Cedar Point: More Than an Amusement Park, It's Part of Americana

Unknown to many, Cedar Point actually is a part of history, with its roots dating back to the Civil War as a military post.

Its no secret that Cedar Point is the roller-coaster capital of the world, but did you know there is a real history behind it?

In the 1860s during the Civil War, a battery of four field artillery pieces was constructed at the tip of the peninsula to defend a prison that housed Confederate soldiers on Johnson's Island. Louis Zistel, a German immigrant and also a staunch businessman, built two boats to transport the prisoners. Following the war, as Cedar Point peninsula grew in popularity as a picnic area, he utilized those boats to ferry locals to peninsula.

Zistel opened a bathhouse on the north shore then that same year built a beer garden that housed a dance floor.  Now the second oldest park in the world, behind Lake Coumpounce, it was the beginning of what today, millions each year flock to, Cedar Point, voted the best amusement park in the world the past 14 years.  

While there are many attractions including the Soak City water park, roller-coasters are the game and Cedar Point currently has 15, two taller than 200 feet, with the oldest being the Blue Streak, a wooden coaster which was opened in 1964. When it comes to these rides, there are many parks across the country that boast big coasters, but no park is as innovative and pioneering then Cedar Point.  

Starting with the Corkscrew (1976) which was the first coaster with three inversions to what is soon to be the newest edition the Gatekeeper no one tops Cedar Point. GateKeeper is set to debut next May for the park's 2013 season and is the first roller coaster Cedar Point has built since the Maverick in 2007.  "GateKeeper will forever change the landscape of the Cedar Point Peninsula, as the track will dramatically fly above the main entrance to the park, passing over arriving guests with rolling flyover maneuvers," stated a press release for the new ride.

But perhaps one of the main reasons coaster enthusiasts have made Cedar Point a destination of choice, is the Millennium Force, which is ranked no.1 steel roller-coaster in the world. Handling more than 1,300 riders per hour, not only does Millennium Force hit speeds of 93 mph, but there is a time just moments after clearing a tunnel, where the G-force makes one feel like  they are at zero gravity.  

Then there are the thrill rides. MaxAir is one of those sure to get your heart pumping. Basically, you are a human frisbee propelled 140 feet into the air in all directions. For nostalgic sake, if you can stomach it, the Scrambler, one of the oldest rides is a must not long after.  

Something unknown to many, especially those with families wanting to go down memory lane, the Cedar Downs Racing Derby is the ride for you. A racing horse carousel type ride, it is originally from Euclid Beach, a Cleveland attraction for years and was built in 1920, and sold to Cedar Point in 1965.  

And those looking to cool off, who don't want to take in Soak City or its white pristine beach on the shore of Lake Erie, two of its water rides are ranked among the best in the nation with the highest thrill rating given out, a five.  Snake River falls is a favorite, with 20 riders on a flat boat dropping 40 feet, the steepest upon its opening in 1993, but for those looking for bigger thrill, Shoot the rapids log plume, built two years ago, not only is a trip but drops you 85 feet and 45 feet, almost guaranteeing you will not leave the plume dry.  

Kiddie Land which has 13 rides, is for the little ones, as is Planet Snoopy. If the name sounds familiar, it too has a nostalgic feel to it, as all the rides came from Geauga Lake.  The park is also a place to relax and there are plenty of shows, including Luminosity, the newest, which is a nighttime show. It features a little bit of everything to it, including, special effects, and lasers.  

True summer is coming to a conclusion with Labor Day next weekend, but that also means shorter lines, and the park is offering discounts the next two weekends, including Labor Day. September 14 through October 28, Cedar Point transforms for HalloWeekends.  Cedar Point will be open daily through Labor Day, Sept. 3, plus Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 7 through Oct. 28. For a complete operating calendar and more information about the 2012 operating season, guests can log on to www.cedarpoint.com or call the park's general information line at 419-627-2350.


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