Lagoon Amusement Park

Lagoon Amusement Park

Infobox Amusement park
name = Lagoon Amusement Park

location = Farmington
location2 = Utah
location3 = United States flagicon|USA
address = P.O. Box 696 Farmington, Utah 84025
phone_numbers = (800) 748-5246
opening_date = 1886
season = April – October
homepage = []
rides = 48
slogan = It's what FUN is!
latd = 40 |latm = 59 |lats = 8 |latNS = N
longd = 111 |longm = 53 |longs = 41 |longEW = W

Lagoon is an amusement park in Farmington, Utah, United States located about seventeen miles (27 km) north of Salt Lake City. It also is one of few parks today that is still family owned. It has eight roller coasters, three of which are unique; one of these being "Colossus the Fire Dragon", which is one of only two remaining Schwarzkopf Double Looping coasters still in operation (Laser at Dorney Park is the other), and is the longest existing model. Another is The Bat, a Vekoma junior suspended coaster that opened in 2005. The third is the park's newest coaster, Wicked, which opened in the year 2007. Wicked is the park's biggest and fastest roller coaster. It was designed by Lagoon's engineering department in cooperation with Zierer, a ride manufacturer.

Lagoon is divided into five main areas: The Midway, containing the majority of the rides and an assortment of carnival type games and food outlets; Pioneer Village which has several exhibits displaying pioneer buildings and artifacts; Lagoon-A-Beach, a water park which is included in the regular admission price; Kiddie Land with several rides for small children, and the X-Venture Zone featuring more extreme rides that cost extra. Lagoon also offers a full-service RV park, a campground, and a shaded walking trail outside the park that stays open all year.



In 1886, The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad built a resort on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. It was called Lake Park, and was one of several resorts that popped up along the vast beaches of the lake throughout the late 1800s. Through the years, the lake level receded drastically until Lake Park was far from the lake and it closed by the end of the 1895 season.

Simon Bamberger, who was building his Salt Lake & Ogden Railroad line from Salt Lake City to Ogden, Utah, was vice president of Lake Park and a 25% owner. To increase passenger traffic on his line he bought most of the original Lake Park buildings from the D&RGW and moved them about 3 miles (5 km) east near Farmington, Utah. This gave the residents of Salt Lake City (and later, Ogden) a reason to travel over the "Bamberger." The resort was named Lagoon for the small body of water located on the original forty acres (162,000 m²). The original lagoon was used to harvest ice in winter; Bamberger had it enlarged to nine acres by clearing some swampland.

Lagoon opened in Farmington, Utah on July 12, 1896, and included "Bowling, Elegant Dancing Pavilion, Fine Music, A Shady Bowery and Good Restaurants." In 1899, Shoot-the-Chutes, the park's first thrill ride, was added. [ [ Utah History Encyclopedia] ] In 1900 guests began row boating and swimming in Lagoon Lake. Over time more rides were added, such as the authentic Herschell-Spillman Carousel and Cagney 12-inch-gauge Miniature Railroad.

In 2003 Lagoon celebrated the 110th birthday of its hand carved carousel that was built in 1893 and purchased by Lagoon in 1906. The carousel consists of 47 animals including: 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 stork, a lion and giraffe. [Arave, Lynn;"Carousel is a classic";Deseret News; 2003, July 11] In the 1950s when a roller coaster caught fire, (owner) Robert Freed came down and sprayed the merry-go-round with water to protect its hand-carved figures. [Weist, Larry;"Lagoon is riding economy swing";Deseret News; 2003, March 14]

One of the most popular rides today was installed in 1921. This is Lagoon's famous wooden roller coaster, designed by John Miller of Coney Island fame. Miller gave Lagoon's coaster plenty of dips and turns. Its highest height is sixty feet, and the length of track is two thousand five hundred feet. The ride lasts just under two minutes and the coaster train reaches speeds up to forty-five M.P.H.

In 1927 a 1.5 million U.S. gallon (4,000 m³) swimming pool with "water fit to drink" was built north of Lagoon Lake. It was one of the first filtered swimming pools in the west, and was a cleaner alternative than swimming in the briny Great Salt Lake. The 1920s and 1930s were popular years at Lagoon. There was betting and horse racing there in the 1920s, but the Utah State Legislature put a stop to that only a few years after it began. The first Fun House was built in 1929, along with many other midway shows, rides, and games. During the "Big Band" era Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Glen Miller played Lagoon's stage.


The park closed for three seasons during World War II. By 1946 the park was in bad condition and the Bamberger family considered razing it. However, Ranch S. Kimball and Robert E. Freed, seeing an excellent opportunity, convinced the family to lease the park to their newly-formed Utah Amusement Corporation. Ranch Kimball served as President with Bob Freed serving as Secretary and Assistant Manager. (The Freed Family's Lagoon Corporation bought the resort outright from the Bamberger family in 1983.) When the Utah Amusement Corporation took over the lease of Lagoon, a Farmington town ordinance prohibited African-Americans from using the swimming pool and the ballroom. By the end of the 1940s, Robert Freed had fully opened lagoon to the black community, and further extended this policy to the Terrace Ballroom (formerly the Rainbow Gardens) in Salt Lake City. [ [ "Blacks in Utah History"] -] There were many improvements made by the Freeds, including the installation of new dressing rooms and a general overhaul of the pool in 1949, a rebuilt fun house and the introduction of the "Dodgem Cars" and the "Lakeshore Express" miniature diesel train in 1951, and a new ferris wheel in 1953.

In November 1953 a fire destroyed much of the park, including the fun house, dance pavilion and the front portion of the roller coaster. It was quickly rebuilt to open for the next season and began to surpass the popularity of its main rival, Saltair. Many rides were restored, rebuilt, or replaced, and a few new rides were added. In 1956, Mother Gooseland, Lagoon's first themed area, was opened. It featured rides only for children, was added between the Midway and the swimming pool. From the mid 1950s into the 1960s Lagoon made many improvements. A showboat was added to the lake, and brand-new fun house was built, which featured such attractions as a multi-lane giant slide; mazes, mirrors, obstacle courses and mystery rooms; a large turntable which flung its riders off at great velocity; revolving barrels; and the ubiquitous jets of air - activated by a human operator - which startled those who were unfortunate enough to stand over them. There was also a mini-car ride added in 1960, followed by the "Space Scrambler," spook house, I.Q. Zoo, and shooting gallery in 1961. The first Wild Mouse ride came in 1965. On the Midway, groups like the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, the Kingston Trio and Johnny Cash drew the crowds to the bandstand.

The Beach Boys made mention of the park in their song titled "Salt Lake City" on their 1965 Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) album. The Rolling Stones concert at Lagoon was in July of 1966.

The Animaland Train was put in around the I.Q. Zoo in 1967. Around 1975, authentic Crown-built 4-4-0 steam locomotives were put into operation around the lake and the name was changed to the Wild Kingdom Train.


The turn-of-the-century style Opera House Square opened in 1968 and showcased melodramas, musicals and silent movies. In 1976 Lagoon expanded east by purchasing Pioneer Village, an old west town complete with several historic structures that had been collected and exhibited in Salt Lake City since 1953. The buildings were moved to Lagoon and the Pioneer Village Railroad ("Old Ironsides," a 24-inch-gauge Crown 4-4-0) circled the town. There was also the "Lagoon Miniature Railroad," which looped around the residential area of Pioneer Village using the original miniature steam locomotive acquired in the early 1900s. A log flume ride was brought in from the defunct Pixieland Park [ [ Pixieland Park] ] in Oregon.

One of the most popular rides at Lagoon even today was added in 1976. This is the "Jet Star II" roller Coaster, newly painted for the 2005 season. Before Lagoon purchased the Jet Star II, it was one of the attractions at the Spokane Washington's Expo '74. [ "Official Lagoon park website, Jet Star II's Page"] ]

In the late 80's, both the famous old fun house and the "Haunted Shack", a walk-through fright attraction, were closed, victims of escalating maintenance costs, safety concerns and increased risk of litigation. The famous swimming pool closed after its fifth decade in 1987. This made way for the $5.5 million Lagoon-A-Beach which was completed in 1989. Its construction spelled the end of the small-scale railroad operations in Pioneer Village, as some of the supports stood in the way of the track.


In 2004, Kiddieland (formerly Mother Goose Land) was redecorated and two new rides were added.

In 2003, Lagoon built the Spider, a spinning coaster across from Fire Dragon and Wild Mouse. Two years later, The Bat, an inverted coaster, was constructed near Lagoon-A-Beach. It is a family-friendly coaster with a minimum height requirement of 42".For the 2007 season, Lagoon built a new $10 million roller coaster named Wicked. The ride opened on June 1 at 3:00PM. Wicked is a first-of-its-kind Zierer tower launch coaster. It is powered by Linear Synchronous Motors and features a 110' Tower, an Immelmann turn, a heart line roll, two half-pipe turns and a "lake turn". Wicked is located in the south midway section of the park, behind the Fire Dragon.

In 2008, Lagoon decided to expand and improve its employee kitchen with new tables and more than 2 times the seating area. The new ride was added: OdySea, a "Dumbo-like" ride with aquatic theming, the ride features a giant squid for the center piece as well as submarines and fish as cars.

Lagoon has introduced designated smoking areas.These new smoking areas are in response to a new Davis County law that went into effect on January 1 that prohibited smoking in privately and publicly owned outdoor places. [,5143,695241743,00.html]

    Also for 2008
  • Rad Brad's Surf Shop is getting remodeled.
  • Wicked scenery to be finish as well as mist tunnel.
  • New flywheel generator added to Wicked to help reduce risk of power surge during launch.
  • Seating by Olde Mill paved over.
  • Area in front of Carousel Plaza was repaved with asphalt.
  • A new self-serve Icee stand located at the Fun House food stand. New flavors will be introduced.
  • UTA FrontRunner station located near Lagoon.

Scores of activities have been available to the Lagoon guest. Since 1896, "Lagoon has offered hot-air balloon rides, boxing and wrestling matches, great names in entertainment, horse racing and pari-mutuel betting, roller-skating, baseball games, dancing, swimming, bicycle racing, a zoo, motion pictures, live theater, blackface minstrel shows, rodeos, a midway, rowboating, marching bands, wild West shows, fireworks, and mechanical rides."


Movies filmed at Lagoon:
*"In My Sister's Shadow (1997)" [ [ Internet Movie Database "In My Sister's Shadow (1997)"] ]
*"The Luck of the Irish (2001)" A scene from this Disney Channel Original Movie was filmed at the North Midway area of Lagoon. [ [ Internet Movie Database "The Luck of the Irish (2001)"] ] Notable People who worked at Lagoon:
*Atari founder Nolan Bushnell managed midway carnival games at Lagoon while earning his electrical engineering degree at the University of Utah.

Special Event Day:
*May 16: students and professors of the department of physics at Utah State University call the day "Physics Day"; they do educational events annually [] .

Existing Roller Coasters

Lagoon features eight different roller coasters that date from 1921-2007. "Roller Coaster" (often called "White Roller Coaster" by locals) is an ACE Coaster Landmark. [ [ ACE Coaster Landmark Awards] ]



* Baby Boats

* Bulgy

* Dinosaur Drop

* Dragon Fly

* Helicopters

* Kontiki

* Ladybug Bop

* Moonraker

* Puff the Little Fire Dragon

* Red Baron

* Scalawags

* Scamper

* Sky Fighter

* Speedway Jr

North Midway

* Bat

* Boomerang

* Flying Aces

* Hydro Luge

* Jet Star 2

* Odysea: New family ride for the 2008 season, located near the Bat.

* Paratrooper

* Rocket

* Samurai

* Sky Ride

* Sky Scrapper

* Space Scrambler

* Tilt-A-Whirl

Park Entry - Midway

* Dracula's Castle (rebuilt for the 2007 season)

* Interactive Water Attraction and Show

* Terroride

*Game Time arcade

Pioneer Village

* Log Flume

* Rattlesnake Rapids

outh Midway

* Carousel

* Centennial Screamer

* Cliffhanger

* Colossus: The Fire Dragon

* Musik Express

* Rock-O-Plane

* Roller Coaster

* Sky Ride

* Spider

* Tidal Wave

* Turn of the Century - One of two rides added to Lagoon to celebrate its 100th Birthday. Opened in 1987, this Wave Swinger ride manufactured by Zierer has a maximum capacity of 48 riders. This ride replaced another swing ride called the Rockets which was very similar to the Golden Zephyr ride currently operating at Disney's California Adventure. In 2004, Lagoon changed the inside chairs from single to double chairs where two riders can sit side-by-side. The ride lasts for around 2 minutes with riders reaching a height of 20 feet. The ride stands 32 feet tall with total diameter of 52 feet. [Arave, Lynn,"Turn of the Century a popular ride" Deseret news August 11, 2006]

* Wicked

* Wild Kingdom Train

* Wild Mouse

X-Venture Zone

In 1995, the Skycoaster towers were erected on the North Midway and marked the beginning of what would become the X-Venture Zone. Later the Top Eliminator, Double Thunder Raceway, Peak Exposure and The Catapult would all become part of the X-Venture Zone (named in 2000). These rides are not included in Lagoon's all day Passport and require an extra fee to ride.

* Skycoaster: Lagoon's Skycoaster opened during the 1995 season. Lagoon was one of the first amusement parks in the United States to add the Skycoaster to its collection of rides. [Lincoln, Ivan,"Lagoon set to open this weekend, weather permitting", Deseret News April 14, 1995] This was also the first of the five rides that would be included in the X-Venture Zone. The launch tower is 153 feet tall and the main arch is 173 feet tall. The flyers, up to 3 at a time, are raised up to a height of 143 feet. When they are instructed to do so, one of the flyers pulls the rip cord and then the flyers drop rapidly, reaching speeds up to 80 miles per hour and experiencing sensations similar to hang gliding and skydiving. [ [] referenced on January 9, 2008]
* Top Eliminator: In 1996 Lagoon added Top Eliminator to the park. Riders get to simulate a drag race down a four lane race track complete with "Christmas tree" countdown lights. The ride cost $1.2 million and the opening was delayed by about 3 months due to software glitches. ["Software problem delays opening of Lagoon ride," Deseret News July 9, 1996] The attraction opened for the 1996 season at the end of August. Riders can reach speeds up to 75 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds. Lagoon was the second amusement park to receive this ride. Kentucky Kingdom was the first. [Arave, Lynn;"VRoom! Lagoon's latest puts riders in a race"' Deseret News September 16, 1996]

* Peak Exposure Peak Exposure was an outdoor rock climbing wall It was at the park from 1999 to 2007 it was removed in January 2008 and replaced by sit and smoke station (smoking area)

* Double Thunder Raceway: Double Thunder Raceway, an elaborate go-cart ride, opened at the beginning of the 2000 season. The go-carts consist of two separate tracks; Lightning at 1146 feet and Thunder at 1142 feet. Each track has 28 go-carts and features several sweeping turns, overpasses, 360 degree spirals, straight-aways, and camelbacks. At the time this attraction opened the go-cart drivers had to be at least 54" tall, Lagoon's highest restriction, and passengers had to be at least 46" tall. [Arave, Lynn;"Double Thunder Raceway go-carts premiere April 15 at Lagoon"' Deseret News March 10, 2000] Guests must be at least 50" tall to drive, or 40" tall to ride only. The ride lasts for 5 minutes, and all the go-carts on both tracks are equipped with a remote-control safety system, ground-control speed devices, and traffic signal lights to indicate the status of the track. [ [] referenced on January 8, 2008]

* Catapult: The Catapult, the last X-Venture Zone ride to be added to the park, was installed in 2002. The Catapult hurls two passengers at a time up to 250 feet in the air. It is powered by 40 tons of force from extension springs. The tower is 196 feet tall which is nearly as tall as the nearby Rocket towers at 212 feet. A spokeperson for Lagoon said that this may be Lagoon's most thrilling ride ever, as there is a strong weightless feeling in the ride, some twists and oscillations. [Arave, Lynn;"Lagoon ready to unveil new ride: Catapult"' Deseret News April 12, 2002] Riders are strapped in a capsule seat by full harness restraints with multiple, redundant locking mechanisms for safety and comfort. The capsule is also equipped with a video camera and microphone with remote broadcast capability to transmit video of the riders to the monitors on the ground. [ [] referenced on January 9, 2008]


The Entertainment at Lagoon has always been important to the guests. Over the years there have been many varying types of shows, from live bands to musicals, and Wild West shows to Pop shows.

Current Entertainment

The 2008 Regular Season features 3 shows:

"Country Swing Jubilee" featuring: Amy Wilson, Dustin Bolt, Serena Hardy, Chris Squires, Nathan Copier, Vaden Thurgood Swing Performers: Ali Kaelin

"Rock U2 the Top" featuring: Vaden Thurgood, Mickelle Bean, Emily Giaque, Cory Heaps, Ashtyn Nelson, JT SeumaluSwing Performers: Chris Squires, Ali Kaelin

"Broadway Rhythm" featuring: Nathan Copier, Gray Aydelott, Guy Holmes, Lexi Giaque, Bronwyn Tarboton, Samantha Bird, Scott Stoneking, John Wolfe, Tiffany ThomasSwing Performers: Nick Berg, Amy Wilson

Past Entertainment

The 2007 Regular Season featured 3 shows:

"Electric '80s" featuring: Dallin Allred, Michelle Robbins, Amanda Monson, Elise Groves, Parker Solum, William RichardsonSwing Performers: Emily Giaque, Steve Shoemaker

"Rock U2 the Top" featuring: Gray Aydelott, Mickelle Bean, Daysha Hanneman, Blake Murray, Ashtyn Nelson, JT SeumaluSwing Performers: Emily Giaque, Steve Shoemaker

"On Broadway" featuring: Nathan Copier, Cody Jensen, Andrew Lewis, Becca Schwartz, Jennifer Perucca, Kathryn Stratford, Kim Stephenson, Preston Yates, Valerie LarsenSwing Performers: Lexi Giaque, William Richardson

The 2006 Regular Season featured 3 shows:

Club-A-Go-Go featuring: Gray Aydelott, Natassia Clark, James Hales, Daysha Hannemann, Jacob Knight, Andrew Lewis, Ashtyn Nelson and Mandy Stanford, Kim Stephenson (swing), Vaden Thurgood (swing)

Rock U2 the Top featuring: Emily Giaque, Lexi Giaque, Daniel Hamblin, Michelle Hunt, Steve Shoemaker, Vaden Thrugood, Daysha Hannermann (swing), Cody Jensen (swing) [Lincoln, Ivan. "Lagoon revue, musical among stage offering",The Deseret News,may 14,2006 ]

Jukebox Jive featuring: Nick Berg, Collin Christensen, Nathan Copier, Heidi Evans, Elise Groves, Cody Jensen, Kristen Kemp, Ralynne Riggs, Linton Dean (swing), Kim Stephenson (swing)

1990 Regular Season

"A Salute to Broadway" at the "Music USA Theater". Songs performed included "A Pretty Girl" from "The Ziegfield Follies"; "They Call the Wind Mariah" from "Paint Your Wagon"; "Let Me Entertain You," from "Gypsy."; "Tonight" from "West Side Story" and "I Cain't Say No" from "Oklahoma." Performers: Collette Schlappi, Angi Cannon, Camille Bailey, LauraLyn Oldham, Angela Burnett, Bret Wheadon, Jeff Whiting, Tim Shoemaker, Roger Stephenson, Brett Bradford. ) [Lythgoe, Dennis. "Music U.S.A':Lagoon's answer to Broadway",The Deseret News,August 10,1990 ]


Frightmares : Every autumn the park also has various halloween themed shows for the Fall season.

The 2006 Frightmares Season featured a variety of shows as well, including: The Hackenslash Chainsaw Demonstration Team, Wailin' Witches, Zombie Mambo and The "Hypnotysm".

Also in 2006 and 2007 Lagoon hosted the following Walk-Thru Atrractions: Haunted Hollywood, Fun House of Fear, Hal O. Ween High, Spook-A-Boo Walk-Thru, and Psycho Dave's Salvage Yard.

The 2007 Frightmares Season featured a variety of shows as well, including: The Hackenslash Chainsaw Demonstration Team, Vampire Awakening, Monster Classics and The Master Hypnotist.


Lagoon has 39 carnival games where you could win prizes ranging in size from small to giant.

Lagoon also has an 18 hole miniature golf course called "Putter Around the Park". All of the holes are named and themed after rides and attractions in the park.

Notes and references

External links

* [ Official Lagoon Park Website]
* [ The Farmington Star] Lagoon news, history and information.
* - park enthusiast site

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