (20 m)
Length2,680 ft (820 m)
Speed32 mph (51 km/h)
Height restriction48 in (122 cm)
Trains2 trains with 4 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 3 rows for a total of 24 riders per train.
Big Dipper at RCDB

Big Dipper was a wooden roller coaster located at the defunct Geauga Lake amusement park in Bainbridge Township, Ohio. Originally opened in 1925 as Sky Rocket, it was renamed Clipper in the late 1940s, and eventually Big Dipper in 1969. It was the oldest operating roller coaster in Ohio and seventh-oldest in the United States when it closed in 2007. Designed by John A. Miller, the Big Dipper was also one of the last remaining roller coasters in the world from the designer. American Coaster Enthusiasts awarded the coaster its ACE Coaster Classic and ACE Coaster Landmark designations. Efforts to sell, preserve, and restore the ride were unsuccessful. The ride was demolished on October 17, 2016.[1]


For the 1925 season, Geauga Lake amusement park underwent an expansion that included the addition of Sky Rocket, a wooden roller coaster from renowned coaster designer John A. Miller. Miller designed over 140 roller coasters and contributed over 100 patented technologies to the roller coaster industry, some of which are still in use on modern-day coasters.[2] Sky Rocket featured a height of 65 feet (20 m) and a track length of 2,680 feet (820 m).[3] It was renamed Clipper in the late 1940s, and then again to Big Dipper in 1969 after Funtime, Inc. purchased the park.[4]

Big Dipper underwent major renovations in 1980. The ride was retracked by Martin & Vleminckx.[5]


  • On September 26, 1999, two trains collided. Three people received minor injuries, and only one required treatment.

Closure [edit]

Big Dipper's train on the first hill

On September 21, 2007, Cedar Fair announced that the amusement park portion of Geauga Lake would close, leaving only the water park, Wildwater Kingdom, in operation for future years.[6] With Big Dipper's future uncertain, preservationists and coaster enthusiasts grew concerned over its fate. The coaster first sold at an auction of the park's rides in June 2008, and minor damage to the structure was repaired in late 2008.[7]

The Big Dipper was put up for auction again in 2010. It was listed online at eBay with a starting bid price of $9,500 and a "buy it now" price of $65,000. The auction ended without any bids on September 6, 2010.[8] Later that month, two enthusiasts teamed up to purchase the ride, but the deal collapsed in January 2011 as a result of various legal issues surrounding the sale.[9] They were planning to disassemble and store the coaster in an area close to the park.[10] The roller coaster remained closed,[3][11] and in September 2016, Cedar Fair announced plans to dismantle and scrap the ride.[12][13] Demolition completed on October 17, 2016.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Gaetjens, Bob (September 21, 2016). "Safety is issue when people trespass on Cedar Fair land". Aurora Advocate. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  2. ^ Janet (May 24, 2010). "Coaster group hopes to save Geauga Lake's Big Dipper". Sandusky Register. Archived from the original on June 11, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Big Dipper  (Geauga Lake)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  4. ^ Wendel, Kim (November 5, 2009). "ACE: Geauga Lake's 'Big Dipper' gets landmark designation". WKYC. Retrieved June 11, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Retracking". Martin & Vleminckx. Archived from the original on November 25, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  6. ^ "Geauga Lake silences rides; water park remains".
  7. ^ "Cleveland News, Northeast Ohio News |". Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  8. ^ Grzegorek, Vince (September 8, 2010). "Big Dipper, Famous Ohio Rollercoaster, For Sale on eBay". Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  9. ^ "Final Update". Save the Big Dipper. January 11, 2011. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  10. ^ "About The Project". Save the Big Dipper. Archived from the original on April 10, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  11. ^ Glasier, David (May 28, 2015). "Only memories remain at Geauga Lake Amusement Park". The News-Herald. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  12. ^ Gaetjens, Bob (September 21, 2016). "Safety is issue when people trespass on Cedar Fair land". Aurora Advocate. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  13. ^ "Geauga Lake's Big Dipper to be demolished". WOIO. Retrieved January 12, 2017.

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