Friday, August 12, 2011

Retro Friday: Lake Dolores, America's First Waterpark

It's one of the many bizarre sites (along with Zzyzx Rd.) you can't help but notice while speeding down the 15 to or from Las Vegas. An eerie, abandoned water park in the middle of the desert: "Rock-A-Hoola," formerly known as Lake Dolores, seems to have been a pretty bad idea.

Yet it thrived as Lake Dolores. (Above, an 1980s-era ad for the attraction.) Opened by Bob and Dolores (the park's namesake) Byers in 1962, Lake Dolores is considered one of the first -- if not the first -- water parks in the country.

A popular recreational attraction for much of the 1970s and 1980s, it finally shut down in the late 1980s. Ten years later, in the late 1990s, it reopened as the 1950s-themed "Rock-A-Hoola." Here's a promo video from 1998:

But the new owners went bankrupt, and it shut down for good by 2004. Since then the water attractions have been removed and the location has been vandalized. Now, it's a spooky shell of its former self.

Now, people can't resist stopping off the freeway to take videos of the eerie water park ruins. Some videos:

And in the most famous example, the stars of MTV's "Rob and Big" took their skateboards and rode on the abandoned slides:

Lake Dolores isn't forgotten. Not only do thousands of motorists drive by it every day, but one filmmaker is even working on a documentary about the country's first waterpark. Here's a clip:

Check out more cool pics of the abandoned waterpark at Lost America here.

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