Friday, March 22, 2013

Book Length History of Lagoon Park

"It's About Fun: A History of Lagoon Amusement/Theme Park”

By Lynn Arave, Layton, Utah.

-UPDATED Feb. 7, 2017.

Note: This is a book-length look at Lagoon, complete with references ...
The author has no ties to Lagoon, or receives any financial gain from Lagoon -- this is an independent work.
(And this book also contains a unique chapter on deaths and accidents at Lagoon -- rare material you won't find anywhere else.).

Note 1: Lagoon has its own different history book, that came out in the summer of 2015. It was written by friend of mine Steve Handy, also of Layton. His work is completely separate from this.

-NOTE 2: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:  



-Chapter 1: Lagoon Recollections. (3 different essays by 3 different writers.)

-Chapter 2: Lake Park and The Early Years, 1886-1945.

-Chapter 3: Old Rides to New Rides, 1946-1963.

-Chapter 4: From Speedway to Pioneer Village, 1953-1979.

-Chapter 5: Modern Lagoon Emerges, 1980-1999.

-Chapter 6: Lagoon in the 21st Century.

-Chapter 7: The Actual Dark Side of Lagoon (Accidents, not Frightmares!)

-Appendix: Chronological list of attractions, year-by-year; and other features, like Whose Played at Lagoon? and more.


   Lagoon isn’t Disneyland, but then it doesn’t try to be. 
   As the world’s 27th oldest operating amusement park in the same location, according to the National Amusement Park Historical Association (, it has a rich history that reflects life and society.
   Only a few amusement parks in the United States are technically older than Lagoon. It was the first amusement park west of the Mississippi River, in those same rankings by the NAPHA.
(Lagoon would have been America’s second-oldest amusement park, had it not moved locations inland.)
   It continues to excite new generations and remains a wholesome family gathering place.
  Lagoon is also the nation's LARGEST family-owned amusement park. ALL the other big parks are run by large corporations.
   Farmington's Lagoon may well be Utah's oldest amusement tradition period. Since Saltair closed, Lagoon with its heritage of fun, gathering and picnicking dating back to 1886 is No. 1 in longevity – the only resort survivor of the 19th Century.
   Lagoon is also very unusual in the amusement park industry, given its Family ownership status (rare in the 21st century) and its allowance for picnics and carrying food past the front gate (even rarer). 
   In total visitors annually, Lagoon has more than 1.2 million annually. That’s, of course, for a less than seven-month operating season, but is still good enough to rank as Utah’s No. 4 most-visited tourist location in the state, according to the Utah Travel Council. Only Temple Square, Glen Canyon and Zion National Park attract more people each year than Lagoon in the Beehive State.
   This book length article outlines Lagoon’s history and will hopefully show its importance as more than just a thrill seeker’s haven.
   From spearheading Utah’s transportation needs in the early 20th Century; to helping establish civil rights in the state during the post-World War II era; to being Utah’s top summer employer for teenagers, Lagoon is more than just a mere amusement park.
   The park also sustains a major historical treasure – Pioneer Village and supports its own mini animal zoo, second only in size to Hogle Zoo in the state.
   However, Lagoon is always changing/growing, updating with the times. For example, if it had not moved inland and away from the shores of the then shrinking Great Salt Lake in the 1890s, it likely wouldn’t be around today. It would have become like Saltair and the other lake shore resorts of yesteryear – extinct.
   Over the past 120-plus years, it would be easier to list what type of activities Lagoon HASN’T hosted. Its variety is staggering. Boxing, horse racing, baseball, track meets, dancing, concerts, roller skating, bowling, wrestling, fireworks, high diving, rodeos, fishing, boating and much more. Lagoon is more of an entertainment center today, yet still catering to families and large groups, as well as individual fun seekers.
   It should remain the “fun spot of Utah” well into the future.


Chapter One:
Lagoon Recollections: Three essays by three different writers.

   A. “Lagoon — A Memory, Reality and a Future,” by the late Mary Bowring of Kaysville.
  Written in 1969, of Lagoon from the 1920s to 1960s, and submitted to the Deseret News, but not previously published, and rescued from a trash pile by this book author.

   “I never worked at Lagoon! Of course, I have never traveled to the Orient either, or sailed on a yacht off the coast of Maine — or even eaten (at) parties at a Paris sidewalk cafe.
While I can still dream of glamorous travel, alas, I’m afraid I have grown beyond the age of dreaming about working at Lagoon.
   I shall just have to experience it by a sort of osmosis as I hear the teenage talk of my friends’ children, or of my children’s friends — and know perhaps of my children themselves.
   For I always wanted to work at Lagoon.
   Lagoon is more than a resort with rides, games, stands and with the ballyhoo and gaiety of a carousel, stretched over 120 acres of choice ground in Farmington.
  Lagoon is a tradition and a memory.  It is a conundrum because it is yesterday, today and tomorrow.
   The yesterday of Lagoon started in the 1880s when Lake Park, a resort on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, west of present Lagoon, bade gaily plumed ladies arid wide mustached gentlemen to relax and enjoy themselves. The more daring of them would even step
gingerly into the stiff waters of the Great Salt Lake and there float atop the gentle waves.
   Alas, though, the lake receded and the park had to be abandoned.
   Now, one Simon Bamberger had the same sort of vision as the early pioneers who saw the desert blossoming like a rose. He started the Salt Lake and Ogden Railway (later, the Bamberger Railroad) in 1892 and in about 1893 he built a small amusement park, Eden Park, in Bountiful to develop passenger traffic on his railroad. However, Eden Park just lasted a single season in 1894, as Bamberger concentrated on Lagoon only.
  By 1896, the railroad had reached Farmington — and so Simon built Lagoon on rather worthless swamplands whose only valuable products were large noisy bullfrogs, the legs of which made excellent eating!
 Grandparents, and even great—grandparents of now, can well remember eating at the wonderful Lagoon restaurant, dancing to the “name” bands, seeing exhibits by such famous people as Bob Fitzsimmons, world champion prize fighter, who had his training camp at Lagoon, marveling at the beauty of the gardens, betting on and being excited by the horse races at the nearby track. As the desert had blossomed, the swamp had also become a place of beauty and fun.
   A more modern “yesterday” is the Lagoon of my childhood (one generation removed from 1969). Then Lagoon was a family reunion picnic with mounds of fried chicken, bowls brimming with potato salad, fudge chocolate cakes, arid gallons of lemonade. Only the kids preferred hot dogs, and strawberry soda pop, bought from Lagoon’s stands.
   Lagoon was swimming “water fit to drink” even then, with dad and assorted uncles and cousins (no adult female, who having reached the age and stage of motherhood, would venture into public waters). The adult males wore meted-From Lagoon swimsuits, made of gray cotton knit which stretched rapidly and mightily when wet. The suits were cut modestly high enough to hide the hair or lack of it on the adult male chest, and long enough to hide the knock knees.
  Lagoon was a kewpie with purple feathers, a prize, not for my Dad’s being able to throw a very straight aim at bottles on a table but able, I suspect, to bride one of the Japanese or Chinese Americans who ran all the stands. Lagoon was curling up on mother’s lap when the big brothers and other teenagers ventured into the pavilion, there to waltz or fox trot with their cousins or some of their friends who were part of their family reunions at Lagoon.
   Now when I put on a Mitch Miller record of “Moonlight and Roses” or “Sunny” or such tunes on the player, they seem like lullabies from childhood as I remember the delicious, sleepy,
contented feeling of dozing on my mother’s lap on a bench outside the dance pavilion a generation ago.
   Later, Lagoon changed more and the change was not just in my way of remembering it. By the time I was in high school, the Japanese and Chinese American men had been replaced. Young athletes and others of my contemporaries — always from Farmington -- had become Summer-time employees at Lagoon.
  Some of my girlfriends, too, had braved the new world of Lagoon and were working there. I always envied them mightily and used to wish that I too were worthy to become a Lagoon girl. My parents were of the “firm opinion” that their daughter should sit at home and not enter into the carnival world of Lagoon.
   Besides, those were the depression days and I really had nothing to offer Lagoon except my love for it. Anyway, I didn’t live in Farmington and that seemed to solve that. Still I yearned, and so did many of my Kaysville, Layton and Bountiful girlfriends.
  At this time in life, though, I had discovered the lovers lane of Lagoon. It was a pathway that meandered south of the midway. If you had someone who was truly interested in your company, he would rent a row boat and you could go out in the dark waters.    Then, you felt just like the heroine in a Carol Lombard—Clark Gable (or Doris Day—Rock Hudson movie). Many a romance had its start down Lagoon’s lover’s lane. Many a girl enticed a boy’s
proposal for marriage as they held hands and whispered in the soft darkness of lover’s lane.
  And romance bloomed in other places of Lagoon too. It became a natural thing for a boy who was working late at night to offer to escort a girl who was working late to the door of her parent’s home.
If it later developed that the girl didn’t really need to be working late, no one, least of all the boy, seemed to mind. Who can ever say for sure whether a pretty girl really had to have help in balancing her books at the end of the day, or if she just seemed adorably confused because of the attractive boy whose duty it was to check her money.
   (Personal and sentimental note: the late Bob Freed met his JoAnn at Lagoon -- her name was Robinson and she was a Farmington girl. She was a cashier and he checked her money.)
  Always then too, were the free Monday night dances at Lagoon. All Davis County was one high school and the kids used to congregate to dance and to drink pop, and occasionally, wander down Lover’s lane.
  The Utah Amusement Corporation with Ranch S. Kimball, president and general manager, and Robert E. Freed, secretary and manager, leased Lagoon from the Bambergers in 1946.
  Even though they brought more changes, the flavor of Lagoon was unchanged. Additional land was needed for a parking lot, new rides and stands were added.
  And now, Lagoon has undergone still other, subtle changes. Still the ... midway, still the “Swim in water fit to drink” pools; still the merry-go-round, the roller coaster, the fun house with its spurts of air to blow up and unsuspecting lady’s skirt.
  Added have been rides that speak of modern times, the rocket ships, the jets, the race cars. Instead of kewpies, prizes for a strong and straight arm were stuffed animals, record albums, guitars, tables, bubble gum, for nowadays, “nearly everyone wins!”
  The young people who ballyhoo the public to play the games, the pretty girls who wind the cotton candy, who sell the pop and hot dogs, the boys who turn the rides on and who nonchalantly take the tickets from a sweaty and grubby four-year-old hand are their high schools’ leaders. They are the officers, the honor roll students, the lettermen, the “really choice” kids of their generation.
   Most of them are from Davis County, although there are some from Salt Lake. Only about one in four of the young people who apply for summer work at Lagoon are able to get it. The word is that Lagoon is a “neat” place to work, the pay of OK and the social life is stupendous!
   The kids at Lagoon seem ...  sparkling, as though they were made for their role in the Lagoon of now; yet they are serious minded people with their aims set high. Some of them are the sons and daughters of summertime employees of a generation ago.
  And if any of them ever wander off to lover’s lane (for indeed, there is always a lover’s lane for each succeeding generation, only the location changes, we don’t know about it. We don’t think we even know what they are missing by not remembering the grey cotton swimming suit, a kewpie of purple feathers.
  They, instead will have a different set of memories of Lagoon. They will remember the hard work (for it is that!) but they will also remember the great feelings of comradeship that exists
among these summertime kids; they will remember the funny things that happen, to each in his own way, nearly every day.
   Perhaps they don’t know it yet, but all of them are storing memories to be taken out and smiled at for all the years of their lives, the long, hot heat of an AG or Kennecott Day when
panic would take over if there were time for it; the frantic hurrying of a sudden good— smelling shower; the pleasant repetition that is frequent, all will be blended to be remembered as a haze in a glorious, fun—filled summer.
   So will it be that when another generation has passed, they will take their own youngsters to the Lagoon of tomorrow and they will say, “I remember when I used to work there. What fun it was, what good friendships I made. Many of them will grin and quietly recall, “This is where I met your mother. What a summer that was.”
   We rather supposed Lagoon will change it always had, but we also rather suppose there will always be Lagoon. We’re glad to have it in our yesterday -- today -- and -- tomorrow.

                                                                           Photo: From Lagoon's collection.

B. More Lagoon Recollections:
By Lynn Arave, 1960s-21st Century.

   Have fun! That’s what Lagoon was all about. 
   As a kid growing up in southwestern Weber County in the 1960s, nothing, no nothing was better than Lagoon, except maybe Christmas morning.
   The reaction of kids to Lagoon in the 1960s was intense and about the same as you see in the current generation when they imagine Disneyland. In fact, Lagoon may be the “happiest place” in Utah!
   Every summer my family made the approximate 22—mile trip from Hooper to Lagoon. We would usually be going in July or August on LDS Stake Lagoon Day and would pick my father up from work in late morning at the South gate of Hill Air Force Base.
   Getting there, the Kaysville ponds were the most memorable landmark. With all their former trees lining the ponds, it seemed like nothing but country farmland between Layton and Lagoon. Once you were past the ponds, you’d catch your first glimpse of the white roller coaster, the park’s former long—range icon.
   The traffic along the roads southward to Lagoon were nothing like it is today. U.S. 89 was four lanes as early as 1960 and was truly ahead of its time for traffic flow. 
   Still, in the pre-I-15 freeway days, the early 1960s created a somewhat perilous trip to Lagoon. To get to Lagoon, there was no direct connection like there is with today’s 1-15. My family always had to cross Highway 91 and a railroad track or two. It seemed dangerous and awkward. Still, we never got in an accident.
   Arriving at Lagoon, the first stop was the Penny Arcade Located now where some individual games are, the place was a magnet for young kids, though parents didn’t like the place much. There were some things for just one cent.
   Those little movie snoopers that offered a look at supposed nude dance halls, etc. were a top attraction, though there was really nothing risque about them. Even though it was a joke, kids kept putting money in them for taking a peek.
The take-a-chance crane scoopers that offered a shot at getting a prize like a watch or lighter were also favorites for young boys.
   The second stop was always the “Million Gallon Swimming Pool’ with its water advertised as fit to drink. The dressing rooms were simple, but who cared? They did the job.
   Through glass windows all the chemical testing apparatus was easily visible. The pool was huge, probably the largest in Utah for the time. The tall slippery slide was great and it never seemed like the lines were that long.
   At one time, there were also swinging rings to go out over the water on, though liability issues eventually called for their removal.
  Always refreshing, the Lagoon pool was the perfect way to start a Lagoon visit in summertime. 
   When I got older, I remember feeling adult to be able to go into the deeper diving area and get away from the majority of swimmers. One of the picnic pavilions was the next stop and kids were plenty hungry after two hours of swimming.

              Lagoon's Mother Gooseland in the early 1960s.  Photo: From Lagoon's collection.

   As a young kid (under 10), Mother Gooseland was heaven. The boat ride, Bulgy the Whale, the kid Speedway and the Sky Fighter are among my earliest memories of Lagoon.
   There was a small playground with a sandy area and some swings. There was also the Old Shoe House and unlike today, kids got to go inside. Unlike my owns kids getting lost at Lagoon in the early 1990s, I don’t recall ever getting lost. It seems the Mother Gooseland was so open and central of a location, that young kids never left the area. Your family’s spot at a picnic pavilion was also always easily found. Of course, there weren’t the crowds in the
1960s that came along decades later.

                           The Rockets ride in the late 1950s.                                 (Photo by Venice Flygare.)

   As I got older, the old Rockets that flew over the lake (where the Turn of the Century is now) were also fun, especially since they were usually a free ride on Stake Lagoon Days. It took tickets to ride rides then. Daily passports were unheard of. The newest ride I remember coming to Mother Gooseland were the Helicopters. After that (1963), I was too tall for most children’s rides.

                             The Rock-o-Planes ride.

 Then, the Octopus, Roll-o-Plane and Rock-o-Plane were among my favorites, like most young teens. Golf USA also was great, but nothing beat the old Fun House.

  The spinning disk in the Fun House, where the goal was to be the last one on. Photo: From Lagoon's collection.

   It was also a late afternoon place to go and besides the air bursts zapping your feet, it was a challenge each year to find the correct broom closet that allowed entrance to the house of fun.
   The rotating barrel you walked through and the spinning disk where you tried to be the last one to stay were must-dos. In fact, it’s amazing kids survived that disk the way others kicked you off, slamming you into a semi-padded area.

                       The spinning dish in the Fun House, where you were pinned to the wall.
                                                                           Photo: From Lagoon's collection.

   It always seemed there was a “Bif” like kid of “Back to the Future” movies that made it a point to terrorize smaller kids and shove or kick them off the wheel.
   There were of course the slides, where you sat on a gunny sack pouch down. There was the kiddie slide and then there was the taller ones. Kids would race up those stairs as fast as possible and it seemed there was never a long wait at the top. Racing a friend or family member was always the thing to do.

                 The Fun House's rotating barrel in the 1950s. Photo: From Lagoon's collection.

   In the mid—1960s, a spiral slide was added and it seemed like it went down into a cage area, where you had to find your way out of a mirror maze. I remember spending lots of time there. A spinning, spiral barrel was fun too.
   The only thing sad about the Fun House was when your parents somehow dragged you out. You might have had a headache from the Fun House, since it was very stuffy in there and maybe you had a few floor burns on your knees, but this place more than lived up to its name. In 1966, when I was 12, Lagoon added the Haunted Shack.
 This building sat about where the Carousel food building is now.  This place was a hoot. It had two floors and a few similar things like the Fun House - air jets in the floor - but it had an extensive maze of mirrors to go through to get out and I remember taking forever to find my way out.
   I’d get to the exit door, only to reverse direction and get lost again and again. Kids like me probably doomed the attraction cause after just a couple of years it disappeared, gone forever.
  A kid also knew he was nearing adult status when he was tall enough to do the big Roller Coaster and also the Wild Mouse.
  In the old days, it took X—amount of tickets for each ride. I never remember being short on tickets, so since we only came once a year, my family must have gone all-out of ticket purchases. The swimming and rides took up so much time, there was never time for any games beyond the Penny Arcade.
  Just after dark and it was time to leave Lagoon, always a sad time for a kid, knowing he’d probably not be back for another 365 or so days. I know I grew up worshiping Lagoon. It was truly the Fun Spot of Utah and I would have loved to go more often than once a year, but it didn’t happen.
   Maybe it was that rarity that gave it that Disneyland excitement. In contrast, my kids got season passes in the 1990s and they’d go to Lagoon more times in one year than I went until I was 40. I guess it’s no wonder they don’t really seem to appreciate Lagoon.
 (For them, it’s Disneyland, Disneyworld, Knotts Berry Farm or Six Flags Magic Mountain that’s the ideal place to go and they take Lagoon for granted.)
  My mother also never got into the Lagoon experience much. Once a year was enough for her. I never remember her doing the rides and so obviously the place didn’t have that much appeal to her.
 The summer heat was also likely a factor, though in later years I have been able to drag her back for just Pioneer Village or fireworks.
   Still, I bet she never dreamed my passion for Lagoon would lead to this book — evidence that my love for the park has never wained, though I might visit the park up to three dozen times in a single season.
   I know I’m a rarity, someone who maybe doesn’t want to ever grow up. But isn’t that what Lagoon is really all about – not having to always act like a grown up inside its gates?
  It’s Utah’s Neverneverland.
  During my dating years. I made sure that I went as often as I could to Lagoon, though summer was the only season there was. Some girls also seemed apprehensive about going there, at least on a first date.
   I thought it was the perfect place to go on a date. There was an endless amount of things to do and unlike the standard movie date, there was plenty of time to talk. Some rides duplicated the closeness of a slow dance with a girl, but without the formality of a ballroom,
Still, if you didn’t hit it off with a girl, it was not a good place to be on a date. It cost more than the average date did and nothing was worse than a cold-shoulder type of girl at Lagoon.
  Saturday night used to be “Date Night” and that’s when you came. Nowadays teens and young adults would likely take a girl or go on a group date with other kids for a long 11 a.m. to closing date, but in my day, you didn’t come until 6 p.m. or so and in five hours you packed it all in.
   I’d loved to have had a Frightmares to go to when I was in my dating years or an extended Lagoon season.
  If there was a lover’s lane at Lagoon in the late 1970s, it was probably the back streets of Pioneer Village, or a dark trip on the Terroride. The standard rides don’t thrill me as much as they used to, but it’s satisfying to see your kids get a kick out of them.
   However, the deluxe rides, like the Sky Coaster, are another matter. If you don’t get a thrill at any age falling almost 150 feet on the swing-like apparatus, you’re not normal.
   The park is also a great all-around family place with something for everyone. Fireworks, entertainment, games, animals, history, thrills, food. You can go a half-dozen times, spending three or more hours a visit, and never do the same thing twice. Lagoon also changes somewhat each year.\
  It’s never stagnant. There’s something new and something moved most every year. A new crop of teens to operate the rides also
seems to bring in new blood and enthusiasm each season.
   It’s also a great place for people watching. You never know what old friend or acquaintance you might see there. Still, it’s amazing the days you can visit there and never see a single person (outside the employees) that you ever recall seeing before.
   To some, amusement park mania might seem like a hollow, short-lasting part of life. But park visits create memories, good and pleasant memories and those last forever.
   My family started a special wall poster with everyone’s season pass pasted on it. It dates back to 1993 and is a great bit of family history itself. Old-time photographs from Lagoon’s studio, plus the pictures and videos we’ve taken at Lagoon since the mid-1980s bring back the good old days.
 In the depths of a dreary and snowy long winter, it’s great to have the warm weather stuff, like Lagoon photographs, to look at. You can be in the dumps of emotions when entering Lagoon and yet after 30 minutes to seeing others have so much fun, you can’t help but perk up.
   There’s only one Lagoon and though it ISN’T Disneyland, it does have its own sort of magic and excitement if you’re willing to look for it.
   Did you grow up in Utah and go to Lagoon as a kid? Take the time on your next visit at Lagoon to ponder and recall When you did some of those same rides that are still there today - Bulgy, the Junior Speedway, the Merry-Go-Round and the Kiddie Boats. They haven’t hardly changed in 40-plus years. We’re all kids at heart and Lagoon is one of those places that reminds you of that.
The Rocket, Samurai and Wicked,  Lagoon will offer more thrilling rides than ever.
Can you become tired of Lagoon? After 10 years of season passports and hundreds of visits to Lagoon, my oldest son did.  Even if I get too old to ride some rides, there’s also nostalgia to enjoy at Lagoon.

C. “Stomachs, Patience and Wallets Get a Workout at Lagoon — What Fun Is!
 By Mike Cannon, former editorial writer, Deseret News.
(Published Oct. 3, 1996, P. A21, used with author's permission.)

   Headline: Lagoon - ‘It’s what fun is!.”
   Mere mention of the Farmington fixture - which rumor says is being considered as a national monument or at least a state park typically brings squeals of delight from children, nauseated moans from adults and puts smiles on the faces of stockholders in Dramamine Inc.
   It’s not a place for the faint of heart. A suggestion by two youngsters during dinner a few weeks back that we spend UEA
Friday at the Fun Place was met with synchronized parental choking. Fortunately, the meatballs were quickly dislodged through Heimlich thrusts administered by our 12-year-old Scout, a trick we had learned at summer camp.
   “Fat chance,” we responded in concert, catching our paternal breath. “Lagoon and UEA go together like, well, long and lines. And even on a slow day, Lagoon, well, no thanks! We can
twirl around on our own and get sick without spending $26 each for the privilege.”
   That was before our senses were numbed by a chemical reaction from the meatballs or from a nerve agent Stephen subtly slipped into our drinks - a trick we think he also learned at camp. Before dinner was done the deal was closed. Half-price Lagoon coupons from school were eagerly presented, and we were sentenced to spend UEA Friday “Where Fun Is.”
   The anticipation was underwhelming.
   Fortunately, the day before execution of our sentence the weather forecast called for rain and cold. A reprieve, or so we though. But no such luck, as weather prognosticators missed
the mark. Friday dawned nice and clear. It looked like a beautiful day to get sick.
   Before departing Salt Lake for the trek north, we stopped to take out a small loan. Even with half—price coupons, this was going to be no small investment. Besides admission, we knew there would be the costs of parking, hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, pizza, snow cones, cotton candy, ice cream, a Dramamine Family Pack and a thermos of Pepto-Bismol.
   We qualified for the loan and off we went.
  Driving into Davis County with children ages 6 and 12, we discussed all we knew about this Salt Lake suburb: right-wing politics, fog and accidents on I-15 at Beck Street, oil refineries, killer gnats and man-eating brine shrimp around Antelope Island, famous potato chips and Lagoon.
   What a combination. And we had to pick Lagoon!.
   We parked behind the huge roller coaster with goats grazing beneath it. Environmental groups suspect that the goats look at the mountaineous coaster and think they are in the Alps. My wife looked at the wood and said, “Look how skinny the boards are!.”
   “Yeah, but they don’t have to support more than 4 or 5 tons of people going 40 miles per hour,” I calmly assured her.
   We gave the folks at the gate out coupons, remitted our loan check to Lagoon Inc., had our hands stamp with a green figure resembling a brine shrimp and were in the park.
   “It’s what fun is!”
   With four of us, including two daredevils (relatively speaking) and two who were more intelligent, we devised a strategy of divide and conquer - that and do our best not to lose our lunch. But first our foresome headed toward Dracula’s Castle. Of course we couldn’t play through, and after a wait equivalent to the previous night’s lunar eclipse, we approached the point of embarkment for our fiendish experience.
   A little boy in front of us asked the ride operator, a nice young man who said his name was Harold, if he had ever been in the castle. “About a million times,” he said. The pained look on his face indicated he was serious.
   “It’s what fun is,” I thought to myself.
   We survived Dracula’s blood lust, shuffled into two separate pairs and agreed to meet in an hour at the fountain or the infirmary, depending on gastrointestinal conditions. 

                                               JetStar 2 ride

   Twelve-year-old Stephen and I were off to the JetStar 2 (every Chiropractor’s dream!.) and Alladin’s Magic Carpet - not smart, we realized a minute into the ride as Stephen battled to keep
down the two Big Macs (really) he had eaten en route to the park.     “Hang in there, buddy,” I exhorted him, with more than a little self- interest, fearing the return of four all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and sesame— seed buns. 
   “Look at that nice view of the mountains (and away from me).” He hung on. Barely. Three rides into “Fun” and we were already on the ropes. Ten minutes lying along some flower beds helped restore a sense of equilibrium.
   It was off to the Hydroluge. There we encountered a blue tube and black tube. We chose to ride our raft through the black one at the advice of 11-year-old Jessica in front of us. “It’s a lot faster,” she said. Her little sister agreed. At that point it dawned that both the mean and median ages of people at Lagoon were about 13. There were a few adults, but most of them were pushing strollers or playing skee-ball while wearing back braces.
   Oh well. By this time, we were committed and getting into the spirit of the place - scrambled.
   The Skyride across the park took us to the “King Coaster” for the first of five trips. Then after swooping around Colossus we staggered to the Tidal Wave.
  “Another Dramamine, please!”
   More trips on the roller coaster - easily our favorite - followed by repeat runs on the log ride in Pioneer Village, the swinging “Turn of the Century” and anything else with a reasonable
   Mercifully, the park closed at 9 p.m. Our Dramamine and the Pepto-Bismol wouldn’t have lasted another 15 minutes. We had rediscovered “What Fun Is!” and will someday return - but not until everything stops spinning around.
   UEA weekend in (10 years) should be about right.


                                                                                                               From Lagoon's photo collection..

Chapter Two:
Lake Park and The Early Lagoon, 1886—1945

   Most historic amusement parks (“theme parks” today) in the United States had their beginnings with trains. That is, they helped increase passenger traffic by having a special destination along the route. New York’s Coney Island built an accompanying rail line.
Utah’s Lagoon was no exception and yet it has a dual legacy. The other half involves water, a scarce commodity in a state like Utah, where the only state with less annual rainfall is Nevada.

Lake Park, a resort on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, is the forerunner to Lagoon.

Simon Bamberger, who started Lake Park and Lagoon, was a part owner in the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad (and would be famous over time as the fourth Governor of Utah and as the owner of the Bamberger Railroad). 

 Yet, Bamberger had to rely on the financial support of other investors, including George Goss and a cousin, Jacob E. Bamberger. Those two contributed $74,950 of the $100,000 needed to start Lake Park. Simon added $23,000 and two others the remainder, according to the Salt Lake Herald of June 25, 1886.

   The area in West Farmington today, where Lake Park used to be. No traces remain of the resort.

“Lake Park” was promoted as one of the “most attractive watering places in the west. It encompassed 215-acres. (1)
(However, note that the Encyclopedic History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states that Lake Park began in 1874, when Dr. Peter Clinton built a three-story hotel at the lake’s edge. He later added bath houses and other attractions. The railroad came in 1875 to Lake Park. This history also reports that it was Saltair’s arrival in 1893 that proved the demise of Lake Side more than the receding Great Salt Lake. Because, Saltair proved much more popular. (2)

   There were four different early Great Salt Lake resorts that had names using the word “Lake.” There was also Lake Point (southwest of Saltair), and Lake Side to the north of Lake Park and Lake Shore on the south side of Lake Park.
   Garfield, Black Rock and the Syracuse resort made for a total of eight Great Salt Lake resorts in the 1870s—1890s. Utahns in the late 1800s loved their Great Salt Lake, where they could float like a cork. This was their passion in the warm five or six months of the year.
   Lake Side, just north of Lake Park and Lake Point, south of Saltair, were the state’s first two such lake resorts, starting in 1870. Black Rock began in 1876, Lake Shore in 1879, Black Rock in 1881, the Syracuse Resort in 1887 and Saltair in 1893.
 Surprisingly, only Lake Park and the youngest - Saltair - have survived in any form into modern times.
   Lake Park’s big competitor was Garfield Resort. After Lagoon moved inland, Saltair became its competition. (3)
   Finding the Lake Park/Lagoon’s original location is difficult. However, in 1886, the Great Salt Lake was at a small peak in elevation on route the to an overall low of 4,198 feet in 1905. The Lake’s 1886 elevation had been 4,207 feet above sea level (4,200 is the “average” level).
   Based on that 1886 lake elevation, with Lake Park being near the water, the resort was probably about 1.7 miles west of its current modern location. 
   The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad's two-mile-long Lake Park branch line in Farmington went from the mainline to the resort. The line ran along the north side of today's Clark Lane. Thus, the resort used to be located just to the west of Clark Lane.
   Some other location estimates range from 2.5 to 4 miles away, but those larger distances would put the resort in the lake water or at least mud. Its waters were also likely shallower than other Great Salt Lake resorts. (4)
   Railroad magnate Simon Bamberger, later Utah’s first-ever Democratic governor in 1917, expanded Lake Park to attract large crowds from Salt Lake County.
   He was a short and stocky man. Also, he was not Mormon, but rather a practicing Jew.
   Bamberger was well-known for possessing an innate business sense, but also for his honesty and being a tireless civic worker. (5)     Bamberger was the resort’s vice president and also had 25 percent interest in the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, the actual company that built Lake Park.

                                                                                                          From Lagoon's photo collection.

   Bamberger. more well-known by Utah residents for the “Bamberger” railroad than as the father of Lagoon, built an approximate two—mile spur line off the main D & R.G.W. line to
reach Lake Park Resort. (There’s a statue of Bamberger at Lagoon today. You’ll find it just inside the park along the shortest way to Dracula’s Castle. He was to Lagoon what Walt Disney was to Disneyland.)
   Some 53,000 guests visited the park in its first season under Bamberger's ownership. Admission in those days was 50 cents. Swimming, dancing, boating, a merry-go-round pulled by a horse, target shooting, roller skating and bowling were all included for that price. An extra half-dollar provided a full—course meal at the resort’s restaurant. (6)
   The resort was most famous, as for all Great Salt Lake resorts, for its swimming where you couldn’t sink in the high salt content water. For its premiere season, the resort had 15 dozen men’s and three dozen women’s swimming suits available for rent. 
   To help prevent theft, “Lake Park Resort” was written across the front of the suits.
An advertisement in the Aug. 3, 1887 Deseret Evening News stated Lake Park also had a shooting gallery, baseball field, cricket grounds, race track, a gymnasium and its own orchestra. It also offered boat rides to “Church Island” (today’s Antelope Island).

   There were six trains a day, painted in a Tuscan red, going to Lake Park from Salt Lake City and three a day coming from Ogden. A sailboating racing and a rowing club also had headquarters at Lake Park. (7)
   It also boasted of its open-air dancing pavilion with finely carved archways and lattice.
   Summer cottages at the site were rented by the day or month. By one account, it even had a small Victorian-style hotel and a string of cabins along the beach.
   The main pavilion was 3,600-square feet, flanked on the north by a restaurant, 30 X 60 feet in size and on the south by an equal sized saloon. On the west was a pier, about 150 feet in length. Bath houses were north and south of the pier. The railroad passenger platform was on the east side of the large pavilion. (8)
   There were also a dozen round picnic houses, covered with green ivy, and having tables underneath them. Thus, Lake Park/Lagoon was also renowned for its picnicking from its inception. Many Farmington residents would simply walk to Lake Park for a daily outing.
   Even in 1886, this was the fun spot of Utah. Boat races and footraces were also popular events at Lake Park.
   How Lake Park goers survived the mosquitoes and pesky brine flies near the lake shore -- which had to become worse as the lake receded — is uncertain.
   Perhaps the dry years of the park’s existence kept their populations down.
   By 1895, the resort was greatly suffering. The Great Salt Lake was still receding and now approaching its average, modern-time level of 4,200 feet above sea level.
   What was once the lake shore was now a sticky, blue-colored mud that shunned swimmers. It would have likely required a walk through muddy and smelly salt flats of some one-third mile or more to reach the actual lake water. Then, it would have been another long walk of a half-mile or so to reach water deep enough to swim.
   Bamberger decided to move the resort eastward. That proved to a wise move and set the stage for the great success Lagoon is today.     If the park would have remained by the Great Salt Lake, maintenance costs from the salt water wash, wind and waves, would have been extremely high in painting and repair. It’s unlikely Lagoon could have survived any longer than Saltair did, into the late 1950s.

The Salt Lake Herald of January 26, 1896 reported that A.M. Lamb of Farmington was working to remove all of the Lake Park building, to be reconstructed at a new location to the east.
The Davis County Clipper of Feb. 28, 1896 stated that eight to ten teams of horses were at work hauling the Lake Park pavilion from near the dried up Great Salt Lake to a new fresh water resort. Days of work were expected for this task.
Not all the buildings were moved from the old resort site. The Salt Lake Herald of Aug. 25, 1897 reported that a frame house of five or six rooms belonging to Simon Bamberger and near the defunct Lake Park resort, was destroyed by a fire. It was thought to be started by careless young men and was valued at several hundred dollars.

By the late winter of 1896, an advertisement in the Davis County Clipper sought to have cattle, horses and sheep to pasture at the former resort site.

 Even if Lagoon had made it to the mid-2Oth Century by the Great Salt Lake, the extreme low lake levels of the 1960s and early 21st Century would have been unbearable for the resort and even if it would have survived that, the record-high levels of the mid-1980s would have washed the resort away or to be saved only by expensive diking and pumping of the extreme, like New Orleans has.
   Although the receding Great Salt Lake was the primary reason for the move inland, some Farmington residents also believe it was because Bamberger wanted the resort closer to civilization.

Notwithstanding the receding lake waters, Lake Park had also always had a mud problem along its shore. The Salt Lake Herald of July 31, 1910 reported that no amount of gravel, sand or fill could overcome that vexing problem either.
  Bamberger purchased what was then some 40 acres of swampy farmland, where noisy bullfrogs roamed, from Farmington farmers for his new location in the mid 1890s. (Some reports refer to the Lagoon site as natural meadows). Bamberger had the land graded and the swamp excavated to make a four-foot-deep lake.
   Some accounts state it was actually two large ponds. In any event, the two lakes soon became one large lake and also one that was larger than the one in use today - maybe almost twice as big. The frogs were sold as delicacies to Montana mining camps.
   Fish were planted therein and turned undesirable land into a fun spot. (9)
  Some 53 artesian wells were dug and the overall plan was to create "a family oriented park.
   Hundreds of trees and flowers were also planted at the site that was renamed Lagoon. (Lagoon has always had large flower gardens.)  Five of the old buildings were moved from Lake Park to what soon became called Lagoon.
   Others were torn down and lumber used for other projects.
   None survive today, but Lake Park Terrace lasted longest, to 2004. The terrace was actually the dancing pavilion at Lake Park. It was designed by Richard Keitting. He also designed Saltair and the Utah State Capitol Building. It was pegs, not nails that held such
early structures made in 1800s together.
   The park reopened as Lagoon on Sunday, July 12, 1896, a decade after its original opening on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. That opening was also two months later than originally planned.
   “Lagoon is the name that has been given the new pleasure resort here in Farmington. It opened on Sunday last and was visited by quite a number of Salt Lake and local people,” the Davis County Clipper reported. However, there was a controversy on its opening weekend.
“A little misunderstanding between the city officers and the bartender at Lagoon caused the city to lose $150,” the Clipper reported. “The resort people failed to take out a license and the city officers went to hurry up matters a little when the Lagoon people got offended and moved all their goods over the line into the county and took out a county license. The west line of the city runs through the centre (sic) of the barroom.” (10)
   When Lagoon opened, it also meant another Davis County resort closed. Bamberger had built Eden Park, a pleasure garden in Bountiful, along the rail line in 1894. This three-acre park closed when Lagoon came along, so that the Bambergers could focus on
Lagoon. On July 24, Pioneer Day, 1896, Lagoon had 2,000 people at the resort.
   An estimated 1,500 were from Salt Lake City. Entrance fee was 25 cents a person that day.
   There was also a second controversy the month of Lagoon’s opening at its current location. The Salt Lake Herald newspaper was reported to have published an erroneous article on negative aspects the resort, that Lagoon believed cost it $10,000. (11).
   A roundtrip railroad ticket ‘from Salt Lake or Ogden to Lagoon cost just 25 cents.
   In the early 1900s, this steam-powered train would stop at Lagoon two or three times daily.
   The last train would leave for Salt Lake at 7 p.m. In those days, the train was nicknamed, “The Old Dummy.”
“Railroads and summer resorts. All are preparing for inevitable rush that comes Decoration Day. Out at Saltair and Lagoon” was a lengthy Deseret News headline in Mid-may of 1906. (Note: Decoration Day was the original title for Memorial Day.)
   Eleven new 52-foot long railway coaches were put into service that year to handle the increased traffic. (12)
   When Lagoon reopened that first season, it had five primary buildings - A fun house, restaurant, a dance pavilion, a hotel and saloon. A “Shoot the Chutes” ride also opened then, a forerunner of today’s log flume rides. This was Lagoon’s first thrill ride. (13)
   This “Chute” ride involved some boat sleds that would slide down a 30-foot high incline - powered by gravity - into the lake.
   Another Davis County superlative also occurred at Lagoon in 1896, when the first moving pictures ever shown in the county premiered at Lagoon. Elegant dancing, bowling, fine music, shady boweries and good restaurants were what Lagoon initially highlighted in its advertisements. (14)
   Soon a bathhouse was also built along side the lake, probably in 1900, when full-scale swimming started in the lake. In its heydey, some 5,000 swimmers a day on busy summer days used the lake to cool off.
   Although Lagoon was less than a third the size it is today, its water ponds were larger then - perhaps four times as big as today’s single lake. Thus, boating and swimming were big daylight activities, along with picknicking, rollerskating, games and rides — even some hot air balloons with a small cage offering room for one rider. At night, park goers would dance.
   There was also a scenic footbridge over a section of one of the lakes. Ducks were common in its waters.
   Because of its springs, the lakes never seemed to freeze over completely. A Salt Lake ice company had been using an artesian well to create the lagoon lake starting in 1895. Three
ice houses stored the ice. Blocks of ice were transported by railroad to Salt Lake City in the winter. During its operating season, Lagoon used some of its own ice too.
   At some time later, the two lakes became one smaller body of water. Some ice skating in winter was also reported in the early years. (15)
 There was also at one time in the early 19th Century, an island with gardens on it, in the middle of Lagoon Lake. Named "Pleasure Island," it was only accessible by row boats. (From Lagoon's own history book.)
   One historical report states Lagoon was closed for several years in the early 1900s, but does not explain why.
   One newspaper report in 1899 said dancing, boat racing and baseball were among Lagoon’s most popular activities. (16)
   On Labor Day in 1898, a mock military battle by some sort of local militia attracted an estimated 8,030 people to Lagoon – its largest crowd ever to that date. (17)
   By 1900, there was a “rockets over the lake.’’ Swimming in the lake and row boating were also popular activities at the turn-of-the-century.
   “The Lagoon Road” was the nickname of the Bamberger rail line to Lagoon, as early as 1905 in numerous Deseret News advertisements for that year and several years to come. In May of 1905, this Bamberger line was being improved and sixty pound steel rails were installed to make the line a regular full-size railroad line.
   “It will be like riding on a real railroad to go to the Lagoon this year as the old light 40-pound rails are being torn up and replaced with the heavier, 60-pound steel, which has been received from Pueblo at a cost of about $25,000.” A new, $17,000 dancing pavillon also opened that year at Lagoon. It consisted of a hard
maple floor, 103 by 175 feet.
   “The Lagoon music shell was tested for the first time Saturday afternoon and evening, with an orchestra of eight musicians with a success that far exceeded the most sanguine anticipations of the constructors,” was a newspaper report that spring. (18)
   Lagoon was a marketing delight in the early 1900s as almost every organization of any size in northern Utah scheduled its own special day at the park.
   June 8, 1905 was the Salt Lake Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' special Lagoon day.
   Many seem to erroneously believe that stake Lagoon days are a modern invention, created by a modern Lagoon. But the fact is that stake Lagoon Days date back well over a century.
   In 1905, even wards, like the Salt Lake 16th and 17th Wards had a special combined Lagoon Day on June 16. Even LDS Sunday Schools and M.I.A.s scheduled Lagoon days in that era.
"Stake Lagoon Day" is a special day annually each summer for some stakes in Northern Utah, where they can gain free admission and discounts on daily passports to visit Lagoon.

(However: “We discontinued the official (Stake Lagoon Day) program in 2016 but Stakes are still able to schedule a day individually if they choose to,” Lagoon Spokesman Adam Leishman stated in 2018.)
 But special Lagoon days were not limited to the LDS Church.

                      21st Century picnic facilities are still well-used at Lagoon.

   Picknicking was and always has been popular at Lagoon.
  The Methodist Church Sunday School had their own day on June 30, 1905. The Swedish Brotherhood, the Boiler Makers and Machinists, the Miners Union, Davis County Public Schools and the ZCMI shoe factory all had special Lagoon Days in June of 1905.
  The University of Utah Track team even staged a meet at Lagoon on June 3, 1905. (19)
   How popular were stake Lagoon days in their early years? The Jordan Stake day on July 13, 1906 used two trains and carried an estimated 2,500 people to the resort. Not all were likely from the stake, but most were.
Lagoon also had a zoo, named "The Menagerie," that opened in 1898. "Nero" the grizzly bear was its most famous resident and he escaped his confinement several times and ate a few park birds during a brief rampage. (From Lagoon's own history book.)
   Entertainment especially for the stake’s “old folks,” about 400 “silvery haired veterans was considered a highlight of the day and there was a banquet for the seniors too. (20)
  Lagoon was a hit as a reunion/gathering place right from the beginning. For example, on July 19, 1897, Lagoon hosted a reunion of returned LDS missionaries that served in the Pacific Islands. President Joseph F. Smith, then Second Counselor in the First Presidency, attended this event that included the roasting of several hogs.
   This reunion included 114 returned missionaries and 34 natives from the islands. A repetition of the Lord’s prayer was given in four different Pacific Island languages at the event. In August of 1906, this reunion attracted a record crowd of 9,000 people to
Lagoon. (21)
   An “Old Folk’s Day” was also another popular annual event at the resort. One such event was held there on June 25, 1907. Any resident of Davis County over age 70 was invited for free to be Lagoon’s guests at the event. Pot roast beef, boiled ham, mutton, all kinds of cake and lemonade were comprised the menu at the Old Folks’ Day. (22)
   Why was Lagoon so popular in that era?
    There weren’t movies, TV or any of the modern electronic devices around in those days.
  Decoration Day was considered the opening day at Lagoon each year. In 1906, the “great annual bicycle race” started at 10 a.m. and it could be watched from the Lagoon observation train. There was also a new restaurant, roller skating and an enlarged orchestra that season.  A shady spot with a lake, dancing, sports and other amusements made Lagoon a haven for residents of that era.
   Baseball was also a big pastime at Lagoon and in 1906, a game with the University of Utah team vs. the Davis County team was played.
   But Lagoon’s swimming and dancing were very controversial from about 1896-1920.
  Lagoon had also sported its own saloon from opening day, until the end of the 1915 season. Then, Lagoon's owner, Simon Bamberger, wanted to use to influence to make Lagoon and Farmington "dry."
   Even without alcohol local Mormon leaders still weren’t convinced there wasn’t a moral danger to young men and young women swimming in bathing suits that became more scantily clad each decade.
   In 1920, one group of concerned Davis County residents got Farmington City to purchase building materials and then with donated labor, dressing rooms were re-built at the abandoned Lake Side resport. It was felt that isolated from commercial influences, these private cubicles would foster a community bathing atmosphere.
   But the private resort likely closed soon after for lack of support. Amusement rides were rare at Lagoon in its early days. Bowling, wrestling, roller skating and dancing were much more popular then.
   In 1906, the hand-carved carousel arrived at Lagoon, a ride that’s still in use today. It originally cost $2,000 and featured 47 hand-carved horses. The original ride was operated by a young boy who was paid just 25 cents week. A thick canvass covered the boy and
horse so they were essentially hidden by the riders.
   “Shoot the chutes. They are now running at Lagoon Have you tried them? Splendid restaurant service, dancing, roller skating and rowing. It never grows hot at Lagoon and the people are flocking out in great throngs this year.” That’s what a 1906 newspaper ad said about Lagoon.
   By 1906, trains weren’t the only way to travel to Lagoon.    Automobiles were on the roads, dirt, dusty or muddy as they were. That was the year that Lagoon opened a special garage
to accommodate cars. Autos had a bad reputation in this day. City councils and police had harsh laws that automobile owners believed discriminated against them.
   “Now however the sentiment is changing and public notice has been taken out of the auto car in at least one place. This is at Lagoon where the people who come in automobiles hereafter will be just as welcome to spend their money as those who come on the trains.”But this special treatment came at a price. Those who operated this new garage for cars hoped to sell the car owners popcorn, trout, or a chicken dinner too. (23)
  The Fourth of July was a special day at Lagoon.
   “Something to keep you busy all the time at Lagoon,” an advertisement in the Deseret News stated in early July 1906.
  “For the old man who hates the noise, there is fishing ... For the young man and maiden, the dancing floor was made perfect ... For the children the grove was planted, making ‘the prettiest spot in Utah’ also the best playground … the flowers are in bloom ... The family will want to Shoot-the-Chutes and sample a trout dinner at the restaurant. Appointments perfect.” (24)
   The Bamberger rail line was electrified in 1910, ending the need for steam locomotives. (25)
   Lagoon has also a small railroad engine — No. 999 — that originally traveled up through the park and around the grandstand, starting in 1906. It passed by some beautifully painted murals. However, its route was soon changed toward and around a part of the lake.
   That’s because its noise disturbed many of the programs.
Lagoon was starting to look more and more like an amusement park, rather than a resort. But it would be another 15 years before the familiar wooden roller coaster would arrive.
Surprisingly, Lagoon was seriously threatened with closure in its early years, 1910.
“May cut Lagoon into town lots” was an April 27, 1910 headline in the Ogden Standard-Examiner.
“’If Lagoon cannot be made to pay with the railroad fare at 50 cents the roundtrip , I will cut the resort up into town lots and sell it,’ said Simon Bamberger, president and general manager of the ‘Lagoon route,’’ this morning,” The Standard story stated.
 “’The fare to Lagoon will be 50 cents this year, he continued. ‘And it will remain at 50 cents for the round trip as long as I own the controlling interest in the road (the railroad line).”’
Bamberger, consider the father of Lagoon, established the resort to draw passengers to his railroad. He was solidly against the train fare being reduced for just Lagoon’s sake, for a business that is open only three months of the year. Railroad traffic was increasing between Salt Lake and Ogden for the sake of other, year-round businesses.
“’I might put it this way,’” Bamberger said. “We are not going to let the ‘tail wag the dog.’ In this case Lagoon is the tail, and I don’t propose that it shall wag the road.’”
In a few weeks Bamberger’s railroad line was also set to be made electric, another advancement in its operation.

Bamberger continued his lecture: “’We think that Lagoon is a beautiful resort, one of the finest, if not the finest in the state. We would like to see it a success. Not only the coming summer, but in many seasons yet to come, but we are not going to try to make it a success at the expense of the rest of the business of the road. If people wish to visit the resort at the added cost, we will be glad to do all in our power to make their visits pleasant. If they do not care to come we will do something else with the resort, but we will not reduce the railroad fare.’”
 Farmington resident Milton Hess was hired by Lagoon to build a race track at the park.
  (Hess also built many other Lagoon rides, including the Shoot the Chutes, the Fun House and many midway games shacks and buildings. The race track was completed in 1911 at a
cost of $75,000. This doubled the size of Lagoon, adding another 40 acres, complete with grandstands and a large barn.
   Race horses came from all over the world. Racing continued for just two seasons until an act of the Utah State Legislature made such horse racing illegal in 1913. (26)
Still in a photograph from 1911, cars were tightly packed into the parking lot, like sardines, as the horse racing attracted spectators from all  over the region.
   The popular racetrack, though short-lived, apparently had world renown. (Horse racing returned to Lagoon in 1925 when parimutuel betting system was allowed for a few seasons until it too faded away.)
  Lagoon was also leased out by the Bambergers. For example, it was leased to the Amusement Concessions Company from 1918—1927.
  The early days of Lagoon are also filled with fanciful stories. One of these involves the old canon that the Mormon Pioneers hauled across the plains. It was taken to Lagoon and fired for special occassions. One such holiday, some boys had loaded rocks in the canon and blew off part of Lagoon’s skating rink. (27)
   The cannon was called “the old sow”’ and it was fired at sunrise for some summer holidays, as well as the start of evening fireworks on the Fourth of July.
   (That historic cannon later disappeared. It was found sometime later buried in the bank of the Lagoon lake. The cannon was then mounted on wheels and given to Farmington City.)
  On one Fourth or 24th of July, a hard south wind came up and blew some cannon sparks four blocks away, passing over several barns filled with hay. It ended up catching the roof of the home of LDS Apostle John W. Taylor on fire. This house was at the time being rented by Andy Christensen, who also had a five-year lease on Lagoon’s operation then. The fire department arrived in time to put the fire out after only a small hole was in the roof. (28).
   Bicycle races from Salt Lake to Lagoon were also popular on Decoration Day in the park’s early days. A trail would parallel the race to offer spectators a good view. Baseball games were also played on a field at Lagoon in its early years.
  Early train cars to the park were often open ones. Sometimes, sparks from the train’s wheels would burn holes in the clothes of riders. Some cars were completely full by the time they reached Lagoon. (30)
   Lagoon also had an early zoo with monkeys and some other animals. One Sunday’s entertainment featured a large lion. Its trainer would put his head inside it mouth and thrill the audience. Then, the lion would spit at the crowd. (Some legends say the trainer lost his head to the lion at Lagoon, but history books say otherwise.) (29)
   Still another legend, this one possibly true, states that a boy was left in charge of the zoo’s monkeys. He left them in the greenhouse too long and an angry monkey bit off the boy’s finger. However, the “boy” thing is probably just a legend. Farmington City history states that it was an adult Charles Boylin who was in charge of the monkeys and who had his finger bitten off. (30)
   After the demise of horse racing in 1913, it was another eight years before another big attraction arrived at Lagoon. This was the wooden roller coaster, the park’s second—oldest ride and still one of the most popular rides.
   The roller coaster was designed by John Miller, the same inventor who made the coasters at Coney Island.
  The ride was 45 feet high, 2,500 feet long and reached a maximum speed of 45 mph.
 Lagoon's wooden roller coaster is its second-oldest ride, behind the Carousel. The coaster, originally known as the "Dipper," opened in 1921.
 However, the Davis County Clipper newspaper of May 8, 1905, reported that the "dipper coaster" was to have arrived that spring. It was being promoted as "the only attraction of the kind west of Chicago."
  The wooden roller coaster didn't arrive for another 16 years, though. It was both costly and hard to obtain.
 The Clipper newspaper of May 27, 1921 stated that the "Lagoon Dipper" was now open. Its cost was $75,000 (almost $1 million in 2017 dollar value) and it was built by a Colorado Company. Also, it was similar to the wooden roller coaster at a rival resort, Saltair.
 (For the same 1921 season, Lagoon had also moved the "Shoot-The Chutes" ride slightly as the pond had been enlarged.
 An advertisement in the Utah Daily Chronicle of May 27, 1921, called Lagoon "Utah's greatest pleasure resort" and the "Coney Island of the West." The ad also referred to the Lagoon Dipper "as the wildest ride you ever took."
 The Bamberger Railroad offered rides to Lagoon every hour for just 35 cents a roundtrip. Also, a paved highway to Lagoon was now in place and auto parking at Lagoon was 50 cents (so a charge for parking at Lagoon goes back almost a century.) There was room to park up to 1,000 autos.
 The Salt Lake Telegram of May 27, 1921 said of the new roller coaster and Lagoon:
 "Among the important new features that will be found is the 'Lagoon Dipper,' a giant roller coaster that is said to be the largest in the United States, and while full of thrills from start to finish, is as safe as a rocking chair."
  Lagoon also boasted of an artificial white sand beach in that era, titled "Walkiki Beach," as well as "Witzell's Jazz Band." Fresh water is what Lagoon also stressed (as compared to the briny waters at its competitor, Saltair.)
  In the summer of 1922, Lagoon featured a flying circus for July 24th. According to the Ogden Standard-Examiner of July 23, 1922, Lagoon hosted automobile races and a flying circus on that Utah holiday. A stuntman, "Mogul" Munson, would drop from a low-flying airplane without a parachute or other device and land in the Lagoon Lake. Lagoon was also offering free admission to see this airplane diving stunt.
 Sadly, Lagoon's claim of its roller coaster being as "safe as a rocking chair" didn't last but just over three years. On July 26, 1924, George Burt of Ogden was riding in the coaster's front car, obviously leaning forward (if not standing up), when he lost his balance and fell forward in front of the coaster. He was dragged for 50 feet and then fell 20 feet down to his death.
  (-Note that Saltair's "Giant Racer" wooden roller coaster had opened much earlier than Lagoon's, way back in 1893. The coaster was improved in 1916-1919 and was 110 feet high. The ride blew down in 1957 during a wind storm and was never rebuilt.)
"Lagoon stages its annual bathing girl revue to delight Kiwanians" was a July 19, 1919 headline in the Salt Lake Herald newspaper.
  Lagoon’s “water fit to drink” swimming pool arrived in 1921, complete with a cement bottom. This million-gallon pool would remain for five and a half decades.
   The Farmington Park had a scare during the spring of 1927, when heavy flooding threatened the park. However, there was very little damage.
  Lagoon also had a "criminal" aspect during the 1920s, when the nation's alcohol prohibition was in force. During the off-season at Lagoon, some youths would stash kegs of booze in various portions of the park.
  For example, in the late fall of 1925, 31 kegs of liquor were found stashed behind the picture gallery. A few weeks later, a 16-year-old young man was caught by police in the the "Chutes" room with a stashed keg of beer. Lagoon employees and owners knew nothing of such illegal activity, but afterward increased policing of the vacant park to prevent such future activities. (According to the Davis County Clipper, Dec. 4, 1925.)
  The 1922 season at Lagoon featured an army of porters in the parking lot, who would provide every protection and facility in the 20-acre lot for no extra cost, according to the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper of April 30, 1922.
 The railroad fare to Lagoon, which featured Lagoon admission too, was just 35 cents a person.
 Since dancing was prohibited on Sundays in Farmington by law, Lagoon provided a band and vaudeville features instead then.
 Carloads to new sand were also added to its “Waikiki Beach” that season. Nighttime beach going was new in the 1922 season, as well as some Hawaiian musicians.
 In the works too, was a “Sunken Garden,” at Lagoon, much like the famous attraction in Pasadena, Calif.
Fireworks and a free matinee dance were hallmarks of Lagoon’s 1924 season, according to the Telegram of June 29, 1924.

 Lagoon had also added a “baby bank.” This not only offered baby buggie rentals, but child care in the capable hands of attendants.
According to The Progress newspaper from Fillmore, Utah, of August 24, 1923, the huge series of cloudbursts in Northern Utah 11 days earlier, had hit the towns of Farmington and Willard the worst. A dozen people were killed in the storms, that produced mudslides.

"Lagoon resort also was hit by the storm and was the scene of many thrilling escapes, but after the flood waters subsided it is said the property damage there is not so great as had been feared," the Fillmore newspaper stated. Arnold Christensen, brother of the Lagoon manager, died near the resort just after the storm, when up to a foot of water submerged the park. Christensen had rescued his wife and two children from the storm, but when told his other child was missing, he collapsed and died.
The competitive battle with Lagoon and Saltair heated up in the mid-1920s.
"Utah's prettiest girl to be named in Lagoon Beauty Contest Tomorrow" was a Sept. 6, 1925 headline in the Ogden Standard-Examiner. This was one of Lagoon's new promotions to outdo Saltair.
  Saltair was reeling from a spring 1925 fire, that caused $500,000 in damages, with only $125,000 being covered by insurance. Saltair reopened almost three months after the fire on July 1 for a short season. Meanwhile, Lagoon had been advertising it had a bigger,
prettier and a more thrilling park than before.
   For July Fourth, a Salt Lake Tribune newspaper ad touted Lagoon as having 3,000 parking spaces, matinee and evening dancing, swimming, fireworks, concessions and pickniking.
   “The ideal outing place, the coolest place in Utah, the fun place for all," the summer Lagoon ads stated. Lagoon liked to brag about its filtered, fit-to-drink pool water, its flowers, grass and gardens.
   Saltair’s original wooden roller coaster (opened in 1914), was the Giant Racer. Its third version was bigger and taller than Lagoon’s (110 feet high vs. 45 feet). Even Lagoon’s current Fire Dragon Metal Coaster is shorter at only 85 feet high. The Giant Racer also
featured an actual race on double tracks with two cars.
   But despite a better coaster, Saltair lost the battle with Lagoon. It had another fire in 1931.
  The owners of Saltair spent $100,000 replacing the fire-damaged roller coaster, and adding a fun house and some kids rides. (31)
   During the 1930s, Lagoon’s popularity increased, while Saltair wained.
   Partly the blame was because people could drive to the south shore of the Great Salt Lake then, so why pay to take a train to Saltair? Also, the lake level was dropping and Saltair was no longer sitting right at the shoreline.
On Saltair’s opening season day in 1930, it had 10,000 patrons. On Labor Day of 1930, Lagoon attracted 15,000.

                                                                                                        From Lagoon's photo collection

   By 1929, during the Great Depression, attractions at Lagoon included the Fun House, the Lagoon Dipper (wooden coaster), Tilt-a-Whirl (the park’s third oldest ride), the Aeroplane Swing, Rockets, the Carousel and the Shoot-the-Chutes was also still going.
  It would another 11 years before the Dodgem ride came along in 1940.
  In 1932, Lagoon offered free swimming lessons in a special "Learn to Swim" campaign that July. All the public had to do was register for the program and approximately 1,000 people could take advantage of, according to the Davis County Clipper on July 1, 1932.
   The 1930s and 1940s were the Big Band era. Orchestras like Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Glenn Miller played Lagoon in those days.(32)
   Milton M. Hess, who had built Lagoon’s racetrack, was wooed back to the park in 1928 as a caretaker and handy man. The Bamberger’s wanted he and his family to live on-site at Lagoon.
   An old house that had been moved from Lake Park became the family’s home. It featured three bedrooms and a small kitchen for the family of six.
   The Hess family lived at Lagoon for 19 years. Mrs. Hess said it was indeed a noisy place in the summers, but the rest of the year was very pleasant. (33)
   With gas rationing and other shortages, Lagoon was closed during the 1943, 1944 and 1945 seasons, because of World War II. The Bambergers were also likely too busy operating the train during the war, to be running an amusement park. The park probably could have attracted a large crowd during the war, if it had been open, given all the military personnel in the area.
"Davis resort not to be open this year" was a March 31, 1944 headline in the Davis County Clipper newspaper.
Julian M. Bamberger, Lagoon President, said a lack of available workers, gasoline and materials shortages were reasons for the closure.
   The Hess’ described this period as when Lagoon seemed more like a graveyard than an amusement park. (34)
   Lagoon also has a colorful musical history. Although it hosted numerous pop and rock music bands in the 1960s, it had also featured familiar names from the “Big Band” era in the 1940s and 1940s. Among these were: Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and the Glenn Miller Orchestra. (35)

Chapter two references:
1. “A Capsule History of Lagoon,” Press release material written by Lagoon in 1997.
2. “It’s True, there’s only one Lagoon,” by Lynn Arave, Deseret News, April 4, 1993, pages.
B1, B6. Also, “The Encyclopedic History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,”
by Andrew Jenson, Deseret News, 1941, page 410.
3. “Saltair,” by Nancy D. McCormick and John S. McCormick, University of Utah Press, 1985,
pp. 3-19.
4. “Great Salt Lake Past and Present,” by David E. Miller, 1954, Stevens and Wallis, Inc. pp.
5. “Bamberger was renowned for fairness, honesty,” by Twila Van Leer, Deseret News, March
5, 1996, page B1.
6. Op cit, Deseret News, page B6.
7. Op cit, McCormick, pp. 13-14. Also, Salt Lake Tribune, 23 July 1886.
8. Utah History Encyclopedia,” edited by Allan Kent Powell, University of Utah Press, 1974,
pp. 31-32. Also, the Salt Lake Herald, July 29, 1886.
9. “Lagoon a Century of Fun,” by Ivan Lincoln, Deseret News, May 8, 1987, page W1. Also,
“A History of Davis County,” Utah Centennial County --39-
10. History Series, by Glen M. Leonard, 1999, pp. 297-303.
11. “Farmington Fractions,” Davis County Clipper, 17 July 1896.
11. “Farmington Fractions,” Davis County Clipper, 31 July 1896.
12. “My Farmington 1847-1976,” by Margaret Steed Hess, Daughters of13. Utah Pioneers, pp. 379-390.
14. Op cit, Powell, pp. 31-32.
15. Op cit, Deseret News, p. B6. Also, “Bamberger Line Being Improved,” Deseret News, May
10, 1905.
16. “Farmington Fractions,” Davis County Clipper, 2 June 1899.
17. “Farmington Fractions,” Davis County Clipper, 9 Sept. 1898.
18. “Local briefs,” Deseret News, May 30, 1905.
19. “At Lagoon Season opens with heavy excursion bookins for June,” Deseret News, May
29, 1905.
20. “Local briefs,” Deseret News, July 13, 1905.
21. “Reunion at Lagoon,” Davis County Clipper, 23 July 1897. Also “Lagoon thronged by
Island Folk,” Deseret News, Aug. 9, 1906
22. “History of Davis County,” by Glen Leonard, pp.297-303.
23. “Old Folk’s Day at Lagoon,” Davis County Clipper, 21 June 1907. Also Deseret News,
June 21, 1906.
24. “May Rest at Lagoon,” Deseret News, July 7, 1906, page 28.
25. “Bamberger was renowned for fairness, honesty,” by Twila Van Leer, Deseret News,
March 5, 1996, page B1.
26. Op cit, “My Farmington,” pp. 379-391.
27. A Brief History of Farmington,” by George Quincy Knowlton, Isle Printing, 1965.
28. Op cit, “My Farmington,” pp. 379-391.
29. “East of Antelope Island,” Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1961, Carr Printing, pp. 449,
30. Op cit, Hess, page 381.
31 .Op cit, Knowlton, pp. 26-27. Also, “Utah Centennial 1896-1996,” edited by Allan Kent
Powell. Univesity of Utah Pess, 1995, page 312.
32. Saltair,” by Nancy D. McCormick and John S. McCormick, Univesity of Utah Presss, 1985,
pp. 53-56, 67, 71, and 73.
33. Lagoon Corporation publicity materials given to media in 1995.34. “My Farmington,” by Margaret Steed Hess, Daughters of Utah Pionees, 1976, pp. 379-
35. Lagoon Press release from 1947, residing in the Deseret Morning News’ subject
35. “A Capsule History of Lagoon,” press materials from the Lagoon Corporation.

                                                                                                 From Lagoon's photo collection.

Chapter 3: 
Old Rides to New Rides, 1946-1963.

   Lagoon’s first ride was “Shoot-the-Chutes” in 1896. Rockets over the Lake followed in 1900. The electrical Merry-go-Round, still there today, came in 1906. It was built in 1893 and has 47 hand-carved animals.
   The “Giant Coaster,” a preliminary version of today’s wooden Roller Coaster was built in 1921, probably as a way to keep pace with Saltair.
There was also some sort of bumpy ride, "Bump the Bumps," at Lagoon in the early 20th Century. This may have been a precursor to today's "Dodge 'Em kind of car rides.
   The swimming pool was cemented in 1927.
   Indeed, a 1920 advertisement for the pool advertised it as being heated and one where “you are protected,” with its filter and cleaning system. This was not the later “million gallon pool,” but rather one that was 50 percent larger at 1.5 million gallons, but yet one that still had “water fit to drink.” (1) This pool was also advertised as the largest swimming pool in the west.
Lagoon's pool won a national award twice for having the nation's cleanest and safest public swimming pool, during 1938 and 1939.
At that time, Lagoon tested its water purity at least three times a day. (-From the Davis County Clipper, June 30, 1939.)
  Lagoon was also well-known in the 1920s and 1930s for its annual "Learn to Swim" programs. With the help of the Red Cross, some 600 or more children and adults a year learned how to swim in Lagoon's pool. The program was open to anyone age 8 and up.
Lagoon had other new rides/attractions in place by 1929. They included: the first version of the fun house, the Lagoon Dipper, the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Aeroplane Swing. The “Shootthe Chutes” and the “Rockets” continued to operate.
   Few rides came after that, likely an aftermath of the Great Depression and the impending World War II. The lone new ride for 18 years was the “Dodg’em” in 1940, a bumper car ride loved especially by teens. (2)
  Lagoon was then closed for about three years and was empty for the 1943, 1944 and 1945 seasons because of World War II and gasoline rationing. This was its longest ever lapse of activity.
Even after World War II, the Bambergers weren’s sure what to do with Lagoon.
  Competition from Saltair was fierce.
   How did Lagoon re-start after the war?
   It all began in World War II, at the Remegen Bridge in Germany. Where Robert E. Freed received a letter from his brother, Dave Freed, in Salt Lake regarding what to do after the war. (Dave Freed was too old to serve in World War II.)
  Dave and a friend, Ranch Kimball, had been performing magic acts together. "During their travels, they had talked about Lagoon, which at the time was closed down because of gas rationing and the fact the Bambergers (operators of the resort) didn't have time to devote to it. Dave wrote about this. He wondered why I didn’t consider going into the resort business when I got home. I thought about it for a second, shrugged and stuffed the letter into my duffel bag.”
   When Robert Freed returned home he tried working in the jewelry business, but didn't like it. So, he recalled the Lagoon idea and got brother Dave Freed and Ranch Kimball together.
   Two other Freed brothers, Dan and Peter, were also associated with Lagoon.
“We were looking for something to do,” Peter Freed recalled.      Ranch Kimball had worked at Lagoon prior to the war, but the others were unfamiliar with the park.
   The resort was extremely run down then and only had eight rides. “It was a heck of a lot smaller then,” Peter Freed said. The wooden roller coaster comprised the south park boundary, while the north end was about where today’s Dracula’s Castle is. “It looked like a
ghost town.”
   The Freed brothers and Ranch Kimball leased Lagoon from the Bamberger Estate under the name of the Utah Amusement Corporation. (This was originally a 10-year lease, that was renewed later.) The Freeds put down $25,000 to start the
park and Ranch Kimball added the other 50 percent. They signed the lease in 1945 and took over the next year.
   At that time, Julian M. Bamberger, son of Simon, was in charge. (His father had died on Oct. 6, 1926.) Kimball was the president and manager of the corporation, with Robert Freed as secretary and assistant manager. Other Freed brothers also helped run the park.
   "Ranch changed the color scheme from gray and drab to solid colors," Robert Freed said. "That was about all we did that first year and then we mapped out a long-range program. I really didn't know anything about a resort, but when I smelled popcorn and hot dogs, I was hooked."
   The vegetation on Lagoon Lake was also out of control in the late 1940s, but someone suggested planting carp and catfish there to control the growth. It worked and Lagoon later was even able to sell fish food for patrons to feed the beneficial lake residents (3)
   The men also had to clear out large weeds patches left over from the park’s inactive years.
   Extensive remodeling was also done. This rehabilitation was slow, but steady. Gross income of Lagoon was only about $1,900 a day then. Only the wooden roller coaster and the Merry-go-Round were rides back then that still exist at the park today.
   “We had no experience in the amusement park business,” Peter Freed recalled. “We could see the potential, but knew we all had to learn a lot.’ Income from the park was slight and only the Freeds’ finance company and a ranching business kept the brothers and Kimball going.
  As it turned out, Dan Freed decided he had little interest in the park and didn’t do much there. Also, David Freed helped with the park finances and gave advice, but was rarely at the park. Also, Peter Freed worked a lot of hours at Lagoon in the late 1940s, but was also trying to finish his college degree too.
   “Robert, he was the one who really took over the park,” Peter Freed said. ”He ran the place.”
   Peter Freed said he doubted Lagoon would have survived, if he, his brothers and Kimball hadn’t have taken a stab at restarting the park.
   And, Peter Freed said if anyone had told him then that he’d stay at Lagoon, he wouldn’t have believed it. It was a huge gamble.
   Still, for some years, Lagoon continued the tradition of the park offering free parking, admission and dancing on Mondays.
   Each Tuesday was also Kids Day,” with free prizes. In 1947, Lagoon celebrated its “Golden Anniversary” on Decoration Day, May 30. (The event was a year late because of Lagoon not reopening until late 1946 -- the actual date- because of World War II.)
   There was no official program for the event, but there were some special new rides that opened. Rocket ships, a modern mini steamliner, aqua-ski boats, a ghost train ride, the whirl and a tele-quiz were among the new features.
   There was also a café and tavern, a new swimming pool entrance and a baseball darts game.
   Members of the University of Utah’s NCAA championship basketball team were invited to Lagoon during Decoration Day to test their skill at the park’s new hoop shot game.
   Lights were also added to the wooden roller coaster, to heighten the night-time thrills.
  Lagoon also celebrated its 50th anniversary of May 30, 1947. This was NOT a reflection of the park's total history, that dates back to 1886, but rather 50 years of the park having been moved eastward -- and away from the Great Salt Lake, to its current location.
According to the Davis County Clipper of April 25, 1947, Lagoon had $100,000 of improvements that year. The Rocket ride over the lake, Ghost Ride and Aqua Ski Boats were its three new rides that year.
  Surprisingly, free parking, free admission and free dancing was standard on every Monday in the late 1940s at Lagoon. Tuesday was "Kids Day" with surprises for each child who visited the park that day.
  Lagoon also suffered a big robbery over Independence Day weekend in 1950. The park's safe was robbed overnight at $21,342 was taken. (That's almost $211,000 in the year 2016's dollar values.)
 The railroad trains stopped running to Lagoon in 1952, as the automobile had caught the heart of Americans.
   New cement roads, like Highway 91, was the new way to reach Lagoon. The Studebakers, Packards and Washes had replaced the train. Lagoon had outlived the transportation that spawned it 64 years earlier. (4)
   The only railroad part of the park to remain were some concrete pillars on the east side of the old picnic grounds. These marked the old (rear) east entrance to Lagoon, where the trains used to stop.
   Later- I-15 itself would be built in the 1960s in the same general corridor through Davis County where the Bamberger rail line used to run. 
   However, ironically, the final stretch of I-15 between Ogden and Salt Lake City to be completed was the section from Lagoon to
Kaysville in 1978.
  Even more ironic and going full circle, is the new commuter rail line -- FrontRunner -- that began operations in 2008. This marked a return to travel by train in the same area, though there was no Lagoon stop, just a West Farmington station.
   But Americans and their added freedom with automobiles meant more competition for Lagoon. Utahns, for example, could soon more easily take summer drives up the canyons, visit national parks in Southern Utah and didn’t have to stay close to home anymore. When the Interstate highway system kicked into high gear in the 1960s, longer vacations out-of-state were also more affordable to Americans.
   Disneyland also became very popular among Utah visitors in the 1960s, giving Lagoon yet another competitor, of sorts. Was Lagoon up to the challenge?
  Yes. In fact. Bob Freed had once said that Disneyland and Walt Disney had raised the bar among amusement parks. The Freeds made Lagoon even cleaner and better, because of the competition and presence of Disneyland. (5)
   More than a decade earlier in 1948, Lagoon had started making picnic reservations for many groups and families. It added a much better swimming pool filter in 1949, as well as new dressing rooms.
In 1951, the fun house was remodeled, a Lakeshore Express train was added, as well as a shooting gallery, balloon race and roman target. Lagoon was trying to keep fresh by adding a new amusement almost every year. Lagoon had more of carnival type atmosphere in that era.
   A Ferris Wheel was installed in 1953 and it looked as if Lagoon had it made as the “Fun Spot of Utah. (6)
   Moving inland in 1895, Lagoon had been immune to all the unpredictable fluctuations of the Great Salt Lake that played havoc with other resorts, like Saltair.
   For a long time, it also appeared Lagoon was somehow lucky enough to avoid the fires that rival Saltair was plagued with. Saltair had damaging fires in 1925 and 1931 (plus another fire in 1955 and a burn-to-the-ground blaze in 1970).
   At 10:56 p.m. on Saturday, November 14, 1953, Lagoon’s 67-year lucky streak ran out. It was a blaze.
   A Farmington resident, Fred D. Fellow, first noticed the fire. The skies were red and smoking. The flames were so high - up to 300 feet - they could be seen from 20 miles away in western Salt Lake City.
   Peter Freed was at his 16th Avenue home in Salt Lake City and a neighbor who worked at the Salt Lake Tribune called to tell him of the fire.
   Flames swept down the west side of the midway, destroying everything thing in their path.
   The front (east end) of the wooden roller coaster was wiped out. The Fun House and the Dancing Pavillion were reduced to rubble.
Also destroyed were the Tunnel of Horrors, the Shooting Gallery, cafe, taproom, several storehouses and small concession booths. The historic Merry-Go-Round was saved by a constant flow of water sprayed on it. Volunteer firemen from the city battled the blaze for more than six hours.

                                                                    From Lagoon's photo collection.

   Looking at photographs taken by the Deseret News the morning after the fire, the scene looking from the Merry-Go-Round out was like seeing the aftermath of a nuclear explosion.
Twisted metal columns were sticking out of the ground.

                                                            From Lagoon's photo collection.

   It was simply amazing the east section of the roller coaster was almost totally destroyed and that the Merry-Go-Round was saved. Thousands of spectators from Salt Lake to Ogden were attracted to see the fire, that caused an estimated $500,000 in damages. The fire was undoubtedly the largest commercial fire in Davis County during the 20th Century.
   Lagoon had been closed since Labor Day for the season, though a few employees had stayed on for maintenance work.
   The exact cause of the fire was never determined. It was suspected that an electrical transformer near the Fun House had caused the fire. Spontaneous combustion and some greasy rags near the Fun House were also a possibility.
   Even before the flames had died down, the Freeds had vowed to rebuild Lagoon.
  The park had insurance, but it didn’t cover enough of the damage as the entire west end and the ballroom were destroyed.
This was a summer enterprise and one that had yet to make a profit. Only the Freeds other business enterprises, the Freed Finance Company and a ranching business kept them going.
   Like a phoenix, Lagoon rose from the ashes and never looked back. 
"Lagoon rebuilding fire-ravaged units" was a January 30, 1954 headline in the Ogden Standard-Examiner. The story stated that Lagoon's rebuilt buildings after the fire were mostly concrete block, with graveled roofs and matched the style of Lagoon's swimming house, built a few years prior.
  “In retrospect, it was best thing that ever happened to us,’’ Peter Freed told the Deseret News in later years about the fire of 1953. “We were way under insured.” However, Freed said the fire took out some of the park’s old building and rides. It sort of made room for the new Lagoon.
   “It was a turning point for us (the fire),” he said. “It was the best thing that happened, although I didn’t feel that way at the
time. We had to rebuild then and we were able to build the way we wanted.” (7)
   Lagoon officials believe this was the “beginning of Lagoon as we know it today. A Lagoon with new attractions each season.”
   Peter Freed also maintained that his brother Bob had the greatest ambition in the family to rebuild following the 1953 fire. He said without his brother’s passion, Lagoon might not have risen from the ashes. (Bob later died of cancer.) (8)
   Lagoon opened for the 1954 season, but without a Fun House.
Somehow it managed to have a banner year in 1954 with 19 new or improved attractions.

   The Tilt-a-Whirl made its debut. So did both the Rock-o-Plane and the Roll-o-Plane.The Octopus ride, plus a Lakeshore Express Train and a dozen different midway games made their premiere  in 1954 as well.
   Even the roller coaster was rebuilt and open for the 1954 season. It was better than ever, because it had new coaster cars.
   However, the Fun House was not re-built and open until 1958, the same year that Lagoon was able to reduce its ticket rates. The new Fun House cost $2000,000.

                                          Lagoon's Showboat.              

   In 1959, Lagoon had a “Showboat” that cruised Lagoon’s lake in search of an elusive dragon. The Lagoon restaurant had some of the best fried chicken in the state and its Mother Gooseland was a hit with young kids. (9)
   It was in the late 1950s and into the early 1960s, that Lagoon’s
management and the Freeds excelled at civil rights.
   “Liberty and Justice for All. How Lagoon came to be at the cutting edge of Civil Rights in Utah” was the title of a 2005 research article, by Kristen Rogers, in “Currents," a quarterly
publication of the Utah Division of State History. (10)
   It was Bob Freed, in particular, who crusaded for civil rights - especially for Black families.
   Prior to the 1960s, Blacks were not permitted to swim in the Lagoon, pool, like most of that day in America.
   “It was so embarrassing,” Peter Freed said, as quoted in the article in “Currents,” We’d see a nice black family in line for the pool, looking as good or better than the other people in line. We had to go up to them and say, ‘You can’t go in.’ We’d try to do something nice for them, like give them food or a free ride … But it was horrible.”
   Blacks also could not dance at Lagoon either and this was the policy of Lagoon, like most places of the day, and the Freeds were only leasing Lagoon then.
   Finally, Lagoon could allow blacks to swim and dance. “We just started letting them in.
  There was no big reaction (among the white patrons); nobody boycotted us.”
   Gradually, other Utah establishments began to follow Lagoon’s lead.
   Bob Freed died in 1974, but before his death he had indicated that opening Lagoon’s doors to all races was one of the most satisfying experiences of his life. He also posthumously received a human rights award frm the NAACP for this dedication to civil rights, before the law required it.
   This experience clearly shows how Lagoon, a simple amusement park, could influence Utah life overall for the good. (11)
   Lagoon reported in 1957 that approximately one million people came to the park that season. The parent company of Lagoon also changed its name from Utah Amusement Corporation, to Lagoon Corporation that year.1957 was also the first year that Lagoon delved into the “end of the year” outings for Utah schools. They entertained 131 schools during May of 1957 in those school finales.
Also, in 1957, Lagoon hosted 824 organized picknicking groups during the season. That’s churches, businesses and fraternal groups. (12)

                       Where the giant slide in the Fun House used to be.

   The new Fun House opened the first weekend of May in 1957.
   "Built at a cost of more than $200,000 to meet the requests of thousands for a Fun House to replace the one that burned in the 1953 fire at the resort, it was designed by Ranch S. Kimball, president and general manager of Lagoon," The Deseret News stated.
   It had 50-foot slides, a whirlpool, dog house crawl through a jail, electric air valves, a cage maze, a moving floor, rolling logs and more.
   The Fun House even had an eight-piece animated monkey band and a spectator balcony for people to view the main areas. (13)
   Peter Freed said you had to be versatile in Lagoon’s early years, after World War II. That meant cooking hot dogs, helping with the swimming pool, painting and even help counting money.
   There was also a lot of extra effort required by Lagoon’s management in the late 1940s.
   That’s because with Lagoon closed during World War II, it was a lot of wooing to get the schools and organizations to come back to Lagoon. (14)
   Lagoon also added one other very significant addition in the 1950s – Mother Gooseland.
   Seven years in the making, this feature opened on May 5, 1956 at a cost of $150,000.

   Centered around Mother Goose rhymes characters, this five-acre attraction feature its own mini-roller coaster, Bulgy the Whale, Skyfighters, a speedway and a total of 10 rides.
   This was a “Fairy Tale come true” for Lagoon.

   There was also a playground with swings and a sand box. Most children also loved the Old Woman’s Shoe, faithful to the nursery tale. There was also a wishing well, a moving humpty dumpty and other nursery rhyme favorites to be found there.
   If you were a kid 10 or under, you never got lost at Lagoon. Your parents knew where you would be.
   Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater’s shell was also where food was initially sold out of in this kiddie land. Midget sized hot dogs, ice cream and other food was available here.
   Six new picnic terraces were also added to Lagoon in 1956. The new and improved fun house opened in 1958. (15)

   The Space Scrambler, Spook House ("Tunnel of Terror"), Fascination, Shooting Gallery and I.Q. Zoo were among the new attractions for 1961. Patio Gardens' seating was also expanded by some 1,000 seats, since a concert by the Kingston Trio at Lagoon had sold out in recent seasons.
   The Space Scrambler cost $55,000 new and was a timely ride to herald America's entry into the space age. Lagoon brought in a pilot and two different stewardesses to try out the new ride.
  "Great," "Oh" and "Intriguing" were some of their comments after riding the new attraction.
   Two different circulation motions made the ride unusual and also that it appears cars will collide, but don't and can't. (16)
   Revamped diving boards for Lagoon's swimming pool were also improvements for 1961.
   Lagoon's pool opened early in those days -- May 10 -- almost three weeks before Memorial Day. (17 )
  Also in 1961, Lagoon earned praise in the Ford Motor Company Magazine in a travel story.
   An article called the resort "a delightful bit of frivolity in a state better known for its natural wonders."
   It continued: "The resort has become as much a part of the summer life of the people of Utah, as their dance or drama festivals, their mountain picnics, or their national parks." (18)
  1962 heralded Mini Golf, an 18-hole feature that cost $35,000 and let all ages get a feel for golf in a limited fashion. It included waterfalls, fountains and a variety of novel decorations.
   Lagoon even invited golf pro Mickey Riley to try out the mini course, prior to its opening to the public. The course took about 45 minutes to play and included special hazards for each hole through mechanical and curved features.
   The fairways of each hole were covered with a felt made from goat's hair. (20)
   The kids' Helicopter ride arrived for the 1963 season, to bolster Mother Gooseland. The big thrill here for youngsters was that they got to decide, in the a limited fashion, how high their copter would rise above the ground, a 10-foot,variable span. New greens were also added to the mini golf course that year. (21)
   The founder of Lagoon was honored in the summer of 1963 with a bust. Simon Bamberger, former Utah governor, who also founded the original Lagoon, had his likeness placed in a bust near the entrance to the park.
   Julian Bamberger, his son and his wife came up with the idea for a monument when a granddaughter asked them who discovered Lagoon. The younger Bamberger said Lagoon was conceived as a means of increasing a railroad's business, but has long since outlived that.
   "By providing a good, clean, decent atmosphere, keeping up with the times that we've always had," he said of Lagoon's longevity.    "Take music, for instance, My father brought good bands for concerts at Lagoon. This summer we'll have three free 'pops' concerts by the Utah Symphony Orchestra."
  The end of 1963 at Lagoon included the announcement that wood would replace horsehair in the tails of some 23 steeds on the historic Merry-go-Round at the park. The original type of horsehair tails were easily pulled apart and yet increasingly difficult to find replacements for. So, the hand-carved horses ended up with wooden tails from that year on. (22)
Chapter 3 references:
1. “Dean Swaner Recalls 60 years of history at Lagoon,” By Clark Lobb, Salt Lake Tribune,
June 16, 1980.
2. Lagoon publicity materials.
3. “Local resort supplies fun for 75 years,” by Howard Pearson, Deseret News, April 14,
1970. Also. Deseret News, Aug. 6, 1982. Also, supplemented through a personal interview
with Peter Freed, by Lynn Arave on April 2, 2007.
4. Op cit, Lagoon Press release, Lagoon interview.
5 op cit, Deseret News.
6. “Chronological Order of Attractions at Lagoon,” Lagoon publicity matarials, 1998.
7. Op cit, Deseret News.
8. Deseret News, Nov. 14, 1953; also Deseret News archive subject file-- under Lagoon;
and “A Capsule History of Lagoon,” written by Lagoon Corporation.
9. “Chronological Order of Attractions at Lagoon,” Lagoon publicity matarials, 1998.
10. “Legends of the Industry: Peter Q. Freed,” FunWorld, the official magazine of the
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, March 2003.
11. “History Currents,” “Liberty and Justice for All: How Lagoon came to be at the curing
edge of civil rights n Utah,” by Kristen Rogers, Winter 2005, published by the Utah Division
of State History/State Historical Society.
12. Op cit, “History Currents.”
13. Deseret Morning News files, a Lagoon press released received in 1957.
14. Many features mark new Lagoon Fun House," Deseret News, May 4, 1957.
15. Op cit, “Legends of the Industry.”
16. “Lagoon now building mammoth Mother Gooseland for Kiddies,” Deseret News, Dec.
21, 1955.17. "Lagoon to add rides, expand dance facilities," Deseret News, March 30, 1961
18. "New Lagoon sky ride draws fliers," Deseret News, April 26, 1961.
19. "Utah resort wins notice," Deseret News, July 21, 1961.
20 "Miniature golf course to open for Lagoon play," Deseret News, April 21, 1962.
21. "Lagoon rushes to open miniature golf course." Salt Lake Tribune, April 8, 1962.
22. "New rides open as Lagoon begins its new season," Deseret News, April 13,
1963. Also, "Merry-go-Round carries a sad tale of horses," by Bonnie Baird, Salt Lake
Tribune, Dec. 8, 1963.

Chapter Four: From a Speedway to Pioneer Village, 1964-1979.

   A decade after the 1953 fire, Lagoon had rebounded well and approached a million patrons each season. Lagoon had more of a carnival atmosphere in the early 1960s. Its midday had that flavor and the wooden roller coaster was still the king of rides.
   During the 1963 season, Lagoon officials estimated that the roller coaster traveled some 10,000 miles that year. The park also sold 11 miles worth of hot dogs and the merry-go-round circled more than 21,000 miles.
   Lagoon was the premier amusement park in the intermountain west back then. A group of kids from Grand Junction, Colorado even chartered a plane so they could spend an entire day at Lagoon.

       Barbara Allgood, Ranch Kimball and Nancy Maxfield take a spin on Lagoon's new Speedway in 1969.
   The park also opened a “$100,000 Disneylike speedway” in 1960. This was more than 2,1000 feet of cement and track and was especially a delight for many pre-teenage drivers of
real automobiles.
   Lagoon started out with 20 eight-foot-long gasoline powered mini-cars for this speedway.
   This speedway had overpasses and underpasses and had the feel of a real highway. (1)
   (This attraction, located south of the wooden roller coaster, was a top ride for more than four decades, until it was torn out. Lagoon eventually could no longer get parts for the aging cars. The presence of the new Double Thunder Raceway also downsized the ride’s importance to pre-teenagers. Today, the Spider and Cliffhanger sit where the Speedway used to be.)

                                   The Flying Swings ride in 1964.

   The 1964 season at Lagoon jump-started with seven new rides. The European Carousel was the top attraction, since it was essentially a merry-go-round that had small inner rides that moved along tracks on the floor of the main moving platform.The Spiral Slide was added to the Fun House; the Hi-Land Playland opened and the Flying Swings (not today's "Turn of the Century") debuted.    This was a "cage" ride, where riders stood up and then the cage revolved upside down. Lagoon now had 29 total rides.
   Four new games also hit the midway in 1964 - Spin-a-Picture, Hi-Striker, Basketball Toss and the Pop-in-Ball - bringing the total of Lagoon's games to 21. (2)
   The Champs, Smothers Brothers, Kingston Trio, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis and Johnny Cash were among the Patio Garden performers at Lagoon that year.
  As the '64 season ended at Lagoon, it had a controversy come along - stock car racing.
   Lagoon received Farmington City Council approval for the mechanized racing, but later withdrew its request for such an attraction. Almost 300 Farmington residents signed a petition saying they feared that "noise and nuisance" from stock car racing would devalue their properties.
   "There are now too many obstacles for Lagoon to overcome," Ranch Kimball, then general manager and president of Lagoon, said. (3)
   In 1965, Lagoon revamped its north midway by adding its first-ever version of the Wild Mouse ride and also the $25,000 Julian M. Bamberger Fountain.
   Patrons walking north would see (counter-clockwise around the new fountains) the Patio Gardens, the Flying Swing, the Ferris Wheel, the Wild Mouse, the Spacescrambler, the "popcorn wagon" (a restored 1907 White truck that used to sell food in Salt Lake at the corner of Second East and 300 South) and four games - Hi-striker, Basketball toss, Bing-OReno and Skee Ball.
  Lagoon promised the Wild Mouse would shake riders up more than the roller coaster, whip and Dodge'em rides put together. The ride delivered and offered a new kind of thrill - sharp turns and almost going off the tracks.
   The 50-foot-pool fountain, with a 35-foot-high spray, was to not only commemorate the founding family of Lagoon, but also the current management's 20th season.
   Julian Bamberger favored three things at Lagoon: 1. Cleanliness; 2. Beautiful gardens; 3. Family picnicking. All three of those components are still around today at Lagoon.

                                    Patio Gardens in 1959.

   "Lagoon's primary purpose has always been to offer wholesome recreation to the people of this area," Bamberger once said. "It has always catered to family trade, and it seems to me that what success Lagoon has achieved has been due to this objective."
April 17-18 was Lagoon's opening weekend in 1965. Count Basie, the Beach Boys, Smothers Brothers and the Kingston Trio were among the talent in Patio Gardens that summer season.
  Lagoon also noted its success with high school picnics in 1965. Whereas in 1946, only three schools - East High, West High and South High - were picnicking at the Farmington resort, that number had increased to 150 high schools and some 45,000 participants.    Not just Utah schools came anymore. Wyoming, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado and even some Montana schools made annual pilgrimages to "the fun spot of Utah."
   Apparently breaking into Lagoon in the middle of the night was a popular prank/activity for some hooligans, teenagers and drunks. As such, Lagoon was patroling the grounds from midnight to dawn "by a husky guard and three well-trained dogs. Harry Pledger of
Farmington, a retired Forest Service employee, trained two German Shepherds and a labrador to make up his canine security force.
He said quite often he ran into a gang of unruly young people. "Once the dogs arrive on the scene, the kids are pretty subdued," Pledger said.
   Some drunks were another matter. One particular drunk was bitten several times by the dogs and never seemed to learn better conduct. (6)
   Much more than just rides, Lagoon was also booking the top talent in the nation at its Patio Gardens each year by the 1960s. In 1957, it started bringing in the best of the best, some of the highest paid performers in the nation, each weekend from Decoration Day to Labor Day.
   By the 1960s, it had expanded the playing season from Easter weekend to Labor Day, meaning Lagoon would have 20-25 musical stars each season. (7) This feature began in the 1940s or earlier and continued into the 1960s.
   "There is no question that many romances were born, encouraged and final vows pledged on Monday nights at Lagoon," the Deseret News reported in 1965. Jerry Jones and his peppy band, plus Bill Link and his combo with Mike Romney were fixture musicians on
some of those Monday evenings - long before Monday was "family night" in the Mormon Church. (8)
   In 1965, Lagoon hired 250 seasonal workers, ranging in age from 15 to 82. (9)
   The 1966 season came with a "Picnic Train," fresh from the New York World's Fair, that could take picnickers from the midway to grassy areas.
   Also, the Haunted Shack opened next to Mother Gooseland and it was a cross between the Fun House and a spook house. Negotiating a maze of mirrors was required to exit the Haunted Shack.
   Lagoon also added peppier and fancier cars to the its Speedway that season. (10)
   1967 came with the Terroride opening and the Animaland Train.
Opera House Square and the Lagoon Opera House were the big improvements for 1968. At a cost of $100,000, this facility with its tree-lined, red-bricked town square wooed critics.
   It looked like something out of the 18th Century and had 350 seats. "The Poor of New York," a melodrama, was its first production ever, on Memorial Day weekend of 1968.
   Stained glass windows from old Salt Lake area churches were also used in an adjacent soda fountain to provide an old-time atmosphere. Many of the Opera House's seats came from old theaters. Thus, this wasn't a modern attempt to just build a nostalgic-looking theater, it did have antique components too.
   The Gaslight Restaurant was also a part of the new old-time square. "Opulent Opera House opens" was the headline on one of Lagoon's own "Funtimes" publication for 1968.
   A $50,000 Flying Saucer, on the north midway, by the Wild Mouse, was the lone new ride for the 1968 season at Lagoon. (11)
   Some have charged that Lagoon is devoid of religion. But that's not true given the park's heritage, patrons, Pioneer Village, etc. In fact, in the summer of 1968, Lagoon was holding LDS Church services (Mormon) in the newly opened Lagoon Opera House for employees, after the park closed on Sundays.
   This LDS meeting, under the direction of Farmington wards and bishops, attracted as many as 100 people in 1967, when it was then held in the newly opened Davis Pavilion at about 9 p.m. each Sunday - likely the latest operating church service in the LDS Church for its day.
   Prior to that, the "Rock Chapel" on Main Street in Farmington held special after-hours Sacrament meeting for Lagoon employees on Sundays each summer. This practice started about 1958, but it was harder for employees to travel half-a-block to the Rock Chapel. When Lagoon starting holding services on-site, this improved attendance.
   While these meetings followed the regular LDS Church plan for a Sacrament meeting, they were more informal than regular ward services and people of all faiths were invited to attend. (12)
   (By 1976, the addition of Pioneer Village to Lagoon included an old chapel and services moved there. Not many years after, the church services at Lagoon stopped. The displeasure of some LDS church leaders at having such a special service was one reason for its demise. However, the addition of the church's "block time" meeting schedule in 1980 meant 9 a.m. sacrament meetings were available in every stake to Lagoon employees who were LDS. Lagoon opens at 11 a.m. on Sundays.)
   The year 1969 was a pivotal year for Lagoon's entertainment. The "freakish element," drawn to the sound of psychedelic hard and acid rock music was detracting from the amusement park concept for Lagoon.
   Robert K. Freed, Lagoon assistant manager, estimated the park lost $33,000 by having such groups as The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin play there. He considered a performance by the Doors in 1968 as disgusting. As such, in 1969. Lagoon converted Patio
Gardens into roller skating - only the Beach Boys, Sir Douglas Quintet and the tame musical performers would play at Lagoon ever again.
   Teen dances were held in Patio Gardens on Saturday nights, but otherwise roller skating ruled. (13)
   Lagoon's Ranch Kimball and Robert Freed also had a 10-point plan to help guide its teenager workers back in 1969:
   1. "We use pleasant terms; 2. We accept people as they are; 3. We think of others; 4. Unpleasant acts are forbidden; 5. Personal appearance should be pleasant; 6. A pleasant day is a safe day; 7. We work as a team; 8. Smile; 9. We know the answers; and 10. The
guest's pleasure is our business."
   If this 10-point plan didn't work and turn a typical rebellious, uncommunicative youngster into a super salesman; then he didn't work either. (14)
   Freed said in September of 1969 that Lagoon staff was so well organized that it only took the park three days to close down for the year then. However, he said it required five months to re-open.
   "Our original concept is that cleanliness is the really important thing. The place has got to look clean to attract families," Freed said.
   In 1969, Freed and Kimball ranked the wooden roller coaster as their most popular ride, followed by the Dodge'em cars, the Spook Alley and Speedway cars.
   Lagoon had 454 seasonal employees back then and a payroll of about $600,000. Although new amusement rides cost $20,000 in the late 1940s, they were going for $100,000 each by 1969.
   "It's a hard, hard business," Freed said. "The success of your profits depends on the type of control you have. You take a lot of money in during a short time, and we learned early that you have to count every hot dog." Lagoon succeeded by counting every penny and expanded from 60 acres of land to 150 acres in 1969. (15)
   The park opened early for that 75th season, with something different - an Easter Egg hunt on March 28-29. Later that year it had a gigantic cake, with candles, to celebrate the anniversary season and its 81 total attractions. (16)
   By 1970, Lagoon was a decade into its scholarship awards for employees. It had already given out some 100 scholarships worth $200 each to employees.
   But Lagoon had to begin to consider changes as the population became more sophisticated. For example, Mother Gooseland was constructed in the 1950s to cater to children up to age 8. But by the late 1960s, only kids up to age 5 were enthralled with the area.  (17)
   In 1971, the roller skating rink vanished. It was replaced by a new penny arcade, where some 250 games – many of them using new Japanese technology – were located. 
   “Combat,” a fighter get game with limited simulation was an example of the new games. Throwing a football like Joe Namath (former New York Jets star) was another game.

                                The new Water Skeeters Ride, across Lagoon Lake,  in 1971.

   This was all part of a $250,000 expansion that season. Water Skeeters,” a way to paddle your own boat across Lagoon Lake was another of the additions that year. The new Satellite thrill ride was another, as well as several new midway games, like IQ Computer. (18)
   The final addition for 1971 was a 14-acre campground, located south of the park. It cost an additional $200,000.
   Farmington City leaders didn’t seem to want a motel or hotel in town and the camping units had water, sewer and power – plus even a small grocery store. It opened by July 1, 1971. (19)
   The 1971 season concluded at the park with a 15 percent increase in annual attendance.
   Lagoon estimated that 20 percent of its business, or about 200,000 visitors, came from outside Utah. So, that year - for the first time ever - Lagoon was mentioned as a bona fide tourist attraction and as one of the 12 largest amusement parks in the nation. (20)
   The 1972 year was an off-year at Lagoon with few new attractions. One was the Crazy Cup ride. The "cup" in that ride was large enough to hold 85 gallons of tea, should it be filled.
   In more of the "numbers game" for the previous season, 1971: The Mother Goose shoe in the park would be a size 160, triple Z, if it were real; there were 1,290 links in the roller coaster; The Merry-Go-Round circles a distance of about 100 miles each day; Lagoon had 779 picnic tables that year and sold enough hot dogs to cover 10 miles and enough hamburger to weigh more than four tons; 6.2 million "Skee" balls were thrown at the park; and seven people locked their keys in their car that year. (21)
   "Charlie Brown" was presented in the Lagoon Opera House that season. The 1973 season began with new rides, most notably, the Rotor - a barrel apparatus that revolved at high speeds. There was also the Zugspitz and a Wilder Wild Mouse ride that season. (22)
   Lagoon reached another major milestone in the early 1970s: For the first year ever, Lagoon hired more girls than boys as ride operators in 1973. Disneyland started the trend of hiring females and debunked the myth that females couldn't handle the machinery.
   "We've found they are more appealing, especially on the kiddie rides, in Mother Gooseland. They seem to have more rapport with the children," Rich Finlinson, Lagoon spokesman said. (23)
   But Lagoon had a major crisis in 1973, though park goers probably didn’t know it. Robert Freed, the heart and soul of Lagoon, became terminally ill. That made Peter Freed the president of Lagoon Corporation. “My older brothers didn’t want it (Lagoon),” Freed recalled. “I bought them out.”
   He also bought out his late brother’s share of the park. (Ranch Kimball had also been bought out and left the park many years earlier.) “Bob loved this park,” Peter Freed said.

   The "Sky Ride" made its premiere at Lagoon on 1974 and so did Dracula's Castle. The Sky Ride was a ski lift type of ride and up to 60 feet high. The "Dracula" was a $125,000 attraction at the southwest end of the Penny Arcade.
   The final new feature in '74 was the deer farm. It was located just east of the south end of the Sky Ride. (24)
   Animals highlighted the 1975 season as Lagoon's zoo opened. Lagoon acquired 75 animals and was assisted in this endeavor by Hogle Zoo, Tracy Aviary, the Utah State Fish and Game Commission, plus Dick Robinson, who had a zoo near Oakley, Utah. Most of the Lagoon's animals came from Robinson, who had trained many of the animals for movie appearances.
   Lagoon's Zoo would become the state's second largest, behind Hogle Zoo.

   The Lagoon train ride was reconfigured to become the "Wild Kingdom Train" and loop around the zoo, which encircled the east half of the Lagoon Lake. (25)
  A second new ride in 1975 was the Log Flume, that dropped log riders 30 feet into splashing water. "Bye Bye Birdie," "Damn Yankees" and "Paint Your Wagon" were the three musicals presented that season in the Lagoon Opera House. (26)
Lagoon's marching show band was also mentioned in 1975, as composed of 30 energetic high school students. (27)
  One of Lagoon's most under-rated and historic attractions began to take shape in 1975, for the following season - Pioneer Village.
Lagoon Corporation invested about $2 million in land, utilities, moving and restoration costs to move and refurbish the village. Lagoon paid $275,000 for the village ($85,000 downpayment and the rest over the next 17 years).
   Pioneer Village at its original location in Salt Lake City (2998 S. Connor St., 2150 East, Sugarhouse), was organized by the Sons of the Utah Pioneers (SUP) with most major donations from Horace Sorensen. It began there in 1947 on the Mormon Pioneer Centennial. Eventually, the SUP did not have the funds to properly upkeep the village, with some 30 historic structures.
   A move to the mouth of Emigration Canyon for the village had long been considered, but there were zoning problems there for such a facility. (28) The SUP talked with the Utah State Department of Parks in 1969, but after nearly four years did not agree on a sale to the State.
   Negotiations with Lagoon began in early 1975. The first buildings moved were the print shop and the cobbler's shop. Lagoon even paid a fee for the use of the name Pioneer Village, as well as 100 percent of the moving costs. (29)
When Lagoon Amusement Park was planning to put together its Pioneer Village in 1975, it needed a capable designer. Lagoon president Peter Freed called on Rula Waite Hunter of Ogden to be up to the task of decorating the village. She had decorated the famous windows at Ogden’s ZCMI for years.
She enlisted the help of her older brother, Robert “Bob” Waite – and they worked for Lagoon for some 15 years, until 1990.
From the onset the sister-brother combination started a business, “Designer Associates” for the project and it became a successful floral business in Kaysville, Utah, even after Rula left the enterprise to focus on raising a family and Bob ran with it.
 Some people have criticized Lagoon for eventually charging an admission to Pioneer Village. However, visiting the original Pioneer Village in Sugarhouse was never free. Even though the SUP operated it as a non-profit venture, admission was 75 cents for adults and 25 cents for children in the early 1970s. (30)
   There was no provision in the agreement between Lagoon Corporation and the Sons of Utah Pioneers, former owners of Pioneer Village, that Lagoon couldn't charge an entrance
fee to the village to the public. (31)
   (In Lagoon's old ticketing system before daily and season passports, admission into Lagoon's entrance gate and thus Pioneer Village was free for some years, until gate fees were charged for those who did not purchase daily or season passes. However, a bargain at Lagoon remains that seniors, age 65 and older, can still get entrance into Lagoon and Pioneer Village free by showing their identification.)
   What likely caused the original Pioneer Village to fail was its obscure location. Many visitors had trouble finding it. The maintenance fees were also much higher than expected.
   Moving the buildings from Salt Lake to Farmington was difficult for special reasons. For example, pioneer buildings were typically constructed with walls and a roof first. The floors were usually added last and later. So, Lagoon had to move the roof and walls of a building in one move and then separately move the floor.

                      Visitors enjoy the old buildings on Pioneer Village.

   Even after the Village opened at Lagoon on 15 acres, it became a costly attraction in the upkeep of roofs and other materials. Lagoon likely supplements its expenses from the profit of other parts of the park, such as parking lot fees.
   "The Pioneer Village will be like stepping into yesteryear," Peter Freed, president of Lagoon, said in 1976. "It brings to life the way people lived during the first 100 years of Utah's existence."
Lagoon originally had an old steam train operate inside the Pioneer Village area. (32)
   However, that stopped within a decade and the tracks were eventually torn out. Lagoon also used to offer entertainment, like "Wild West Shows" on Pioneer Village's street for more
than 20 years.
   Later, Lagoon added new artifacts and increased the number of historic buildings by a dozen to 42.
  "We must preserve it for future generations," Peter Freed said. He noted, "this labor of love has seen continual improvements since 1976 and in the coming years will continue to grow.
   Yes - Pioneer Village is being preserved for future generations." (33)
   "Take a stroll along rustic wooden sidewalks, get your picture taken in Old West apparel, or cool off with a double scoop ice cream from the Pioneer Village Ice Cream Parlor," Lagoon touts of Pioneer Village.
   "Guns, slingshots, crossbows, and cannons  ... Pioneer Village is the reconstruction of a typical frontier community as it might have existed in the late 1800s. This community consists of 42 authentic 19th century stores and buildings and the artifacts with which they may have been furnished.
   "The Village features one of the finest collections of small arms in the country, including guns, slingshots, crossbows, and cannons. The Carriage Hall features almost every type of wheeled conveyance used at the turn-of-the-century.
   "A Rock Chapel stands at the head of Pioneer Village. Originally constructed in Coalville, Utah in 1853, the building was first used as a fort. It later became a courthouse, a schoolhouse, and a church.
   "Among the many other treasures in the Village are a one-room schoolhouse, a two-story sawed log house, smokehouse, millinery shop, clock shop, tool museum, hardware store, cobbler shop, co-op, print shop, music hall, gingerbread house, doll museum, and town hall," Lagoon states on its Web site. (34)

LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball dedicated Pioneer Village in 1976.

   President Spencer W. Kimball, 12th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, dedicated Pioneer Village on May 31, 1976.
   "Now we are in a beautiful land where we enjoy the fruits of their (pioneer) labors and we should never forget the sacrifices they made," President Kimball said that day.
   He especially noted that the amazing village brought him recollections of his own childhood.
   Lagoon really hit its stride in 1976. Not only had it worked hard to have Pioneer Village ready for the nation's bicentennial that year, but it presented "Sing Out America," a special musical tribute to the United States, in an outdoor amphitheater at the new Pioneer Village.
   Lagoon's attendance increased 25 percent the year Pioneer Village opened. (35)
  Pioneer Village also opened the park's east side and set the stage for later major rides, though decades away, in that area.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Pioneer Village remains the most expensive part of Lagoon's operation and generates the least revenue. Sadly, the current generations don't seem excited about it and it looks more like a ghost town these days. Don't be surprised if Lagoon closes and sells Pioneer Village one day. And, the controversial Lagoon Zoo could go with it.)

    The popular Jet Star II ride also opened that year. This
tight curve roller coaster became an instant teenage favorite,
   Notwithstanding Lagoon’s great success in securing, moving and adding Pioneer Village to the park in 1976, that year was also extremely significant for another reason – one few park
patrons or public ever realized. Lagoon Corporation finally managed that year to buy out the Bamberger family. For 30 years, the park land was only leased from the Bambergers.
   “In retrospect, it had been a colossal mistake to lease the park, and not buy,” Peter Freed said. “The Bambergers couldn’t get over how well the park did. They would not consider selling.”Freed said in 1976 he called a meeting with the Bambergers and said “I was thinking of turning the park back to them. They had no desire to run the park. We came to a fair price agreement.”
   It might have been a poker play, Freed threatening the quit Lagoon, but it worked and Lagoon finally had the freedom it needed to really take off. (36)
   However, Lagoon's success in 1976 was also sidetracked slightly by a taxing controversy.
   Farmington City wanted to create an amusement park tax of five percent of Lagoon's gross. Lagoon wanted to divorce the city, if that happened.
   This tax battle drug on for more than a year. Lagoon finally won the tax battle in July of 1977, when the tax was declared unconstitutional in Third District Court. (37)
   The Utah Supreme Court eventually ruled 4-1 in 1979 that its was Unconstitutional for Farmington City to have a business license revenue tax. (38)
   The 1977 season at Lagoon started with two more new rides - the Boomerang and the Scamper. The Boomerang was an updated version of the old "Dodg'ems ride at Lagoon.
   You steer your vehicle and then avoid (or more fun to bump into) another of the 40 different antique looking cars on the floor.
  Scamper was a kids' version of the same ride - but with softer collisions and the cars lacked pedals. They moved by simply turning the steering wheel. Lagoon employed some 500 youth that summer and "Girl Crazy" was one of the musicals it presented that season.
Some 350 Lombardy poplar trees were also planted around the park's perimeter that year. (39)
   Lagoon security employed the services of two German Sheperd guard dogs in 1977, "Heidi" and Czar," to patrol the grounds after hours and during the off-season. (40)
  The year arrived with something Lagoon had never had before - Acapulco Cliff Divers. It only lasted a season, but was an unusual feature to offer, something seldom seen before in Utah.
   Lagoon also worked on an extensive restoration of its Merry-Go-Round ride, built in 1906, that year.
   The park also received an old stone house to Pioneer Village, which reported having two million visitors during its first two seasons of operation - 1976-77.
   Pioneer Village also had plenty of "Old West" stunt shows going on, complete with singing, dancing and gun play.
  Sorensen, who founded the village at the different location back in 1938. (41)
   Lagoon made the news on Jan. 26, when a malfunctioning heater caused a $3,000 fire that gutted a snack bar in Pioneer village. The Park was not open yet and the structure had no historical significance. (42)
   The Stagecoach was added as an attraction in the area east of Pioneer Village. It used a $15,000, 2,500-pound coach that carried 10 passengers and was a replica of many used between 1850 and 1880.
   The park opened March 31 that year and added one other new ride, the Tri-Star, though delays in its delivery from Canada meant it was not open early until Memorial Day weekend.
   The ride was a combination of the Space Scrambler, the lake Rockets and the Octopus.
  Free entertainment in the park that season included the 2nd Edition, an LDS Institute of Religion performing group, Salt Grass and the J.J. Mason Band, a Weber State group.
   The Lagoon Opera House presented "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" that season. (43)

Chapter 4 references:
1. Deseret Morning News files on Lagoon for 1960-62.
2. “Chronological Order of Attractions at Lagoon,” Lagoon Corporation Press materials, 1998.
"Lagoon opens Saturday with new attractions," Deseret News, April 9, 1964.
3. "Farmington Council okays Lagoon racing," by Gary R. Blodgett, Deseret News, Oct. 8,
1964; "No Lagoon racing," by Gary Blodgett, Deseret News, Oct. 13, 1964; "Ask permanent
ban on racing," Deseret News, Oct. 15, 1964.
4. "New attractions for Lagoon," Deseret News, April 10, 1965; "Colorful Lagoon history,"
Deseret News, May 26, 1965.
5. "Toothy Surprise," by Muriel Shupe, Deseret News, April 13, 1965.
6. "Lagoon books top talent for 1966," Deseret News, May 26, 1965.
7. "Monday nights it's free parking and dancing," Deseret News, May 26, 1965.
8. "Lagoon hires 250 workers," Deseret News, May 26, 1965.
9. "Fun way to picnic," Deseret News, April 6, 1966.
10. "Lagoon opens opera house," by Howard Pearson, Deseret News, May 29, 1968.11. "Lagoon adds new saucers," Deseret News, April 12, 1968.
12. "Church in the Opera House," Deseret News, July 27, 1968.
13. '"Freakish element' spoils Lagoon's atmosphere," Salt Lake Tribune, April 5, 1969.
14. "Lagoon's Plan for teenagers," by Don C. Woodward, Deseret News, Sept. 28, 1969.
15."Quiet on outside but Lagoon gearing for 75th," by Don C. Woodward, Deseret News,
Sept. 6, 1969.
16. "75th year begins Saturday for Lagoon," Deseret News, March 26, 1970.
17. "Local resort supplies fun for 75 years," by Howard Pearson, Deseret News, April 14,
18. ”Lagoon plans $250,000 expansion,” Deseret News, April 1, 1971; Also, :Lagoon adds
water skeeters,” by Clinton S. Barber, Deseret News, April 9, 1971.
19. “Lagoon Corp. 14-acre campsite,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 23, 1971.
20. "Lagoon ends '71 season 'best ever.'" Deseret News, Oct. 14, 1971.
21. "Lagoon: A big numbers game," by Harry Jones, Deseret News, June 23, 1972.
22. "Chronological order of attractions at Lagoon," official press release from Lagoon in 1995.
Also, "Lagoon: Family amusement," Deseret News, Feb. 27, 1972.
23. "The girls are running the show," by Sue Thurman, Deseret News, Aug. 3, 1973.
24. "Lagoon to open 6-story sky ride," Deseret News, April 5, 1974. Also, supplemented
through a personal interview with Peter Freed, by Lynn Arave on April 2, 2007.
25. "Animals added to Lagoon attractions," by Howard Pearson, Deseret News, Jan. 27,
26. "Lagoon to open; new rides planned," Deseret News, March 26, 1975.
27. "Dull? Not this lively show band!" by Sue Thurman, Deseret News, Aug. 6, 1975.
28. "Pioneer Village may hit train," by Brian Nutting, Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 26, 1975.
29. "Pioneer Village on move," Deseret News, July 21, 1975. Also, "The Pioneer," March-April
1975, an article by Dr. Orson D. Wright.
30. Pioneer Village flyer from the early 1970s.
31. "Pioneer Village at Lagoon," by Howard Pearson, Deseret News, March 20, 1976.32. Press release, "Lagoon's Pioneer Village," from Lagoon Corporation.
33. From Lagoon's Web site,
34. "Pioneer Village dedicated," Deseret News, May 31, 1976.
35. "Lagoon didn't break word," K.G Wiseman, president, National Society of Sons of Utah
Pioneers, Deseret News, Aug. 6, 1980. Also, supplemented through a personal interview with
Peter Freed, by Lynn Arave on April 2, 2007.
36. Personal interview with Peter Freed, by Lynn Arave on April 2, 2007.
37. "Lagoon wins tax battle," by Pam Wade, Deseret News, July 11, 1977.
38. "Lagoon begins 82nd season this weekend," Deseret News, March 31, 1977.
39. "Lagoon finds security going to the dogs . . . Heidi, Czar," Deseret News, Oct. 19, 1977.
40. "Old stone home will be moved to Lagoon's Pioneer Village," Deseret News, Feb. 22,
1978; also "Restoration of carousel a difficult job for craftsmen," by Bruce Hills, Deseret
News, Feb. 15, 1979. Also, "Plaque honors Sorensen," by Peter Freed, Deseret News, July
23, 1980.
41. "Lagoon building burns," Deseret News, Jan. 26, 1979.
42. "Stagecoach is added to Lagoon attractions," Deseret News, April 11, 1979.
43. “Lagoon begins 84th season," Deseret News, May 25, 1979.


Chapter 5:
Modern Lagoon Emerges: 1980 to 1999

   The Tidal Wave was added to Lagoon in 1980. It also required an entrance fee to enter the  park for the first time ever - at $2 for every person (except senior citizens and those under
age 3). However, that fee could go toward rides, golf or swimming.        All-day passes premiered that year too and went for $8.50 for adults ($7.50 for children) and included that entrance fee. Parking was $1 per vehicle.
   Season passports also made their debut in 1980, though Lagoon sold only 300 that year with a soft marketing approach.
   Lagoon's season went from April 4 to mid-October that year. (1)
   A new entrance gate to Lagoon opened that year too. A 1980 newspaper article on Lagoon's zoo stressed the great care the animals receive there. It also stated the park couldn't accept donations of other animals from the public, because of possible risk of disease. Lagoon gets its animals from zoos or from certified wild animal dealers.
   "Cleanliness and care is a watchword at Lagoon's Wild Animal zoo," Richard J. White, former Lagoon zoo veterinarian said. (2)
   Lagoon's Opera House presented "Call Me Madam, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" and "Side by Side by Sondhein" shows that year. There was also a "Midway Magic Revue" that season" in the park. (3)
   Carousel Square, Wac-a-Mole and "Putter Around the Park" golf were added to the park that season.
Lagoon reported it hosted a total of some 15,000 groups that year, family reunions, companies, etc. (4)
   The Musik Express, UFO, Flying Elephants and the Lagoon Music Theatre (Music USA) were added. Lagoon's adult all-day admission was $9.50 a day.
   Lagoon was listed as one of the nation's top 25 amusement parks that year.
   The Lagoon Corporation had also operated the Terrace Ballroom in Salt Lake for many years too, It closed in January of 1982. Lagoon also managed arcade games at Trolley Square and in Murray for many years. (5)

   The Colossal Fire Dragon (later just the Fire Dragon) was the key new ride this season. At 55 mph, this steel loop coaster added new thrills to fun seekers -- The Moonraker, a children's ride with space-age flying vehicles, was also added. The Coke Plaza opened and the Village Green Stage was remodeled. (6)
  The stock pens were removed from Lagoon that year, to make room for a major new maintenance building for the resort. This was the final year the Lagoon race track was the site of the Davis County Fair. The next year, it moved to Davis High School and some years later the county had its own Fairpark in West Farmington.
   Two new rides were added - the Red Baron and the Whirlwind. (7)
  Lagoon's Fire Dragon coaster was named as one of the top 10 roller coasters in the nation in a People Magazine article, "Brain meets stomach." On the ride, the writer, John Stark reported: "The little devil may look harmless, but oh my!" he wrote. He also noted that the lack of side rails made the ride seem more threatening. (8)
   The payroll at Lagoon in 1984 was $1,796,218 for its part-time summer jobs. The park was open April 20-Sept. 20 that season and a rainy spell in the spring did hinder operations. (9)
   "Puff the Little Fire Dragon" (a kids' roller coaster, another ride, the Cyclone (had two passenger cars swinging through the air on 15-foot-long arms) and two games - Tin Can Alley and Leap Frog - were among the year's new attractions. Mother Gooseland was also
remodeled and Lagoon's new 41.000-square-foot warehouse opened at the northwest end of the park. Lagoon also toyed with theming for some of its rides, like the new kid's coaster, for the first time.
   Two new Bengal tigers were added to the Wild Kingdom Zoo and    "A Funny Thing happened on the way to the Forum" was the Opera House production that year. Lagoon had a new emphasis on entertainment starting that year.
   Lagoon also estimated it offered more than 13 million total rides to park patrons in 1985.
Adult all-day ride pass was $12.95 that year. Parking was $3 and Opera House tickets for $6 each. (10)
   Lagoon hired 750 teenagers that year. It also advised all male employees to have their hair off the collar and to avoid extreme hairstyles. Pay was $3.25 an hour, plus a bonus at the end of the season for employees who remained. (11)
   The Flying Carpet made its debut in 1986, the Flying Aces returned and the Scallywager arrived too. (12)

  The Rockets ride over the lake, a fixture at Lagoon since 1900 (though updated many times) fizzled that year and was replaced by The Turn of the Century - a "flying swings" kind of ride over Lagoon Lake.
   The Centennial Screamer also came in 1987 and the Carousel Amphitheater opened.
  A milestone in 1987 – a sad one in some respects – was the closing of the old million gallon Lagoon swimming pool for good.
Peter Freed said Lagoon had no real choice but to close the pool that year.
   "It (the pool) was scary," he said. "It was an old pool with old dressing rooms."For both safety, cost and modernization, the pool had to go.
   Most huge northern Utah swimming pools of its era – inside and out, with diving boards and slippery slides had vanished one or two decades earlier. Como Springs in Morgan, The Utah Hot Springs pool in Pleasant View, Rainbow Gardens in Ogden, to name a few, were all gone.
  Only Crystal Springs in Honeyville remained.

                                     Cira 1980s Lagoon map.

  A high diving show and sea lion performances were part of Lagoon that year. There were also pig races and a Sun 'n' Fun theatre.
   The old swimming pool sat stagnant and unused that year, green water and all, awaiting a new aqua feature there.
Lagoon sold 12,000 season passports in 1988.
  H2O was the keyword for the 1989 season as the Lagoon-A-Beach water park opened, where the old swimming pool used to be.
This $5.5 million feature opened in June with 550,000 gallons of water and a fleet of different water slides and other slippery, wet and wild things.
 There were three serpentine slides sending people twisting and splashing to the pools below from 56 to 56-foot-high towers.
  The "Beach," spread over six acres, also included four enclosed tubular slides, all with a different feel. And, there was a "lazy river" kind of loop stream of water going in a circle and also a kids area, with smaller slides, and a river rapids ride down a series of sections
through different pools.
   In essence, there was something for all age and a diversification that would challenge northern Utah’s other new water parks.
 Raging Waters in Salt Lake had challenged Lagoon’s summer fun goers and Lagoon-A Beach was a way to claim back old customers. (14)
   Daily ride passports in 1989 sold for $19.95, plus tax and that included admission to all rides and to Lagoon-A-Beach. (15)
  Lagoon hosted its last concert in 1989, with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
  The park had already been dramatically reducing its number of concerts the past 15 years. Robert Fred, who died in 1974, was the main thrust behind Lagoon securing such notable names.
  Peter Freed said it was his brother’s talents that landed just about every big name except the Beatles and Elvis at Lagoon. These big concerts put Lagoon on the map.
  In retrospect, Peter Freed said it was Lagoon’s great concerts in the 1950s and 1960s that helped it out do rival Saltair. (Also, Saltair’s coaster was destroyed by a major windstorm in the 1950s and never rebuilt.)
  Another, related change at Lagoon about this time was the discontinuation of productions in the Lagoon Opera House.
  "My brother, Robert, loved the theater," Peter Freed said. He built the opera house."
  Peter Freed described it as "an old-fashioned, charming theater. We all loved it," he said.
  It hosted "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat" back when it was an obscure production.
  When Bob Freed died in 1974, it was hard to keep the Opera House going at full steam.
  After watching some really bad productions there, Peter Freed said he called it quits.
  "The Opera House was a dumb idea," he admitted in the retrospect on looking back from 2007. I finally gave up on it."
   It only seats 300 people and with park attendance 30,000-plus some days, its importance was greatly downsized anyway.
   Big news for Lagoon in 1990 was also sad for long-time park enthusiasts – the Fun House, a staple at Lagoon for more than three decade, since 1958, would close for good at the end of the season.
  Peter Free acknowledged the loss of the Fun House, but again, there was no choice.
  He said it was an insurance nightmare. Particularly with the "saucer," where other riders would get the boot and get kicked off as it spun around at high speed.
   Insurance companies frowned on such liability concerns and this last of its breed kind of attraction was doomed. (16)
The Fun House building remained, but it was used for storage.
   "We never had really serious accidents in the Fun House," Dick Andrew, Lagoon spokesman said in 1991. "But it attracted a matter of nuisance kind of things."
  The insurance people kept advising the Fun House was expendable. "Its time had come and gone," Andrew said.
  What about Lagoon's long list of former rides and attractions.    Writer Dennis Lythgoe of the Deseret News masterfully explored that angle in a 1991 article:
   "It's old hat. Like the Wishing Well, the Rocket ride, the Showboat, the Octopus - even the swimming pool that was famous for 'water fit to drink.''' 
  Andrew said "Lagoon used to be synonymous with swimming - but then swimming pools popped up everywhere - and with the advent of water slides not too many people would go to the pool.'"
   "Even the old Patio Gardens ballroom where you and I used to bring our dates to see Ella Fitzgerald, the Four Freshmen, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole - and the incomparable big bands - is representative of another era.
  "As Andrew remembers it, "Every Friday and Saturday night we had the top name attractions in the country. With the advent of rock 'n' roll, that's what the kids were listening to. We found that the crowds it attracted were not compatible with what we were trying to do at Lagoon with our family emphasis.''
  "The new groups were also too expensive, and so the Patio Gardens were replaced with a roller skating rink - then a big game center. Andrew says there are still a handful of amusement park ballrooms around the country, but he sees no evidence that the big bands are coming back.
  "The bottom line for Lagoon is the ability to stay competitive in an enterprise that dates back to 1896 when a swampy meadow became an amusement park. It was part of a national trend beginning in the late 1890s with picnic parks and simple merry-go-rounds, developed by traction companies trying to encourage Sunday business for their streetcars.
   "As glamorous rides took the place of the more simple pleasures, the amusement park business took off - including Lagoon. That's why the management still keeps its eye out for that new ride or concession that will pique public interest. That's why the Skyscraper was opened this year and that's why they decided to combine in one ticket the price of the Water Park with an all-day ride pass. That decision, says Andrew, is what "caught the excitement of the public."
   "So in spite of the absence of many familiar and beloved rides, Andrew expects the same kind of banner year from a Disneyland-starved Utah public that loves Lagoon. He doesn't recall "any kind of groundswell for a comeback'' of any of the rides that have bitten the dust.
  "If there was a groundswell for a comeback for anything that disappeared, believe me it would be back in a flash. We work to please the public.''
  (True to that promise, Lagoon brought back an improved Wild Mouse ride seven years later in 1998 after much public demand.) (17)  Lagoon had no new rides in 1990, but the Utah Transit Authority and Lagoon pioneered a free summer shuttle that season. There were 31,046 people who rode the free trolley from
just north of the Davis County Courthouse to the park. (18)
   Lagoon was also working on new rides that year. For example, in December it gained approval for the Skycraper ride, which at 147-feet high, pushed the limit of 150-feet that Farmington City had set for any park attraction.
   The "L.A. Goon" marching band also made its premiere in 1990 and the Music USA stage featured broadway, with "Phantom of the Opera" and "No, No Nanette. (19)
  The Skyscraper, an extra large Ferris wheel kind of ride opened that season. The "Wacky Wire" was also new. (20)
   "Oliver’s Water Show and International High Diving Spectacular" from Switzerland was also part of Lagoon’s extensive entertainment offerings. The midway was also widened in 1992. (21) Lagoon was Davis County's 13th largest taxpayer in 1992, with $9.26 million. (22)
   New auto entry gates were added for 1993, making it faster for cars to get into Lagoon’s parking lot. Lagoon also had magic shows for kids.
  This change also included a special drop off point, so parents in particular wouldn’t have to go to the Lagoon main gate.
  There was also a separate employee entrance to Lagoon added.
"Lagoon on Ice" show was the premier event at the Music USA stage. (23)
   The Hydro Luge came along in 1994. Located at the north end of the park, this ride featured two dark tunnels. Riders sat as singles or with a friend on a rubber raft and then sailed their way down the tunnel to the bottom. Getting a little or a lot wet was all part of the
unpredictable fun.
   Season passports that year sold for $69.95 for individuals and $59..95 for each family member when purchased in multiples of four or more. (24)
   This year marked a new generation of rides at Lagoon – the "X-Venture Zone." The Skycoaster arrived as the first of these premium rides. Lagoon charged extra for the rides, beyond regular daily or season passport costs, because these were extremely low ridership capacity attractions.
   The Skycoaster cost $45 for three riders for $20 for single riders. 

  This year started Lagoon's best innovation since Lagoon-A-Beach in 1989 - Frightmares.
   With northern Utah's more favorable and steady fall weather, plus the popularity and proliferation of haunted houses, this made great sense - a Halloween themed park each fall.
(Lagoon didn't push the weather envelope much in early April with its season opener after Frightmares came along. It relied on the fall to extend the park's season to almost seven months.)
   The first Frightmares was held on Thursday, Sept. 30, 1995. There were all the usual rides, except most of the water rides and there were musical shows about spooks and witches.
   Lagoon even created a "Spook-A-Boo" for young kids by taking over the Scamper ride space, under a roof. In this non-threatening environment, kids got plenty of sweets and only met costumed characters, not any monsters or spooks.

    There were spooks who roamed the park and Lagoon's "Terroride" and "Dracula's Castle" became extra popular each October. Lagoon added fog making machines and scary music too.
   It also had two haunted houses to start, complete with a large collections of spooky actors and actresses.
  Frightmares was a hit, though in the early 21st Century, Lagoon discontinued its Thursday night Frightmares, relying on Friday, Saturday and Sundays only. (25)
  The year roared and screeched at Lagoon with the addition of the Top Eliminator, another premium ride, with an additional fee to ride - beyond regular gate admission.
   Step aside Fire Dragon! Lagoon has a new, even faster ride than the looped metal roller coaster. It's called Top Eliminator Dragster.
Although the ride was some three months late opening, Lagoon finally got its newest ride online at the end of August, and participants still had time on weekends to reach speeds up
to 75 mph in 2.8 seconds (some 20 mph faster than the Fire Dragon.) Lagoon was only the second theme park in the nation to receive the $1.2 million Top Eliminator, where riders get
to simulate a dragster race down a four-lane strip - complete with 'Christmas Tree' countdown lights. (Kentucky Kingdom was the first.)
   Like the Sky Coaster (Lagoon's 150-foot-high drop/swing) the Eliminator costs $15 beyond the regular park admission, which enables participants to ride it twice down the track. The new attraction also has Lagoon's strictest height requirement - riders also must be at least 54 inches tall, probably meaning ages 10 and up.   (That's stricter than the Fire Dragon, speed water slides and Jet Star 2, where riders must be at least 50 inches tall.)
   It also has another restriction park officials didn't anticipate until they got the ride working - anyone over 6-foot-3 likely can't ride it because their legs are too long to fit in the driver's compartment.
Indeed, Lagoon's director marketing, Dick Andrew, who stands 6-foot-5, said he can't drive the dragster. He also believes even people shorter than 6-foot-3 with unusually long legs could have problems fitting on the ride.
  "We've tried to simulate a drag strip environment,'' Andrew said.
The dragsters are powered by a 300-horsepower Chevy stock engine, fueled by propane. Young Chevrolet is the corporate sponsor. The cars were designed by a Canadian Company and built by International Armoring Corp. in Ogden.
  Andrew said it's exciting to have Lagoon on the cutting edge of a new attraction, although some computer software problems with the sensor system delayed its intended late-spring opening.
   Jimmy Sunlight, Lagoon's assistant manager for the dragster ride, said it seems to be attracting - not surprisingly - mostly men in the 30-40 age range. Still, young teens of both sexes and women are riding it, too.
   Riders race down four lanes against the clock. Signs will indicate if they foul (jump the gun) or not. Speeds are not indicated, but elapsed time from start to finish in hundreds of a second is.
  The fastest race times Lagoon employees have seen on the ride are around 3.9 seconds, a second less than what the designers predicted. Many drivers average 4.1 or 4.2 seconds.
  Drivers control the speed with a gas pedal. They also have to shift once with a push button on the steering wheel, optimally one-quarter the way down the 195-foot track.
  Braking is automatic after the finish line on 140 feet of additional track. Steering is not needed since a metal fin imbedded in a track guides the car.
  Lagoon also completed a special shop, where dragster-related items can be purchased. (26)
   This year produced another honor for Lagoon, this one by the Utah Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees for its strong efforts in historical preservation. The wooden roller coaster and Pioneer Village were the anchors of that award. (27)
   Lagoon opened another new major attraction in 1997, the $7 million Rattlesnake Rapids in mid-April that year. This 1,700-foot-long river ride proved a big hit - especially on hot summer days.The ride opened up a new ride area on the east side of Pioneer Village and Farmington Creek, although it did mean the demise of the Stagecoach Ride. (The Stagecoach used a circular route in this area in prior years.)
   It was one of the west's premier water rapids rides and easily outdid Knott’s Berry Farm's Bigfoot Rapids.
  Riding circular rafts that hold up to six adults, meant every single rider gets a little wet and some get soaked.
  A high capacity event, Rattlesnake Rapids could handle up to 1,000 riders per hour.
  A separate "water bomb" system for spectators, meant they could pay some coin change to try and drench raft riders as they floated by. (28)

 The Wild Mouse returned to Lagoon in 1998. It had earlier Wild Mouses (wooden) in 1965 and also 1973. But those were too hard to maintain and Lagoon ended its Wild Mouse experience, probably by the late 1970s.
  The newer Wild Mouse was all-steel and was a "21st Century" model, ahead of its time. It was twice as high as Lagoon's previous mouse rides and each ride carried four riders, instead of two.
Lagoon officials had reported for many years that no single ride ever taken out at Lagoon had generated more interest than had the Wild Mouse. Even with computer-controlled hair-pinned turns, you could just never feel for certain that the cars would remain on the tracks.
   Also in 1998, Lagoon completed the landscaping around Rattlesnake Rapids and added a "mist tunnel," plus one extra waterfall for riders to go through.
  Entertainment at Lagoon that year included 1950s style pep rallies in the Carousel theater, plus "Rok U2 the Top" and the roving Toon Goons band. "Made in USA" was the Music USA production in 1998. (29)
   Still another highlight for Lagoon that year happened in November, after the park was closed for the season. A ribbon-cutting for Lagoon's portion of the nature trail was held Nov. 14.
   Lagoon spent $750,000 to create this section of the paved trail and is for walkers, bikers and equestrian use. The path began with a covered bridge at the east side of the park at 300 north - the old Lagoon Lane and extended to the Lagoon campground.
   Lagoon went high tech and added its own Web site in 1998 too. (30)
  This  season at Lagoon was literally a blast, as the Rocket ride took off on April 4 that year. Costing some $3 million, the 217-foot towers had two ride variations.
  The "blast-off" version launches riders to the top of 217-foot-high tower in three seconds and then bounces up and down a few times.    The "re-entry" version, most popular and thrilling of the two, drops you the equivalent of 18 floors in three seconds and was
guaranteed to lift any rider off their seat for a second with some "air time."
   Both version of the Rocket also let riders experience 4.5 g-forces in different ways.
   Lagoon built three towers and left the third empty, so it can add the most popular of the two Rocket versions in some future year.
   The park also added a new Subway Sandwich ship in 1999, a new food area in Pioneer Village and an ice cream parlor.
  The Peak Exposure rock climbing wall arrived that season. It required an additional fee, but offered a new Lagoon experience for anyone willing to pay the price and put out some climbing effort. (31)

Chapter 5 references:
1. "Lagoon pricing policy explained," Deseret News, May 5, 1980.
2. "Zoo offers assortment of challenges," by Bruce Hills, Deseret News, June 25, 1980.
3. "Lagoon 'springs' up,' Deseret News, June 25, 1980.
4. "Lagoon making business fun," Deseret News, July 25, 1981.
5. "Lagoon a busy place even when closed," Deseret News, March 10, 1982. Also, "He's
master of the midway," by Howard Pearson, Deseret News, Aug. 6, 1982.
6. "Lagoon to open for 87th season," Deseret News, March 27, 1982. Also, "Chronological
Order of attractions at Lagoon," Lagoon press list.
7. "Lagoon stock pens are being removed," Deseret News, May 31, 1984. Also,
"Chronological Order of attractions at Lagoon," Lagoon press list.
8. "The fire dragon's fame spreads," Deseret News, Aug. 3, 1984.
9. "2.000 Lagoon employees reap bonuses, scholarships and $1,796,218 in wages,"
Deseret News, Nov. 6, 1984.
10. "Lagoon ready for 90th season," by Ivan Lincoln, Deseret News, April 12, 1985. Also,
"Lagoon opens with Focus on Entertainment, by Ivan Lincoln, Deseret News, May 24, 1985;
and "Graphic Utah, Taken for a Ride," Deseret News, July 25, 1985.
11. "Hundreds of teens apply for jobs at Lagoon - 750 will be hired," Deseret Mews, May 11,
1986.12. "Chronological Order of attractions at Lagoon," Lagoon press list.
13. "Chronological Order of attractions at Lagoon," Lagoon press list.
14. "Catch a wave at Lagoon A Beach water park," Deseret News, April 9, 1989.
15. "Legends and Traditions a rich part of Lagoon," Deseret News, April 9, 1989.
16. Personal interview with Peter Freed, by Lynn Arave on April 2, 2007.
17. "Attractions from Lagoon's good old days just wouldn't cut it today," By Dennis Lythgoe,
Deseret News, July 1, 1991.
18. "UTA says 31,046 rode free summer shuttle to Lagoon," by Don Rosebrock, Deseret
News, Dec. 9, 1990.
19. "Memorial Day marks Lagoon’s official opening," Deseret News, May 25, 1990.
20. A chronological order of attractions at Lagoon.
21. "Making a splash at Lagoon: Divers and ‘beach party’ revue promise a high time," by
Ivan Lincoln, Deseret News, July 31, 1992.
22. "Principal taxpayers in Davis County," Deseret News, Aug. 17, 1993.
23. "Lagoon set to open for another summer of family fun," Deseret News, April 16, 1993;
also "Changes traditional at Lagoon," Deseret News, April 12, 1993.
24. "Wend your way to park’s best attractions," Desret News, May 27, 1994.
25. Deseret News, Sept. 29, 1995.
26. "Vroom! Lagoon's latest put riders in a race," by Lynn Arave, Deseret News, Sept. 16,
27. "Lagoon president honored for his preservation efforts," Deseret News, Oct. 7, 1996.
28. "Rattlesnake Rapids makes a huge splash at Lagoon," by Lynn Arave, Deseret News,
June 27, 1997.
29. "Lagoon opens Friday with new Wild Mouse ride," by Lynn Arave, Deseret News, April
10, 1998.
30. "Lagoon's portion of nature trail to open Saturday," Deseret News, Nov. 11, 1998.
31. "Lagoon Rocket gets ready for blast-off; Towering ride offers sharp drop in 3 seconds,"
by Jose Luis Sanchez, Jr., Deseret News, Feb. 23, 1999.


Chapter Six:
Lagoon in the 21st Century

  Lagoon's first season in the 21st Century was heralded by the Double Thunder Raceway on April 15, 2000. These go-carts loop a 1,150-foot track at A maximum speed of 17 mph.
  Lagoon purchased 28 of the double occupancy vehicles and riders had to be at least 54 inches tall to drive - tallest height restriction in the park. (Passengers only had to be 46 inches tall.)
   This was also another premium ride that charged an extra fee, beyond gate admission at $5 for drivers and $3 for passengers.
  These go-carts would also kind of fill the gap to be soon left by Lagoon's former Speedway ride. At Double Thunder Raceway, pre-drivers under age 16 and as young as 9 or 10, if they're tall enough - could ride and control a motorized vehicle in the park.
  The ride took the place where the old Lagoon cement stadium used to be. The previous year's new ride, Top Eliminator was next door to the north. (1)

   Later that summer, Lagoon received what was to be the most popular teenage ride in the park at the time --  the Samurai. This 65-foot-high ride resembled a windmill and different movements really mix-up riders with upside down and whirling motions. It was a vertical Space Scrambler kind of ride.
  Shoulder restraints kept passengers - 30 per ride - in place.   Because legs dangle freely and there's no surrounding cabin, the Samurai gives a sensation of flying and became one of Lagoon's most thrilling rides - one many adults shun.
   Sadly the Samurai took the place the old "Flying Carpet" ride, a milder attraction, but still a sad one to see go after 14 seasons of use at the top of the north midway. (2)

   In 2001, Lagoon added a "Human kind of dishwasher," the Cliffhanger. This $2 million ride was a 50-foot-tall kind of somersault attraction that takes riders through streams on water
and loops. It could be classed as a relative of the Samurai ride, though this one has an aqua thrust.
   A couple of small waterfalls in the area created a mountain theme for this ride. (Lagoon’s ideas for theming new rides had begun the mid-1990s and added a touch to Disneyland-like fantasy to the park.) This 20-person capacity ride took the place of the old Speedway auto attraction, a Lagoon mainstay for 40 years.
   Lagoon said it was too difficult to keep the Speedway cars, small mini-gasoline powered vehicles, going. Replacement parks were not available and this old "guide track" kind of ride was being replaced by the 21st style "go cart" rides with no such limitations in steering.
   Also, about this time, Lagoon gave up on its old "Skee Ball" games, a fixture dating back to 1950. Again, Lagoon found it too difficult to obtain parts to fix anything that broke. In fact, Lagoon had been cannibalizing parts from Skee Ball machines that used to be by the wooden roller coaster for years, to keep the ones at the north end of the midway running. Soon, even that supply ran out.
Modern "Skee Ball" games are computerized and offer less freedom in throwing and skill.
  The old Skee Ball player could learn to bounce the ball off the padded alley and win far more points and prizes than by throwing the ball straight. Sadly, the new Skee Ball had no such freedom in throwing. (3)
  Even though Lagoon is a rare "picnic" type theme park, where outside food is allowed in, it was still selling lots of food to patrons in the park. For example, in 2000 at Lagoon, there were 47,000 pounds of hot dogs eaten; 275,000 bags of potato chips used; 250,000 popsicles sold; 325,000 ice cream bars consumed; 175,000 cinnamon rolls enjoyed; 230,000 bags of cotton candy eaten; 190,000 pretzels nibbled; and 240,000 Churros sold.
  These consumption statistics made Lagoon one of the largest, if not the largest food vendors in Utah - quite a feat for a seasonal business. (4)
   The Freed family also had some sadness in 2001, when Dave Freed, age 92, died on Sept. 1. He had been in failing health for the previous six months but had helped the family operate Lagoon since 1946. (5)

  Lagoon added to its "X-Venture" premium ride collection in 2002 with the Capapult when it opened on April 13 that year. This European built ride could propel two passengers at a time 250 feet into the air in a metal ball, sustained by a 196-foot-high tower - nearly as tall as the Rocket ride. This ride provided a trill of weightlessness, as well as some twists and oscillations at a cost of $20 per rider.
   Teriyaki Stixs, a food outlet, also opened at Lagoon in 2002.
Lagoon's daily admission fees were kept the same as the previous year at 29.95, plus tax, for a patron 51 inches or taller. Lagoon also reduced the cost of its Eliminator ride, from $15 to $12 that season. (6)
   After many years of giving people with motion or movement phobias (kinetophobia) and those with a fear of heights (acrophobia) fits, the 2003 season added a new fear to the
Intermountain area's largest theme park - a fear of spiders (arachnophobia).

   The "Spider," $3 million spinning roller coaster, the first such ride of its kind in North America, was a hit from the first day (April 12, 2003) it opened at Lagoon. The Spider features a 14-foot-tall, 27-foot-diameter spider sculpture that patrons walk under to enter the ride.
   Richard Prazen, of Pioneer Manufacturing and Welding Inc., in West Valley City, Ut., said it took his company six weeks to create the spider sculpture. "It's all steel, except for the ball on its back that has epoxy and fiberglass," Prazen said.
  That Spider replica can also squirt water at times, on unsuspecting passerbys.Although the Spider ride only reaches a top speed of 38 mph, it can rotate up to 20 times per minute. with a free horizontal spin, depending on the weight and allocation of the passengers.
   The Spider is kind of a cross between the Wild Mouse, the Jet Star and the Space Scrambler - with elements from each of those three rides.
   The ride is 53 feet tall and runs on a 1,414-foot track. It is located on the south midway, north of the Fire Dragon and west of the Cliffhanger. Ride capacity is 900 passengers an hour; patrons must be 46-50 inches tall with a parent or guardian, or 50 inches or more to ride unsupervised.
   Lagoon had 40 games and 35 food concessions operating in 2003, in addition to its 43 rides. (7)
  The park also hired 1,500 seasonal employees in 2003, most of them ages 16-18.
  "It is a perfect summer job," said Terry Capener, Lagoon vice president and general manager. "Employees get discount ride passes, free admission (except on blackout dates), and there's friends, socials and parties."
  However, he said, there are some downsides.
   "It's also a real job, don't forget that, and it can be very hot standing in the summer sun. We're also open seven days a week, and employees have to be available to work seven days a week, even Sundays."
  What's Lagoon looking for in employees?
  "We like to go after the ones with character," Capener said. For game operators, salesoriented kids do best. "It's a good job if you stick with it."
  Simply put, a sizable amount of Utahns in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties got their first-ever paid job at Lagoon.
Salaries of seasonal workers in 2003 was $6 per hour for age 16 and up, and $4.55 for ages 14-15. Second-year employees earn $6.25 per hour. For all those who work an entire season, there's a year-end bonus based on an extra 50 cents per hour for every hour
worked before mid-August and another $1 per hour for time worked after that. (8)
   Lagoon also had a 2.7 percent downturn in attendance in 2002, mostly an aftermath to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.    However, the park's loss of patrons was much less than
other parks in the industry, likely because it relies on local patrons from the Wasatch Front. (9)
  Lagoon's classic Carousel ("Merry-go-Round), built in 1893, also celebrated its 110th birthday in 2003. Although the Carousel didn't arrive at Lagoon until 1906, it remains the park's oldest ride.The 2004 season was Lagoon's 118th and started April 10 with two new "kiddie rides," Dragonfly and Kontiki.
   Kontiki is similar to Lagoon's existing Tidal Wave ride, though geared for children. Dragonfly is a circle-motion ride that features a huge dragonfly with a 16-foot wingspan.
   In addition, Lagoon added an interactive water fountain in its central plaza - one of the first things you see when he enter the park's gates. This extensive fountain was capable of producing mini water shows too.
   Many a kid got drenched at the fountain and loved it.
   Hand controls also allowed some knowledgeable guests to get unsuspecting people wet, after they thought they had the timing of the water fountains all figured out.
   Lagoon spent approximately $2.5 million on improvements in 2004 according to Dick Andrew, Lagoon spokesman. He added that it was also time for Kiddieland, last remodeled in 1985, to have a face lift.
   Lagoon's daily admission prices in 2004 were $31.95, plus tax, for patrons 51 inches tall to age 64. For children age 4 to 50 inches tall, daily passports are $26.95. Toddlers are $17. Seniors are $20. Season passports came at a reduced price for four or more, $72.95, plus tax, through June 6 (for three or fewer, $82.95).
 Daily parking at Lagoon was $7. (10)

  Lagoon went "batty" in 2005, with its new, $3 million Bat ride. However, this "family type" roller coaster didn't deliver any big thrills. It did use an overhead track swith dangling feet,
but had a top speed of only 26 mph over its 1,122-foot track.
  But while teenagers were generally not impressed with the Bat, young kids loved it, because they weren't tall enough for Lagoon's other major coaster rides.
  The Bat also used a magnetic braking system, the first of its kind at Lagoon, and it was constructed amidst a lot of mature trees, just northeast of the park's mini-golf course.
  The new ride also included the end of an era at Lagoon - the park's 119-year-old Lake Park Terrace was torn down to make way for the Bat.
  Lagoon was built in 1886 as a dance hall by the Great Salt Lake, 2.5 miles west. The Lake Park Terrace was designed by Richard Kletting, architect of the original Saltair and the Utah State Capitol Building. The terrace structure was remodeled and moved inland in 1896 to Lagoon's current location, becoming its oldest picnic pavilion.
   "It was very old," Trent Brown, Lagoon's marketing manager, said. Cracks and deterioration made it impractical to preserve the structure any longer. He said Lagoon still has adequate
picnic space without the Terrace. (11)
  The 15th annual "Physics Day" was also held at Lagoon on May 20, 2005. Some 6,000 students converged at the park to not only enjoy the usual rides, but to also conduct some physics experiments. J.R. Dennison started Physics Day at Lagoon in 1990, after hearing about similar events in California and Texas. (12)
   On April 8, 2006, Lagoon opened for its 120th season with two more new children's rides - Dinosaur Drop and Ladybug Drop.
Essentially, these are scaled-down, kid-friendly versions of Lagoon's Rocket Ride.
   However, while the Rocket towers are 217 feet high and require that riders be 50 inches or taller, these two new attractions are only 39 and 45 feet high and have a minimum height requirement of just 36 inches (although kids 36-42 inches tall need an adult to ride with them).
   The Drop and Bop are two separate towers, which Dick Andrew, Lagoon spokesman, describes as family rides with some fun theming. Each ride has five double seats attached to a motorized ring driven around a vertical tower. Vertical and rotational movement can be controlled, providing different ride experiences.
The two rides each carry 10 passengers at a time and can handle about 360 passengers per hour.
   With the addition of the "Bat" ride last year and other rides and special theming in recent years, Lagoon has beefed up its children's ride area.
  Lagoon also added Colosimo's Sausages to its lineup of food outlets. in 2006. located on the south end of the park.
   Still another change that year is that Lagoon has demolished its old central restrooms and was in the process of rebuilding new ones, though they won't be finished by opening weekend. "You can only make so many upgrades," Andrew said of the old facilities.
Lagoon also took out the old Maple Terrace, north of Lagoon-A-Beach, and is utilizing the space better with two new picnic terraces, as well as a third outlet for the park's catering
services. (13)
   Lagoon's Music USA also thrived in 2006, offering "Jukebox Jive" that season. This 40- minute show was free to all who enter Lagoon's gate. (14)
   Lagoon sold 41,000 season passports in 2006, up dramtically from the 300 it sold 26 years earlier in 1980, when the park began offering them.

  "Wicked," Lagoon's most expensive ride ever -- a $10 million launch-tower coaster - was its top billing in 2007. However, because of some manufacturing errors, the new ride was
nowhere near operational by opening day -- April 7.
   In fact, it didn't open untii June 1, almost two months into the season. Lagoon's newest ride, isn't a 20th Century "click/clack" chain-driven roller coaster. It's a state-of-the art. smooth,
magnetic-driven, "launch" style of coaster that definitely lives up to its name. Less than 10 seconds after a Wicked ride begins. passengers are rocketed 110 feet up a camelback-shaped hill at 41 mph. There's little waiting for action on this ride, you just round
one corner and then take off.

  After a brief slowdown on top, riders zoom down the 110-foot-hill at 90-degree angle and 55 mph.
   There's a bunch more ups and downs too. Wicked includes a corkscrew section and several tunnels during its two-minute and 36 second experience along 2,000 feet of track.
   The whole ride is very smooth and lacks any jerking or shaking. It simply has the thrill of speed vs. gravity. It's a linear synchronous motor (LSM) drive system that powers Wicked.
   Words like "awesome" and "wow" dominate the vocabulary of smiling passengers as they come off the ride.

   This is a world-class kind of ride that is unlike anything else Lagoon has. It is also included as part of Lagoon's regular daily admission price.
  Although lines for Wicked are long all summer, the ride is capable of carrying up to 900 passengers per hour and so lines move pretty fast.
   Hats or any other loose objects are blown off on this ride. So, what do you do with loose objects for this intense ride? You can carry a hat in your hand, but lockers are available near the start of Wicked so passengers aren't bogged down by them.
   Another unusual thing about the Wicked ride are the restraints. Passengers are locked in at their ankles and thighs. There are no shoulder restraints or traditional seat or lap belts. Each Wicked coaster car carries eight passengers in two rows of four.
   Any riders, 50 inches or taller, have no restrictions. However, those 46-49 inches tall will have a special booster insert seat installed for them before they ride and should be accompanied by a responsible person. The booster seat will maximize the restraints for
them. Anyone under 46 inches tall cannot ride Wicked. (15)
   Construction on the ride began in August of 2006 and required 270 pylons.
  At 110 feet tall, Wicked towered over the 85-foot-high Fire Dragon to its east. Wicked includes about 2,000 feet of track. The footprint of the new ride is 112 feet wide and 404 feet in length.
  Wicked also features five separate cars, each holding eight passengers in two rows of four riders. The back row will be elevated to allow rear passengers to also clearly see what lies
ahead. Special booster seats will cater to shorter passengers.
  Since Wicked cut into the east side of Lagoon's main parking lot, it relied more than ever on its overflow parking on the extreme north edge of the park. Lagoon also refurbished its Tidal Wave ride, giving it a most distinict and colorful pirate theme.
  It also refurbished its two “dark” rides – Dracula’s Castle and the Terroride – giving them new monsters inside and a 21st Century feel.
  Lagoon also does more suble additions some years. For example, in 2007 it added a speaker system to its kids helicopter ride, to broadcast the sound of a real helicopter flying.
   This little trick makes the ride seem just a little more real.
Still another change at about this time is that Lagoon decided to stop re-painting its white wooden roller coaster. Park officials decided to let the wood age and turn gray. So, it’s the
wooden roller coaster now, not the ‘white’ one any longer.
   Lagoon reported employing almost 3,000 season workers in 2007.
Because of Utah labor shortages, Lagoon also employed some workers from China. (16)
   Lagoon opened its 122nd season in 2008 with a new $3 million water ride, OdySea, in the children's ride area.
   Another family type attraction, this is a circular ride, resembling an octopus. It has 12 gondolas that carry up to two children and one adult at a time. Set over a pond of water, the riders have a joystick to control the height of their gondola. It can soar up to 25 feet high
and avoid or not avoid water jets from some big fish built into the ride.
   Lagoon also opens eight different smoking stations in the park, the only locations where it is legal for patrons or employees to smoke.     The change was made in response to new regulations passed by the Davis County Board of Health.
   In other changes for 2008, Lagoon took out the climbing wall, a feature that charged an extra use fee and was located where a small arcade used to be, by the exit to the wooden roller coaster.
Rad Brad's, the gift shop and gateway to Lagoon-A-Beach was also remodeled; the Oak Picnic Terrace was revamped; and the waffle sampler, opened this season, as a new food offering. (17)
  The 2009 season at Lagoon premiered the "Jumping Dragon," a new $2.3 million ride. It’s the second new family ride in as many years, the new attraction is most like a souped-up
Bulgy the Whale kind of circular ride, with hills and dales.
  Missing in 2009 was the "Putter around the Park" mini golf course, as it went away to make room for the new Dragon ride.
Originally opened as "Golf Fun," in 1962, it had been refurbished over the years, but was now getting rundown and antiquated, according to Dick Andrew, Lagoon spokesman. 
  Lagoon also reworked the entryway to its wooden roller coaster and revamped the old fashioned gasoline pumps that decorate its Speedway Jr. ride.
  Northern Utah's second most rainy and cool spring in 100 years, coupled with a declining economy, meant Lagoon canceled its July 4 and July 24 fireworks shows.
   In other cost-cutting, Lagoon also halted its long-time policy of allowing senior citizens free admission to the park, early in the summer.
  Lagoon's regular daily admission prices increased $2 in 2009, to $41.95, plus tax. (18)
  The future….of Lagoon?
  What will Lagoon be like in the future, say in 2027?
Peter Freed, who has guided Lagoon for more than 32 years, said in 2007 that the “Wicked” roller coaster would certainly not be the last major ride Lagoon will have.
   “Coasters are the most popular ride we can buy,” he said. “We always want to have new things.”

                           Peter Freed in his office at Lagoon, spring 2007.

   At age 86 in 2007, Freed still came to the office most every day, as the patriarch of Lagoon.
  He said the open space north of the park, that’s now used for overflow parking, may some day be the site for a mega roller coaster at Lagoon.
  Now, it is Peter Freed’s four children who operate Lagoon. When he’s gone, they’ll still be there – Dave, current Lagoon president, aided by Kristen, Howard and Jennifer.
 What would Robert Freed think if he could come back and see the Lagoon of today, decades  after his death.
   “He’d be absolutely stunned,” Peter Freed said. He would be amazed at Pioneer village and Lagoon-A-Beach in particular.
Also, he’d be happy to see the picnic park tradition continuing.
   “The other (amusement) parks can’t believe that we do that (allow outside food in),” Peter Freed said. “We’re the only one (of the large amusement parks) that allow food. We’d never change that.”
  Freed is also keen on the wooden roller coaster.
   “It’s now a classic,” he said. “There’s not a board on it that’s original, but the coaster has been recognized as one of the nation’s premier nostalgic coasters, though it does require a lot of upkeep.
 He’s also happy with Lagoon’s beautiful flower gardens and considers them among his
favorite spots in the park.“I love the gardens and to walk around the park,” he said. “It’s a beautiful park.”
  He also said he’s fond of Pioneer Village. “It becomes more valuable over the years,” he noted.
    Freed is especially proud of the gun display and collection of carriages.
   Will Lagoon ever sell out to a big theme park company?
   “We do have offers all the time,” Freed said.
   However, he said he’s watched too many other parks sell with promises of employees getting to keep their jobs and then that not happening. (19)
   In 2008, Lagoon added the OdySea kids ride, followed by the Jumping Dragon in 2009.
   Then, it was apparent that the bad economy had hurt Lagoon and it premiered no new rides in 2010. It also cut back and did not host summer holiday fireworks shows during some of those poor economic years.
  In 2011, the Bombara coaster was Lagoon's new ride, followed by Air Race in 2012 -- both located on the park's north end.
   In 2013, Lagoon added both the Tipsey Tea Cups and Red Rock Rally to its Kiddeland ride lineup.
(It also closed and removed the Top Eliminator dragster ride in 2013.)
  Rumors of another world-class roller coaster, like Wicked, continue to swirl in 2013, as being added sometime in the next couple of years.
  Lagoon also faced some criticism of a section in its Terroride in 2013, that features depictions of bound and tortured women.  Although based on classic horror novels, the features were challenged as being inappropriate for today's society.
In 2014, Lagoon had no new attractions, However, a new, upscale television ad aired all summer and it was evident that a new mega roller coaster was being built behind the Double Thunder Raceway building at the north end.
-Sure enough in July of 2015, the world-class "Cannibal" roller coaster finally opened. This is a 208-foot-high, 70 mph speedster that eclipses any previous thrills in the park and is a one of a kind coaster .... The ride was 5 or more years in the planning and required two years of construction. It also opened 3 months late, as it required a lot of testing and tinkering.
-Lagoon revamped its classic Terroride in 2017, restoring some of its artwork and deleting some objectionable depictions (bu today's standards).
In 2019, a beer garden, the Lagoon Biergarten is added -- 2 Bavarian themed restaurants, where Music USA Theater used to be (south of the Wooden Roller Coaster).
Alcohol is NOT new to Lagoon. It sold brew during its early years. Then, had a tavern from the mid-1940s until the late 1970s.
Chapter 6 references:
1. "Double Thunder Raceway go-carts premiere April 15 at Lagoon," by Lynn Arave,
Deseret News, March 10, 2000.
2. "65-foot-high Samurai ride opens Monday at Lagoon," Deseret News, June 30, 2000.
3. "Coming to Lagoon: 'Cliffhanger," by Lynn Arave, Deseret News, Jan. 29, 2001. Also,
author’s personal observations.
4. "Lagoon serves up food and fun: Visitors gobble up thousands of burgers and fries," by
Lynn Arave, Deseret News, July 24, 2001.
5. "Dave Freed dies; tennis star. businessman," Deseret News, Sept. 3, 2001.
6. "Lagoon ready to unveil new ride: Catapult," Deseret News, April 12, 2002
7. "Spider debuting at Lagoon," by Lynn Arave, Deseret News, April 11, 2003.
8. "Lagoon - the fun spot to work," by Lynn Arave, Deseret News, Feb. 6, 2003.
9. "Lagoon is riding economy swing," by Larry Weist, Deseret News, March 14, 2003.
10. "Wheeeee! Lagoon is ready for season of summer fun," by Lynn Arave, Deseret News,
April 9, 2004.
11. "The Bat,' a different kind of fun," by Lynn Arave, Deseret Morning News, Jan. 14, 2005.
12. "Physics Day at Lagoon gives students thrill," by Natalie Andrews, Deseret Morning
News, May 21, 2005.
13. "Lagoon celebrating 120th year," by Lynn Arave, Deseret Morning News, April 7, 2006
14. "Lagoon's Music USA is hit," by Ivan Lincoln, Deseret Morning News, June 13, 2006.
15. Deseret Morning News, June 15, 2007.
16. "Lagoon prepares for 'Wicked: launch-tower coaster," by Lynn Arave, Deseret Morning
News, Dec. 1, 2006.
17. "Lagoon readies new OdySea," Deseret News, April 4, 2008, W6.
18. Source: Dick Andrew, Lagoon spokesman.
19. Personal interview with Peter Freed, by Lynn Arave on April 2, 2007.


Chapter 7: The Actual Dark Side of Lagoon (Accidents, not Frightmares!)

                                       Lagoon's most dangerous ride?
By Lynn Arave

Fatalities/Accidents at Lagoon:

 There is one taboo subject at all amusement parks – fatalities and accidents.

Accidents do happen -- nothing in life is totally safe.
However, rest assured that statistically, you are far more likely to be injured, or killed in a car accident on the way to/or from Lagoon Amusement Park, Farmington, Utah, than on any of the park’s attractions.
Let’s do some statistics – Lagoon has likely averaged about 1 million visitors a season during the past 3 or so decades. With just 2 ride fatalities from 1960 to 2017 (by using a half-million annual  visitors as average before 1980 and one million a season thereafter), the odds of being killed on a Lagoon ride would pan out at about 2 chances in 47 million of dying on a ride.
Furthermore, with only 24 known fatalities in the park’s long history, dating back to 1886, from any kind of accident (plus at least four illness-related deaths), that isn’t a bad safety record at all. The park would prefer to have had no deaths, but then reading below, one can clearly conclude that most of the deaths at Lagoon were caused by a patron’s own negligence or recklessness.
In others, riders "tested" their safety restraints, or even tried to exit the ride on their own.
  THREE of the fatalities on rides -- the most of all -- are from the wooden Roller Coaster. Add the worker's death accident on the tracks and that's 4 fatalities from the coaster, making it the park's most dangerous.
Swimming/diving produced Lagoon's most fatalities in its early years. In fact, the Ogden Standard-Examiner on July 29, 1912 stated in an editorial that due to all the drownings at Lagoon, its lake should only be 3 feet deep. It also stressed that more warnings for riders of Lagoon's Scenic Railway ride should be posted, given the ride's turbulent nature.

-Still, a FOX News story in July of 2017 ranked Lagoon as the one of the nation's 11 most dangerous amusement parks, based on its fatal ride accident history.

(Note too that state fair rides and traveling amusement rides are likely far more dangerous than the rides at amusements parks.) 

                                       Lagoon's most dangerous ride?

The accident list below does NOT claim to be a complete history of all accidents at Lagoon. Still, it is likely the most comprehensive list available anywhere.

1.   Henry John Barnes, 50, of Farmington, drowned in about 3 feet of water at Lagoon's Lake on August 3, 1907. He had been drinking and was believed to be intoxicated. His body was not found until the next morning.

2. Herbert Lee Reeder, 19, of Ogden drowned in Lagoon Lake on June 5, 1909. A passenger in a shell-like boat with a friend, Fred Naisbitt, the boat capsized when the two were changing oars. Reeder, who could not swim, sank to the bottom and Naisbitt nearly lost his  own life trying to save him. Others came from shore and also tried to help. The June 6, 1909 Ogden Standard-Examiner article on the accident noted that Lagoon management has made no effort to patrol the lake, to keep it safer.

3.  “Emma Youngquist drowned at Lagoon.”
The young woman was boating on Lagoon Lake with a boyfriend on July 28, 1912, when she decided to change places and row the boat. The young man disagreed with that action, but she stood up anyway, the boat rocked and both fell out. The young woman drowned, her body being found 25 minutes later, 16 feet from shore and in eight feet of water. (-From the Davis County Clipper, 2 Aug. 1912).

4. "Railroad man is killed at Lagoon."  Albert Fulton, 27, a Denver & Rio Grande Railroad employee, died at Lagoon on July 15, 1914 when he struck his head on the bottom of the pool and fractured his skull. Fulton leaped from the Lagoon high dive and hit the water perpendicularly, as he was believed to have slipped off the platform. The depth of the pool water was clearly posted at 6-feet. (Ogden Standard-Examiner, July 16, 1914.)

5 “Earl E.  Logston killed after races.”
Logston of Salt Lake City was killed on the Lagoon racetrack on Sept. 5, 1921 in a vehicle accident. He and a companion were trying to see how fast they could drive around the track, following the day’s official races there. Somehow a light in the car came loose, stuck in the steering gear and caused the car to crash into a fence. A splintered rail struck Logston and instantly killed him. (-From the Davis County Clipper, 9 Sept. 1921.)

6.  "Auto racer at Lagoon Killed." Chris Chioles, 23, died when the race car he was in crashed into a fence around the Lagoon racetrack on July 24, 1922. (Chioles was the vehicle's mechanic.) Charles W. Herman, of Salt Lake City, was driving the vehicle and was injured in the crash. It is believed that a cloud of dust on the track had blocked Herman's vision. (-From the Ogden Standard-Examiner, July 25, 1922.)

7. “Ogden man killed on Dipper at Lagoon.”
George Burt, 19, of Ogden was killed instantly on Saturday, July 26, 1924 when he fell 25 feet from the Dipper roller coaster (today’s wooden roller coaster).
Burt was making his fourth ride of the night and was insistent on standing up during the ride. He eventually lost his balance, slipped out – hung onto the car -- and was dragged 30 feet down one incline and partially up another, before he lost his grip and suffered the fatal fall.
He had a broken neck. (-From the Davis County Clipper, 1 Aug. 1924.)
Note that this coaster at the time likely did not have seat belts.

8-9. “Park City miner meets death at Lagoon July 4”
Tobias Ortiz, a Park City miner and formerly from Santa Fe, New Mexico, died in the Lagoon swimming pool on the afternoon of July 4, 1925.
He leaped from the pool’s high dive and struck his head on the bottom. He was under the water 10 minutes before he was located, pulled out and resuscitation was used unsuccessfully. His neck was not broken, so it is believed that he was stunned under water and drowned.
“This is the second accident of the kind that has occurred there since the diving place has been in use.”  Thus a similar such death from diving happened earlier. (-From the Davis County Clipper, 10 July, 1925.

10. "Rocking boat brings death to young boy." Henry Wright, 15, of Salt Lake City, drowned when horseplay on a boat while fishing on Lagoon Lake knocked him into the water. (-From The Weekly Reflex newspaper of June 30, 1927.

11. “Park City woman accidentally killed at Lagoon.”
Mrs. Luka La Fay Goodfellow, of Park City, died instantly from an accident in the Lagoon Fun house on July 13, 1930.
She was accidentally thrown from the “fun wheel” in the fun house and struck her head against a post. Note that this was the original Lagoon fun house – the one that burned down in the 1950s --  not the later version. (-From the Davis County Clipper, 18 July 1930).

12. Ernest Howe, 21, Ogden, stood up on the roller coaster ride and fell out as made its first turn, dying on impact, with a fractured skull, on Aug. 20, 1934. (-From the Ogden Standard-Examiner, summer of 1989, no exact date of publication available, but author has a copy of the undated article.)

13. Samuel George Marler, 20, of Idaho Falls, Id., died August 17, 1942, from a neck fracture three days after diving into Lagoon's swimming pool. (-From the Weekly Reflex Newspaper of Aug. 20, 1942.)

14. James Young Hess, 23, of Farmington, died from injuries sustained from being stuck by a roller coaster car at Lagoon on Sept. 1, 1946. Hess was hit by the car while working on the ride’s scaffolding. He suffered skull, leg and arm fractures and died later at a Salt Lake hospital. (-From the Deseret News, 13 June 1989).

15. George Marler, 20, a Union Pacific Railroad agent, died at Lagoon on August 16, 1948. Marler was fatally injured when he attempted to dive head first in the shallow part of the park's swimming pool. He fractured his neck and injured his back, later passing away in a Salt Lake hospital. 

16. "Body found at Lagoon." An unidentified man, between the ages of 50-60, was found drowned in the Lagoon Swimming pool by workers. Foul play was not suspected. (-From the Ogden Standard-Examiner, Aug. 4, 1952.) 

17. Ryan Beckstead, 6, of Bountiful, was killed on the “Puff the Little Fire Dragon” ride at Lagoon on April 30, 1989. This mini children’s roller coaster did not malfunction. The ride operator hastily decided to give the riders a second ride and failed to notice that Beckstead – in the rear car -- was already almost out of his seat, believing the ride to be over. Beckstead was tossed out of the ride and stuck in between the tracks. No one – including his father – could reach him before the coaster came back around a second time and struck him on the tracks. (-Deseret News, 1 May 1989). Note that thereafter, Lagoon enhanced the restraints on this ride to hopefully prevent any future such accidents.

18. Kilee King, 13, of Bountiful, died July 9, 1989, after she fell 35 feet from the lead car of the roller coaster ride. She suffered a broken neck and had been trying to “get air” by pushing her legs against the seat of the car as it went over a hill. The result was she was thrown out of the ride’s car. Her lap bar had remained closed, but failed to keep her inside the car. (-From the Deseret News, 13 June 1989). Note that soon after, Lagoon moved all the coaster seats permanently slightly forward, to lessen the chances of this type  accident from happening in the future.

19-24. There have been at least SIX other non-attraction related deaths that happened at Lagoon since 1980:
-Park officials say one person died in the park from a seizure and another from a heart attack.
-A Lagoon employee was also killed in 1981 after she fell off a garbage truck in the parking lot.
-Still another person drowned in the old Lagoon swimming pool after illegally entering the park grounds after hours.
-An Idaho girl was killed when she was struck by a car in the Lagoon parking lot on May 16, 1996.
-A 72-year-old Roy man died from a heart attack at Lagoon on May 17, 2003. A lawsuit later claimed the man did not receive prompt enough emergency care. (-From the Deseret News, 11 June 1989 and also 1 Aug. 2004; plus the Provo Daily Herald, May 20, 1996).

NOTE: Obviously, others likely died of illnesses, etc. at Lagoon over the years, especially before 1980.


-Early April of 1906: Charles Boylin of Farmington, who looked after the grounds and animals at Lagoon, was seriously bitten by a monkey. He suffered a paralysis to both arms initially, but after several weeks recovered full use of his limbs. (From Box Elder News, April 19, 1906.)

-April 22, 1907: Two painters suffered serious injuries when their scaffold fell to the ground after the ropes broke. They had been painting the roof of the Lagoon dance hall, which had been replaced after high winds blew it off last fall. (From the Deseret News April 23, 1907.)

-May 30,1908: Undoubtedly Lagoon's most disastrous opening season day: two injuries, one very serious -- 1. Logan Balderston of Bountiful was seriously injured on Lagoon's scenic railway, when he was thrown out of the car on a turn and fell 40 feet to the ground. He broke his leg, displaced ribs and moved his heart a few inches. Doctors thought he would not survive at first, but he did gradually improve; 2. Leonel Layton of Layton, broke his arm on the park's skating rink. (-From the Davis County Clipper, June 5, 1908.)

-April 28, 1908: Lorin H. Heninger of Ogden, was seriously injured at Lagoon while riding "bumping the bumps," some kind of ride. No other information available. The ride may have been similar to today's "Dodge 'em" car rides. (-From Davis County Clipper, Aug. 28, 1908.) 

-July 24, 1922: Charles W. Herman, of Salt Lake, an auto racer suffered a concussion, cuts and bruises, when a race car he was driving crashed into fence around the Lagoon Race Track. (Chris Chioles, 23, of Salt Lake City, his mechanic, was also in the vehicle and died in the crash.)

-July 14, 1930: Edward Miller, 22, from Pennsylvania, suffered lacerations of the head and a fractured elbow after diving from the high dive at Lagoon's swimming pool. (-From the Weekly Reflex newspaper, July 17, 1930.)

-August 30, 1951: "Train victim, 5, 'poor' in Hospital." Karen Winter, 5, of San Leandro, Calif., suffered a skull fracture, shock, body, head and leg injuries when she stepped into the path of the miniature train at Lagoon. The train was entering the depot and was traveling about 5 mph and was unable to stop. The train had to be turned on its side of remove the injured girl. She had wandered away from her parents just before the accident. (-From the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper of Aug. 31, 1951.)

-June 23, 1958: Carolyn Brain, 15, of Salt Lake City, lost the end of a little finger when it became caught in a flange on the side of slide at the Lagoon Swimming Pool.

-Circa mid-1960s: According to a March 2016 Facebook post by Laurie Capener of Layton -- She was a teen waiting in line for a ride nearby the original Wild Mouse (Then located at the north end of the midway). She said she saw the Wild Mouse malfunction -- "Watched one car not make it up the last hill, while another one rammed the stalled car from behind. Several kids were injured. I would never get on it again."
Apparently no one was seriously injured, but this accident is the source of overblown urban legends that the Wild Mouse jumped off the tracks and some riders were killed.

-April 20, 1968: Danny Smith, 12, of Bountiful, was critically injured when he fell from a swing at Lagoon and the swing struck him in the head. The accident happened when the park was not open. (-From the Salt Lake Tribune, April 21, 1968.)

-June 27, 1968: Six riders were treated for injuries and released after an arm of the Octopus ride fell to the ground. One of the main pivet pins on the ride sheared off, causing the crash. No one was serious hurt. This ride was taken out of Lagoon for good, soon after.

-June 11, 1983: A Lagoon employee, Shauna B. Lassen of Clearfield, lost her left arm after it was severed by the Fire Dragon ride as it raced by.

-June 20, 1983: Bart Page, 16, of Centerville, a teenage worker at Lagoon, lost his right foot when it became caught in the control mechanism for the Tilt-A-Whirl ride. Page somehow pushed his foot through a narrow slot, where it was crushed. (-From the Provo Daily Herald, June 21`, 1983.)

-1984: Two children were injured when the kid's Helicopter ride plunged to the ground. A lawsuit followed. 
 -1987: A Pittsburgh, Penn. Woman said she was injured on the Jet Star II ride, when it came to an abrupt halt. Also, in 1987, a Ketchum, Id. man said he was hurt when a Jet Star II car struck his car from behind.

-June 19, 1989: "Bad wire shocks Lagoon visitors, one employee." A faulty wire at a coin-operated basketball game at Lagoon caused a minor electrical shock to four patrons and one park employee. The short circuit sent 110 volts of electricity into a metal fence behind the game and that's where the 5 people were shocked. (From the Provo Daily Herald, June 20, 1989.)

-1990s: A young girl suffered a serious ankle injury when the Sky Ride struck her as she exited the attraction. She required multiple surgeries to repair a torn Achilles tendon and also reportedly received more than $100,000 in a settlement from a lawsuit.

 -June 10, 1991: A cross board on the Lagoon roller coaster (2X6 feet) came loose and broke the arm of an Elko. Nev. teenager, Frank Greco, 18, who was riding at the time and it struck him from overhead as the coaster car went by.

 -August 1996:  A 16-year-old Centerville girl, working at Lagoon, was bit in the arm by a cougar at the Lagoon Zoo. The animal was euthanized later, to check if it had rabies, or other diseases.

   - July 3, 2000: A Layton man injured a finger and his arm in “The Drop” water slide at Lagoon-Beach.

    -Sept. 2000: A South Jordan man injured his knee after crashing into the end of the pool of “The Drop” ride in Lagoon-A-Beach’s water slide area. (This was at least the third injury that resulted in a lawsuit against Lagoon on the “Drop” slide.)

-August 9, 2001: A freak accident on the Scamper, a children’s bumper car ride, frightened but did not hurt a male rider, age 6. A pole at the top of one of the ride's cars shorted out, produced an arc of electricity and caused a heavy piece of metal about 1 1/2 inches long to heat up and fall onto the seat next to the boy. 

-Summer of 2002: Jessica Jackson was riding the Jet Star 2, with a mother, aunt and cousin. The brakes on the incoming car behind them malfunctioned and struck their car. She and most of her group suffered some minor injuries from the crash,

-2012: An elderly man shattered his leg in a fall getting off the Dracula's Castle ride. He apparently could not exit the ride quickly enough, before the next ride car came around the corner and bumped him to the ground.


-"Shooting at Lagoon. Bartender Alexander has encounter with thieves. They wanted free beer" in 1897. In just its second year at its current location, Lagoon had a shootout at its saloon. Alexander "order then to throw up their hands, but they fired six shots at him instead -- It was dark and their aim was poor -- One bullet out of the six fired at him took effect, lodging in his arm -- Will not be able to mix drinks for a few days to come" -- as quoted from the Salt Lake Tribune of June 17, 1897. The men ran away after the shooting.

-"Sixteen-year-old boy arrested for trying to wreck Lagoon Train" in 1903. Charles Fowler of Salt Lake was arrested after it was determined that he tried three times to derail the miniature train at Lagoon. He placed obstructions on the train tracks. (From the Salt Lake Herald newspaper of Aug. 26, 1903.)

- Lagoon's Foreign Spy/Bomb plot incident in 1917:
Lagoon has also had some very weird happenings over the decades.
How about a foreign spy and a bomb plot?
“Dancing master proves to be spy; Man who taught dancing at The Lagoon tried to blow up pavilion on Soldiers’ Day,” was the headline in the Sept, 7, 1917 Davis County Clipper.
“The professor who had been teaching dancing at Lagoon has turned out to be a German spy,” that article stated.
The bomb didn't off, but if it did, dozens could have been killed, or injured.
It was reported that the professor disappeared, but was later captured and imprisoned in the prisoner’s camp at Fort Douglas.
The newspaper stated that rumors were also circulating that the spy had already been convicted and executed.
The article also reported that another German, who had been living with a family in Centerville, had also been arrested as a spy and sent to Fort Douglas.

-"Man arrested for beating up girl at Lagoon May 30." Blanche Price of Salt Lake Citywas beaten up and robbed by Roy Thomas, 19, of Salt Lake City on May 30, 1930. He attacked her in the parking lot, stole an automobile and fled to Ely, Nevada. He was arrested after he returned to Salt Lake. (-From the Weekly Reflex newspaper of June 5, 1930.)

-"Four arrested for burglary" in 1934. Four teenagers from out-of-state were arrested at Lagoon on Nov. 18, 1934, for trying to smash open penny arcade machines. The youths caused at estimated $1,000 in damages to 25 acrade machines, as well as to smashed odors, tables and cash registers. (From the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper of Nov. 20, 1934.)

-"Thugs bind guard, get Lagoon cash" in 1950. Two experienced criminals escaped with up to $5,000 after they bound and gagged a night watchman in the Lagoon office at about 4 a.m. on June 5, 1950. The masked robbers took all the cash they could find, including pennies. They were never caught. (-From the Ogden Standard-Examiner newspaper of June 5, 1950.)

-"Davis nabs two juveniles on wounding of woman" in  May of 1951. Two boys, ages 12 and 13, were shooting a .22 caliber rifle about two blocks east of Lagoon. One of their wild shots struck Janice Coombs Hansen, 19, of Salt Lake City, in the left shoulder while she was standing  north of the Lagoon Swimming Pool. (-From the Salt Lake Tribune of May 22, 1951.)

-"Shots fail to stop youths after Lagoon car crash" in 1951. A Farmington Deputy Marshall fired four shots at two 16-year-old youths at Lagoon on August 9, 1951, after they raced away after striking another car in the Lagoon Parking Lot. The two teenagers had tried to enter Lagoon without paying and that began their run. Their car stalled in Farmington Canyon and they were arrested walking back to town. The same two youths had been referred to juvenile court a week earlier for public intoxication at Lagoon. (-From the Salt Lake Tribune of August 28, 1951.)

 - June 15, 1991: Three teenage boys were stabbed during a fight at Lagoon. This was not gang related.


Here are a few examples of some past lawsuits, likely a fraction of what actually happened, since most modern lawsuits are likely settled privately:

-Summer of 1908: Lizzie W. Priestly sued Lagoon after stepped in a hole near a grandstand for a baseball game at Lagoon and suffered lasting injuries.
-March 1926: Franklin H. Mitchell tried to sue Lagoon for $10,000 (almost $134,000 in today's dollars) when he fractured his skull when a water toboggan struck him in the Lagoon Swimming pool. The jury decided the Mitchell was negligent by being in that area of the pool and the case was dismissed.
-November 1926: Bessie Wintercloud tried to sue Lagoon after a board on the dancing floor caused her to trip, causing leg injuries. This case was quickly settled outside of court.


 Here are a few examples of malfunctions that occasionally happen on Lagoon rides, usually only causing delays and inconvenience …
  - July 24, 1999: The Skyscraper ride malfunctioned and its brakes temporarily stopped working. The ride continued about an extra 25 minutes before it was finally stopped. Some passengers loved the extra long ride with a view; others felt trapped. No injuries.

 -July 1, 2002: The Roll-o-Plane ride malfunctioned and left eight passengers stuck and stranded on the ride for 30 minutes. No one was injured.

-Oct. 14, 2002: The Samurai rode broke and left 28 riders trapped in the cold and in an upright position for one hour and 45 minutes.


Lagoon Chronology, Facts and Attraction Summaries:

1. A Chronological
order of attractions at Lagoon

(Sources: Lagoon press material, Deseret Morning News

Fun house
Dance Pavilion
Row boating
Swimming in Lagoon Lake
Rockets over the lake.
Horse racing
Wooden Roller Coaster
Pool cemented
Lagoon Dipper
Aeroplane Swing
Lagoon closed during World War II.
Lagoon leased from the Bamberger estate by the Lagoon Corp. and opens in June.
Cafe and tavern
Swim entrance
The Ghost Train
Sky Ride
New front entrance
Swim building
Baseball Darts
Picnic arrangements made
Swimming pool remodeled
Dressing rooms for pool
Fun House remodeled
Lakeshore Express
Dodgem Cars
Shooting Gallery
Balloon race
Roman Target
Rex Mckean and Chef Harmon Walker
Bamberger train ceases operations to Lagoon
Ferris Wheel added; a fire in October destroys the west midway, the old Fun House, dancing pavilion and the front of the wooden roller coaster.
Patio Garden
New cars for Roller Coaster
Tilt-a-Whirl, new version
Spook House
Lakeshore Express Train
Kiddie Planes
Shooting Gallery revised
Spill-the-Milk game
Poker Darts
Shoot-til-U-Win game
Candy Race TrackLite-the-Lite
Prize Center
Patio room
New Terrace
New Fun House
Reduced ticket rates
Space Scrambler
Spook House
Shooting Gallery revised
Enlarged Patio room
New Tap room
I.Q. Zoo
Golf Fun
Bulgy the Whale ride (Estimate of arrival year, As no records give any exact date.)
Shooting Water game
Baby boat ride
European Carousel
Spin-a-Picture game
Hi-Striker game
Spiral slide in Fun House
Flying Swings
Basketball Toss game
Pop-in-Ball game
Hi-Land Playland
Flying Aces
Popcorn Wagon
Wild Mouse (wood)
Julian M. Bamberger Fountain
Auto Scooter
Picnic Train
Haunted Shack
Animaland Train.
Lagoon Opera House
Opera House Square
Flying Saucer
Roller skating
Paddle Boats
Wilder Wild Mouse
Sky Ride
Dracula's Castle
Deer Farm
Pioneer Village
Jet Star II
Log Flume
Acapulco High Divers
Junior Speedway
Tidal Wave
New entrance
All-day Passports premiere
$2 entrance fee begins
Putter Around the Park Golf
Carousel Square
Wac-a-Mole game
Musik Express
Flying Elephants
Lagon Music Theatre
Super Shifter
Fire Dragon CoasterMoonraker
Coke Plaza
Village Green Stage remodeled
Red Baron
Carousel Stage remodeled
Entryway cemented
Spring floods cause minor damage to park
Puff a Little Fire Dragon coaster
Mother Gooseland remodeled
Tin Can Alley
Leap Frog
New metal warehouse built by I-15
Flying Carpet
Flying Acres return
Last season for Rockets over the Lake ride
Centennial Screamer
Turn of the Century.
Carousel Amphitheater
Last season for swimming pool
Sun 'n' Fun Theatre
High Diving/Sea Lion show
Pig Races
Final regular season for Opera House shows
Last season for the Fun House
Last year for Tri-Star, Ferris Wheel and old Wild Mouse
Trolley service begins to Lagoon by UTA from downtown Farmington
The Skyscraper
Wacky Wire
International High Diving show
Midway widened
Lagoon Lane is re-routed; east employee entrance closes
Disabled access is improved to many rides
New auto gate/parking lot
Lagoon on IceLagoon-A-Beach expansion
Boat Tag
Old Fishing Hole
Employee entrance opens
Hydro Luge
Annual fireworks shows begin on July 4/24
New game pavilion
Frightmares begins
Top Eliminator
Last year for Stagecoach Ride
Rattlesnake Rapids
Wild Mouse
Lagoon trail opens
First Lagoon Web site appears
Lagoon gains an electronic billboard out front.
The Rocket
Peak Exposure climbing wall
Last season for Flying Carpet
Double Thunder Raceway
Final season for Senior Speedway cars
Spider ride
Central Fountain opens
Lake Park Terrace removed
The Bat ride
Final season for Roll-o-Plane
Dinosaur Drop
Ladybug Drop
Lagoon gets a fancier electronic billboard
2007: Wicked roller coaster
Dracula’s Castle and Terroride are refurbished
Tidal Wave is re-themed and re-painted.
2008: OdySea.
Last season for Putter Around the Park.
2009: Jumping Dragon
2010: No new ride.
2011: BomBora
2012: Air Race
Final season for Top Eliminator dragster ride
2013: Tipsey Tea Cups and Red rock Rally.
2014: No new attractions.
2015: Cannibal roller coaster.
2016: No new attractions
2017: Terroride is revamped
2019: A beer garden, the Lagoon Biergarten is added -- 2 Bavarian themed restaurants where Music USA Theater used to be (south of the Wooden Roller Coaster).


10 things Lagoon has that Disneyland doesn't

(From Deseret Morning News, By Lynn Arave, June 3, 2005)

 Lagoon's not Disneyland and doesn't try to be like the Anaheim, Calif. attraction. Lagoon is a family style theme park and entertainment center that's local and caters mostly to those
with a single day to spend for an outing.
 The Farmington Park is more than twice as old as Disneyland and was one of America's first-ever amusement parks.
 Although comparing Lagoon and Disneyland is an "apples to oranges" kind of pairing, here are a score of things Lagoon has that Disney doesn't:
1. Food and drink CAN be taken into Lagoon.
2. A water park, Lagoon-A-Beach.
3. A historic, "Pioneer Village."
4. Various ticket discounts abound. Disney has none.
5. A wooden, old-style roller coaster.
6. A small zoo.
7. A big, seasonal Halloween event, "Frightmares."
8. Plenty of picnic tables, pavilions and lawn to enjoy.
9. Carnival games.
10. An "off-season," April in particular, is very uncrowded.
Ten Essential Tips for A Great visit to Lagoon:

1. Never wear just sandals or open-toed shoes to the park, unless you absolutely don’t plan on doing any rides. Some rides require solid shoes and it is plain safer with good shoes.
2. Look for discounts for admission At almost any time you can find a reduced admission available.
3. Consider season passports, if you will visit Lagoon more than three times. Passports pay for themselves after that. A season parking pass may also be an economical choice.
4. Remember you can take picnic food into Lagoon. Take snacks or lunches.
5. Take extra towels and a change of clothes along in your car for any young kids you have. That’s because they may get soaked playing at Lagoon’s central fountain.
6. Arrive early in the morning, when the park opens. That’s when lines are shortest. Do your favorite rides first. Have a plan or priorities.
7. Visit Pioneer Village, or see Lagoon’s shows when lines peak in the mid-afternoon until evening time.
8. For families who split up, specify a time and location to meet, or you may walk yourself silly trying to locate missing family  members.
9. Measure kids in advance, or outside the entrance gate, where there are height boards.
Make sure young kids know in advance if they won’t be tall enough for a particular ride.
10. Have jackets handy, especially in the early and late season, as there’s little worse than being cold riding a windy ride.

Listing of who's played at Lagoon:

(Source: Lagoon press materials).

Al Donahue - 1950.
Allan Sherman 1965.
Alvino Rey - 1951.
Andy Williams - 1960.
Anson Weeks - 1950.
Benny Strong - 1952, 1953.
Bill Haley and the Comets - 1962.
Billy Eckstein - 1957.
Beau Brummels - 1966.
Blue Barron - 1951.
Bobby Lee - 1957.
Bobby Vinton - 1964.
Brenda Lee - 1961.
Bryan Hyland - 1969.
Buck Owens - 1967.
Charlie Barnet Orchestra* - 1950.
(with 'Doc' Secerinson).
Chubby Checker - 1988.
Connie Francis - 1961.
Count Basie - 1951, 1954, 1956, 1958, 1965, 1988.
Dan Seals - 1988.
Dave Brubeck - 1955, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1962.
Dell Bush - 1948.
Don McLean - 1986.
Duke Ellington - 1955, 1956, 1960.
Eddie Brendt - 1951.
Ella Fitzgerald - 1949, 1960, 1961, 1962,
Errol Garner - 1962.
Evil Knievel - 1972.
Fats Domino - 1957, 1959, 1961, 1965.
Four Freshmen - 1957-1961, 1963, 1964, 1966-1968.
Fran Warren - 1952.
Frankie Avalon - 1963, 1964.
Frankie Carle - 1955.
Frankie Laine - 1961, 1962.
Frankie Masters - 1948.
Gary Lewis & the Playboys - 1966.
Gene Krupa - 1950.
George Engar Orchestra - 1951, 1952, 1954.
George Gobel - 1962.
George Hamilton IV - 1958.
George Scott - 1960.
George Shearing - 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962.Glen Campbell - 1968.
Glen Henry - 1950, 1951.
Glen Yarbrough - 1965, 1967.
Guy Williams - 1960.
Hank Thompson - 1958, 1966.
Harper's Bazaar - 1968.
Harry James w/Buddy Rich - 1952, 1956, 1960.
Henry Busse - 1952, 1954.
Herman's Hermits - 1966-1968, 1986.
Jan and Dean - 1964.
Jan Garber - 1954.
Janis Joplin - 1968.
Jefferson Airplane - 1968.
Jerry Fielding - 1954.
Jerry Gray - 1950.
Jimi Hendrix - 1968.
Joe Reichman - 1948.
Johnny Cash -1959-1960, 1961 (2 appearances), 1962-1964; 1965-1968.
Johnny Mathis - 1960-1962, 1964,1965.
Johnny Ray - 1953.
Joni James - 1953.
June Christy - 1961.
Les Brown - 1954, 1956-1961.
Les Elgart - 1957.
Les Paul and Mary Ford - 1960.
Lillian Roth - 1956.
Lionel Cartwright - 1990.
Lionel Hampton - 1950-1952; 1955, 1964.
Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong - 1955-1957, 1960, 1963-1966.
Louis Jordan
Mama's and the Pappa's - 1988.
Martin Denny - 1963.
Martin Robbins - 1961.
Minnie Pearl - 1968.
Mel Hall and his Orchestra - 1959.
Mel Torme - 1956.
Mert Draper & His "Orchestra - 1951.
Mitch Ryder - 1967.
Mojo Men - 1967.
Nat 'King' Cole - 1958-1959; 1962.
Nelson Riddle & Orchestra - 1958.
Page Cavanaugh - 1951.
Pat Boone - 1961.
Paul and Paula - 1964.
Paul Casey as Elvin - 1989-1990.
Paul Revere & the Raiders - 1965-1969; 1986.
Peter and Gordon - 1964.
Peter, Paul and Mary - 1962.
Ralph Flanagan - 1956.Ray Anthony - 1959.
Ray Charles - 1963, 1966.
Red Nichols & his Five Pennies - 1948, 1957, 1959.
Roy Clark - 1968-1969.
San the Sham & the Pharoahs - 1968.
Sarah Baughn - 1949.
Sauter-Finegan - 1955.
Sergio Mendes & Brasil - 1966-1967.
Shep Fields & his Orchestra - 1948.
Shangri-Las - 1965.
Skinnay Ennis - 1954-1955.
Shelly Manne & his Orchestra - 1958.
Sopwith Camel - 1967.
Sothern Pacific - 1988.
Spike Jones - 1949, 1951, 1953-1954.
Stewart Grow Orchestra - 1951-1952.
Strawberry Alarm Clock - 1968.
Stan Kenton - 1948, 1957,1958, 1962.
T. Texas Tyler - 1950.
Tex Beneke - 1952-1953.
The Ames Brothers - 1954, 1958-1959.
The Animals - 1966, 1968.
The Artie Shaw Orchestra - 1988.
The Association - 1967-1968.
The Beach Boys - 1963=1966; 1968-1970.
The Bossmen - 1967.
The Brothers Four - 1960, 1965.
The Buckinghams - 1967, 1986.
The Crosby Brothers - 1962.
The Dave Clark Five - 1966.
The Doors - 1967-1968.
The Electric Prunes - 1967.
The Everly Brothers - 1958-1959; 1961-1968.
The Four Aces - 1958.
The Four Coins - 1955, 1958.
The Four Knights - 1956-1958.
The For Lads - 1963.
The Four Preps - 1962, 1964, a966.
The Gaylords - 1955-1958.
The Glenn Miller Orchestra - 1958-1960, 1989.
The Harmonicals - 1962.
The Ink Spots - 1956.
The Kingston Trio - 1959-1967.
The Lennon Sisters - 1960.
The Lettermen - 1962, 1964.
The Limeliters - 1961, 1963.
The Mills Brothers - 1960, 1962.
The Mimmy Doresey Orchestra – 1960
The Modernaires - 1948.The Monkees - 1968, 1986.
The Mothers of Invention - 1968.
The New Christy Minstrels - 1963-1965.
The Osmonds - 1965.
The Platters - 1962, 1968.
The Righteous Brothers - 1965.
The Rolling Stones - 1966.
The Sandpipers - 1967.
The Smothers Brothers - 1964.
The Spiral Staircase - 1969.
The Statler Brothers - 1965.
The Three Stooges - 1960.
The Turtles - 1967, 1986.
The Young Americans - 1965.
The Who, 1967.
Three Dog Night - 1988.
Tommy and jimmy Sorsey – 1953
Tommy Roe - 1969.
Tony Angelo - 1990.
Tony Pastor - 1947, 1955.
We Five - 1966.
Woody Herman - 1955-1956, 1963, 198
Lagoon Attractions listing:

What are Lagoon's oldest rides? Here's a ranking:

1. Carousel ("Merry-go-Round) 1906 (built in 1893).
2. Wooden Roller Coaster, 1921 (All wood replaced over years and other upgrades)
3. Tilt-A-Whirl, 1954.
4. Rock-o-Plane, 1954.
5. Sky figher ("Kiddie Planes"), 1954.
6. Space Scrambler, 1951.
7. Baby boats, 1962
8. Bulgy the Whale, 1962.
9. Helicopters, 1963.
10. Flying Aces, 1964.
11. Paratropper, 1966.
12. Animaland Train ("Wild Kingdom Train") 1967.
13. Terroride, 1967.
14. Dracula's Castle, 1974.
15. Sky Ride, 1974.
16. Pioneer Village, 1976
17. Log Flume, 1976.
18. Jet Star 2, 1976
19. Bommerang, 1977.
20. Scamper, 1977.
21. Speedway Jr., 1978.22. Tidal Wave, 1980.
22. Tidal Wave, 1980.
23. *Putter Around the Park (golf) 1981.
24. Musik Express, 1982.
25. Fire Dragon coaster, 1983.
26. Moonraker, 1983.
27. Red Baron, 1984.
28. Puff, Little Fire Dragon coaster, 1985.
29. Scallywager, 1986.
30. Centennial Screarmer, 1987.
31. Turn of the Century, 1987.
32. Lagoon-A-Beach, 1989.
33. Skyscraper, 1991.
34. Hydro Luge, 1994.
35. Skycoaster, 1995.
36. Frightmares begins, 1995
37. *Top Eliminator, 1996.
38. Rattlesnake Rapids, 1997.
39. Wild Mouse, 1998.
40. Rocket, 1999.
41. *Peak Exposure, 1999.
42. Double Thunder Raceway, 2000.
43. Samurai, 2000.
44. Cliffhanger, 2001.
45. Catapult, 2002.
46. Spider, 2003.
47. Dragonfly, 2004.
48. Kontiki, 2004.
49. Central Fountain, 2004,
50. Bat, 2005
51. Ladybug Drop, 2006.
52. Dinosaur Drop, 2006.
53. Wicked, 2007.
*This ride has now been taken out and is no longer at Lagoon.

A Summary/Highlights of Lagoon’s attractions, from the oldest to the Newest:

1. Carousel ("Merry-go-Round"), arrived in 1906, built in 1893.
   It's certainly not the fastest, the largest or the most popular ride at Lagoon. But the carousel is the oldest, most artistic, best restored - and perhaps the most universal - attraction at this theme park among more than three dozen rides.
  This remarkable, priceless work of Victorian art was built in 1893 by the Hershell-Spillman Co., the carousel was purchased by Lagoon in 1906. It has been around for all but the first
seven of the park's seasons.Although there were as many as 3,000 of these "flying horses" built in the golden age of
wooden carousels, it is estimated that fewer than 175 are still operating today, and this is the only one left in Utah.
  The carousel is a favorite among the youngest of children because it is non-threatening, and parents can stand right next to the kids at all times, if they wish. Even some babes-in-arms, with parental help, occasionally ride.
  The carousel is one of only two Lagoon rides (the Wild Kingdom train being the other) that all ages, from the very young to senior citizens, can enjoy regularly.
  Optional safety belts are also available, and some of the animals remain stationary. The signature carousel music creates a carnival atmosphere. Lagoon regulations say those from 36 inches up can ride alone; shorter riders need adult supervision.
   The craftsmanship of the carousel's figures can be more thrilling than the ride, which never exceeds 10 mph.
  One reason wooden carousels are so rare today is that each hand-carved animal can be sold separately for as much as $10,000-$50,000 each. As early as the 1920s, manufacturers began using aluminum parts instead of wood. Lagoon's carousel features 47 animals carved from many pieces of wood laminated together with pegs and glue. Poplar and bass were the most common woods used, and finish work on each animal would take a carver 40 to 60 hours.
  The animals on this carousel are maintained by Lori Capener, Lagoon's art director. Once a wooden animal is sold, it can be replaced with a fiberglass one, but Capener said that Lagoon
has always tried to preserve its carousel, painting and repairing only as necessary over the years.
  Lagoon undertook a major restoration of its merry-go-round in 1993 to celebrate the park's centennial. It also added new paint during the past year. Capener said she has spent thousands of hours during the past decade repainting the animals.
In 1953, Lagoon almost lost the attraction in a huge fire that destroyed half the park. Only a steady stream of water saved the carousel as flames came within 15 feet.
  "Everyone loves the carousel," Capener said. "It's pretty unique. Even teenagers ride it.
  People just don't realize what they're riding on."
  The carousel features quite a menagerie - there's a chicken, swan, snail, lion, tiger, a frog in short pants and a bow tie, a sea dragon, a long-horned goat, a zebra without a saddle, a sleeping baby with a bouquet of flowers nestled in the folds of a fabric sling held by a stork, a lion and giraffe and many others. Some of the figures have glass eyes and are decorated with "jewels" on the trappings.
  The carousel also has a "spinning love tub" and a "Victorian rocker" - both of which are among the first seats to be taken.

2. Wooden Roller Coaster, 1921**
**All wood replaced over the years and other upgrades made too --
  After many decades, the Wooden Roller Coaster remains one of Lagoon's most popular attractions - and one you'll still see people race to in order to get in line.
  Built in 1921 and designed by John Miller - who also created coasters at Coney Island - the ride has been totally replaced with new wood and other materials over the years. However,
the concept of the ride remains the same. The wood coaster has a rickety feel with "more give" than a modern steel coaster.As the park's second-oldest ride (only the Carousel is older), this coaster is also represents a rite of passage for young riders. For example, you have to at least 46 inches to ride the coaster - with a responsible adult. Those taller than 50 inches can ride without an escort.
Based on the lines for the ride, the front and the rear seats are the most popular. The front seat offers an unrestricted view and extra thrills going up the hills. The rear seat is wildest on the downhill segments. It is well worth waiting longer in line, for the front, or rear seats!
  Since Saltair's famed wooden roller coaster closed decades ago, Lagoon has the only major wooden coaster in the Intermountain West.
  Lagoon's coaster is believed to be the third-oldest such coaster in the United States and the sixth-oldest in the world.
According to, an unofficial source of park news, the original name of Lagoon's first major thrill ride was "Giant Coaster" in 1921. By 1929, the named had changed
to "Lagoon Dipper." By 1954, when the ride was rebuilt after a fire in 1953 that destroyed the front half of the coaster, its name became simply "Roller Coaster."
  "This ride is a must for every coaster enthusiast and park guest. It's a great ride for anyone!" the Web site states.
  The roller coaster track is walked daily before it opens to ensure safety. Modern computer controls also enhance the safety. Lagoon usually has four or more operators for this ride, and because much of the wooden track is replaced each year, only the original flavor and design of the ride remains after more than eight decades.    Otherwise, all of the wood is newer.
  Also, as of 2005, Lagoon decided it was not going to keep painting the roller coaster. It has used white paint on the ride for decades but decided in 2005 that it is going to let the wood age naturally and create a more rustic look. Hence, the "white roller coaster" will no longer be white.
The coaster has a top speed of 45 mph over a 2,500-foot track that peaks at a 60-foot-high hill.
Ride capacity is 24 riders per train, four cars, with six passengers in each section. Total capacity per hour is 1,920 passengers.
The ride length is one minute and 56 seconds.

3. Tilt-A-Whirl, 1954.
  Sometimes low tech can't be beat, and that's certainly the case with Lagoon's Tilt-a-Whirl ride.
  This attraction has been around in its current form since 1954, and earlier versions date back to 1929.This classic amusement ride is an old-time pleasure that many overlook, because it does look so old-fashioned and may not be that appealing - at least until you try it.
  First of all, this ride is one where you control the action to a high degree. If you or your party slide left, that's where the spinning action will eventually go. This ride can spin so well in fact, that you may find yourself with a gravity "high" and become almost magnetized to the cushion behind you.
  There are seven recently refurbished cars on this ride. Single riders are accepted, but this is one of those attractions where two or three riders are best. Solo riders usually can't generate enough spinning action.
 Probably no more than four people can cram into this ride.
The cars follow a circular pattern, and if that's all the thrill you want, there is no extra spinning action for individual cars - if you stay balanced and don't shift the car's weight.
  However, lean or "tilt" and when the whole ride tilts that way, you will spin quickly out of control in a dizzying fashion.
  Riders can quickly know what dizzy means if they get their own car spinning enough.
  Through trial and error, riders learn the best way to maximize their thrill here.
Riders must be at least 46 inches to ride alone. Those under that height need a responsible person along. This is a suitable ride for young kids to go along with parents.
  Another good aspect of this ride is that a lot of the time, the lines for this ride aren't that long.
  The actual ride lasts about only 90 seconds, and loading and unloading moves fairly quickly.
  Even when the line may appear long, it moves quickly.
The Tilt-a-Whirl is located at the north end of the midway, just west of the north end of the Skyride and opposite the Space Scrambler and Boomerang Bumper Cars.
  Red, yellow and purple are the rides' colors now, but they have had other colors over the years. Each car varies in its spin ability.

4. Rock-o-Plane, 1954.
  There aren't too many rides at Lagoon you can control, but the Rock-o-Plane is one of them.
  It's a low capacity ride, 16 riders at a time, but you decide whether or not you want to go upside down. Pull the handle back and you may go upside down at the top of the ride.
  Motion lovers can rock and add extra thrills to this traditional favorite at Lagoon.
  This is also a ride where you don't want loose items in your pocket - they may fall out.
  Otherwise, if you don't go upside down, it's a kind of enclosed Ferris Wheel type of circular ride.The ride was built by Eyerly Aircraft in 1954, but Lagoon has done well at keeping it repainted and in good, safe working order.
  Height restrictions are for guests between 36 inches and 46 inches in height, who must be accompanied by a responsible person.    Guests under 36 inches in height may not ride.

5. Sky fighter ("Kiddie Planes"), 1954.
  Sixteen different kids can ride this attraction at one time.
The Skyfighter opened in 1954 it was known as the "Kiddie Planes." Kids can sit facing either forward or backward in planes that have little noise maker guns. Unlike some of the
other rides where kids can make the car go up and down this one goes up and stays up for the duration of the ride.
  The Alan Herchell Company built the ride and it is the oldest kids' ride in the part.
  Height restrictions: Guests over 54 inches in height may not ride.

6. Space Scrambler, 1961.
  Located at the north end of the midway, the Space Scrambler does exactly as the name suggests - it rotates at high speeds with gradual to extreme centrifugal forces.
  Some little kids can get squashed, if they sit opposite of where the G-forces are going to make an adult gravitate to.
  It is also kind of a fascinating ride in that there's an illusion that the various arms of the Scrambler are going to collide. In reality, they can't, but it appears otherwise.
 This is a very windy kind of ride, that can mess up your hair, but it offers a thrill that's unique to the park.
Height restrictions: Guests between 36" and 46" in height must be accompanied by a responsible person. Guests under 36 inches in height may not ride.

7. Baby boats, 1962.
  This is likely the most mild kid's ride at Lagoon. There's little physical thrill here, just the joy of kids being in their own little boat and having an old style little bell to ring at will.
  Baby Boats consists of seven small boats being tugged around a shallow water trough built into the ground.
  The Allan Herschel Company created the ride and guests can't be over 46 inches in height to ride it.

8. Bulgy the Whale, 1962.
  The mystery with this ride is when it actually arrived at Lagoon.   The park's records don't mention and exact year.
Bulgy the Whale is a classic up and down ride, fun for children of all ages. Children travel around in circles while riding the waves in vehicles shaped like whales.
   In reality, the "whales" never leave the ground. They ride the dips of a track, covered behind a curtain, creating a mild ride experience for little ones. The ride has been re-painted many times over the decades. Built by Eyerly Aircraft, riders have to be under 65 inches tall.

9. Helicopters, 1963.
  Helicopters have been giving children the excitement flying since 1963. Helicopters travel around in circles while allowing the rider to control the up and down action with a lever.
  Built by the Alan Herschel Company, riders have to be under 54 inches tall. In 2007, Lagoon added some helicopter rotor sounds through a system of speakers around the ride, adding to the illusion of being in a real helicopter.

10. Flying Aces, 1964.
  Flying Aces was first introduced to Lagoon in 1964. When the midway was reconfigured in the early 1980s, the ride was dismantled and put in storage for a few years.
  In 1986 it returned as the "Flying Aces", with 10 new World War I themed planes at the north end of the midway. Guest are able to control the planes with a fin, while reaching heights of
up to 25 feet as the ride spins. You can fly on the inside with the fin in, or pull the fin out and catch the breeze and go far outside a circular path for extra excitement.
  This is definitely the windiest ride in the park and can handle solo or double riders.
  The ride can only seat a maximum of 20 riders at the time, but lines move quickly.
  Height restrictions: Riders under 46 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person.

11. Paratrooper, 1966.
   Located on the north end of the midway, this is another "low tech" kind of ride. It was a risque kind of ride for its time of the 1960s, since a rider's legs dangled and added to the sensation of flying. The ride reaches a maximum height of 25 feet.
Imagine a Ferris Wheel at an angle. As the ride picks up speed Paratroopers repeatedly give the riders butterflies as they experience the feeling of parachuting.
  Basically, the ride has separate "parachute" seats and then rotates around on an arc shaped angle. Two adults fit perfect in each chair and one adult and two small children can also fit in
a single chair.One drawback to the ride is that it can be a bit of a leap - especially for shorter riders - to get into the ride chair.
  Height restrictions: Guests under 46 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person.

12. Animaland Train ("Wild Kingdom Train") 1967.
  Lagoon has one of the only three zoos in Utah and this ride is the best access for the second-largest one.
  The ride started in 1967 as Animaland Train and was re-configured in 1976 when Pioneer Village opened it was renamed.
The Wild Kingdom Train continues the memory of Lagoon being a stop on the old Bamberger Train line. The steam train travels guest around the lagoon with spectacular views of scenery and exotic animals.
  With animals like Siberian Tigers, a Golden Eagle, Zebras, Camels, and Bears the Wild Kingdom train gives and experience unlike most amusement parks, train ride.
  The train ride blocks off access to the Tidal Wave and Turn of the Century when it begins its run, goes through one tunnel and then is in the heart of the zoo. Lagoon has two steam train it
can operate and the ride averages about seven minutes long, but varies, depending on the speed of the engineer.
  This is the one pure family ride in all of Lagoon. There are zero age or height restrictions here and the ride circles Lagoon's historic lake.

13. Terroride, 1967.
  It's Halloween all the time with this attraction. Ahead of its time, the ride opened in 1967. It has seven coaches and can carry 2-3 riders each. Skirting the edge of the old Fun House, the
track winds its way through various scary exhibits during its three-minute automated journey.
  This ride has remained largely unchanged, frightening new comers and allowing repeat visitors to relive memories and brace for one last surprise before the end of the ride. The Terroide did receive a face-lift in 2007.
  Height restrictions: Guests under 36 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person.

14. Dracula's Castle, 1974.
This ride arrived seven years after the Terroide and attempted to modernize and expand on that scary ride idea.
It's cars are much deeper that those on the Terroride, to better keep its passengers from sticking their arms out.Capacity per car is two to three passengers each, for the two minute and 30 second ride.
There are darkened hallways, with apparitions and surprises around every corner. At the end of the ride, each car is threatened with a waterfall, but the flow shuts off before a car reaches it.
To note is the elaborate cement design work at the front of the ride.
Height restrictions: Riders under 36 inches must be accompanied by a responsible person.

15. Sky Ride, 1974.
  Sky Ride is Lagoon's only transport ride. Similar to a ski lift, Sky Ride conveys guests to/from the north or south end of the Midway or vice versa. Sky Ride provides spectacular
views of Lagoon's midway, rides, gardens and fountains.
  The ride reaches a maximum height of 60 feet and is probably about a quarter mile in length.
  Coach Capacity: two adults or three kids. There are 59 total coaches along the ride's cable.
  Riders have to be able to take a slight leap onto the moving coach and also to get off it at the other end. At times, the ride will stop, if there is a loading problem, giving passengers a longer time to enjoy the bird's-eye view of the park.
  The ride only relies on a lap bar and so young children need supervised on this attraction.
  Disneyland took its similar ride out of commission in the early 1990s, because of a rider accident, but so far Lagoon has fared better.
  Height restrictions: Guests under 46 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person.

16. Pioneer Village, 1976.
  How was life lived a hundred years ago? Or even earlier? What tools did dentists use? How were early newspapers printed? How did people get around?
  Answers to these and other questions about our past can be found at Lagoon. Utah's largest entertainment center, Lagoon has more than just thrill rides, games, food and entertainment.
  It has one of Utah's largest museums too, Pioneer Village. Pioneer Village, a sometimes overlooked feature at Lagoon, is pioneer preservation at its best. There are many excellent
educational opportunities to be found in this glimpse of how life was in the state about 100 years ago.
  However, Howard Freed, who has been curator of Pioneer Village since it opened, says the number of visitors here has been sagging ever since the Old Ironsides railway inside the village closed in 1989, when Lagoon-a-Beach opened and cut the rail line in two.
  "We're always hoping to attract more people here,'' Freed said. "It's a fun place to learn and see . . . We try to make it as authentic as possible.''
  Maintaining Pioneer Village is expensive. A weekday visit there early this spring revealed painters, fire safety inspectors and various repairmen busily at work.
   The year-round outdoor environment for the historic buildings ages them rapidly. One year, new roofs had to replaced on seven buildings to get them safely through the winter. The summer heat is the worst culprit for maintenance problems. The stone buildings stay the coolest, while the wood buildings get hot.
  Freed said revenues from the rides and games actually pay for the large upkeep of Pioneer Village, which is the largest financial liability Lagoon has ever taken on. There is no extra charge for admission to the village; senior citizens get in free to Lagoon and thus Pioneer
Village as well.
   The majority of Pioneer Village is still the original display, which was previously owned by the Sons of the Utah Pioneers, but    Lagoon has had added to the artifacts, and some items
are rotated from storage every year to provide a fresh look. Several new displays have opened or will open here later this year. There's a new butcher shop exhibit, a circus tent building of toys and miniatures and a display of old tokens is also planned.
  (Incidentally, the Freed family, which operates Lagoon, has some pioneer ancestry of its own - they're related to the Brigham Young family.)
    Lagoon is always interested in new artifacts but has had to turn down a lot of requests over the years because of space limitations.
Pioneer Village has plenty of shade and ample picnic space. Lunch or dinner can be purchased there as well. A large lawn, just east of the Village, the Pioneer Pavilion further
east and a new covered picnic gardens area going in at the south end of village provide lots of eating space.
   The village is also a good place for a tour when Lagoon's ride lines are too long. (However, don't wait too late in the evening to visit it since the village usually closes a little earlier than
the rest of the park - by 9-10 p.m., or dark.))
   There's even a more obscure, back entrance to Pioneer Village that winds its way from the northeast picnic area to the village's rock chapel. This year, some brickwork there will
overcome the traditional mud puddle problems along this section of trail. An extensive alarm system has kept the village basically safe from vandalism so far, according to Freed.
   Visitors to Pioneer Village could easily spend a day browsing through its three-dozen-plus buildings. But even if you have only a few hours, there is much to see and enjoy.
 --Here's a building-by-building look (starting with the east alley - Carriage Hall and Circus Tent) and then going clockwise from the Blacksmith shop) at what's in the village with
highlights of what you may want to especially look for in each exhibit:
--Carriage Hall has a stagecoach that Lagoon originally built to use to haul passengers around the park. The coach was so pretty, it was put on exhibit. The house also containsvarious wagons and carriages such as a children's hearse, covered wagon, ice wagon and
almost every type of wheeled vehicle used at the turn of the century.
  One carriage was owned by William Stanton, the controversial Secretary of War for President Abraham Lincoln from 1862 to 1867. Lagoon obtained it from the Stanton family.
  There's a reproduction of a Mormon handcart in the exhibit. (No actual original handcarts are left in the world.
--Circus Tent building is Lagoon's bright, colorful red and blue exhibit that contains a large miniature replica of a turn-of-the-century to World War II circus. It should within the next two
weeks, following some additional painting work.
  The late Don Ogden of Draper spent 40 years creating this marvel of toymanship that's a must-see exhibit. The detail of the miniatures is extraordinary; if you look at them for more than 15 seconds, you expect the figures to move.
--Blacksmith Shop depicts how things were in 1858 and is actually a composite collected from variou old shops.
-- Old Kaysville Train Station sits at the south end of the village. It could someday also be a working train station when Lagoon adds another train line that will encircle the park. For now, model trains grace its interior.
-- Governor Dern Livery Stable and Telephone Pioneers of Utah building: Former Utah Governor George H. Dern's 1885 carriage house now houses old telephone equipment and displays.
--Thurston Cabin contains old furnishings from the 1800s.
-- Pony Express Museum contains old saddles, a cigar-store Indian'' and other items.
--Hardware exhibit: Go inside to the far north end to see the Sovereign Jewel, a one-of-akind 1889 stove that's true to its name. Pots and other stoves are also on display here.
--Drug store and ice cream shop: There's more to meet the eye here than just the ice cream that's for sale. There are numerous old pharmaceutical items on display, some as old as 1860. Also, notice the lion head at the top of the ice cream bar and the authentic saloon era backbar.
--The China Shop contains dishes from 1830 to 1910, including some of Brigham Young's china. There's also crystal and flo-blue dishes.
--Co-op Shop: Contains many turn-of-the century items. An old general store in Kamas was boarded up for 40 years and when it was finally inventoried, Pioneer Village received numerous items the store had sold, complete with their price tags. A change in the walk-in layout will now allow visitors to see more of its interior.
--Cobbler Shop contains many shoes from 1900 and though this is one of Lagoon's smallest displays, it is set up authentically.
--Deseret News print shop has many presses from the early 1900s. It used to contain the first Deseret News press - the first in the state - but that has now been moved to the LDS
Church Museum on West Temple on Salt Lake City. Some of its early 1900s presses are operated on Saturdays in the summer.
--Music shop has a multitude of old pianos, pump organs and other instruments. Some are offbeat, such as a combination bass-fiddle/guitar. There's also a Multi-phone,'' the forerunner
of the jukebox, and an unusual Swiss music box. This exhibit is only open when a musician,
dressed in pioneer attire, is on hand to operate some of the equipment and even sing.
--General store: The main source for candies, novelties, T-shirts and souvenirs in the the village.
--Mormon Furniture Exhibit is housed in an 1870s building built in Farmington. Many of the items are on loan from the LDS Church, and some are from the 1850s.
--Pioneer Village Armory is one of the best collections in the West of guns, cannons and crossbows. It has two cannons in front of the building. There's an excellent Browning Arms
exhibit inside, as well as some unusual items, such as a combination coffee grinder-gun and a buffalo head. There's a tattered but authentic Mormon Battalion Flag from 1847 here too, as
well a real Civil War flag. Dates and references for the firearms have been double-checked for accuracy.
--Town hall contains an authentic jail from Kimberly, as well as a good billy club collection. It also shows how a mayor's office and fire station looked in the old days.
-- Bigler Cabin, originally a pioneer structure built in Nephi.
--Davis County Lagoon Holding Jail is a children's favorite in Pioneer Village that was built in 1895. Rowdy Lagoon guests on Friday night were kept here three nights straight until Monday
when a county judge was working again - or so they say. Except for the modern electric lights, the rest of the jail is authentic.
--Gingerbread House is a Victorian home built in 1904 in Wanship that has plenty of detail in its interior decorating. A swing chair in front lets visitors relax.
--Erastus Bingham Cabin. It was originally built near the old Bingham Mine in Salt Lake County about 1853. Bingham first discovered the mineral deposits of the area. The cabin
contains old beds and kitchen items.
--Old Outhouse isn't used anymore, but it's a three-hole version that Lagoon hopes to restore someday. The story goes that a few Lagoon guests were once caught trying to use it, despite the absence of a door.--Granite Monument to builders of the Salt Lake LDS Temple was made by the Sons of the Utah Pioneers.
--Rock Chapel was originally built in Coalville in 1863 as a fort against the Indians. Then it was a courthouse/school house and then became an LDS Church in 1869, commissioned by
Brigham Young. Lagoon had to dismantle it and reassemble it stone-by-stone. The chapel has recorded music. It is used to host area weddings and church meetings for Lagoon employees who worked on Sunday.
--LDS Temple Exhibit of pioneer craftsmen shows old photographs, tools and blocks of the Salt Lake LDS Temple construction.
--School House is a one-room, 1870s structure taken from Rockport. Note the larger desks at the rear of the room for the older children, the dunce cap and the blackboard writings, done by a modern school teacher. Raccoons have made their home in the attic of the historic building, despite Lagoon's efforts to get them to move out.
--Wanship Cabin was the first two-story building in Summit County. It is from the 1870s.
   Especially note the wooden rocking chair from 1847 featuring the faces of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, LDS Church leaders, carved in the back. Upstairs there is some antique furniture, borrowed from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. This exhibit at one time toured major cities throughout America and Europe. Look for some furniture with unusual wood grain work here, including a table constructed from scraps left over from Salt Lake Temple construction.
--Smoke House is from the mid-1860s. Lagoon used to actually smoke meat here as a display, but a roof fire halted that practice.
--Water fountain and gardens area are the centerpiece of the north end of Pioneer Village.
It's a century-old fountain that was one time a part of the Salt Lake City and County building grounds.
--Old Mille sells burgers, fries, drinks and corn on the cob.
--Fort replica and tower.
--Bakery sells cinnamon rolls, fudge, pretzels, cookies and drinks. It also has the first soda fountain in Utah located at the north end of its bar. This fountain opened in 1855 at the southeast corner of Main Street and First South. (The fountain was originally transported across the plains to Utah in a covered wagon.)
--Clock shop contains dozens of old clocks, most from the late 1800s. In the summer, they are wound up daily.
--Meat Shop was donated by the Kellersberger Meat Company from North Salt Lake City and is very authentic - even up to the sawdust on the floor that meat shops of its early 1900s
era used to have.--Post Office: Lagoon officials aren't sure when this display should be dated exactly, but it is probably turn-of-the-century.
--Dentist's Office is another early 1900s office, complete with old foot-pump drills.
--Barber Shop is an 1890s shop, complete with an old tin bathtub. Also note the old personalized mugs on the shop's north wall. Regular customers used to have their own shaving mugs at such shops, with their names on. Be sure to walk upstairs too for the
Millinery Dress Shop. Pioneer women went to the hot upstairs for dresses, while husbands had shaves downstairs.
--The Village Cafe sells funnel cakes and lemonade. Also, note the authentic old carousel animals hanging on the inside of the building.
--Lagoon Photo Shop: For an extra fee, guests can dress in Civil War and old West attire and have a nostalgic photograph taken.

17. Log Flume, 1976:
   This is a classic log flume ride, as guests board a "log" and travel through a water trough until you reach the hill. A conveyer belt travels guests to the top of the hill only to discover that
there is a chute of water heading down to the water trough.
   The thrill of the ride is speeding down the hill and making a big splash at the bottom. The variables are not only where you sit, but how heavy or light your log is, in relationship to how
much you will get splashed,
  There are no seat belts but several cameras allow ride operators to check on the conduct of riders.
  This is also the only ride at Lagoon that the former Arrow Dynamics, a Clearfield-based amusement ride company, built.
   Height restrictions: Guests under 46 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person.

18. Jet Star 2, 1976:
   The midway, is unlike anything in the park, and quickness is this attraction's keyword.
  A compact, high-speed, metal roller coaster, the Jet Star celebrates 30 years at Lagoon this season.
  Cars spiral up the track in the first half of the ride, reaching a height of almost 50 feet, before looping downward in what reaches speeds of up to 45 mph over about 1,900 feet of track.
  Tight turns at dizzying speeds are the highlight on the downward plunge.The 90-second ride is also a popular one with couples, because unlike the majority of Lagoon's rides, two riders are required per seat. There are no single riders in the Jet Star - you need a companion or buddy.
  The ride has eight cars. Each one can hold six people, two people per car section.
  Unlike Lagoon's other coaster rides, riders unload on the extreme south end of the ride, and then empty cars loop around to reload.
  As many as 1,680 people per hour can ride the Jet Star 2.
   Because of its tight turns and quickness, the Jet Star undergoes an extensive safety checklist each morning before it opens. As such, it may be among the last rides to open.
  Those with neck or shoulder problems may find this ride particularly uncomfortable.
  Also, the Jet Star 2 is one of the first rides in the park that will close in the event of precipitation - probably for safety reasons.
  The Jet Star 2 originated at the 1974 World's Fair in Spokane, Wash. Lagoon bought the ride afterward. It opened the same year as Pioneer Village and the Log Flume.
   The Jet Star was refurbished from 2004-05.
   To ride the Jet Star 2, you must be 50 inches or taller.

19. Bommerang, 1977.
  Do you like crashing into things? If so, or if you want some fun at driving without the threat of an actual insurance claim in the event of a crash, then this ride is for you.
   Located on Lagoon's North Midway, Boomerang is a classic bumper car ride. Riders can choose between three different types of cars: Ford, Opal, or Mercedes Benz. Each car is able
to go in forward and reverse depending on how far you turn the steering wheel.
  Pre-teenage drivers are especially attracted to this ride.
 Up to 80 people can ride at one time.
  Height restrictions: Guests under 46 inches in height may not ride.

20. Scamper, 1977.
  When Lagoon added its adult bumper cars, it wisely add a kids' version too, at the same time.
   Every child enjoys driving a car and bumping into things. Scamper, much like the bigger bumper cars, allows children to pick their favorite car.
  These little versions don't have peddles to go but children are able to go forward and backward depending on how they turn the wheel. Some younger kids may have a problem mastering the turning of the wheel, but this can also be one of the "cutest" rides to watch, even if one of your own kids or grandkids isn't on the ride.
  During fall's Frightmares season, Lagoon converts this ride area into a tame walk-through attraction for young children.
Height restrictions: Guests over 54 inches in height may not ride.

21. Speedway Jr., 1978.
  What young kid doesn't love this ride? It gives the illusion a youngster is actually driving and steering a small vehicle around a short track.
  In reality, the ride is hooked to a fixed track and seat-belted in, safety is more than adequately addressed here.
  While most kids want to grow taller, this is one ride where a 55-inch-kid will be disappointed when they realize they can no longer use this attraction.
  Height restrictions: Guests over 54 inches in height may not ride.

22. Tidal Wave, 1980.
  Yo ho, you swabby, this is the haven for pirates at Lagoon.
Set on the shores of the Lagoon's lake, Tidal Wave is a giant swinging boat ride. At its highest point - 66 feet - guests experience a feeling of weightlessness, as the boat reaches a true vertical position.
   Surprisingly, this ride is not for anyone with an upset or sensitive stomach. If any ride can made you lose your lunch, this one is the best bet in the park.
  A maximum of 54 people can use this ride at once and each side of the boat many times may decide to yell a trite phrase in unison when the ride reaches its maximum height.
  A secret is that the end seats are the most thrilling, while the middle seats are the tamest.
  Youngest of riders may have to sit in those middle seats, but you have to try the middle and end seats to feel the difference for yourself.
 The ride was re-painted ad re-done in 2007.
 Height restrictions: Guests between 36 inches and 50 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person. Guests under 36 inches in height may not ride.

23. Musik Express, 1982.
  Like loud music and sharp turns? Then, this ride will be heaven for you. Musik Express rapidly turns in a circle while oscillating up and down.
 Centrifugal forces are produced as the ride picks up speed. So for those with the outside seat, be prepared to be squished.
  There are a total of 28 coaches and two to three persons a seat can ride. Loud pop music is many times blaring during the ride. This is a teenage favorite and a wilder variation of the Space Scrambler.
  Surprisingly, this ride is not for anyone with an upset or sensitive stomach. If any ride can made you lose your lunch, this one is the best bet in the park.

24. Fire Dragon coaster, 1983.
  Although this ride's thrills pale in comparison to nearby "Wicked," this is still  thrilling metal coaster.
 The Fire Dragon was selected by People Magazine in 1984 as one of the top 10 coaster rides in the country! While racing upside down through 65 foot diameter loops, be sure to smile for the camera. Colossal Photo offers a way to remember "hair raising" experiences through the magic of photography. Zooming through these breathtaking loops, 75% of the body's weight is pressed into the seat . . . Don't even think of standing up!
 Located on the South Midway area of the Park, this roller coaster is one and a half times as high as the existing Roller Coaster and twice as high as the Jet Star 2. The Fire Dragon consists of three trains; each holds 28 passengers. In operation at Lagoon, the capacity for the Fire Dragon is 1,600 passengers per hour. The $2.5 million ride is almost totally automated; it is run by a computer, however, three to four operators and attendants are on site to operate the ride.
  The rides reaches a top speed of 55 mph, travels a 2,850-foot track and crests at 85-feet high.
  A nearby trailer houses a lot of the machinery and tools to keep this ride going safely and smoothly.
   Front and rear seats are the best on this ride. However, unlike the wooden roller coaster, you can't pick your own seat. However, you end up in line, that's where you sit.
  Height restrictions: Guests under 46 inches may not ride. Guests between 46 inches and 50 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person.

25. Moonraker, 1983.
Moonraker gives children the adventure of space flight without leaving earth. When in motion the ride rises up into the air and starts rotating. Once at its full height the top of the ride tilts
and rotates as the whole ride spins.
Children can choose what type of vehicle they want to ride. Seat belts are mandatory.
The vehicles also have some futuristic horns to toot while riding. Height Restrictions: Guests over 54 inches in height may not ride.

26. Red Baron, 1984.
  Red Baron gives children the adventure of an airplane dog fight, in these vintage themed biplanes. Children in the front seat control the up and down motion of the plane as they travel around in circles.
  The planes circle over a shallow pool of water. A total of 16 kids can ride at one time.
  Height restrictions: Guests over 54 inches in height may not ride.

27. Puff, Little Fire Dragon coaster, 1985.
  The only roller coaster in Kiddieland, Puff is suitable for guest of all ages. Puff circles the track three times before coming to a stop.   It's not a surprise to see adults on Puff, since they are able to ride with their children on this Kiddieland coaster.
  This ride can only handle a dozen passengers, but it has no height or age restrictions.

28. Scallywager, 1986.
This may be the wildest ride in the kiddieland at Lagoon. It lets children ride in a Dragon,
Elephant, Bumble Bee, or a Lady Bug. Scalawags travels around in circles and allows children to control the up and down with a control stick. It spins at a pretty good clip.
Height restrictions: Guests over 54 inches in height may not ride.

29. Centennial Screamer, 1987.
  The "Screamer" consists of 20 cars around a disc. As the ride begins to spin, the disc stays in a horizontal position. When speed and centrifugal forces increase the ride is lifted to a near vertical position as the disc still spins.
  The gravity feel this ride provides is unlike anything in the park.
  Height restrictions: Riders under 46 inches may not ride.

30. Turn of the Century, 1987.
  The Turn of the Century is among Lagoon's most refreshing of rides and yet is one where you don't even get wet.
  Soaring over Lagoon's lake, this ride came to Lagoon in 1987, replacing the old silver-colored Rockets ride that also flew over the lake. It offers a realistic sensation of flying, second only to Lagoon's Skycoaster.
  Nicknamed the Flying Swings by some, this ride does imitate the sensation of flying very closely as most riders sit in individual swing chairs that dangle by their own separate chains.
  At nighttime this flying sensation is increased even more and many lights add to the attraction.
  The swings rotate in a clockwise direction as the tower or mast rotates counterclockwise.
  This produces a distinctive oscillating wavelike motion. Basically, the ride is similar to a playground swing, except that it turns riders in a circle and raises them substantially off the
  Veteran Lagoon goers may also recall that the Rockets ride, though updated over the decades, was at the park in the location of today's Turn of the Century, from 1929-87.
  The Turn of the Century stands 31 feet tall, with a ground dimension of a 52-foot diameter circle that expands to 72 feet during operation. Riders probably soar about 20 feet off the ground, and the ride lasts about two minutes.
  There used to be 48 individual swing seats on this ride, but in 2004, Lagoon has added several double, connected chairs, where friends, or boyfriends and girlfriends, can sit side by side.
  Generally, the ride is the most intense in the outside seats. The inside chairs do not dangle out as far as the ride progresses.
  This is also a very windy ride, and it can get pretty chilly during spring and fall.
   Teenagers flock to this ride and are probably attracted to the hit music that plays in the background.
   The Turn of the Century is located between the Wild Kingdom Train and the Tidal Wave.

31. Lagoon-A-Beach, 1989.
  This is the coolest place at Lagoon! Why not, with more than 550,000 gallons of water, spread over more than six acres.
  With a wide variety of aqua attractions, there's something here for all ages in this ultimate aquatic playground.
  Seniors and anyone cold will enjoy the hottub. There are lots of reclining chairs and shade around for those who want to relax or even sunbathe in this area. It’s first-come, first-serve on
getting chairs.
  There's the circular Lazy River, where those with a tube (or even without) can float around in circles at a relaxing pace. A few water jets provide some added excitement.
  Tubes can be rented (cash only) for use in Lagoon-A-Beach for the day.
  For the young kids, there are some special swingsets in a wading area, a few tunnels and three small water slides for toddlers and even bigger kids. There's also a waterfall volcano that's guaranteed to cool anyone off who slides down its northern face.
  The more daring of kids or adults can also ride the rapids, the Outrigger. You need a tube, must be at least 46 inches tall and have to climb dozens of stairs.
  Jump on your tube and ride a stream of water through several different sections and end up 65 feet below in the ending pool.   You'll be lucky if you stay on top of your tube all the time.
Lagoon-A-Beach also has some tube slides on its western side. Three different enclosed rides are available, all having a different feel. You have to b 46 inches or taller to ride them.
  There are several serpentine slides on the southeast side (also 46-inch height requirement. These drop into an ending pool.
  For the most daring, there are two Speed Slides and you must be 50 inches tall to try them out, These are skin-burning, straight down rides that have the velocity to live up to their name. They drop 70 feet.
  Lagoon-A-Beach also has one deeper water area, complete with a waterfall wall.
  There are also four rules worth noting at Lagoon-A-Beach:
1. No glass containers or Alcohol allowed in Lagoon A Beach.
2. Swimsuits are required for all pools and slides. No street clothes.
3. T-Shirts may not be worn while riding any slides.
4. Obey Lifeguards at all times.
  It is also worth knowing that some swim suits with rough texture won't slide well down the tube slides.
  Lagoon A Beach is open Memorial Day through mid-September. A special swim suit shop is located at the entrance to Lagoon-A-Beach. Plenty of dressing rooms and lockers are also

32. Skyscraper, 1991.
  You can't miss this ride, at 150-feet high. This enormous kind of Ferris wheel is engineered to withstand hurricane force winds, consists of 36 gondolas capable of holding four to six
passengers each.
  It required 13 semi-trailers to ship it to Lagoon. This ride offers a magnificent view of the valley. The ride, with lights, draws 280kw of electricity and has 180,000 lights around its exterior. This is equivalent to the power necessary to service 140 homes. The Sky Scraper is equipped with a special generator which is capable of operating the ride (without lights).
  A wheel allows passengers to rotate their car 360 degrees.
Rides can last up to 20 minutes when it is crowded, or five minutes, if there's spare ridership.
  This ride cost $1.5 million.
  Height restrictions: Guests under 46 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible

33. Hydro Luge, 1994.
   The Hydro Luge is made up of two different slides, blue translucent or black opaque. Guests ride a two-man raft while being propelled by a stream of water. Look out for sharp turns and
sudden drops, and watch out, you will get wet!
  The black tube is much darker, but how wet you get depends on the total weight and its distribution on your raft.
   You have to climb many dozens of stair to ride this attraction.
   Height restrictions: Guests under 50 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person. Guests under 36 inches in height may not ride.

34. Skycoaster, 1995.
  The Skycoaster is a sport/amusement attraction designed by Sky Fun 1, Inc. of Boulder, Colorado. The attraction offers all the thrills and excitement of skydiving and hang gliding.
   The attraction operates by putting the participant in a full body harness (usually referred to as a flight suit), that supports the flyer (from one to three at a time), in a prone position.
  The harness is then connected to the flight support cables. From a static point approximately 6 feet above the ground, the flyers are then pulled aloft by a launch cable to nearly the top of the launch tower. Suspense builds as you are raised upward.
  At the top, the flyers are approximately 143 feet above the ground with the flight cables taut and the flight is ready to begin.
  Upon being given the signal, one of the flyers pulls the rip cord, releasing them from the launch cable and rapidly swing towards the ground at speeds reaching up to 80 mph. The overall feeling is similar to that of swooping along the ground in a hang glider, or that of skydiving.
  The rush or wind and flight is unlike anything in the park as the cord is pulled. Then, it's like being in a giant swing for several minutes.
  This is the kind of ride that every Lagoon goer needs to try at least once. It's worth it. The ride is not as scary as it looks, since you being to swing on the cord very soon after falling.
  You must be at least 46 inches tall to ride this attraction and cost extra to ride.

35. Frightmares begins, 1995:
  Halloween themes dominate Lagoon from late September until the last of October. Scary music, costumed characters, decorations and fog machines all turn the park into a fright fest.
  There's special spooky shows and entertainment; all the usual rides (except the wateroriented rides); several good haunted houses and even a kid-friendly walk through adventure for the youngest of children.

36. Top Eliminator, 1996-2012.
  The Top Eliminator combines competition and skill with a thrilling race.
  This attraction is modeled after a drag race and utilizes real dragsters and a special track system. Top Eliminator is designed to give regular drivers a taste of drag racing. Anywhere
from one to four cars can race each other side by side. Each lane is individually timed and the results are displayed after each run for the driver and spectators to see. Drivers have control
of their dragsters' gas and brake pedals from starting position to the braking area.
  This is one Lagoon ride that actually requires some skill! The key to winning the Top Eliminator dragster race is in the quick reaction time at the starting line and shifting at the right time. At the finish line cars are stopped with a specially engineered roller coaster braking system. 
  The ride was removed in 2013 after 17 seasons and is no longer at Lagoon, likely for cost reasons as the ride never got used like park officials hoped it would.
37. Rattlesnake Rapids, 1997.
  How wet will be get? That's a key question all riders need to ask themselves.
 Rattlesnake Rapids is a 1.2-million gallon river raft ride designed to transport park guests down a 1,625-foot long path of turulent water.
  Rattlesnake Rapids is located at the east end of Pioneer Village. Up to nine people can ride on a circular raft that carries them through rapid white water, rising swells and splashy
waterfalls. The rafts travel in everchanging directions, from left to right, backwards and forwards, and up and down.
  The river channel is built of concrete and white water effects are created by the placement of specially designed barricades and obstacles throughout the waterway. Don't forget to watch
out for the waterfalls and other surprises on this swirling, swooshing, splashing, thrilling, white water rafting ride.
   Since the rafts rotate while in motion, it's always unclear who will be soaked by a waterfall until the last second!
  At the end of the turbulent river, the rafts are guided onto a wooden conveyor lift and are brought up to the revolving platform where guests are unloaded, and new guests are loaded,
while the platform constantly rotates.
  Don't let long lines discourage you here. This ride can handle 1,500 people an hour and is perhaps Lagoon's highest capacity attraction. Each ride lasts about six minutes and that includes one mist-filled tunnel.
  Spectactors have plenty of places to view from above and a few special pay stations allow spectators to try and soak riders with extra streams of water.
   Height restrictions: Guests under 46 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person. Guests under 36 inches in height may not ride.

38. Wild Mouse, 1998.
  When Lagoon discarded its wooden Wild Mouse version in about 1980, there was an instant void among park patrons. Over the next 17 years, Lagoon officials were constantly reminded on how much this ride was missed - more so than any other single former Lagoon attraction.
  So, they finally brought it back.
  Each of the eight Wild Mouse cars can seat four people and gives the distinct illusion that it could go off the track and over the edgee.   With a 50-foot maximum height, that's a great thrill.The ride contains three distinct phases. The first phase will rush riders through a three-tiered configuration containing seven 180 degree turns. The second phase will treat riders to negative g-forces and a straight section of track with several camel back hill effects. The last phase is the ride's braking zone.
  Computer controlled, this ride is not four those scared of heights or those who hate sharp
turns or quick braking. Some long-legged passengers may have trouble being comfortable on this ride too.
  Although it only reaches a top speed of 28 mph (bery briefly), it is the ride's hairpin turns that steal the show, over its 1,200-long track.
This is a high capacity ride that can handle up to 1,200 persons per hour.
  Height restrictions: Guests between 46 inches and 50 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person. Guests under 46 inches in height may not ride.

39. Rocket, 1999.
  The Rocket is simply a blast! It is one of Lagoon's most thrilling attractions.
  It is made up of three independent structural steel towers 217 feet tall. Two of the three towers are tracks for two very different thrill rides. The third tower is still unused, available for future ride expansion.
  This ride can handle 900 passengers per hour and 12 guests can ride at a single time on each tower.
  The "Re-Entry" has proven the most popular of the two Rocket versions.
  This ride is similar to the "Blast Off" but it works in the opposite direction. Guests are slowly raised to the top of the 200 foot tower in approximately 20-25 seconds and are then blasted
downward. The initial thrill is the same as if you feel off a tall building and you are lifted off your seat for second.
  As they near the bottom of the tower they enjoy several air-cushioned bounces experiencing 4.5 G-force as they are slowed by gradually increasing pressure.
  The Blast Off accelerates guests (12 at a time) from ground level to 200 feet straight up in less than 3 seconds. The initial powered blast creates a force on the rider of 4.5 G and upon reaching the top position, guests are blasted downward with a 2 G-force. They are slowed by gradually increasing pressure as they enjoy several air-cushioned bounces up and down the tower.
  Passengers with loose fitting shoes should remove them and special storage slots are available for them, hats, or any other loose items directly in front of their take-off point.
  Height restrictions: Guests under 50 inches in height may not ride

40. Double Thunder Raceway, 2000.
   The Double Thunder Raceway consists of two state of the art go-kart tracks that serpentine over a course of nearly half a mile. The Lighting Track and Thunder Track are independent courses with several sweeping turns, overpasses, 360 degree spirals, straight-aways, and camel-backs.
  Each track will accommodate 28 go-karts operating in two heats simultaneously. Both tracks and all go-karts are equipped with a remote control safety system, ground control devices,
and traffic signal lights to indicate the status of the track.
  Drivers must be  46 inches or taller.

41. Samurai, 2000.
  Got any loose change in your pocket? You'll lose it, or maybe even your cell phone on this turbulent ride, that's a favorite among most teeenagers.
  The entire ride rotates through an oval arc. The ride may be programmed to operate in either direction. As the centrifugal forces increase, the entire ride rises to a near vertical position and
the gathering forces allow each arm to freely rotate. The sensation of flying and performing loops is achieved in a smooth, yet thrilling experience.
  To experience the Samurai you must be in good health and free from heart conditions, neck and back injury, and other physical limitations.
  Height restrictions: Guests between 50 inches and 54 inches must sit in the designated seats. Guest under 50 inches in height may not ride.

42. Cliffhanger, 2001.
  This 'human dish washer" type of ride is a plus in warm or hot weather. It's not if you will get wet here, but when.
  The Cliffhanger, consists of two seat gondolas, accommodating 20 guests each, connected to a large mast that turns and rotates the gondolas.The operation of the ride produces a rocking, somersault experience in both the forward and reverse directions. Each gondola may be locked in position or allowed to turn during the ride
cycle. The gondolas may swing freely and/or rock back and forth with the turning of the ride.
  The Cliffhanger has a water feature that operates with the ride, and through which the gondolas may travel.
  Height Restrictions: Riders under 50 inches in height may not ride. Riders between 50 inches and 54 inches must sit in the designated seats.

43. Catapult, 2002.
  In the amusement industry, the "Catapult" is frequently called the world's hottest new attraction providing rider a unique, high adrenaline, vertical experience.
  The Catapult, manufactured in Europe, utilizes a specially designed spring machine that operates by applying over forty tons of force to extension springs.
  This incredible propulsion energy is then transferred to the rider capsule prior to launch.
  When launched, riders will experience forces similar to astronauts as they are rocketed from ground level to well over 200 feet in the air.
 At the highest point, riders will become weightless momentarily as they freely rotate forward and backward before they are pulled back to Earth. After several oscillations up and down,
the capsule is lowered to the boarding area to unload and load another group of riders.
  The Catapult is designed and manufactured to the highest amusement industry safety  standards including the A.S.T.M. standards of the U.S. and the T.U.V. standards of Europe.
  The two riders are secured in the capsule seats by full harness restraints with multiples,
redundant locking mechanisms for safety and comfort. Four independent steel cables connect the rider capsule to the spring machine and all connections consist of two independent
systems to maximize rider safety. All ride systems are monitored and controlled by an integrated computer to provide every rider, whether light or heavy, the same amount of thrust.
  You have to be 46 inches tall to ride this attraction.

44. Spider, 2003.
  Sporting 1,414 feet of track that zips back and forth like a complex metal web, Lagoon's $3 million Spider ride was one of the first of its kind in the amusement park industry.
   Some sections of it are akin to the Jet Star 2, but with one big difference - each car can spin around at any time - even going down a 53-foot-high slope! This is a roller coaster carousel type ride.
  Thirty-eight miles per hour may not seem like much to worry about, but there are great thrills to be found here.Four passengers load into one of the eight coaster cars -- two facing forward and two facing back. The car remains in this locked position as it descends the initial drop. As the car begins to ascend the second hill it then unlocks, allowing free horizontal spin - up to 20 rotations per
minute depending on weight and gravity!
  With unique track configurations, which include an 82 degree embankment called the Immelmann, a stretch of slalom track, and a 360 degree carousel turn, riders are given a truly
unique experience, that may vary each time they ride.
  The ride is themed to a spider and lines move fast. Also, watch out at the ride's entrance, or a large overhead spider may spray you with water at random!
  Height restrictions: Guests between 46 inches and 50 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person. Guests under 46 inches in height may not ride.

45. Dragonfly, 2004.
   The Dragonfly is a fun swing ride for kids and adults. Lagoon employees developed and designed the theme for this new ride, in addition to creating the Dragonfly that sits on top of the ride. Weighing 200 pounds, the 12-foot long Dragonfly has a wing span of 16 feet.
  Guests access the ride through a custom-made, colorful entrance enhanced with friendly bugs and flowers.
  The Dragonfly consists of 24 seats suspended by chains from three rotating arms which rotate around a center mast. Riders experience a smooth orbiting ride with mild centrifugal forces. The ride experience is smooth and non-threatening to children.
  This ride can carry up to 600 adults, or 1,200 kids per hour.
  Height restrictions: Guests under 36 inches in height may not ride.

46. Kontiki, 2004.
  This is an island themed boat ride that both children and adults can enjoy. The ride simulates a trip on the ocean in an island boat. As it starts out, the boat begins swinging
with a seesaw, back and forth motion that suddenly turns into a churning experience as though caught in an ocean whirlpool. A combination of swinging and rotational motions create a unique ride experience.
  The boat is log themed with a sail and lion heads on each end. It consists of six bench seats, three on either end facing the center. Palm trees with coconuts, tiki heads, and sand with lava rock, add to the attraction decor.
  The ride experience differs depending on guest seating in the boat.
  Twenty-four children aor eight adults and 12 kids can ride this attraction at once.Height restrictions: Guests under 46 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person.

47. Central Fountain, 2004,
  OK, this isn't the Ballegio Fountains in Las Vegas, but it is the same concept on a much smaller, personable scale.
Utilizing 18 separate pumps that can carry 350,000 gallons per hour, this water plaza celebrates the life of Robert E. Freed, under whose vision and innovation Lagoon operated from 1946 until 1974.
  A man of integrity, he was a leader in the international amusement industry and a pioneer in Utah civil rights.
  This new interactive water attraction reestablishes a strong entrance to the park and welcomes visitors with a visually exciting display. It features stone paving and walls from India, and uses over 190 nozzles positioned to create a 30 - foot diameter "water cage" with a 60-foot "leaping" water tunnel. Guests can enter the water cage by placing their hand in a "hand" or "paw" print that are carved into one of the four entry stones. Once inside, if you don't want to get wet, you'll need to wait until someone "releases" you!
   Lagoon entertains guests with daily and nightly dynamic water productions programmed to music. Theatrical lights provide color and at the center of the water cage, jets force water 35
feet in the air producing an eye-catching show. During the remainder of the day, the water feature provides a fun, interactive water experience for visitors to enjoy.
  This interactive fountain also includes over 80 lineal feet of water walls along with two memorial water garden features, one of which incorporates 15 custom wave nozzles to create a crashing wave effect. In total, there are over 18 separate pumps capable of
producing 350,000 gallons of water per hour.
  There are two special water features that flank the fountain. The first is a 36" diameter sphere that rolls on a water base. The sphere is made from colored Meerfelsen granite from Sweden.
   One 'secret" to this fountain is that special hand or animal print marks (when they are in working order) can control the fountains one-or-off at special locations. So, a spectator who
thinks he has the water cycles all timed out can get wet by the actions of a sly Lagoon goer!
  No running is permitted in the fountain area for safety reasons, but young kids love to drench themseles here, while teens like to see if they can walk through without getting wet.

48. Bat, 2005
  This was Lagoon's first suspended coaster that promises fun the whole family can enjoy.
  Riders are suspended -- feet dangling - below 1,122 feet of twisting track that banks and weaves through the trees creating an exciting sensation of flying over 1,122 feet of track.The $3 million Bat is unlike any other ride or coaster at Lagoon.
  While it is not Wicked, or even as thrilling as Lagoon's wooden roller coaster, it offers families and smaller kids a chance to ride together in a milder atmosphere.
  The ride tops out at 49 feet and is almost hidden amidst the trees in the area.
  Height restrictions: Riders under 50 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person. Riders under 42" in height may not ride.

49. Ladybug Drop/ 50. Dinosaur Drop, 2006.
  The Dinosaur Drop consists of a 40-foot-high vertical fall tower. It is essentially the same as the adjacent Dinosaur Drop, except for its different theming.
  These are family rides that may appeal to all ages. Each ride has five double seats attached to a motorized ring driven around each vertical tower. Both towers offer several
different ride programs, both vertical and rotational movement can be controlled, provide different ride experiences.
  Height restrictions: Guests under 42 inches in height must be accompanied by a responsible person. Guests under 36 inches in height may not ride.

51. Wicked, 2007.
  At $10 million, this is Lagoon's most expensive ride to date; its fastest (55 mph); its tallest coaster (110 feet) and its most intense ride;
  This "launch tower" type of roller coaster is located just west of the Fire Dragon in what was previously a section of parking lot. Lagoon worked with a German ride manufacturer, Zierer, to build a special ride that no one else has.
  One unusual feature is that the ride lacks the traditional shoulder yoke. Andrew said riders will instead be locked in at their thighs, lower legs and the waist.
  Wicked also features a unique "half-pipe" section. This is two compact vertical turns that will simulate in roller-coaster fashion the half-pipe move that snowboarders or skateboarders do. The ride also has a heart line roll inversion and banked turns.
  The ride includes two black tunnels. Riders are launched out of the first tunnel at 41 mph and shot straight up a camelback-shaped hill at a 90-degree angle. Cars descend the first hill at 55 mph.
  The second tunnel, below ground, will be filled with mist. The approximate 2 1/2-minute ride uses magnetic braking.
Riders have a few seconds in between the ride's two distinct features to recover from or appreciate one before experiencing another. Riders will experience up to 4.85 G-forces.  Many of the ride's unique aspects can mostly be credited to Dal Freeman,   Lagoon's park engineer. He's a former roller-coaster builder and knew what could, or could not be created.
  Wicked is not a traditional chain-driven coaster that goes click, click, click. It is powered magnetically by a "linear synchronous motor."
Wicked is anchored by 270 pylons.. At 110 feet tall, Wicked towers over the 85-foot-high Fire Dragon to its east. Wicked includes about 2,000 feet of track. The footprint of the new ride is 112 feet wide and 404 feet in length.
  Wicked features five separate cars, each holding eight passengers in two rows of four riders. The back row will be elevated to allow rear passengers to also clearly see what lies ahead. Special booster seats will cater to shorter passengers.


52-56: --The  OdySea, BomBora, Air Race, Tipsey Tea Cups and Red rock Rally -- all children's rides -- are Lagoon's 5 "Kiddie Land" newest attractions.

57. Cannibal, 2015: This custom-made roller coaster hits 70 mph and plunges some 208 feet into an underground tunnel. It also features three inversions, as perhaps Lagoon's most intense ride.
The Author's family had annual Lagoon season passes for several decades and posted the old passes on posters, as shown below. These represent years of fun at Lagoon:

               Author Lynn Arave on one of his favorite Lagoon rides, the Tilt-A-Whirl.


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  2. This is a great history. One comment though- part of the Tidal Wave description is on the Musik Express.

  3. The Tidal Wave duplication mistake has now been corrected. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. One more note. #36 Top Eliminator has been Eliminated from Lagoon.

  5. Wonderful history. My mother went to school with Bob Freed and they were lifetime friends. Even though I lived in New York, every trip to Salt Lake was accompanied by multiple visits to Lagoon, and worked there in 1969 when I finally moved to Utah to stay. So many memories between around 1957 and 1970, watching the changes; I still love going whenever I am able. I miss the Fun House and the Haunted Shack, and the Opera House was great while it lasted; I remember seeing "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum" there, and it was a marvelous performance.

  6. Growing up in Layton UT in the 50s & 60s Lagoon was a special treat only once a year (coupon day) But my memories are fresh of the old fun house and the house of mirrors, and to swimming pool. In writing my life history I was making my annual trips to Lagoon a honored spot. Thanks to Google I found this History. WOW, talk about a trip down memory lane. Thank for the time spent putting this history online.

  7. Great to have the history of Lagoon so well documented. I enjoyed reading it a lot. We've been having family trips to Lagoon since the early 50's, right up through last year when 40 members of our family had a reunion there. It was nice to see the old fun house and other rides I remember and learn more about them. Nice job. By the way, as a new attorney in 1984, I worked on a lawsuit brought against Lagoon by some young boys who were injured when the cars on their Octopus-type ride malfunctioned and hit the ground.

  8. Interesting read. In 2012 my Grandpa shattered his leg on Dracula's Castle. The carts are difficult to get out of and if you don't move quickly the cart behind you hits your cart, causing him to fall off the ride. After an " investigation " Lagoon decided they were in no way at fault and compensated with nothing. Now he is crippled for life, but we still attend Lagoon.

  9. Thank you for posting this. Very interesting to learn about Lagoon's history. Unfortunately it feels like Lagoon is going under. Understaffed and inefficient ride operations, low quality cold food, Lagoon-a-beach (so many things need to be redone here it is a failure), outsourced employees that don't speak english, and rides that look faded and falling apart make you think that Lagoon is slowing bleeding-out and dying. I just went there last week with my family and all I could think about while walking around the park is "that could be so much more efficient if they did this, this would look so much more attractive that they did that." It's starting to feel like an old ran down state fair rather than an amusement park. Lagoon use to be "what fun is." I don't see us going back there anytime soon.

  10. I googled "book about Lagoon" utah and am glad I found this. I'd love to see a history of Lagoon published with lots of old photos!
    I agree with the above post about wishing Lagoon were better run. It is such a cool place but needs efficiency and care pumped back into it.

    1. Lagoon is currently printing its own history book, with lots of photos. Steve Handy, a friend of mine is the author of that book. This book has been delayed a lot, though.

    2. Lagoon is currently printing its own history book, with lots of photos. Steve Handy, a friend of mine is the author of that book. This book has been delayed a lot, though.

  11. Great history of Lagoon Park. I wish that we have this similar place near our condo at amber skye

  12. My Grandfather, William Oakden, built the unique picnic pavilions mangy years, ago. He died in 1908, but as I grew up in the thirties and forties, I saw them many times and recall those buildings. I don't know when they were torn down, but I am trying to find some pictures or snapshots of them. I see none in all these photos, which seems odd. If anyone has any photos of those pavilions, I would love to have copies. Thank you, my email is

  13. The picnic pavilion or pavilions were painted white but looked worn in my memory. There were cutouts all over in the wood creating designs which let more light in. You could enter anywhere and I think there were arches all around. The one I remember was very large and full of picnic tables. We had many picnics there and even company parties. My Grandfather died in 1910 (error in my other comment) so the buildings were built before that. It seems odd there are no pictures of the pavilion(s). Please if anyone has any photos of the pavilions please contact me at

  14. Great post! I was looking everywhere for something like this!

  15. Still hoping to find pictures of the old picnic pavilion or pavilions. (maybe two)...the originals were white with designs cut out. My previous post describes the buildings. Someone must have a picture of them. Even inside pictures might show part of the building. Thanks!

    would probably work. I remember being in one sometime in the 50's.

  16. Stumbled across this while researching historical foto's of Davis County. Great work! I worked at Lagoon in 1966 and have many great memories. There's a least one band missing from the list of performers; The Who (as a warmup band for Herman's Hermits, along with the Blues Magoos) in July, 1967. See

  17. Thanks for the great post on your blog, it really gives me an insight on this topic.

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