Alexander: For a fun 1-day trip from Southern California, Sean and I decided to pay a visit to Salt Lake City’s Lagoon Amusement Park – “The Country’s Largest Family-Owned Amusement Park”!
It’s been less than 2 years since my last visit to Lagoon, but much has changed already! Let’s go see!
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We made it! Sean’s so excited for his first visit to one of America’s top independent parks!
First things first: We hang a left at the park’s entrance and make a B-line for…
…the bathrooms! Complete with a spinning toilet shrine w/ animatronic raising/lowering lid!
Just kidding. Our first stop of the day is Lagoon’s wildly-unqiue Cannibal, an in-house-designed, elevator-lift, looping hyper coaster with 4 inversions! In its 4th season of operation, Cannibal has held up well, offering a smooth, forceful ride!
Sometime between now and my 2016 visit to Lagoon, their Huss Enterprise jumped clear across the park! Happy to see rides like this get tuned-up and relocated instead of scrapped.
Also on the left side of Lagoon is Jet Star 2, the oldest of nine steel coasters here.
Built originally for The 1974 World’s Fair in Spokane, Washington, Jet Star 2 has called Lagoon home since 1976. At 42 years in one location, it shares the Schwarzkopf record for ‘Most Consecutive Operational Years In One Spot’ with Magic Mountain’s Revolution and Great America’s Whizzer.
The Jet Star II was the first Schwarzkopf model to use the now-iconic spiral lift system, which revolutionized the traveling coaster industry. Two more Jet Star II models are left in operation: Furuvik in Sweden and Lunapark Robland in Poland.
Despite a modest height of 44ft (15.5m), Jet Star 2 offers one of the most intense roller coaster experiences in the country. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore!
Lagoon’s inverted coaster is the Vekoma suspended family coaster Bat.
Theming for the ride includes homemade cave with life-sized bat figures.
Lagoon’s other large kiddie coaster is Bombora – designed in-house and features onboard audio!
Lagoon’s vast kiddie area runs circles around just about any Bugs Bunny World or Planet Snoopy.
They have a pretty unique ride in Dragonfly, which is a cross between a scrambler and a wave swinger.
Whoa! There was 4 slides here the last time I visited! I rode them all!
Lagoon–a–Beach’s vintage speed slide complex is amazing and terrifying. These two slide towers are pretty much the extent of the slide collection, which is nothing if not a firm assertion that Lagoon don’t need yo fancy-schmancy modern water slides.
The smallest and oldest kiddie here is Puff the Little Fire Dragon.
This tiny Tivoli is positively scenic. Even the station is composed partially of living foliage.
Rather than encircle the park, Lagoon’s miniature railroad actually just encircles the park’s namesake body of water.
Ok! Time for the NUMBER ONE reason we are here.
Colossus the Fire Dragon is a Schwarzkopf Doppel Looping that looks like it was installed yesterday. Sheer flawlessness.
Next door is Wicked, Zierer’s only “Tower Launch Coaster”. It’s not a bad ride, but it’s not exactly grand, either. The launch is the best part.
Okay, back to Colossus.
I think the way Lagoon runs their rides would make the German funfairs proud. Colossus, for example, always has a train on the lift before the 2nd train returns to the station.
The park wasn’t even busy, but that didn’t stop Lagoon from running rides at capacity!
One of the only Mondial Splashovers is here (the other notable one is at Canada’s Wonderland). We didn’t ride because LOOK HOW WET THIS IS.
If you go behind Lagoon-a -Beach, you’ll find a nice surprise:
A 1969 Arrow Log Flume!!!
The ride is slow and short, but is a gem nonetheless.
There’s even a label on the ride, so you know what it is.
There are certainly bigger flumes out there, but not many are as pretty as this.
Just beside the flume’s lift is this angelic glen. Seems like a nice place for a small wedding.
Behind the log flume is this utterly isolated (and gorgeous) Rattlesnake Rapids.
But with the queue this thing had, you’d never know it was 17 million miles away from the rest of the park.
PLZ REMAIN SEATED AT ALL TIMES.
Caught a peahen and her baby sneaking in the shadows!
Back around by Jet Star 2 is a great looking set of flyers.
Each tub has a totally different theme and color palate.
Not pictured: Lagoon’s totally nauseating Zamperla AirRace.
Also Not Pictured: Lagoon’s wet/dry slides because THEY HAVE BEEN DEMOLISHED. Curious to see what they’re replaced with.
Time for a trip on Lagoon’s epic sky ride!
Lagoon is big on water features. Fountains, waterfalls, several small bodies of water, etc.
Lagoon really has a knack for letting trees fill in around their older rides. Great care is taken to make sure only the bare minimum of pruning is done.
A grand setting for a park, is it not?
Here we have Lagoon’s wooden coaster, the 1921 John Miller Roller Coaster.
I was a little concerned when the park traded out their 3-bench PTC trains for custom GCI trains (with headrests and NO SEATBELTS!!!), but was pleasantly surprised by our one ride (front seat). We would have ridden twice, but Lagoon has been having a lot of problems with the ride lately, which has lead to a lot of downtime. Hopefully their frequent sensor / dispatch problems get sorted out soon.
Honestly, if there was a more relaxed major amusement park in the US, I’m not aware of it.
We’ve got coasters on the horizon!
Notice how in the next three pictures, Colossus is constantly cresting the lift.
Attention to detail: two highest flags on Colossus‘ lift are Germany and USA. ^_^
Lagoon has two mouse-ish coasters, a traditional wild mouse and a standard Maurer spinner (the latter isn’t pictures because – surprise – I forgot).
Here’s the part where we tried to get a 2nd ride on Roller Coaster, but eventually gave up and went home.
Having a station full of staff from different departments fruitlessly battling an operating system wasn’t the note I’d hoped to end on, but we had a great day nonetheless.
That concludes our trip to Lagoon! If you weren’t familiar with the park before, we hope you enjoyed getting to know one of the country’s most underrated and exemplary independent parks (and the key reason for Utah’s impressive #18 spot on our Top 50 Coaster States article!)
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