Water Skeeters

Opened: Apr 1971
Closed: 1991
Location: Lagoon Lake

Employees trying out the new Water Skeeters in April 1971. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

Often referred to as the pedal boats or paddle boats, the Water Skeeters were the last in a long history of attractions on Lagoon Lake. During the early days of Lagoon around the turn of the 20th century, the lake was about four times larger than it is today. Boats of different shapes and sizes offered Lagoon guests a moment of relaxation on the tranquil man-made lagoon which the park was named for.

When the Water Skeeters opened to guests in spring 1971, there were 20 boats carrying two passengers each. A path was marked by buoys in the southwest corner of the lake. In that first year, the lake was shared by a small steamboat replica ride called the Showboat. After the Showboat was taken out of operation, floating guide rails designated the path for riders to follow which traveled around the entire lake. The loading dock for the Showboat in the northwest corner of the lake was then used for the Water Skeeters. The small island near the middle of the south shore was added some time between 1973 and 1978.

1972 aerial photo showing the new path for the Water Skeeters after the Showboat closed. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

When Tidal Wave opened in that location in 1980, a new dock was built in the northeast corner accessed by a bridge that crossed over the path of the boats. The large metal gate used for the Water Skeeters remained in place at the entrance to Tidal Wave until the early ’90s.

At least three different types of pedal boats were used during the ride’s 21-season lifespan. The original multi-colored boats were traded out for similar boats of a different style before being replaced by metal boats. The ride was removed completely after the 1991 season.

Water Skeeters, 1991
Water Skeeters in their final season. Photo courtesy of Lagoon

4 Freshmen To Open New Lagoon Season. Deseret News, 26 May 1959.

Lagoon Adds Water Skeeters. Deseret News, 9 Apr 1971.

Hess, Margaret Steed. My Farmington: 1847-1976. Daughters Of Utah Pioneers, Helen Mar Miller Camp. Farmington, Utah, 1976.

Email to author from Scott N., 15 Nov 2003.


5 replies on “Water Skeeters”

I’m not sure if it’s still there, but when I was there last (2 years ago) you could still see one of the paddle boats at the dock if you look across the lake from the Tidal Wave and the Turn Of The Century.

Bit of a late reply, but just in case Tristan happens to come back & see this, thought I’d update. That lone boat on the far side of the lake was actually used for maintenance purposes (such as servicing the fountains).

There’s a small dock in a little cove there just to the north of the pen with… I want to say, the camels? You can spot it if you look to the right just after you pass the wooden fence in that area. The boat used to be docked there, where maintenance staff would occasionally use it to access the lake (although typically with a small trolling motor… pedaling gets old really quickly, especially if you’re out there on your own).

I hadn’t been to the park in a few seasons, but I noticed that as of 2015, the boat is no longer there. There aren’t really any places to hide boats on the lake, and I definitely haven’t seen it anywhere else. I’m assuming there must be another more portable method for getting out onto the lake for maintenance tasks these days.

Thanks! Better late than never. I believe they just use a basic aluminum fishing boat now which is brought in on a trailer when needed. That’s interesting they used an old pedal boat for cleaning the lake.

Does anyone remember that orange sea monster that was in the corner? I was just a kid (I’m 58 now) and that thing freaked me out.
First it would just come up from under the water at random and it must have been too much because they eventually had it just stationary. Then one year they took it out.
It had to be before 1975 and I can’t find anything about it.
Been going there since I was a kid, we took my boys there the first 5 years of their lives. We’ve been living in Wisconsin for the last 23 years but we get back home often and always go to Lagoon.
I love that place and it always has a special place in my heart.

Unfortunately, I’ve only had the memories of a couple people to go off of. No photos of it have surfaced yet. Lagoon described it as a dragon and it was first added for the Showboat (read more about that here). During Frightmares they have a burst of air come up in about the spot where people seem to remember the dragon being. Thanks for sharing!

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