AURORA, Ohio -- SeaWorld Ohio was a staple attraction of Northeast Ohio for three decades.
But today, long after it closed forever, remaining portions of the former marine life theme park now rest in decay.
Nico Maragos, who identified himself as a former employee and animal trainer at SeaWorld Ohio in the mid 90s, captured a lot of attention for photos he posted on Facebook.
“This past weekend I was permitted access into what used to be SeaWorld of Ohio to take pictures,” Maragos posted. “It was extremely sad to see this once beautiful marine life park become the depressing ruins it is now.”
The park is private property is owned by Cedar Fair. Maragos, who now lives in Michigan, said he was granted access to the park after making a special request to take pictures inside.
"I wanted to walk those pathways," said Maragos. "Relive those memories one more time."
He posted dozens of pictures, many showcasing before-and-after glimpses that compare what SeaWorld looked like when it was open to how it appears today.
“Some scenes will be familiar to this who visited as guests and some will be familiar only to those who worked behind the scenes,” he wrote. “I hope you enjoy.”
Some of the images Maragos focuses on include Shamu’s Happy Harbor, Shark Encounter, Shamu Stadium and Dolphin Cove.
"What I saw, it was real depressing," said Maragos in a FaceTime interview on early Wedsneday afternoon. "Really it was like walking through a ghost town."
His post has been shared thousands of times and a flood of comments.
“Thank you for sharing,” Kelly Vallus-Mesaros said. “Brings back so many memories. Wish I could make more with my kids. Awesome park!”
SeaWorld Ohio closed in 2001 before the space became the property of Six Flags Ohio. When Cedar Fair purchased the land a few years later, a sliver of the former SeaWorld space was transformed into the Wildwater Kingdom water park.
Fast forward to 2007, Geauga Lake closed forever leaving behind only the water park.
Wildwater Kingdom, which used the same main entrance as SeaWorld, was shuttered in September 2016.
Maragos said the experience gave him a chance to relive the memories he has cherished for years.
He also wanted to leave people with the following message:
"Don't let go of the things we cherish here in Ohio."