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Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13)

ray_p ray_p Profile

Posted:
5/29/13 at
1:42:10 PM

Place: Conneaut Lake Park (The World’s Most Depressing Amusement Park™)
Date: Monday May 27, 2013
Weather: Overcast with a high around 65
Crowds: Minimal
Rides Closed: Tumble Bug, Tilt-A-Whirl, Trabant

Oh, Conneaut Lake. What has happened to you? Of course, I know the answer to that question, but it still makes me shake my head and wonder exactly why this place is still open. I do have a morbid fascination with CLP though as I keep making the 90 minute trek out there each summer to see if it has gotten any worse. And unfortunately, the answer is usually yes.

I’ll steal Jen’s format for my TR this time so that you can get the visuals as you read. Although some of the pictures really speak for themselves.

On a positive note, after winning yet another contest of some sort, the famous Conneaut Lake Park sign in the main parking lot was restored over the winter and looks fantastic.

The happiness of a restored Conneaut soon disappeared as I approached the vacant entrance gates (which seem to be used for storage now) and saw a giant board covering up something on the façade. I know it’s comparing apples and oranges, but this is the exact opposite of Cedar Point’s fancy new entrance area!

There were two of these new signs inside the park that must have been part of the prize winnings. I don’t quite understand what they accomplish though other than look nice amongst the rubble. I thought that the rides and buildings themselves would receive new signs, but apparently that was not the case.

The former Park Fries stand near the Blue Streak has sat dormant the past few seasons. It has now opened to serve nachos and slushies. The employee searches in vain for some guests to serve.

The Devil’s Den continues to rot away on the outside (note the beam of the roof). The inside however had all of its stunts operating and seemed to be in decent working order.

The Midway area was bustling with activity. I noticed the run down building that houses one of the haunt attractions at Halloween was painted a bright orange and purple to cheer the area up a bit.

The Blue Streak was running relatively well. I don’t believe any additional track work has been done this year, but riding in a non-axle seat was a pretty good ride.

The Flying Scooters also offered a nice ride as the cycle time was easily 3 minutes. I guess this year’s ride op didn’t mind me being the only person riding with no one else in line.

These next two pics are my favorites of the day. These were taken on the side of the former Ultimate Trip building looking towards the Witch’s Stew and Trabant rides. They kind of sum up the whole feel of the place.

The Chance Toboggan is still standing, rusting into oblivion. Foliage has grown up and through the tracks.

Hotel Conneaut got a nice coat of paint this year and actually looks like an attractive place to stay even though there is no air conditioning.

The pavement in front of the Log Cabin Gift Shop continues to push upwards thanks to this large tree root.

And speaking of the Gift Shop, what better way to commemorate your trip to Conneaut Lake Park than with a Geauga Lake and Wildwater Kingdom Souvenir? They also had a full rack of GL keychains, some GL postcards, copies of ACE News from 1998 and even a few Slap Chops (as seen on TV and sold by the ShamWow Guy) for sale. Bizarre…

The Tilt-A-Whirl is apparently being refurbished. The cars have been painted and the underside of the ride seems to be getting some love.

And finally, these two pics show the results of my train ride. I hadn’t ridden the train since before the park “re-opened” a few years back, so I was looking forward to taking a spin. Unfortunately, my ride lasted all of about 45 seconds before sparks flew and the engine derailed… bringing our ride to a grinding halt. The conductor jumped off the train, assessed the situation, shrugged his shoulders and said “I guess we’re walkin’ back”. At first I laughed since it was sort of a funny incident, but then I thought back and remembered that a train derailed at Old Indiana several years ago that resulted in 6 people being killed, so it really isn’t something to joke about. In any case, it was a fitting end to my CLP visit.

I guess I’ll have to wait and see what happens to CLP as the future unfolds. If the park opens again next summer, I’ll be back, camera in hand, to check the place out again. I honestly don’t know how the park manages to survive in the current state it is in. A friend at work said the pictures look like it’s an abandoned amusement park, and he is right. The place looks miserable. I’ll try to have the video up later tonight. I’ve attached a link to all 60+ pics as well if anyone is interested in seeing the pics in greater detail. Thanks for reading!

Ray P's Conneaut Lake pics

Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by CoasterFanatic CoasterFanatic Profile at 5/29/13 2:22:11 PM
The train that crashed at old indiana wasn't a derailment per sey but the ride operator operating too fast into a turn and the train tipping over. Ususally a derailment don't cause too much problems other than the cars coming off the rails and rolling for a bit till stopped.

We had the same type train that Old Indiana had at Strickers grove back in the 70s and that same thing happened with it. A hot shoe operator took it 30mph into a 90 degree turn. Nobody was hurt but that was the end of that train for the park.

Charles Nungester 323 coasters and holding for two years now LOL Last coaster ride. HWN 2011
Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by drachen drachen Profile at 5/29/13 5:48:22 PM
I enjoyed the read Ray. I'm sorry I missed you. I had plans in place to be at CLP on Monday as well. Didn't work out.

I literally laughed out loud at the Geauga Lake souvenirs! What is that about?

As the park looks like it will be sold off in the off season to pay the back taxes, I realize now more than ever that I need to make it back out there (when it's open) before the summer's over.

I had a Wally World moment in 2011. I wasn't too happy about it.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by CoasterFanatic CoasterFanatic Profile at 5/29/13 5:55:34 PM
The parks has had plans to sell some property to pay the taxes owed (Left by a previous operator BTW) and everytime they come up with a plan. the zoning board strikes it down. The were going to sell some land on the west end of the beach to build condos and NO, YOU CANT DO THAT!.

That being said, the park has had a long standing annonymous benifactor that has stepped in almost every time the park has been in major trouble.

Charles Nungester 323 coasters and holding for two years now LOL Last coaster ride. HWN 2011
Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 5/29/13 6:32:48 PM
drachen said:

I had a Wally World moment in 2011. I wasn't too happy about it.

Don't talk to me about "Wally World Moments." I had two this weekend on the same (bleeping) day!

Mike

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by frontrow frontrow Profile at 5/29/13 6:43:08 PM
I was at Conneaut for the very first time Sunday evening. I enjoyed The Blue Streak. It was a rough at the bottom of the first 2 drops, but loaded with air time. If this coaster was at any other park, it would be a great ride. I liked the front, more than the back.

I liked Devil's Den, and all the gags were working on the inside. Haunted House in Camden Park is a larger version and much better maintained.

I thought the carousel was the best maintained ride. I actually liked that carousel. Lots of different animals. The oversized giraffe was my favorite.

The flying scooters were weak and ready to fall apart. Witches Stew was unique, but in terrible shape. We were in the blue car, which didn't spin much.

Your photos tell the rest of my report. I was there, I rode The Blue Streak, and really don't plan on revisiting. I know the park is struggling to survive, but calling Conneaut pitiful would be a compliment. I would have liked to visit the park about 30 years ago. I bet it was a nice small park.

Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 5/30/13 12:41:44 AM
Wow - just wow. It really is very sad that the park is in that condition. Seeing is believing. Nice job on the TR and pics at least.

Jen

Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by NotSo NotSo Profile at 5/30/13 1:39:51 AM
Ray why do you torture me like this... nostalgia gets me every time, but damn....

Train derailment, perfect explaination of CLP...

Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by Coaster316 at 5/30/13 8:37:16 AM
Fantastic report and pictures, Ray. I fondly recall my first trip to Conneaut about 13-15 years ago. It was my birthday and I just truly enjoyed wandering the park. So sad to see it in the state it has been for the last several years.

Great, great pictures though.

Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by ray_p ray_p Profile at 5/30/13 9:37:42 AM
Thanks for all the feedback all. I’ll try to comment on a few things.

CoasterFanatic said:

Usually a derailment don't cause too much problems other than the cars coming off the rails and rolling for a bit till stopped

That is true. The train just stopped in its tracks and I saw two guys with crow bars heading over by the train as I left the park, so perhaps they were going to lift it back onto the tracks. I know it wasn’t a major deal. Like I said, I was laughing about it afterwards.

Drachen said:

I literally laughed out loud at the Geauga Lake souvenirs! What is that about?

Great question as I have no idea what the deal with that is. They also had some old brochures from Six Flags America and a few other Six Flags parks for sale. Yes, they were selling brochures. It was quite the odd experience! If you’re ever in the area again, let me know. I’ll make the trip out there any time!

Frontrow said:

I thought the carousel was the best maintained ride. I actually liked that carousel. Lots of different animals. The oversized giraffe was my favorite.

I did forget to mention the Carousel in my TR as it is definitely the gem of Conneaut. It seems to be in very nice shape, uses an actual band organ, and runs a long cycle. I have a few seconds of footage of the ride in my video below. Totally agree with you on all other points. :)

Jen said:

Wow - just wow. It really is very sad that the park is in that condition.

I honestly think my pictures make the place look better than it really is. The feeling you get when walking around and seeing all of the decay is truly sad. Add in the overcast skies on my Monday visit and it just added to the doom and gloom.

NotSo said:

Train derailment, perfect explanation of CLP...

You got that right! The train derailed back in 2006 or so and hasn’t been set back on the tracks since. I know some people will probably say it’s been longer than that, but I did enjoy my visits to the park back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. At least they were buying a used ride to install every now and then (Toboggan, Music Express, Witch’s Stew, etc.)

Jeff M said:

I fondly recall my first trip to Conneaut about 13-15 years ago. It was my birthday and I just truly enjoyed wandering the park.

Conneaut was a neat place to just wander through and enjoy the atmosphere. I still remember the time you and I went and the Ultimate Trip ride operator was working the lights in time with the music. That has to rank as one of my all time favorite flat ride moments. Standing on a pile of rubble that used to be the Ultimate Trip building really brings a tear to my eye.

I have attached my video for those interested. Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting!

Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by d_n_s_u at 5/30/13 10:51:07 AM
Thanks for a poignant but ultimately great read and video.
Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 5/30/13 11:10:43 AM
Great video! That park looks like it has so much potential. I hope they figure out how to fix it up before it gets any worse.

Jen

Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by drachen drachen Profile at 6/2/13 10:59:22 PM
Thanks for posting the video. Despite the Wally World moment, I really enjoyed walking around the silent park. The property, including the lake is really nice.

I would love nothing more than to see some investors put some cash into this park to get it back up to par. Lakeside parks should never be lost to history.

I'll be sure to let you know when I make it back out there this summer. I'm looking at a CLP/Cedar Point/Kennywood trip at some point.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by Bluestreakaddictt at 6/18/13 10:12:50 PM
I could sense a lot of discouragement in your TR. Let me update you on a few things that have transpired since your visit. A contractor has stepped up and donated what will eventually be about a hundred gallons of paint, a stready supply of mulch, flats of flowers, and a ton of his own time. Just yesterday, he planted a large number of flowers and i believe spread 22 large bags of mulch. The pictures he took look awesome. He is proving to be a very talented landscaper. Two weekends ago and part of this weekend, we have been on a project to scrape and paint the Blue Streak picnic shelters. New gravel and picnic benches are in the works, along with another suprise or two in the grove. The mens room in splash city will get a face lift soon. Three weekends ago the interior of the games rooms were painted. The exterior is on the short list and will get a fresh coat of something probably other than white.

The train does have some issues on the curve by the grove restrooms. They are working to resolve that. Parts for the trabant have arrived and it is running. Each week parts of the coaster have been retracked..bottoms of second and first hill being the most recent. The Tilt should be ready very soon, leaving only the bug. Sometime in July hopefully. Although the scooters may look worn, new cables were put on this year. There are also some ideas floating around on how to improve the upheaved asphalt until it is fiscally feasable to do a full repair. Is the sun setting or rising on CLP? It is rising..no doubt

Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by Bluestreakaddictt at 6/18/13 11:29:50 PM
I could sense a lot of discouragement in your TR. Let me update you on a few things that have transpired since your visit. A contractor has stepped up and donated what will eventually be about a hundred gallons of paint, a stready supply of mulch, flats of flowers, and a ton of his own time. Just yesterday, he planted a large number of flowers and i believe spread 22 large bags of mulch. The pictures he took look awesome. He is proving to be a very talented landscaper. Two weekends ago and part of this weekend, we have been on a project to scrape and paint the Blue Streak picnic shelters. New gravel and picnic benches are in the works, along with another suprise or two in the grove. The mens room in splash city will get a face lift soon. Three weekends ago the interior of the games rooms were painted. The exterior is on the short list and will get a fresh coat of something probably other than white.

The train does have some issues on the curve by the grove restrooms. They are working to resolve that. Parts for the trabant have arrived and it is running. Each week parts of the coaster have been retracked..bottoms of second and first hill being the most recent. The Tilt should be ready very soon, leaving only the bug. Sometime in July hopefully. Although the scooters may look worn, new cables were put on this year. There are also some ideas floating around on how to improve the upheaved asphalt until it is fiscally feasable to do a full repair. Is the sun setting or rising on CLP? It is rising..no doubt

Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by Overbanked Overbanked Profile at 7/10/13 4:54:12 PM
http://newsplusnotes.blogspot.com/2013/07/help-conneaut-lake-park-and-get-on-tv.html
Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by Jersey_Joe Jersey_Joe Profile at 7/10/13 5:43:28 PM
I've been following the progress on Conneaut Lake Park on facebook. I see the tumblebug is operating again, just reopened on Sunday or Monday of this week.

Looks like the ride company that is renting the rides have been putting a lot of time, effort and money in revitalizing the park and rides!

Jersey Joe

Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by ray_p ray_p Profile at 7/11/13 1:42:18 PM
The article below has pretty much the same info as the NewsPlusNotes, but also has this one interesting nugget:

"The Travel Channel will be investing in and creating a new attraction for us, but right now I'm not able to say what that will be," Moyers said.

Hmmmm......

Conneaut Lake to star on Travel Channel

Re: Photo TR: Conneaut Lake Park (5/27/13) by drachen drachen Profile at 7/15/13 6:57:17 PM
ray_p said:

Drachen said:
I literally laughed out loud at the Geauga Lake souvenirs! What is that about?

Great question as I have no idea what the deal with that is. They also had some old brochures from Six Flags America and a few other Six Flags parks for sale. Yes, they were selling brochures. It was quite the odd experience! If you’re ever in the area again, let me know. I’ll make the trip out there any time!

Weather permitting, it looks like I'll be heading out that way on the 29th. Conneaut will be just a brief stop on the way to my first Cedar Point visit in 10 years...

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.90 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.55 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28.2%
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