Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Return to Surf Cincinnati

It's been ten years since Surf Cincinnati was abandoned and over five years since most of it was demolished, it was time to go back.

- Ticket booth at the entrance of the "Fun City" section of the park.

I have a playlist of music on my phone entitled: "Songs You'd Hear While Walking Through a Waterpark." It features stuff like Baltimora's "Tarzan Boy" and Steve Winwood's "Higher Love," songs I remember hearing at Surf Cincinnati when it was open and songs I heard constantly when I worked in an amusement park. Then there's tracks like "Love You Want" by the Wailing Souls - songs that sound like they'd be the perfect thing to hear over a late 90's intercom at the snack bar by the lazy river. 

- Arcade building.

I miss Surf Cincinnati in both of its identities: when it was open and when it was abandoned. I visited a lot as a kid, explored it as a photographer and even played abandoned mini golf there once.

- Mini golf greens.

It's been a decade since the place closed down and about five years since most of it was demolished. The slides, wave pool and lazy river have all been demolished and replaced with a nearby church. The "dry" side once known as "Fun City" still exists in the weeds behind a wilting fence.

There's on old ticket booth, still marking one of the park's entrances. It looks like something from a "classic" amusement park that had its heyday near the turn of the century - but Surf, Surf existed from the 80's and partially into the new millennium. It was a different breed of amusement park, from a different era and it's a different breed of history and abandonment.

Hidden in the brush behind industrial warehouses and a church, it's still interesting to think of the people who spent their summers visiting and those who spent their summers working.

At one point, someone manned that ticket booth.

- Bumper boat entrance.

- Bumper Boat pool.

- Go kart track.

- "Vintage" Surf Cincinnati shirt reproduced in the modern day by local Cincy Shirts.

Check out all the posts regarding Surf Cincinnati.

Over the years, several of QC/D's urban exploration stories have focused on abandoned amusement parks: View all of the stories


  1. Always enjoy the Surf Cincinnati updates, but this is sad to see. I had a lot of good times there circa 1992.

  2. Yep, you can tell the 90s by that ubiquitous "Triangle" background logo......

  3. Great post. After looking at it, it appears that a couple buildings near the old entrance and even the "lazy river" (whatever it was called) is still pretty much intact? Almost looks like the area is being used as a playground of sorts by the church. I'm gonna have to go check that out. I haven't been to SC since a Fifth Third company picnic there in 95 or 96.

  4. Cincinnati, had a lot of cool shit through the 90's that sadly didn't make it very far post 2000. :/

  5. Was a nice park. Nice, close, and local.

  6. I remember graduating high school in 94 and leaving the ceremony to ride the go Karts. And yes it was in the cap and gown. Sad to see it gone.