"An amusement park is not a really big money-maker," says Paul Nelson, owner of Erie's Waldameer Park.
Waldameer Park has been in Nelson's family for over 70 years. He says family connections and skilled employees are key to his park.
"We have a lot of employees who've been with us for 20, 30, 40 years."
But Nelson says the Amusement Park business can be a rollercoaster ride, and many parks fall off the tracks. "Youngstown's lost their park, Canton, Ohio, has lost their park," Nelson says. "There's a lot of parks like that, family parks that have fallen by the wayside."
Smaller parks face competition from mega-parks like Kennywood in Pittsburgh or Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
But Nelson says small parks have their own advantages. "We know our nice and that's families," he says. "We're not a teenage park, we're a family park." Nelson says he's hoping his park will stay with his family members for many generations to come.