On May 9, 2015 one of my favorite ‘fun’ places in my life, Cedar Point
Amusement Park, in Sandusky, Ohio will be opening its entrance to families
thronging to rides, relishing in their memories and enjoying tasty treats.
Once upon a time as a teenager, I spent two summers living on Cedar Point
property. The freedom was exhilerating and helped prepare me for life in
college. All the ‘vices’ you could imagine were available and the ability to
get invited to ride on sailboats, motor boats and to beach parties was just
part of the excitement.
I lived in a dorm room with one roommate the first year, then advanced
to living in an older part of the Breakers Hotel. In this hotel room, we had 2
double beds and two occupants. I was so happy to be working under the Sky
Ride the first time, selling hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries and beverages.
That year, I got the nickname of “Robin Red Pop.” I used to sip on it so often,
my lips were almost permanently red. This beverage tasted like strawberry
vanilla soda pop.
When I was interviewed the next time for my position I was being considered an
‘older, wiser college student,’ and was given the job to open and be a breakfast
server in the Breakers Hotel dining room.
My first time of going to Cedar Point, I was a little child. I was on the Carrousel,
which in the case of most older merry-go-round’s, was hand carved by crafts
persons. My Mom is standing next to me, I have pigtails and she has those old
style ‘pedal pushers’ on. We now call them ‘capri’s.’
When looking up the history of Cedar Point, I found the land jutting into Lake
Erie, surrounded on three sides with water was first a public park, where they
had the beach open, bath houses to change clothes and use the restrooms.
People would come to go to the beach, eat picnics, gather as families and
there would be company picnics, tickets were bought for individual rides and
not a ride stamp for all the hundreds of rides came about for some time.
The famous rides, food concession stands, the lovely and ornate gardens and
all the sidewalks, the river boat and train were not there all at once. They each
came about, slowly over the years.
There’s a lot of history to Cedar Point, I found out.
Here is a brief history and summary of the parts which interested me in my
research about Cedar Point.
In 1892, the first roller coaster was built. It was called the “Switchback Railway.”
In 1902, there were a few more rides and the newest addition was a “Figure
Eight Roller Toboggan.”
In 1929, another roller coaster came about.
In 1963- we skip ahead to my life and memories:
Cedar Point and Lake Erie steam-powered Railroad was built. The Mill Race
was one of our family’s most favorite ride. We were not allowed to ride the
roller coasters. I was only 8, my brother Randy was 7 and my little brother,
we called him Ricky, was only 5.
We would park in Sandusky, get on a ferry to ride to Cedar Point.The last
ferry ride back to Sandusky was always one where we would start to yawn
and my parents would try to keep us awake, pointing at the boats, stars
and other parts of Lake Erie you could see along the way.
When I later worked at Cedar Point, I would take the ferry to Sandusky, to
get my groceries and necessities. We didn’t live in Sandusky after third
grade, but I did work with some of my elementary school friends who were
teenagers like I was. They didn’t live in the dormitories, they lived on the
Main Land, would drive or take the ferry to work there. Amy was a ‘sweeper’
while Beth worked in food services like I did.
1964- I was nine years old and my Mom, my Aunt Amy, my cousins and my
brothers and I watched my Dad and Uncle Orrin ride the new “Blue Streak.”
Mom and Aunt Amy took turns taking us to the bathroom and getting some
In this year, another great ride was ‘born’ or built: The “Western Cruise”
which was a boat ride filled with fun, danger and in the dark, some surprises.
It was later renamed, ‘Paddle Wheel Excursions.”
1965- Jungle Larry opened and this was an exciting area, where wild animals
were roaming in cages, but those same animals were placed in performances.
I was very lucky and blessed to be able to take care of the animals in the
nursery. In these days, with cell phones and cameras ready to take photos,
you would be able to see me holding a bottle of tiger’s milk for a baby tiger.
Jungle Larry’s African Safari was for those who did not get to go to the circus
or zoo, a wonderful adventure. In my childhood, I did not realize this was ‘cruel’
or hard on the animals. When I worked there, I often hung out with the glass
blowers in Frontier Town, along with the ones who trained the white baby lions
to love being held by humans. They still used their claws and sometimes their
pointy teeth on their caretakers.
1968- 1991: “The Sky Slide”
A big time favorite, which is often available at fairs, but not nearly as tall. This
is a good place to go when you have just consumed your dinner, this will not
make your tummy go topsy turvy on you!
1968- The “Sky Ride” took you beyond the Main Causeway and out to the
place called, “Frontier Town.” The college kids who sang in the saloon and
the craftsmen and women were fun to talk to, interesting dancers at our Fri.
night employee dance. The Saturday night movies on the beach were a fun
and free entertainment.
1969- Antique Cars were exciting to be able to give your parents a ride.
The roads had those curbs and metal lanes to keep you on the road. It
was nice to be in big cars, compared to the little dragsters or cars in the
fair rides we sometimes went to.
1970- Sea Land and Kiddie Land were upgraded. The Oceanarium and the
performance arena where you could see seals and other water animals
perform were well kept and enjoyable to view.
Kiddie Land changed from being Berenstain Bears to Snoopy in a retro
The 1970’s and 80’s held a slew of new rides:
Wild Cat, Dodgem #2, Calypso, Super Himalaya, Monster Ride, Bayern Kurve,
Troika, Corkscrew, Gemini, Demon Drop, Thunder Canyon, White Water
1972- The Giant Wheel was an exciting addition. It is not as big as the London
Eye, but it is grand in its perspective of seeing distant Lake Erie Islands. This
was a romantic place to be ‘caught up on’ while the weekend fireworks went
1980- Oceana- enlarged 1600 seat stadium where dolphins and seals were
performing to rotating audiences many times a day.
1988- Soak City replaced most of Frontier Town. Lots of water rides and my
own children, my brother and sister in law’s children loved this new section.
1991- A new roller coaster bigger than the others: “Mean Streak.”
1993- Snake River Falls, big drop and lots of water splashing.
1994- My growing kids (teens) scared me by riding “Raptor.”
(Jamie was 13, Carrie 14 and Felicia was only 9 so cried and could not ride.)
1996- “Mantis.” The people’s legs hung down while this wove around and
imitated a praying mantis on drugs.
1997- Chaos, another wild ride.
“Camp Snoopy” is still going strong and includes memorable characters
from the Charles Schulz comic strip, along with their images on rides.
2003- “Top Thrill Dragster” was one my son and stepson loved and were
‘thrilled to be on.’
2014, last Summer’s newest rides were:
“Pipe Scream” and “Lake Erie Eagles”
For the 146th Summer Season Opener kicking off Saturday May 9, 2015
the Hotel Breakers will be completely renovated. There are glass cases
with special memorabilia for all ages to look at. I have enjoyed going into
the Hotel to check out past renovations. I enjoy the gardens, the train
rides, the Sky Ride and the crafts that remain. I like to walk over to the
camp grounds to check them out, along with the beach.
When you come to Cedar Point in 2015, the newest ride will be 137 feet tall,
and you can travel 60 M.P.H. up and down on the “Rougarou.”
Do you have a local amusement park or one you used to drive to with your
friends in the summer time?
How do the local fair rides and festivals compare to the memories of your
special places you went as a child or teen?
Do you enjoy Disneyland, Disney World or Universal Studios?
I enjoy hearing about different experiences the post may have evoked.