Wildwater Kingdom ends its reign
August 31, 2016
Cedar Fair announced Aug. 19 that Wildwater Kingdom in Aurora is closing its gates after the 2016 season ends on Sept. 5. The announcement comes not long after the company revealed expansion plans to Soak City, Cedar Point’s waterpark.
Cedar Fair has not released a reason for the closing, but they did release the following statement:
“Cedar Fair has been working cooperatively with both Bainbridge Township and the City of Aurora to redevelop the entire property into what will best benefit the surrounding communities. After examining its long-range plans, Cedar Fair has determined that the time is right to begin this transition and will continue to work together with community leadership in the positive future development of the property.”
The Solon High School Courier was unable to reach Cedar Fair for further comments.
The lot Wildwater Kingdom sits on has already been rezoned for mixed use, but no information has been released on what the land will be used for next.
SHS senior and Wildwater Kingdom employee Matt Shafron said the news was absolutely shocking.
“I’m very disappointed to hear that [Wildwater Kingdom] will be closing,” Shafron said. “This summer was apparently a ‘record year’ according to sources in the park, so it’s flabbergasting to hear that it will be closing.”
Shafron said that none of the park’s employees had any inkling the park would be closing, and the park manager was even planning a special for next year’s opening day just a few days before the announcement.
Simran Sohal, a fellow SHS senior and Wildwater Kingdom employee, agreed that the news was difficult to process.
“It was only my first year working at Wildwater Kingdom, and unfortunately also my last,” she said. “I was already thinking about what department I was going to apply for before I heard that the park was closing.”
While locals seem taken aback by the announcement, Aurora mayor Ann Womer-Benjamin says she was “not surprised” by the news.
“Watching the traffic, we certainly knew perhaps eventually [Wildwater Kingdom] was going to close,” Womer-Benjamin said.
However, SHS junior and Wildwater Kingdom frequenter Kayla Zlotnik contradicted Womer-Benjamin’s statement, saying that the park is always crowded in the summer.
“I’ve been going to Wildwater Kingdom since I was a kid…I honestly can’t believe [the news],” Zlotnik said. “I would’ve never guessed [Wildwater Kingdom] would close seeing as it’s so popular.”
All three SHS students said they will not only miss Wildwater Kingdom itself, but the experiences and memories they’ve made at the waterpark.
“I’ll miss the friends I’ve made these summers,” Shafron said. “While working, you get a unique taste in what life is outside of Solon. There’s lots of unique people with different upbringings that I’ve become great friends with.”
Sohal agreed, stating that the thing she’ll miss the most are the relationships she was able to build with her co workers.
“Everyone I worked with was so friendly,” Sohal said. “We even had dinner together several times with people who worked in our zones…we became a very tight knit group and I think I’ve made some friends for life.”