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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012)

Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012)

ray_p ray_p Profile

Posted:
7/22/12 at
3:13:53 PM

Place: Conneaut Lake Park (Conneaut Lake Park, PA)
Date: Saturday July 21, 2012
Weather: Sunny with highs in the upper 70's
Crowds: below minimal
Rides Closed: Tumble Bug, Bessemer Railroad
Time Spent At Park: 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm

If Disneyland is "The Happiest Place On Earth", then Conneaut Lake must be "The Unhappiest". It's another year and somehow this park keeps hanging on by a very thin thread. The park is in awful shape and I really can't see CLP remaining open much longer without some much needed improvements. To be fair, there has been some work done since last season, but not enough to make the place any less depressing.

I parked in the grass lot across the street from the park entrance and noticed about 50 cars or so. I really doubt FastLane would be needed today. ;) The park's entrance plaza greets visitors with a pool of stagnant water and an entrance gate that isn't even used anymore. Once inside, three rides greet visitors- the Flying Scooters, Paratrooper, and Tilt-A-Whirl. All 3 had less than 4 people on them when I entered, with the Flying Scooters ride op lounging under his umbrella waiting for someone to come up to the entrance.

Proceeding down the midway, the park's waterslides are still closed as the Board of Trustees "assesses the cost of epairs". That makes 2 summers in a row the Board has been doing this. Also closed today was the park's classic Tumble Bug. A worker was doing something to one of the motors, so at least they were trying. I ventured up to the park's lone ticket booth and purchased $7 in tickets from a completely disinterested girl (she was texting friends on her iPhone) and decided to take a few rides.

First stop would be the Blue Streak, where I was the only person in line. I handed the ride op three tickets and hopped in the front car. Three other kids hopped aboard the train as well. After the ride op checked the restraints on the surprisingly well-kept NAD train, we rolled into the rotted out tunnel. Garbage bags are placed in places where the roof has caved in, giving the tunnel a rather unsettling feeling. The train really moved slowly through here, so slow in fact I thought we wouldn't make it to the end. Thankfully, the train crawled into the light and began its climb up the warped lift hill. Once we crested the top, the train plunged violently down the first drop into the long straightaway leading to the equally painful second hill. The big surprise this year though was that the third hill had been retracked, resulting in a much smoother experience. The train then rolls through a right-hand turnaround that was retracked last season before hitting a few nasty bunny hills on the way back to the station. Blue Streak isn't the worst ride I've ever been on by any means, and its retracked sections are great. But the rest of the ride looks like it is about to collapse at any moment and is quite painful to ride.

I wandered around a bit as I noticed that the rides Swank Amusements brought last season have been removed. Where the YoYo once stood there is now nothing. The site of the Roll-O-Plane is also vacant. I figured I'd head down towards the lake and I noticed that some vendor must have set up shop in the games area as there were 4 stalls set up with games in them. The Log Cabin "Gift Shop" was also open, however they really have nothing of interest souvenir-wise. Walking past the creepy and crumbling former Ultimate Trip building, I see a trailer has been attached to the entrance. I assume this is set up as a haunt at Halloween... or the park just thought it would be cool to have a trailer sitting in a field of overgrown weeds. Further up, the Chance Toboggan sits rusting away as does the entrance to the old Round Up. These reminders of the not-too-distant past really lend even more depression to the park's atmosphere. The lake itself though was bustling with activity. A wedding ceremony was going on, the Beach Club was packed, and the beach was alive with scantily-clad female guests playing volleyball. Add in the large number of boats out there and it makes you wonder why the entire area can't once again thrive.

I took a trip through the Devil's Den, where the front of the building is coming apart (the beam holding up the roof is rotting and split). Riding through this classic Pretzel dark ride though, I was quite impressed that all the stunts seemed to be working. Someone must volunteer their time to keep this ride in good working order. Devil's Den is a classic. Not too scary (although the car stunt is still sort of a startling effect) and featuring a unique coaster-like layout, it's a great ride that I do hope survives.

I looked at my watch and realized I had only been at the park for an hour (mostly wandering around taking video), and since I didn't feel like being depressed any longer, I hopped aboard the Flying Scooters before heading out. I was the only rider onboard the Flying Scooters and there was no one in line, yet for some reason, my ride cycle lasted all of 90 seconds. The ride op turned the ride on, jacked it up to full speed immediately, and then cut my ride off shortly thereafter. Really, for $2 and since there was literally no one else around, I could have gotten a longer cycle than that.

Overall, I can't say enough how run down and horrific Conneaut Lake Park looks. I understand that they are in financial ruin and can't afford to do anything, but if they could clean up some of the decaying ruins like the Toboggan, Ultimate Trip building, etc, it may give the park a slightly more pleasant feel. I keep saying each year that this will probably be CLP's last, yet somehow they keep opening. I guess they keep proving me wrong. If anyone is ever in the area, I can't recommend a visit here, but if you're a glutton for punishment and feel like being depressed for a few hours, Conneaut Lake is the place to be!

Here's my 2012 video, which is pretty much the same as my 2011 video:

Thanks for reading!

Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by Schrecken Schrecken Profile at 7/22/12 4:16:36 PM
That's really sad to see all those mostly-empty rides.... I have been to that park once in the past (maybe 07' or 08'?) when the Blue Streak was still closed but I don't remember much about it at all. Seemed that there were more people there, though.

Your vid does capture the desolate look of the park very well, unfortunately. What a shame to have the Blue Streak restored (or partly so) and then have the whole park go under.

Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by Patripman Patripman Profile at 7/22/12 4:43:36 PM
The park has been desolate since 1994 in fact Conneaut started to die in 1979. Our last official visit to the "park" was in 2004 even though the family has a cottage right down 1000' from the side gate on Comstock road.

Patripman

* This post was modified at 7/22/12 4:46:35 PM *

Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile at 7/22/12 4:43:50 PM
Thanks for the TR, Ray. I don't get how this place continues to survive given the condtions of everything around it. I haven't been there in years and have no desire to. I wonder if they do any advertising in the immediate area.

It's great that they are trying to fix the Blue Streak but at the same time I think it's a lost cause. I'd hate to see the ride disappear as it is a great ride, from my last experience, if they finally decide to pull the plug on it.

G-Dog

Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by drachen drachen Profile at 7/23/12 10:54:58 AM
Thanks again Ray, for a very nice TR from a strange, little park. I went last year, and the park ended up being closed, despite what the website say the day before. At least I had Waldameer to save the day.

Blue Streak is a ride I feel I need to get to before it's gone for good. I'll probably try again next year.

Thanks for posting the video too. I love your videos, and I love that you don't say anything - you just let the rides do their own talking.

Additionally, I love and appreciate your dark ride POV's. What a great idea.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
Friend me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur
Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by sparky sparky Profile at 7/23/12 11:25:59 AM
Thanks for the report, Ray.

The footage of Blue Streak looks like you used some kind of special effect in your editing program to superimpose a train on a ride set for demolition like the Lincoln Park Comet.

Was that an actual operating band organ I heard at the carousel? That would be a shocker.

Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by ericthewanderer at 7/23/12 12:53:46 PM
I got to go to Conneaut Lake last summer for a NAPHA event.It seemed like a nice little park,but in serious need of upkeep & Maintanence.It's sad to hear that the tumle bug and railroad were closed.
Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by ray_p ray_p Profile at 7/24/12 9:15:21 AM
Thanks to everyone for their comments.

Mark, I honestly thought the same thing about the Carousel. When I go back and watch my CLP video from last year, the music is nowhere near as loud as it was this year. I know the park is having a Carousel Organ Festival this coming weekend, so maybe that has something to do with it. And yes, Blue Streak is truly in sad shape!

Drachen, thanks for the compliments as always. When I first bought a camcorder in 1996, I thought it would be fun to be witty and smarmy while filming. Watching those videos now, I wish I would have kept my trap shut (for evidence, my Le Cachot and Gold Rusher video is awful thanks to my blabbering). With my newer videos, I just try and film the park as people would see it. My next goal is to buy a dedicated camcorder with good image stabilization so my vids don't look like I was having a seizure while filming them!

GDog, I am not sure if they advertise or not in the area. I would assume that there must be some sort of publicity out there as people do seem to realize that the park is open, but i doubt it's on a very large scale.

And Bernard, if CLP started to die in 1979, they have somehow clung to life support for over 30 years now. I doubt they'll be able to hang on for another 30 though.

Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 7/24/12 11:32:50 AM
Can anyone answer this question for me?

What is the pronunciation of "Conneaut?" Is it a three-syllable word (con-ee-yut) or two-syllable with a French twist (con-o..with a long "o" sound like "eau") Just curious.

Mike

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by KevinReid KevinReid Profile at 7/24/12 11:41:14 AM
ray_p said:

My next goal is to buy a dedicated camcorder with good image stabilization so my vids don't look like I was having a seizure while filming them!

Another great TR and Video. Thanks Ray. I have the camera for you. This one is on my wishlist since our Sony DVC camcorder quit on our last cruise. It is a little on the pricey side... $1600. Ouch! Sony HDR-PJ760V with 96g internal flash memory, 24.1 mega pixel still photos with exceptional Balanced Optical Steady Shot. I saw this camera at the Sony store and it was nice. Great when you zoom in and there is no camera shake.

I am hoping to some how sneak this one into the house witout Donna seeing it. ssh!

Regards,
Kevin "wants a Sony HDR-PT760V" Reid

* This post was modified at 7/24/12 11:43:33 AM *

Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by drachen drachen Profile at 7/24/12 12:18:55 PM
beastmaster said:

Can anyone answer this question for me?


What is the pronunciation of "Conneaut?" Is it a three-syllable word (con-ee-yut) or two-syllable with a French twist (con-o..with a long "o" sound like "eau") Just curious.

Mike

It's actually pronouced "cone - wah"...





I kid.

From the western PA folks I've spoken with, it is pronounced "Con-ee-ott" Lake, emphasis on the "Con".

* This post was modified at 7/24/12 12:19:48 PM *

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
Friend me on Facebook... Search Park Connoisseur
Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by ericthewanderer at 7/24/12 12:36:28 PM
I just remembered something that was said at NAPHA event-that THIS year(2012) was supposed to be Conneaut's 120th anniversary and Blue Streak's 60th!If so,why havn't they tried to capitalize on that double anniversary?I'm sure some people-other than enthusiasts-would be interested.
Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by MABrider MABrider Profile at 7/24/12 12:55:59 PM
beastmaster said:

What is the pronunciation of "Conneaut?" Mike

I seem to remember Conneaut had some kind of mascot that was an Otter named Connie (sp).

Ergo, Connie-Ott(er).
That supposedly let people know how to pronounce the name of the park phonetically and thus correctly. Worked for me!

Mike B.
Re: Trip Report: Conneaut Lake Park (07/21/2012) by ray_p ray_p Profile at 7/24/12 1:23:43 PM
ericthewanderer said:

I just remembered something that was said at NAPHA event-that THIS year(2012) was supposed to be Conneaut's 120th anniversary and Blue Streak's 60th!If so,why havn't they tried to capitalize on that double anniversary?I'm sure some people-other than enthusiasts-would be interested.

That is true about the park's anniversary. I used the 120th Anniversary logo on my video tags. I guess just being open another year is cause for them to celebrate, but when you walk around the park, there isn't a whole heck of a lot that makes anyone want to jump up and down over 120 years.

The Blue Streak is actually 74 this year as it was built in 1938. Looking at the ride now, it looks like it still has most of its original wood. ;)

Thanks to those who already jumped in on the pronunciation. And Kevin, that camera has gotten some good reviews. $1500 is a bit pricey for a camcorder, but with 90+ GB of internal memory and 24 MB stills, it might be worth the extra few bucks. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for! Thanks for the suggestion. Time to start saving!

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