Wildwater Kingdom (Ohio)
|Slogan||"Let the good times flow"|
|Location||Aurora and Bainbridge Township, Ohio, United States|
|Owner||Cedar Fair Entertainment Company|
|General Manager||Bill Spehn|
|Opened||June 17, 2005|
|Closed||September 5, 2016|
|Previous names||Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom (2008–2011)|
|Water slides||15 water slides|
|Children's areas||2 children's areas|
Wildwater Kingdom was a 17-acre (6.9 ha) water park located in Aurora and Bainbridge Township, Ohio, United States. Owned by Cedar Fair, the park opened in 2005 as part of the larger Geauga Lake and Wildwater Kingdom resort. The site was previously the location of SeaWorld Ohio (1970–2000) and later served as the marine life section of the larger Six Flags Worlds of Adventure (2001–2003). Worlds of Adventure was purchased by Cedar Fair in 2004 and the marine life area was converted into a water park for the 2005 season.
Cedar Fair closed the Geauga Lake amusement park following the 2007 season but kept the water park area open. It was first known as Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom, and the name was later shortened to Wildwater Kingdom. Its normal operating season extended from late May to Labor Day each year. The park featured 15 water slides including Thunder Falls, which opened as the tallest water slide complex in Ohio. In August 2016, Cedar Fair released a statement announcing the permanent closure of Wildwater Kingdom. Its final day of operation was September 5, 2016.
Wildwater Kingdom operated on the former site of SeaWorld Ohio. In January 2001 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment sold the SeaWorld park to Six Flags, who combined the former SeaWorld site with Six Flags Ohio to form a 750-acre (300 ha) amusement, marine and water park called Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. In March 2004, Six Flags announced that it had sold Six Flags Worlds of Adventure to Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.
The former SeaWorld site began to be demolished in late 2004, when Geauga Lake started construction on a new water park. On November 11, 2004 Geauga Lake announced Wildwater Kingdom, a new water park scheduled to open in 2005. It would be constructed in two phases, with the first phase costing $16 million and the second phase $8 million. The first phase consisted of a ProSlide Tornado, an activity pool, an action river and a new children's area with a multistory play structure. Hurricane Mountain, Ohio's tallest water-slide complex, was moved from the existing water park to the new Wildwater Kingdom and renamed Thunder Falls. Together, they formed Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom. The parks were connected by a floating bridge in the middle of the lake.
The second phase was scheduled for construction after the 2005 season to be ready for the 2006 season: however, not all of the second phase was built. A 38,000-square-foot (3,500 m2) wave pool, an adult pool with whirlpool spas and a swim-up bar and two more water-slide towers were planned, but only the wave pool was built. In addition to the attractions announced by the park, phase-two plans included an open-air auditorium and the reopening of the Happy Harbor play area. If both phases were completed, it would cover 20 acres (8.1 ha) and be one of the largest water parks in the United States. However, after plans fell through for most of the second phase the park's area was 17 acres (6.9 ha).
Before Wildwater Kingdom, Geauga Lake had a water park (located on the ride side of the park) which operated for over 20 years. During the Six Flags era, it was known as Hurricane Harbor; Cedar Fair renamed it Hurricane Hannah's after it purchased the park in 2004. Hurricane Hannah's closed at the end of the 2005 season. It sat vacant and fenced off during the 2006 and 2007 seasons at Geauga Lake.
On September 21, 2007, Cedar Fair announced its decision to close the ride side of Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom and reopen as a water park (Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom) in 2008. On July 11, 2011, Cedar Fair announced they had dropped Geauga Lake from the title; the water park would be called Wildwater Kingdom. While Geauga Lake's property is for sale, Cedar Fair has stated that Wildwater Kingdom is not for sale.
Cedar Fair announced on August 19, 2016, that Wildwater Kingdom would not reopen after the 2016 season. According to their press release, "Cedar Fair has been working cooperatively with both Bainbridge Township and the City of Aurora to redevelop the entire property into what will best benefit the surrounding communities. After examining its long-range plans, Cedar Fair has determined that the time is right to begin this transition and will continue to work together with community leadership in the positive future development of the property." The water park's final day of operation was September 5, 2016.
Slides and pools
|Area||Year opened||Manufacturer||Description||Thrill Rating|
|Coral Cove||2005||Aquatic Development Group, Inc.||Activity pool with basketball hoops, interactive water sprays and climbable floatables||Mild|
|Liquid Lightning||2005||ProSlide Technology||Tornado slide which dropped 60 feet (18 m)||Max|
|Riptide Run||2005||Aquatic Development Group, Inc.||1,100-foot (340 m) long lazy river||Mild|
|Splash Landing||2005||WhiteWater West||Four-story children's play area that had 7 water slides, soaking gadgets, geysers, water cannons and a giant bucket that dropped 1,000 gallons of water at several-minute intervals||Mild|
|Thunder Falls||2005||WhiteWater West||100-foot (30 m) high tower that featured 4 inner tube slides and 3 body slides, the tallest water-slide complex in Ohio. It opened in 2003 at Hurricane Hannah's (the water park located next to Geauga Lake before Wildwater Kingdom opened), and was moved to Wildwater Kingdom when it opened.||Moderate|
|Tidal Wave Bay||2006||Neuman Group||38,000-square-foot (3,500 m2), 390,000-gallon wave pool, one of the largest outdoor wave pools in Ohio||Mild|
In addition to slides and pools, the park featured several other family attractions. In 2010 it added a beach family-fun area, a children's attraction featuring a giant chessboard with movable playing pieces such as knights, rooks and pawns. There was also a sand-beach area overlooking Geauga Lake. Little Tikes Town, a children's area with playhouses and toys, is located behind Thunder Falls.
In popular culture
- "Wildwater Kingdom Celebrates Independence Day with Special Deals and Discounts". PR Newswire. June 29, 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Gieszl, Eric (November 11, 2004). "Geauga Lake 2005 Expansion Includes New Water Park". Ultimate Roller Coaster. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- "Geauga Lake plans a new water park". Toledo Blade. November 24, 2004. Retrieved November 16, 2004.
- "Six Flags and SeaWorld merge to former megapark". The Vindicator. February 2, 2001. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- "Six Flags creates new mega park in Ohio". Ultimate Roller Coaster. February 1, 2001. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- "Six Flags agrees to sell Ohio park for $145M". Pittsburgh Business Times. March 10, 2004. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "Wildwater Kingdom opens (Coaster-Net)". Coaster-Net. June 18, 2005. Archived from the original on December 19, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Kelly, Mike (May 27, 2006). "Buckle up for a wild summer". Toledo Blade. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- "Geauga Lake announces 2006 plans". Coaster-Net. November 14, 2005. Archived from the original on December 21, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- "Geauga Lake at Coaster-Net". Coaster-Net. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
- "Geauga Lake Readies New Attractions For 2007 Season". Ultimate Roller Coaster. March 3, 2007. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- "Cedar Fair announces new direction for Geauga Lake". PR Newswire. September 21, 2007. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Wendel, Kim (July 19, 2011). "'Wildwater Kingdom' nixes Geauga Lake name". WKYC. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- Bullard, Stan (March 4, 2013). "Geauga Lake land will be sold -- in pieces". Crain's Cleveland Business. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- "Wildwater Kingdom Update" (Press release). Cedar Fair. August 19, 2016. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
- "Wildwater Kingdom (Flying Compass)". Flying Compass. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- "SeaWorld Ohio (Love to Know)". Love to Know. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- "The ride has come to an end at Geauga Lake". Coaster-Net. September 22, 2007. Archived from the original on December 19, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- "‘Draft Day’ covers Northeast Ohio". Ohio.com. April 4, 2014. Retrieved February 25, 2015.