Sea World in Cleveland, Ohio, no longer exists. After a long battle to keep the marine animal theme park open, financial troubles forced the facility to close for good in the early 2000s.
About Sea World in Cleveland Ohio
The owners of the Sea World chain of theme parks took a big risk when it decided to open a location in Ohio in 1970. However, they wanted to appeal to residents in the Midwest, so they did some research and decided that Aurora, Ohio, would be the best place to branch out. Aurora is located approximately 30 miles southeast of Cleveland. During the time Sea World executives were looking for a Midwest location, a popular theme park named Geauga Lake was thriving in Aurora. Sea World officials decided to build the marine animal mecca directly across from Geauga Lake.
Prior to opening its doors, Sea World in Cleveland, Ohio, stocked its faculty with a bevy of fascinating marine creatures, including a killer whale, dolphins, penguins, and walruses. Sea World executives were counting on the fact that the vast majority of people living in the Upper Midwest and Northeast were easily within a day's drive of the park, so getting there would not be a problem. Unfortunately, they were wrong.
The Demise of Sea World Ohio
While there is still speculation as to exactly why Sea World in Cleveland, Ohio, closed for good, there's no arguing that weather played a huge role. The Buckeye State's harsh winters forced Sea World Ohio to operate on a limited basis. The park was only open from mid-May until mid-September each year. During the winter months, the park's marine life was transported to Sea World San Diego, and eventually to Sea World Orlando when that facility opened in 1973.
In addition to the weather, size was also an issue. Sea World Ohio remained the smallest of the chain's parks, even after the addition of Sea World San Antonio in 1988. However, maintaining it was an expensive endeavor, especially since the facility didn't see near the amount of traffic as the other Sea World locations.
In 2001, the owners of Sea World Ohio, Busch Entertainment Corporation, sold the park to Six Flags. The idea was to combine Six Flags Lake Geauga Park with the defunct Sea World to create a mega park known as Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. While it sold the property to Six Flags, Sea World remained ownership of its largest marine life. The whales and dolphins that called Sea World Ohio home were sent to other Sea World parks after the sale was finalized. In the meantime, Six Flags acquired its own dolphins, so that it could offer visitors a live dolphin show. It also kept other marine mammals, fish, and birds from Sea World as part of the deal.
Despite it eventual acquisition of a killer whale, Six Flags could not attract many new visitors. In 2004, Six Flags sold its World of Adventure to Cedar Fair. Unfortunately, Cedar Fair didn't know what to do with the marine life portion of the mega park, so it closed it and returned Geauga Lake to its original name.
That Was Then, This is Now
In September 2007 Cedar Fair closed Geauga Lake and demolished the mega park once known as Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. In its place Cedar Fair built a water park called Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom. As of February 2011, Wildwater Kingdom remains open and earned the nickname "Northeast Ohio's Premier Water park." The park features a massive wave pool as well as gigantic water slides, several splash pads and huge toddler area.