It’s late July, so the speculation is flying about those amusement parks that might be on the endangered list to close for good at the end of the season.
Two regional parks — including Wildwater Kingdom in Aurora and Conneaut Lake Park in western Pennsylvania — are among the most talked about parks that could be in trouble.
The enthusiast website, Coasterbuzz, started the ball rolling about Wildwater’s future last month with this post:
"If you like visiting Wildwater Kingdom, the waterpark that is the only surviving attraction from the former Geauga Lake and SeaWorld Ohio attraction site, you may want to be sure you visit this season. I’d take this rumor with a HUGE grain of salt right now, but I’m told that attendance is just not anywhere near where Cedar Fair would like it to be and if things don’t improve… Wildwater Kingdom could go the way of Geauga Lake, with the park’s collection of slides being sent out to the other parks in the chain, much like they did with Geauga Lake’s collection of roller coasters. Cedar Fair knows the Sandusky area down the road is ready to pick up the slack between Cedar Point’s Soak City, Cedar Fair’s own Castaway Bay waterpark resort as well as the giant Kalahari and Great Wolf Lodge resorts along with the smaller Maui Sands and Rain Water Park resorts also in town.
"I hope I’m wrong, as it is never good to see a park close down, so just consider this a fair warning that the issue may be under review at the corporate level. Visit and show your support for this park… despite the fact that I can’t remember the last time that it ever opened a new slide."
It is worth noting that this is not the first time Coasterbuzz has predicted Wildwater Kingdom’s demise.
Other amusement park enthusiast websites — including Screamscape and Geauga Lake: Today and Forever — have picked up the post and start their own threads about the park’s future.
Even Wildwater Kingdom’s own Facebook page is not immune from the speculation as one poster questioned the park’s future just this week.
The questioning was prompted by the park not remaining open daily through Labor Day. It is open on Saturday and Sundays only starting Aug. 17 through Labor Day.
The park did respond to the post: "There are a lot of factors the park takes into account when making the calendar. One of the major points is our operating calendar is heavily influenced by local schools and universities as many of our employees and guests have to attend school."
So far Cedar Fair has remained mum publicly about its future plans for the park.
There were no new attractions this year aside from new lounge chairs and this has not helped to quell the speculation.
Heading west, Conneaut Lake’s future seems to always be in doubt.
Despite a mini-makeover thanks to a Travel Channel show, Conneaut Lake still looks like the setting for a low-budget horror film. The park is heavily in debt and suffers from low attendance.