Conneaut Lake Park has been a huge part of my life. While Kennywood has always been my "home park," Conneaut is only about an hour away from me. In 2013, I made my first visit in September and returned in the fall of 2014 and 2015. The most memorable thing about these visits is that the park was completely dead on these weekends. I thought that it would be interesting to show some pictures of a surreal, desolate amusement park.
|In my own world...|
Conneaut has low prices (given its few attractions), and on the second Sunday of the month, they've traditionally sold $5 wristbands. I've been on a summer $5 day twice, and the atmosphere then is the complete opposite of these pictures. Just take a look:
However, the first time my family visited, we got $5 admission for bringing a used coat!
There are several unique rides at Conneaut Lake Park, but the star attraction is the Blue Streak, a 1938 wooden roller coaster that is one of my favorite rides. The best thing about this coaster is the way it is buried in the woods, so it might require its own post in the future!
The history of Conneaut over the past 25 years has been a roller coaster itself, so hold on tight!
Conneaut almost closed prior to the Great Depression, but the state of the economy meant that redevelopment plans for the park fell through. After several decades of successful operation, plans were announced at the end of the 100th anniversary in 1992 for the park's rides to be removed or demolished, moving the focus to a family entertainment center. (Happy 100th...) There was an auction of all of the park's attractions, but local businessmen bought many of the rides and later purchased the land, keeping Conneaut alive.
The park lost money under the new ownership and closed in 1995. Reopening in 1996, Conneaut Lake continued to try unsuccessfully to find its footing. In 2007 and 2008, the park remained shuttered. However, most of the rides reopened in 2009, with the Blue Streak following in 2010.
|I loved this gift shop. They had tons of old Geauga Lake souvenirs and maps from parks around the country for a quarter!|
In 2014, Conneaut Lake Park's growing debt caused them to move toward a Sherriff's Sale. I didn't realize the severity of the situation at the time, but I now see that Conneaut came very close to finally closing forever. However, the park filed for bankruptcy and made improvements in their debt load through last year.
In late May, Conneaut the decision to cancel their 2020 season, citing that their "business model has been built on a crowded midway" and the open nature of the park's borders meant that it would be difficult to regulate attendance. Most other amusement parks in Pennsylvania did open this summer, so I do wonder if Conneaut called the summer off a little prematurely, especially with the park's precarious financial situation. I can only hope that they will open next year. In a way, Conneaut is a "zombie park" that has refused to die!