The awesomeness that once was Lake Dolores Waterpark
Every Californian who’s ever made the drive from LA to Las Vegas knows this long forgotten landmark – Rock-A-Hoola, the abandoned water park that sits just off Interstate 15 about the midpoint between LA and Vegas. Throughout the years Rock-A-Hoola has gone through many reincarnations, first starting out as Lake Dolores and was most recently dubbed Discovery Waterpark before closing its doors for good in the summer of 2004. Although currently in quite a state of ruin, the park doesn’t look like much but back when it was in operation it was probably one of the most badass waterparks to ever exist.
Now, if you were ever wondering what this place might have looked like in its heyday then look no further! After some research I found that this place was a pretty kickass water park in the 80′s before being turned into the wimpy waterparks that are the norm now. They clearly had no concern for safety which is obviously just makes things more awesome. They didn’t have any of those nimby waterslides that drop you out inches from the water, no, their waterslides were 150 feet long, made of stainless mother fucking steel and launched your ass out at a perch of 15 feet above the water just like a human cannonball. If that wasn’t hardcore enough, you had to ride the god damn thing standing up! Combining all this with the strong and non-porous steel material and a straight-ahead steep angle drop which channeled an endless flow of downward rushing water along with the ever-greasy suntan lotion slicked surface, any slowing friction between slide and rider was virtually non-existent, thus allowing the rider to gain a significant amount of speed before throwing their ass into the water. No public waterpark comes close to resembling this specific design and construction anywhere in the world, nor has one like it existed anywhere since (my guess is probably due to, I don’t know, the high likelihood of injury). Some brave riders testing out the slides:
To add an even greater thrill to the overall experience, there was also a zip line style ride, which was more or less just a hand-held-while-hanging tram-ride that started at the top of a man made hill and then by letting gravity do its work, careened the rider for approximately 200 feet at a downward angle away from the top of the hill, at ever-increasing speed along a guidewire which situated high above the water. All the while the only protection the rider has from falling 20-30 feet to the ground is them holding on for dear life. At the bottom-end of the wire the hand-grip would slam into a small blocking mechanism and come to a dead stop with the continuing momentum thrusting the hanging rider twenty-plus feet forward and down into the cool, murky lagoon like an incoming runaway missile. I couldn’t even imagine the paperwork that would need to be completed nowadays to ride any of these rides. There would probably be about 30 pages of signatures needed just to prevent a park like this from getting sued, which is probably why nothing like this exists anymore (sadly).
The park also featured eight “lay-down” waterslides that traversed down a man made hill for over one-hundred feet at a sixty-degree angle. Each rider was equipped with a small, flat, manually inflated “floatie” which was placed under one’s belly, back, or bottom. Gaining speed due to the physics of “angular momentum”, riders would “skim” as they hit the water at slide’s end with their floatie slapping against the surface as they swiftly zipped forty to fifty yards across the lagoon just like a skipping stone. Check out the picture below for a little sample of what riding this ride would have been like:
There was also a trapeze like ride where guests would climb a to a 15 foot tall platform and grab onto a metal handle to swing and fling themselves into the water. The downside to this is if the rider didn’t let go in time they would come rushing back at full force and slam right into the metal post they jumped from. Nothing like the threat of a few broken bones to really turn up the fun switch, eh? Below are a few pictures of guests attempting the trapeze:
If you want to see everything in action check out this commercial someone taped from back when Lake Dolores was booming:
There’s also this video which shows a few more of the waterpark’s ride (albeit at a much lower quality):
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