Lake Dolores Waterpark

Lake Dolores Waterpark is an abandoned waterpark off Interstate 15 in the Mojave Desert in the community of Newberry Springs, California, United States. The waterpark had operated under numerous names in the past, including Lake Dolores, Rock–A–Hoola Waterpark, and Discovery Waterpark.

Beginnings (1950s–90s)

The park was originally designed and built by local businessman Bob Byers for use by his extended family.[1] Lake Dolores was named after Byers' wife.[2]

The initial phases of conception, planning and construction took place in the late 1950s and early 1960s. An expanse of arid land on the eastern edge of the Mojave Desert 100 yards (91 m) from Interstate 15 was chosen for the project. The area contains underground springs fed by the Mojave Aquifer. Lake Dolores, the body of water, is a 273-acre (110 ha) man-made lake fed by underground springs.

In May 1962, a basic campground adjacent to the small lake was opened to the public. Enthusiasts of motocross and people traveling on Interstate 15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas gave the campground some business.

Over the next 25 years, rides and attractions were added, and the site evolved into a waterpark, which was advertised on television with the slogan "The Fun Spot of The Desert!"

The park featured eight identical 150-foot (46 m) sixty–degree–angle steel waterslides mounted side by side on a man–made hill. Riders rode on small plastic "floaties" which skimmed 40 to 50 yards (37 to 46 m) across the lagoon when they hit the water at the slide's end.

Nearby were two V–shaped waterslides, also roughly 150 feet (46 m) long, which were ridden standing up. The slides ended about 15 feet (4.6 m) above the water, shooting the standing rider out of the end like a human cannonball.

On the "Zip–Cord" ride, riders hung from a hand–held device attached to a guide wire for approximately 200 feet (61 m) at a 30–degree downward angle. At the end of this wire the hand–grip would slam into a blocking mechanism and come to a stop about 20 feet (6.1 m) above the water, with the momentum thrusting the hanging rider 20 feet (6.1 m) forward into the lagoon.

In the middle of a smaller adjacent lake were three high diving boards, and three trapeze-like swings hanging from an A–frame structure mounted on a 20-foot (6.1 m) high platform. Riders launched themselves from these swings into the lake.

The park saw its peak attendance between the early 1970s and the mid-1980s. After a downturn in popularity in the late 1980s, the park closed.

Later development (1990–2004)
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Rock–A–Hoola Waterpark

Byers sold the defunct park in August 1990 to Lake Dolores Group LLC, a three–member investment group led by Oxnard, California businessman Terry Christensen, who envisioned a more polished park with a 1950s theme.

In 1995, the original water slides were removed and replaced with more modern fiberglass water slides built by WhiteWater West and were painted red white and blue in reference to the United States flag. One of the slides was "The Big Bopper" advertised as the world's largest family raft ride, and promotion was contracted to Beachport Entertainment Corporation,[3] and the park reopened under a new name, "Rock–A–Hoola", on July 4, 1998. The new park featured the constant playing of 1950s and 1960s rock and roll music throughout the park along with some compatible graphics. In its "Rock–A–Hoola" incarnation, the park included a river ride on inflated tubes.

An on–premises RV park had been planned but its opening was delayed. In its three seasons, the park amassed three million dollars in debt, one of the three investors experienced financial problems, and an employee paralyzed in a 1999 accident was awarded $4.4 million in damages. That award was affirmed by the California Fourth District Court of Appeal in 2004.[4][5]

The park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2000. The court–appointed trustee failed to find a buyer and, in August 2000, the bankruptcy filing was changed to Chapter 7 liquidation. The bankruptcy judge overseeing the case returned the property to Dolores Byers (husband Bob Byers died in 1996) with most debts discharged.

Dolores Byers sold the property in September 2001 to S.L. Investment Group LLC of the City of Industry, California. She died a month later.

Discovery Waterpark

After a $400,000 renovation, the waterpark reopened in May 2002 under a new name: Discovery Waterpark.[6] In 2002 and 2003, the park was only open on weekends. In the summer of 2004, its final summer, the park only operated intermittently.[7]

^ "Lake operator Byers in supervisors race". The San Bernardino Sun. Digital First Media. February 16, 1980. Retrieved December 10, 2021. ^ Paynter, Sarah (September 24, 2021). "America's first waterpark is 250 acres of abandoned decay, selling for $11M". New York Post. Retrieved December 10, 2021. ^ "Beachport Entertainment Corp. Announces Management Agreement with Lake Dolores". Business Wire. May 19, 1998. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014. ^ Paynter, Sarah (24 September 2021). "America's first waterpark is 250 acres of abandoned decay, selling for $11M". Retrieved 13 December 2022. ^ Bendix, Aria (28 August 2020). "An abandoned water park sat empty in the California desert for 16 years. Now, its eerie remains could spring back to life". Business Insider. Retrieved 13 December 2022. ^ "Take a look inside abandoned water parks around the world — some of which closed under sinister circumstances". Business Insider. Retrieved December 10, 2021. ^ Syed, Armani (October 20, 2021). "Take a look inside an abandoned water park in the California desert that's on sale for $11 million". Business Insider. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
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