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TR: The CHARM of Conneaut Lake Park


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I've been trying to get back to Conneaut Lake a little more often so after skipping last year, we headed back this year.

 

Though it doesn't seem like much, the park is vastly improving. You won't see new hundred-thousand dollar rides, but there are areas where you can tell they spent thousands of dollars and a lot of elbow grease on. The most noticeable thing aside from the waterpark now open for the first time since (I think) 2010 which is very fresh and bright looking was the hotel lobby (we didn't go much further into the hotel) and the hotel bar/restaurant (we did not go to the main dining room)

 

The park was pretty busy compared to what I've seen in the past. Other things to mention is I finally got my first ride on the train in 10 years and I was told the Music Express was open for the first time in the last 6 years. (not sure if that's accurate)

 

Now... onto the photos...

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welcome to conneaut Lake, Bit**es

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there was a collapsed house here last time being removed

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slides look great

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crisp, clear lake-free water (it was probably just filtered)

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previous home to yo yo (before that flyers)

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two sets of footers... the edges were for the original 10-tub flying scooter. the three in the middle, the yo-yo

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noted

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Trabant looking rough

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running good. Note the lazy river open behind it

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nerd shot

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open and running pretty good

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most games open

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this was open-space last time. Ultimate trip building before that which collapsed

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where the Super Round Up was (it only had a section remaining last visit)

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lots of $$$ to refurb this bar/restaurant

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hotel lobby painted the bookcase white and lightened the colors. new furniture, too and TV

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brighter

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charm

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charm

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charm

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i love the wrap-around porch

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setting up for a wedding

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busy beach

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love it

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former fence belonging to the Toboggan

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boardwalk

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beach bar

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charm

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charm

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charm

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toboggan replaced with potty's (a toss-up to which is better)

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old ballroom site

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old non-working ring machine

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charm

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Streak down to 3 cars... first drop great... upward climb...big jolt

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take the tunnel (i was in the station... I put my camera away prior to riding.. it will take loose articles)

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train!

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clearer shot of new wood

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the bunny hills were great.

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themes along the way on the train

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back side from the train

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take the tunnel... part 2

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flyer tubs repainted... but the sails had weird white texture on them.

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charm

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busy waterpark

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charm

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Paratrooper

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old Ferris Wheel Site

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fountain working

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Toboggan racked in back of parking lot. Thanks for reading.

Edited by John Peck
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It's obviously far from completely cleaned up and fixed, but at first it was hard to believe that the pictures of the hotel/boardwalk areas and a few others were at Lake Conneaut! I've heard that they're not as terrible this season financially, and it looks like people are coming to the park. So they're trying extremely hard, aka the opposite of what Lakemont is doing. Speaking of Lakemont, if Conneaut continues in this trend, Leap The Dips, Skyliner and their vintage flats would fit in well here.

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Which day did you happen to go to the park? I went there for the first time, for a brief ride on Blue Streak, and a stroll around the park, this past Friday the 19th. I wondered if perhaps you were there that day, because the ride op for Blue Streak was the same guy. I suppose that doesn't really mean anything, as he may work it everyday. Just wondered!

 

As for my impression of the park, being that it was my first time, is that it was pretty sad, and woebegone. However, having not seen what it looked like previously, it sounds like it's perhaps less woebegone than it once was (which is a truly scary thought.) Most of the flats didn't look very well kept-up, and Blue Streak seemed like it might collapse at any moment. Of course, that was part of its charm as well! I did notice the new wood on the tracks, but GOODNESS, GRACIOUS!!! That "jolt" going up after the first drop was AWFUL! Definitely needs a little more work there!

 

Still, I'm glad I got a chance to visit the park finally, and I wish them the best at continuing to turn things around there. I know my friend I went with spent about $35 in the gift shop, and the cashier in there was VERY appreciative to him for "supporting Conneaut Lake". She seemed a little resigned to the park's fate/doom, but hopefully there is still hope for it to remain viable going forward.

 

The water park DID look good, and was clearly the big draw, as it was full of people. If they keep focusing on minor upgrades to that, continue to refurbish Blue Streak, and touch up the appearance of the remaining flats, maybe they can really hold off closing and attract more regular visitors.

 

Thanks for the TR!

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^ Thank you for enjoying. We were there on Saturday the 20th, which I put in the subhead (but that may have been too subtle).

 

Yes, it did feel lie Blue Streak could come apart at any moment. I forgot to mention, but even though there are still holes, they spent a lot of money putting a new roof on the tunnel, which was missing last time.

 

For further comparisons to the progress, check out my side-by-side comparison of the park in 2013 and 2014 that I posted a couple of years ago:

http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=68846&p=1491766&hilit=conneaut#p1491766

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while it IS very nice to see some TLC given (it's spruced up quite a bit). .all those empty spaces, where the rides used to be, are just sad.

 

either put a ride there, or at least plant gardens. . something!

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Believe me, this place looks a shit-ton better than it did two years ago.

 

It's gonna take several more years of seasons like this to get the park back to respectability, but I am surprised to say that this looks like a pretty good start.

 

And the water in the water slide looks way better than the other photo someone posted a few weeks back. But hey, if they can do it in the Olympics, why hate on Conneaut Lake for just a little green water in a pool?

 

Thanks for posting!

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When I visited the park a few years ago, the place was rundown, but the staff seemed to care about it. They were even painting the fence around the flyers as we rode them. It's good to see them still making progress despite some setbacks since then.

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I absolutely fell in love with this park (the rides, the setting, some of the employees, the hotel, etc.) when I first visited and have been back a few times since. They are working very hard to save the park and the financial situation is too complex to quickly explain, but remember they are making smart decisions on what to fix up, because they have very limited access to funds. I am sure they would make the entire park gorgeous if they could but the difference from three years ago versus now is amazing!

 

They finally reached operational profitability this summer, but that doesn't include all the money invested into bringing the park back, the basic maintenance, or off season costs. It is a step in the right direction though. Hopefully they can get the tax breaks they deserve or else I don't think they will establish profitability soon enough.

 

The water park reopening has come with a shocking increase in attendance. I knew the locals loved it but WOW it gets more business than the entire dry park I think.

 

I really don't think the dry park alone will ever be profitable in today's society but I hope the water park and plans to open the big indoor year round entertainment center with electric go karts, climbing walls, etc. will be able to profit enough to support the dry ride park's operations as well.

 

As for the rides, Blue Streak is an insanely good classic woodie and the Tumble Bug makes Kennywood's seem like a joke. Such unique awesome rides.

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Am I the only one that thinks Blue Streak absolutely sucks and is rough as hell? I've heard nothing but good things about it but I hated the thing.

It has a few spots where it is rough but every time I've ridden it, it has been relatively smooth other than a few jolts and the airtime is absolutely insane. The setting is really cool too and night rides are ridiculously awesome. I've never experienced pain on the ride other than one or two jolts along the course which are worth noting because they are a bit severe.

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Blue Streak is still hanging on in my overall top-10 (among ~200) due to:

1. Backseat rides are an experience beyond words.

2. The sensation that you've discovered an abandoned ride and managed to get it running.

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But sure, the wheel seats are pretty rough.

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My friends and I went in August 2015. I love the place. It feels like a time machine almost.

 

Did they still have that whole kiddie section up and running? That thing is frozen in time. When I was there the horse riding had the longest line in the whole park.

 

A few other questions:

 

Did you check out mini-golf?

 

Was the tunnel on Blue Streak fully enclosed? When I was there last year they were filling in new wood framing.

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Wow, that entrance pond with fountain and hedges looks awesome, as does the hotel.

 

Usually, all you hear about Conneaut Lake is either a Screamscape article foreshadowing it's demise or pictures depicting it as a Purell mother's worst nightmare. Given the fate-beatings this place always takes from all angles, it's really amazing to see what some very dedicated people can do to restore a place like this. It's easy to write it off and still say you'd be better off with a trip to Six Flags America before setting foot in the place, but if you've ever painted a single room in your house then realized afterward that you just spent $100 on paint, the rollers, extra brushes, and a tray, then scaling it up to an entire theme park really makes this seem like a miracle. Thank you for sharing.

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Am I the only one that thinks Blue Streak absolutely sucks and is rough as hell? I've heard nothing but good things about it but I hated the thing

 

I didn't think it sucked, but my overall impression was "Eh, that was ok. Glad I rode it before it collapses on itself someday."

 

I rode it in the front seat though. Maybe it would have left more of an impression on me if I had ridden it in the back seat, from the sounds of it. Having said that, at the bottom of the first drop, right as you head into the second hill, there was a very rough jolt, that I shudder to think of ridding in the back seat!

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