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Hauntingly fun



Published: Sat, April 9, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The hot spot offers fun activities at affordable prices.

THE VINDICATOR

CONNEAUT LAKE PARK IS SO POPULAR that many visitors literally never leave. Aside from the Conneaut Lake residents, who live all year long on the northwest shore of Pennsylvania's largest body of fresh water, there's one friendly guest of the afterworld whose continued presence is cherished by park officials and vacationers alike.

"Elizabeth is our most famous ghost at the hotel," said Conneaut Lake Park Entertainment Coordinator Nancy Manning. "Every year she is seen by various guests. So, we decided to rename our hotel restaurant in her honor: Elizabeth's Dining Room.

"We also have a couple that likes to dance in the Crystal Ballroom, which is located in the Hotel Conneaut. They're wearing vintage clothing. The woman has a long dress on. He's dressed smartly in a suit and they're dancing, they're waltzing."

Affordable getaway

Friendly visitors from any world, including the Buckeye State, are welcome at Conneaut Lake Park, which originally opened in 1892 as Exposition Park. In addition to being the 21st-oldest amusement park in the world, 12th in the nation and third in the Keystone State, the rural resort boasts a not-for-profit status, which in dollars and cents translates into a wholesome family experience that doesn't break the budget of most households.

"The all-day ride pass, which includes our water park, is only $11.95 for both kids and adults," Manning said.

"On the weekends, adults are $16.95 and children are $13.95. So, it's a very affordable park. Something else that is very affordable to us is say Grandma and Grandpa bring the children and they don't want to ride. They do not have to pay to come into the park. Anyone can come into our park at anytime, just walk around and not pay."

Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Conneaut Lake Park, an hour drive from Youngstown, features a packed schedule with events ranging from fireworks displays to a rib cook-off, ethnic celebrations, music festivals, the "Ms. Conneaut Lake Park Pageant" and so much more. And from May through September, Conneaut Lake Park's bar/restaurant, The Beach Club, also boasts a nonstop lineup of live entertainment options and karaoke fun.

Wild rides

As for attractions, the scenic park offers plenty of exciting options for thrill seekers. The vintage wooden roller coaster "The Blue Streak," which was built in 1938, remains a Conneaut Lake Park favorite, while other classics, such as the "Tilt-A-Whirl" and "Trabant," are stomach-churning adventures. Continuing its family theme, Conneaut Lake Park features an all-encompassing kiddie-land, offering kids the chance to take a ride on a boat, fire engine, dune buggy and more.

And for those hot days, there's also the Waterpark with its lazy river, water slides and kiddie pool.

Accommodations at the old-fashioned Hotel Conneaut are reasonable but come with a few caveats.

None of the hotel's 150 rooms have air conditioning, heating, television or radios. Perhaps this is the perfect locale for those parents hoping to truly leave behind the nonstop grind of the 21st century, away from cell phones, e-mails and the Disney Channel, for some quality family time.

"It's a place to step back in time, to relax, to enjoy yourself," Manning said. "And there is something for everyone and all ages. And that's what we like about Conneaut Lake Park. It's a safe, fun family park, and if you just want to kick back, you can. If you just want to have a good time in the evening hours you can. Conneaut Lake Park is the place to be."




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