After summer struggles, Geauga Lake to add waterpark

AURORA, Ohio (AP) - Officials at Geauga Lake Park hope building one of the nation's largest waterparks will be enough to increase attendance at the struggling amusement park.

Park officials are expected to announce plans Wednesday to build a 20-acre waterpark on the former Sea World property. Wildwater Kingdom is part of a $24 million investment intended to boost gate receipts.

Attendance has dropped from 2.7 million in 2001 to a little more than 700,000 this season -- a 74 percent decrease. The amusement park east of Cleveland lost $1.8 million in the prime July-September period, said Cedar Fair L.P., which acquired Geauga Lake in April.

Ticket prices also will be slashed $10 to $24.95 to lure people back. A ticket buys access to all rides and areas of Geauga Lake.

"This is going to be the 'new' Geauga Lake, and it's going to be something special," park spokeswoman Lexi Robinson said. "We're going to give people a good reason to spend part of their summer with us."

Wildwater Kingdom will go up over two years. The 2005 expansion will include a 60-foot-tall funnel-shaped raft slide, an action river ride and activity areas for young children and teens.

In 2006, a wave pool and assorted body and tube slides will be added. There also are plans for an adult water area with whirlpool spas, waterfalls and a swim-up bar.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)