Big Dipper is the sole survivor of the now defunct Geauga Lake Amusement Park in North Eastern Ohio. In 2007, Cedar Fair closed the amusement park while keeping the adjacent water park, Wildwater Kingdom, open. Several of the park’s largest roller coasters found new homes and others were scrapped. Thunderhawk migrated to Michigan’s Adventure, Head Spin transformed into Carolina Cobra at Carowinds, Steel Venom became Possessed at Dorney Park, Dominator traveled to Kings Dominion, and X-Flight flew to Kings Island to be Firehawk. Surprisingly Big Dipper, which has been designated an American Coaster Enthusiasts Landmark, has been abandoned. I had heard that the ride was sold at an auction to an undisclosed party, but according to Max Ivey’s website Midway Marketplace, it’s up for sale again.

Why is Big Dipper Still Up For Sale?
At a shockingly low price of $65,000 one has to scratch their head as to why there are still no takers for this 1925 John MillerGeauga Lake Big Dipper Still For Sale designed roller coaster. It’s especially puzzling when you consider that Six Flags Great America is moving a classic woodie from another park in the Little Dipper. So, it’s not like the idea of moving a classic wooden coaster is unpopular these days. Here’s more about the ride from a listing on Midway Marketplace:

Built in 1925 this is a rare combination of business opportunity and historical restoration. Its one of the seven oldest coasters still in existence on Earth, and in the right location it will still thrill audiences and fill pockets. this grand wooden roller coaster is complete and still standing on what used to be the Geauga Lake Amusement park.   -Midway Marketplace

So why are there no takers? It could be that amusement parks don’t want to pay the steep cost of moving the ride. As the names suggest, Big Dipper is nearly 4 times longer than the Little Dipper.  Ivey has more on the Big Dipper on his blog. Read his full post about the Big Dipper.

Potential Homes for the Big Dipper
The first home that comes to mind is the Roller Coaster Museum in Texas. Although, to my knowledge they haven’t expressed an interest in having full operating roller coasters on site. Central PA park Knoebels has a track record of saving and resurrecting classic wooden roller coasters. It’s already a favorite park among enthusiasts. Saving a historic ride like this would further cement that park as a haven for hard core coaster fans. Knoebels is busy with Flying Turns at the moment and the relocated indoor coaster Black Diamond for 2011, but they could buy the Big Dipper and store it until they’re ready to build it.

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What’s Your Take?
Why do you think the Big Dipper has yet to find a new home? Where would you like to see it pop up? Leave a comment below. Images courtesy of Midway Marketplace.

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

24 Responses

  1. MDC

    My dad grew up going to Geauga Lake, so I hope someone saves this piece of history. Heck, if i had $65,000, I'd buy it. 🙂

    • CFC

      Yes, but where would you put it? Do you have several acres of land to put it on?

      Still, If I had $200,000, I'd buy it, some land, and put it there!

      • MDC

        I'd just keep it where it is. It would still cost a lot to operate and maintain, though.

      • Quil

        You'd also need to pay for taking it apart, moving it to your location, rebuilding it there, and maintaining it over the years.

      • CFC

        That's why I put $200,000, though the price is $65,000. My number is still just an estimate, though.

  2. Max Ivey Jr.

    Hello; First, I want to thank the owner for such a fine introduction to my site. I have been working to find a home for the dipper with no success. I don't really know what the hold up is. Yes, the cost of removing the coaster, transporting it to another location, and then reinstalling it is an expensive one; but whoever does decide to take it on will be getting a marquis name in return. The owners have expressed the willingness to sell the main components along with the drawinds, technical documents, and rights to the name so that the whole coaster doesn't have to be relocated; but still no takers. They have lowered the price to $65000, but that hasn't helped either mainly because the purchase price is still a small part of the total investment. The owners of the land where it sits have even offered to sell just a section of what used to be Geauga Lake Park so that someone could restore it on site and run it again at its original home where it belongs. I've heard from people in australia who bemoan not having any real thrill rides because of the expense of shipping and installing one there. I've read on european blogs where fans of a sister big dipper that used to run in black pool england are also hoping this famous coaster will someday run again. What else can be done to find it a new and comfortable home, I just don't know. But it will continue to be a priority of mine to do everything possible to accomplish this goal. If you know of an investor or have an idea about a potential buyer, I'd love to hear about it. The fans of the coaster hung the nick name of Mr. Midway on me, and I feel like i will have earned it if I can sell this one. Oh by the way I may have grown up around carnivals, but I'm afraid of roller coasters; so I have promised to be the first person to ride the dipper when it runs again. I do hope some of you will stop by the midway and take a look around. Maybe you will see something that you want in your back yard or your back 40. I hope you will drop me an email and say hello while you are there. Thanks and good luck to us all, Max

    • Claude Bothello

      Please tell me how to buy it?? I am building a Fun Park Resort in India. I do not mind carting this Lovely piece of History to our Fun Park. Please get in touch ASAP. Claude

  3. The Coaster Critic

    Thanks for the comment Max. I forgot that there was the possibility of someone restoring the ride there on-site and operating it. That's why I thought that initially, Geauga would have been a good spot for the roller coaster museum.

    I'm sure jjhobo (reader from the UK) would love another woodie in his home country. I wonder if any parks in the UK are even considering it. Plenty of steel coasters have made the trip across the pond, but I can't think of any woodies. On the bright side at least the owners haven't just destroyed it or sold it as scrap like Villain and Raging Wolf Bobs.

  4. Merle

    a park on the west coast needs to buy it because decent woodies are pretty rare over here a park like magic mountin which i know youldnt be realistic cause of teriminator. also six flags america has alot of open space near the back of the park

    • CFC

      That could be a good idea with Six Flags America. Only problem I see with it is the fact that Cedar Fair would be giving Six Flags a decent, if old, roller coaster for pretty cheap, compared to the price of today's coasters. Why would CF give one of their main rivals a classic coaster like Big Dipper?

      • MDC

        I'm pretty sure Cedar Fair no longer owns Big Dipper. It was auctioned off.

  5. jjhobo

    Blackpool has many wooden coasters that are among the oldest in the world, as far as im aware the Big Dipper at blackpool is still operating, there was an accident a few years back but I think it has been running since then. Blackpool has a whole host of historic rides and they would probably have been the only UK park that would even look into this ride, so if its a similar layout to the Big Dipper then obviously they wouldnt consider it. When I talk about wanting a new wooden coaster in the UK, I mostly mean one of the newer ones that have been attracting so much attention such as either the prefabs or somethring from Gravity group, I think a coaster similar to The Voyage could fit in really well in some of the surroundings of certain parks. Alton Towers were talking about building a massive woodie a few years back but planning permission was not allowed. The voyage only cost $6.5mn and 13 cost AT something like £14mn.

    I would take any woodie over nothing, but the sad thing is I dont think something like this coaster would be a big draw over here to justify a park buying it.

  6. Max Ivey Jr.

    Hello; I just read an email sent out by the moderator of the geauga lake today message board where they say that if the dipper isn't sold in the next couple of weeks that it will be demolished. This is sad for many reasons. As the owners or their representatives did not inform me directly prior to this announcement being mad, I have pulled the coaster from my website. I feel honored to have participated in the attempt to save this great wooden coaster, but I think this was the best decision for me personally and for my site the midway marketplace. I don't just do what I do as a way of making money. For me to represent a company or a piece of equipment there has to be an element of trust which I don't currently feel. Now, I do have many other fine rides on the site many of which would be right at home in an amusement park including rides like the mondial tornado, heintz-fahtze twister-paratrooper, 32 seat far fabri frisbee, and mondial top scan. I do hope something happens to save the dipper. thanks, max

  7. Carly Sessions

    While talking with a group over lunch Thursday, the coaster occupied the conversation. Several things seemed central; That there is a crazy guy running a web site in Aurora that hates Cedar Fair and his remarks have scared off people with the money to do anything good, that the owner is being made to look mysterious or decietful and people make wild claims but don't want to pay the price of keeping their jewel in place. If my kids had acted this way, they would have spent their lives locked in their bedrooms without food. Then again, I wouldn't have grandchildren. Internet people should learn from their parents and know that the true cost of having what they want comes with conditions.

  8. Steve Marshall

    Can someone email me with an update to the story? We have been working on a rumor that the Big Dipper is headed to a park nearby but cant get conformation. Ive lost touch with the woman who was a partner in the purchase of it.

  9. Keegan White

    Speaking of Knoebels and their wooden coasters, does anyone know whether they have resolved the problems with Flying Turns? Will the ride be open to the public for 2011?

  10. kieran dixon

    hi why will no one buy the little dipper from six flags its amazing i've been on it!!!!!!!

  11. Bobby Perry II

    I'll tell you where a good location for it would be. Camden Park in Huntington, WV. The park operates classic rides such as The Whip, Dodgem cars, A carousel thats been in operation since 1907, one large roller coaster (coincidently named The Big Dipper), one small roller coaster (The Little Dipper) both of which use NAD Century Flyer trains, and a few other classic rides. Since there is already a Big Dipper on site they could return the name to Clipper or Sky Rocket. Regardless, it should definitely be moved somewhere as opposed to letting it rot or get demolished. Good luck finding a home Big Dipper.

  12. HowieP

    I'd keep it in its current spot and buy the land from Cedar Fair, and rebuild Geauga Lake from scratch and run it separate from Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom.

  13. Matthew

    They should move that to Kennywood or CEDAR POINT since that park is close former Geagua Lake. I never got to go there, I would have been six when it closed. I am a 12 year old coaster enthusiast so yeah…


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