It’s What Fun Is

For my non-Utah readers, Lagoon is an amusement park just north of Salt Lake, and its slogan for years (and possibly still?) is Lagoon: It’s What Fun Is! I have always hated that slogan. It just somehow seems ungrammatical, not to mention it seems kind of lazy. Anyway, the last time I went to Lagoon, I think I was 19 years old. Maybe 20? I don’t really remember, but I know it has been years. Years! So when I got two free tickets for our work Lagoon Day, I said, “hey! It’s free!” and I asked Claire if she wanted to come with me.

I picked her up last Saturday morning, and maybe the best part of the day was seeing how excited she was to go. Her excitement was even greater when we parked and walked into the park. The free lunch for work was in about an hour, so we decided to hit up a few rides. First stop – the Scrambler.

I should probably stop here to explain that I’m not much of an amusement park fan. You probably picked up on that at the beginning when you realized I haven’t been to an amusement park in [mumble,mumble] years. I’m not anti-amusement park, and I have fond memories of visiting Lagoon and Disneyland in my youth. I was never really scared of roller coasters or the other rides. Amusement parks are just not at the top of my list of places to go and since they are expensive, I just never visit them. I’ve gone on some minor rides at fairs and City Park in New Orleans, though. (I totally love the tilt a whirl!)

Since it had been so long since I’ve been to an amusement park with the really big rides, we thought the Scrambler would be a good ride to begin with. But it swirled and swirled and Claire said she was going to be sick, and I realized that I had no idea if Claire actually did get sick on rides. What if she threw up on me right at the beginning of the day?! But we made it through without incident. Claire does not throw up on rides, and she’s much, much braver than I am about which rides to go on. For example, she really, really wanted to do the Rocket, where they lift you up to 200 feet in the air and then drop you. Yeah, I can do roller coasters, but I can’t do that. We compromised by sending her on the Dinosaur Drop.

She loved it!

We still had some time before lunch, so we decided to enjoy another of Claire’s favorites. This is a girl whose favorite ride in Disneyland is the Tower of Terror and she loves Doctor Who and scary movies, so yes, one of her favorite rides is Dracula’s Castle.

I kind of love the owl who guards the entrance.

If you’re worried about Dracula’s Castle being too scary, don’t worry. It’s really not, but it was fun. After lunch, we decided to go on one of my favorite rides – the Tidal Wave!

Claire was excited to find that she’s tall enough to sit on the very back row. I threatened Claire before we went that we would spend the whole day in Pioneer Village, a fake little pioneer town with no rides. It’s one of my favorite parts of Lagoon because it’s full of old-timey things. We walked over there on our way to Rattlesnake Rapids and stopped in a few of the stores. We found old-timey medicine.

In the same store, though, is the best medicine.

Pioneer Village also boasts a tiny miniature circus.

What is it about tiny things that make them so cute?

Claire was itching to get on some more rides, though. I can’t bribe her with ice cream and distract her with mini things forever. She led the way to Rattlesnake Rapids, a water ride. Luckily, someone gave me the tip to bring a ziplock baggie for my phone and other personal items that I didn’t want to get wet. It’s just too bad I didn’t think to put my money in the bag or bring a bag big enough for me and Claire. Because we got totally soaked.

It took eight hours for me to dry completely, but it was worth it. I think Rattlesnake Rapids ended up being my favorite ride of the night.

We walked past the entertainment stage and Claire pulled me inside and insisted that we wait the 10 minutes unti the show began. I have never seen amusement park entertainment, but I didn’t expect much. And you know, it was actually quite entertaining.

Time for more rides! We enjoyed the Screamer, the Wild Mouse (ok, only Claire went on that one), the Tidal Wave (again), the Terror Ride, and finally it was time for me to go on a roller coaster. I remembered loving the Colossus on my last visit, so we went there first. It was just as I remembered, thrilling and a little frightening. But what I didn’t remember is just how much force is exerted from the roller coaster. It kind of hurt. We wanted to try Lagoon’s newest roller coaster, the Bombora, but we kept getting lost. We had to pull out the map, which had gotten damp and ragged in my pocket.

We kept missing it because I kept expecting it to be bigger. It’s a smallish roller coaster, but it plays the Beach Boys while you’re riding. Since the Jumping Dragon is right next door, we went there, even though Claire said it was boring. It just looks so pretty.

You know what? It is boring. It was about time for dinner. I had spied a Teriyaki Stix earlier in the day and felt all nostalgic for my days at Utah State. I used to eat their teriyaki bowls all the time, but all of the locations have been closed down over the years. I told Claire about it, and she wanted to try it. Twenty dollars later, I knew why all of the locations have closed down. They are just not good. Even Claire thought they had too much sauce. Claire wanted to play some games. I had just seen Adventureland, so I was skeptical about the possibility of winning anything, but she insisted and she had her own money to use. She won a little plush Smurf and later a lion.

You know what else they have at Lagoon? Huge snow cones.

Claire chose tiger blood and blue raspberry as the flavors. I asked her which was her favorite, and she showed me a purple mixture of both flavors.

“I think I’ll call this flavor, Nocturnal,” she said. That Claire… she’s a smart one.

Next up, the train. Claire and I took some photos while we waited to set off.

I had Claire make some faces for me.

She may be 5 years older now, but I think her facial expressions are basically the same as they were back in 2006 – that is to say, adorable.

Finally, the train was on its way.

We rode past the lagoon for which the amusement park was named.

And then we started riding past animals. I didn’t know the full name of the ride is the Wild Kingdom Train. We went past some tigers, some lions, an osterich, and the saddest camels I have ever seen.

Finally, it was time to go on the scariest ride in Lagoon. I had been avoiding it all day because I guess I am kind of scared of roller coasters. This one is called Wicked, and it has a 110-foot hump in the middle of it. I can’t believe I didn’t get a really good picture of the hump, but take a minute to hurry and look at the pictures on its wikipedia page. Scary, right?! The line was forever long, and as we got closer and closer, I really felt my heart beat faster. I told Claire that the only reason I was going on this ride was because I loved her. Finally, it was our turn. You sit in a seat and then pull a lap restraint that completely covers your front legs and lap, which is good because there were a few times during the ride where it was literally the only thing keeping me in my seat. I got a charley horse right as it began and I may have said a choice word on our way down from the hump. When we got off, Claire was ready to stand in line again, but I told her that once was enough for me. Then I let her go on the colossus alone a few times.

It was about time to leave, so we decided to take the sky ride to the other side of the park. Did I say that Wicked is the scariest ride? I was just kidding. The true scariest ride of the whole park is the sky ride.

You hang from a gondola hundreds* of feet in the air as you slowly, so slowly, ride across the park. Meanwhile, your darling niece is sitting next to you, leaning out as far as she can see and pointing to sights across the park and you find yourself gripping the rail as tight as you can and saying, “Claire, sit back. I mean it, sit back right now.” And if you’re really lucky, the ride will stop and you can ponder what you would fall on if it were to break.

On the other side of the park, they finally had Jet Star 2 working, so we decided to go for a ride. I love how 80s the Jet Start 2 is. I feel like we should all have been wearing neon and side ponies and it should play some duran duran.

It was scarier than I remembered, but awesome. We stopped for churros and Claire noticed some more dancing and singing at the entertainment pavilion, so we went over. The show at 9:00 was very different from the show in the afternoon.

We stayed for a few songs, but Claire started resting her head on my shoulder, and I knew it was time to go. When we got out to the car, she matter of factly said, “I think I’m just going to sleep on the way home, if you don’t mind.” And she did.

It took me all of Sunday to recover from our outing. We had so much fun, but I think I will be ok if it’s another few years before I return to Lagoon.

*may be a slight exaggeration.


  1. Erica · July 5, 2011

    You’re like pretty much the best aunt ever.

  2. Pingback: 2011 in Review «

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