Monday, February 16, 2009

Lake Dolores/Rock-A-Hoola/Discovery Waterpark... another piece of California History

After driving back and forth on Hwy 15 countless times and not making the stop here, I finally did (accompanied with a few die-hard students who still had some energy left after the long weekend field trip). I first noticed this place, seemingly an odd location for a water park (mid-desert) when I drove here back in 2005. There were water slides (or one at least) actually up and visible from the road then. After several drives back by this place I finally committed to memory the name "Rock-A-Hoola" that I could see on the sign and did a google search. I found this forum that provided many answers, odd stories, and probable false posts. An interesting read none-the-less.

The summary is this:
  • It originally opened in 1962 as Lake Dolores, named for the founder's wife. It was a campground waterpark, and potentially the first "real" waterpark known. It grew over 22 successful years to include stand up water slides, zip line, and all kinds of other dangerous sounding thrill rides in addition to standard waterpark stuff. (People entering the park had to sign an extensive waiver - we saw some of these in the broken down buildings when we strolled around in awe)
  • After a period of closure, the park was sold and re-opened as Rock-A-Hoola in 1996, but the new owners went bankrupt and the park was returned back to the original owners 3 years later. Most of the signage and papers we saw around indicated the name Rock-A-Hoola alone or in combination with the more historically well-known Lake Dolores (as in "Lake Dolores Rock-A-Hoola Waterpark" was found on business cards strewn about)
  • Sold again, and re-opened under yet another new name: Discovery Waterpark - the third and final run went from 2002-2004. The only evidence we saw of this name were a few plain-font address labels lying around an old office behind the ticket counter.

From left to right:
  • Top row - google maps outdated image still showing waterslides that are now torn down, sign in parking area, entrance lined with 50's themed route 66 (which is further south than the road this is on) posters
  • Middle row - KyKy by the former lazy river, envelope and tickets found in old office, view of the park from the top of the location that used to have waterslides
  • Bottom row - the waterslides (photo from themeparkreview.com), regulations sign for the waterslides (I like how there's no warning about health safety like heart problems, but there is a no zipper rule), the hill that held the waterslides as seen today

3 comments:

Kilometres said...

This place is even eerier having received your mail package.

Isn't it strange that they were allowed to leave all of that behind to just sit there??

Also, I love that one of your ghost towns is actually a ghost water park! I imagine it's one of a kind.

Anonymous said...

I went to lake delores when I was 9 in 1983 or so and it was so much fun. Was one of the most memorable times in my young life. I decided to google it and had no idea it wasnt around anymore.Its kind of weird that its just left sitting there with all the old signs and slides.

Oasis Themepark said...

We are currently working with the current owners of the park to renovate and reopen Lake Dolores
OasisThemepark.com