Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Lagoon: where memories were made

The other day, I happened to catch part of a documentary on Utah's Lagoon amusement park's history. The show involved historical facts about the place that were new to me. As they showed photos from the past though, it brought back many memories for me and the times I spent there as a youth. I haven't been there in many years--since my kids were young--but there was a time...
My earliest memories of Lagoon were of our church group gatherings that we had there. Nearly as ancient in the history of my time spent there, was when I won the Pinewood Derby in my Cub Scout Pack and had the opportunity to race my car against all the other number ones in the state of Utah. Although I had rocked everyone in my pack, I got creamed at Lagoon. I think they gave everyone who didn't win a fourth place ribbon.  I still have that car, tucked away in a box.
I remember they used to have some spinning things that you dumped paint into and made some cool looking pictures. That was somewhere along the midway.
They had that huge "million gallon pool" I swam in that a few times. There was always a lot of things to do there. I used to love the Wild Mouse and the Roller Coaster, and the train that took you past all the wild animals.
There was the time that I went with our neighbors, the Howells, to Lagoon and they forgot one of their kids and we had to go back and find him. He was in the office, eating an ice cream cone that some kind person had given him. That was in the days before cell phones.
I remember the huge area with picnic tables and going there and eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and lots of other things.
Then there were the school trips. I remember going in 9th grade, and I think one other time with my classmates. It was fun.
Over the years I remember how weird it was in the Fun House, how we got out once in the Terror Ride, inside the building, not where you're supposed to get out--and how one of my friends got sick after riding the Hammer or whatever it was. I didn't laugh. There were some rides that I just didn't feel well after riding. The Tilt-O-Whirl was on that list. I remember a guy trying to guess our occupations. He said I was a welder, but in reality, I worked at an ice cream restaurant (Farrell's) at the time. Of course, I got a lot of nicks and scrapes scooping ice cream, so I can see how my hand's may have looked like welder's hands.
Such a fun place was bound to become a place to take dates. I remember doing that too. As a teenager, I perfected the basketball shooting arcade game, and the game where you knocked down Coke cans with bean bags. I won a few stuffed animals and gave them all away. Pioneer Village had become part of Lagoon by my teenage years and they had one of those Old West photo places--where you dress up like a cowboy, or pioneer woman, etc. It's funny--that's all I remember about Pioneer Village, because I had my picture taken there with a date or two.
The last time I went to Lagoon was when my kids were young--sometime in the 90s. Lagoona Beach water park had replaced the "million gallon pool" by then and I think we spent more time in the water park then we did riding rides, or playing games along the midway. By then, the prices had risen dramatically and I pretty much decided that unless I was going with someone who would really enjoy it--Ann didn't enjoy the rides all that much--it wasn't worth it to me to pay the big bucks to get in. I could go to water parks without having to do the rides somewhere else, like Raging Waters or something.
I bet that if I went there now, there have been a lot of changes made since the last time I went. But I also think a lot of it would be the same. Hey, do they still have those paddle boats? That's what inquiring minds really want to know.

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