Last week, we went to Lagoon, an amusement park here in Utah. It's a very old amusement park, which is part of the charm. Yes, it's been updated and updated over the years, but it feels nothing like Great America, the Six Flags in Illinois that my wife and I grew up going to. The park is a little smaller, the rides are a little smaller, the corporate immensity of Six Flags is absent. I imagine this is what amusement parks 50 years ago were like, before Disney and Six Flags and mega-parks took over.
We had gone to Lagoon last year, through a function of my wife’s workplace. It was fun, Eldest had a blast, though he was mostly relegated to kiddie rides. He was able to go on some bigger rides, like the Scrambler and the Tilt-a-Whirl, but most of them required him to be 46 inches tall. So when we went back this year, we were hoping he’d be tall enough to go on some more rides. He missed by two inches. It was odd, too, he needed to be that tall to go on a Wild Mouse rollercoaster. At Great America, he would only need to be 42 inches to go on the Demon, which goes upside down four times. But Eldest did have a lot of fun nonetheless. His favorite ride was the kiddie bumper cars, which we somehow missed last year, but went of five times this year. His bigger rides included the Scrambler and the Pirate Ship, as well as the river rapids ride in which he and Wife got soaked.
Littlest had fun, too, though in short bursts. He’s too small to go on most of the kiddie rides by himself or his brother, but too big to just leave in his stroller. And unlike Great America (which had Fort Fun), there aren’t many kids attractions that aren’t rides. He did go on a few things – the merry-go-round, which he loved; these little kiddie boats that went in a circle, which he rode with his brother and was ambivalent; and the kiddie coaster, which he rode with his mom and was a little freaked out by. And he liked the train, of course.
Wife and I managed to get on one ride on our own. One of her co-workers offered to watch the boys (who were angels for her after whining for us) while we went on the park’s ancient yet fun wooden coaster. It felt like a date, and we were tempted to go on a second ride (and were told we should have). We stayed at Lagoon about six hours, which seemed to be about the perfect time. We skipped the little waterpark they had, all the slides required Eldest to be taller, the kids area would have been easier if Littlest was walking better. Both boys fell asleep on the way home.
Growing up, the one trip to Great America every summer was always such a big deal. Despite the smaller scale of the park and the smaller ages of the children, that’s what this felt like. It was a great way to end the summer.
(For the record, the title of the post comes from the Beach Boys’ song “Salt Lake City” that actually references Lagoon.)