Lake Park resort. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

1886 – The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad opens the Lake Park Bathing Resort on the shore of the Great Salt Lake, not far west of Farmington.

1895 – The lake’s water levels recede drastically and Lake Park closes permanently at the end of the season. Vice president and part owner, Simon Bamberger, makes plans for a new resort further inland using buildings from Lake Park.

1896 – The new Lagoon Resort opens in Farmington at what was then the end of the Bamberger Railway commuter line connecting to Salt Lake City.

1906Shoot-The-Chutes opens as Lagoon’s first thrill ride. The first Davis County Fair is held at Lagoon in October.

1907 – The Scenic Railway is introduced – Lagoon’s first roller coaster.

1908 – The Bamberger Railway reaches Ogden.

1911 – Horse races begin at the new Race Track north of the park.

1916 – Simon Bamberger is elected Utah’s governor. He is the state’s first democratic governor and the second Jewish governor in the United States.

1918 – An electric-powered Carousel from California replaces an older one.

1920 – Farmington Creek floods in the spring leaving two feet of mud in the swimming area. It was cleared out in time for the regular opening on Memorial Day.

Close-up of a postcard believed to be from around 1930 to the early ’40s.

1921 – The Scenic Railway is replaced by the new Lagoon Dipper designed by John A. Miller. Over the years it has been known by many names and today it’s simply called the Roller Coaster.

1927 – A new Swimming Pool with “water fit to drink” opens just north of Lagoon Lake.

1929 – The Davis County Fair begins to take place annually at Lagoon until 1942.

1941 – The Flying Scooters (known as Flying Aces today), are installed east of the Carousel.

Shoot-The-Chutes next to Roller Coaster (known as the Giant Dipper or Silver Coaster) in a photo from around the late 1930s or early ’40s. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

1943 – Lagoon closes during World War II. The buildings fall into disrepair and the gardens are overtaken with weeds.

1946 – The park re-opens under a lease by the Utah Amusement Corporation, consisting of Ranch S. Kimball and the Freed brothers.

1947 – Many new buildings are added and further improvements are made on rides and around the park.

1952 – Passenger traffic on the Bamberger Railway ends. The line is used for freight for a few years before shutting down permanently.

Flames and smoke on the night of the fire in November 1953. Photo: Salt Lake Tribune

1953 – A tragic fire on the night of November 14th destroys the Dancing Pavilion, Fun House, part of the Roller Coaster and the west side of the Midway.

1954 – An ambitious rebuilding effort allows the park to re-open on time with several new rides such as the Rock-O-Plane, Octopus, Spook House and Tilt-A-Whirl. The biggest addition is the Patio Gardens which would showcase the top performers in entertainment.

19570501 Mother Gooseland Logo

1956Mother Gooseland opens with new rides, play areas and food offerings just for kids.

1957 – A brand new Fun House is completed a few years after the first one burned down.

1958 – Lagoon management begins leasing the old Rainbow Randevu ballroom in Salt Lake City. They opened it under the name Danceland, but it was soon changed to The Terrace.

1959 – A miniature Showboat begins taking guests around Lagoon Lake.

1960 – Following the popularity of Disneyland’s Autopia, Lagoon opens their own sprawling automobile ride called Speedway.

1962Golf-Fun, a professionally-designed miniature golf course opens.

1965 – The Midway expands on the north end to include a wooden Wild Mouse coaster, new games and a fountain dedicated to Julian Bamberger (son of Simon Bamberger), who owned the park for many years.

Lagoon '65
Photo/Artwork: Deseret News

1966 – The Davis County Fair returns to Lagoon.

1967Terroride opens in place of the old Spook House.

1968Opera House Square opens with Victorian era buildings and shops. Plays presented in the Opera House starred University of Utah drama students.

1970 – Weekly concerts at the Patio Gardens come to an end.

Photo: Nile Miskin
Photo: N. Miskin

1971 – A spacious campground is added south of the park. Ranch S. Kimball sells his business interests to the Freeds and retires.

1974 – An additional dark ride, Dracula’s Castle, opens in part of the old Patio Gardens building and the Sky Ride is added. Park manager Robert Freed passes away in July as a result of cancer.

1975Log Flume and Wild Kingdom Train open at Lagoon after being salvaged from the unsuccessful Pixieland Park in Oregon. MORE 1975

1976 – Pioneer Village opens in its new home on the east side of Lagoon. The park’s first steel coaster, a Schwarzkopf Jet Star 2, is brought in after operating at Expo ’74 in Spokane, Washington. MORE 1976

1977 – Two new bumper car rides, Boomerang and the smaller Scamper, are introduced.

1979Tri-Star opens next to Jet Star 2.

Tidal Wave 19800405 Ad

1980Tidal Wave is added on the edge of Lagoon Lake. A new main entrance building opens along with a new admission policy requiring purchase of an all day passport. MORE 1980

1981 – Golf-Fun becomes Putter Around The Park and includes obstacles based on popular Lagoon rides.

1982UFO opens for one season. A new amphitheater featuring live entertainment opens south of Roller Coaster.

Close-up of Colossus in March 1983 with the back of the Wild Mouse to the right. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

1983Mudslides in the spring force mounds of debris into the park and cause the park to close for a few days. Colossus finds a permanent home at Lagoon after traveling in a carnival around Europe for a year.

1984 – Heavy snowfall during the off-season destroys the European Carousel and Red Baron is introduced as a replacement. The Whirlwind spends a season at the park.

1985Mother Gooseland becomes Kiddie Land and the old Kiddie Coaster is replaced by Puff, The Little Fire Dragon. Cyclone operates for a single year.

1986 – Relocation of the Davis County Fair allows further expansion of the Midway. Additions to the new area are the Flying Carpet and the Flying Aces, which had been removed a few years before.

1987 – Lagoon celebrates 100 years and adds two rides – Turn Of The Century and Centennial Screamer. The Swimming Pool closes after 60 years.

1988 – The Sun ‘N’ Fun Theatre opened next to Game Time with sea lion and high diving shows.
MORE 1988

Artist's concept of Lagoon-A-Beach printed in the Deseret News in 1989.
Artist’s concept of Lagoon-A-Beach printed in the Deseret News in 1989.

1989Lagoon-A-Beach opens as a replacement for the Swimming Pool. Final season of shows in the Opera House.

1991Sky Scraper opens and becomes the park’s first ride to surpass 100 feet in height.

1992 – For better accessibility, ride queues and walkways are modified to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

1993 – The parking lot is enlarged and reconfigured with a new Auto Gate at the southwest corner. Work begins on the new Lagoon Trail which will provide a buffer between homes on Main Street and a new eastward expansion of the park.

1994Hydro-Luge is installed east of Flying Carpet.

1995Sky Coaster opens as an up-charge attraction.

1996 – A second up-charge attraction, Top Eliminator Dragsters, opens in August.

1997Rattlesnake Rapids is added to Pioneer Village and is Lagoon’s most expensive ride up to that time.

Wild Mouse at night.
Wild Mouse entrance at night. Photo: B. Miskin

1998 – A new, steel Wild Mouse is installed in the location of the old wooden Wild Mouse. The last section of the Lagoon Trail is completed in November.

1999The Rocket opens, pushing Lagoon’s skyline just over 200 feet.

2000 – Lagoon’s up-charge attractions become known as the X-Venture Zone with the addition of Double Thunder Raceway. Samurai replaces the Flying Carpet and the popular, but aging Speedway, Sr. closes for good at the end of the season.

2001Cliffhanger is installed on part of what used to be Speedway, Sr.

2002 – The Catapult is added to the X-Venture Zone.

2003The Spider opens on another section of land once occupied by Speedway, Sr.

The Dragonfly and Speedway, Jr. Photo: B. Miskin

2004 – Kiddieland is updated and two rides are introduced, The Dragonfly and Kontiki.

2005The Bat replaces the old Lake Park Pavilion which had been reconstructed out of a building that originated at Lake Park in 1886.

2006Dinosaur Drop and Ladybug Bop are added to Kiddieland and Bulgy The Whale and Sky Fighter are relocated.

2007Wicked, a new, one-of-a-kind launch coaster opens in June.

2008 – A new water ride, OdySea, opens next to the Opera House. Putter Around The Park closes permanently at the end of the season.

2009Jumping Dragon opens on part of the old Putter Around The Park miniature golf course.

2011 – The unique family coaster Bombora opens on the edge of Lagoon-A-Beach and Lagoon celebrates its 125th birthday.

2012Air Race fills the long-vacant space east of Jet Star 2.

2013Tipsey Tea Cups and Red Rock Rally are placed within the boundaries of the former Putter Around The Park miniature golf course.

Photo: B. Miskin

2015 – A record-breaking mega coaster, Cannibal, finally opens in July after years of planning and construction.

2017Flying Tigers and Ruka Safari are added to Kiddieland and Terroride receives a massive overhaul in time for its 50th anniversary.

2019 – Lagoon opens the Biergarten, featuring the first indoor non-franchise restaurant since the old Gaslight Restaurant in Opera House Square.

2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic delays the park’s opening for nearly two months, but Lagoon opens in time for Memorial Day weekend with some restrictions. A new kids’ ride is introduced on opening day – Engine 86. In August, Lagoon president Peter Freed passes away at age 99.

2021 – An electrical fire on December 18th destroyed the building housing the Carousel Candy shop and the 44-year-old Scamper bumper car ride. It was the largest fire at the park since 1953.

Progress on Primordial in June 2023. Photo: B. Miskin

2023Primordial finally opened in the middle of September. Season passport holders were given the chance to make reservations to ride on weeknights when the park was closed.


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