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Aurora, Bainbridge and Northeast Ohio Bid Farewell to Wildwater Kingdom Today

photo of Wildwater Kingdom

Wildwater Kingdom, on the Aurora-Bainbridge border, closes forever today, after years of city officials making plans for the 650 acres that once housed Sea World and Geauga Lake.

Cedar Fair – which owns the property, as well as Cedar Point – says “the time is right” to close Wildwater Kingdom and begin the transition to a new use. Several redevelopment plans have been considered in recent years, including mixed-use retail or a movie production complex.

Susan Blubaugh from Akron came on the park’s last weekend, and says she hopes city officials follow through on redeveloping the area.

“To use the land for something, instead of letting it rot – like we do with other things like Rolling Acres Mall – it’s gotta be good for the community.”

Julie Rule from Aurora, a season-pass holder for the last three years, grew up working at Sea World.

“Looking at the wave pool -- that used to be the Shamu Stadium. It’s very emotional. I think everybody thinks the same thing that happened with Geauga Lake will happen here: that it’ll just sit.”

Wildwater Kingdom stands on part of what was once Sea World, which opened in 1970 next to Geauga Lake, which opened in 1887. Those parks merged in 2001 into one of the biggest amusement parks in the world, but by 2007, only the water park remained.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.