The Lake Dolores Waterpark was originally designed and built by businessman Bob Byers, for use by his extended family. Wanting to name the park after his wife, he named it Lake Dolores. Construction began between the late 1950s through the early 1960s on the eastern edge of the Mojave Desert, only 100 yards from Interstate 15. This area was chosen, as it contains underground springs fed by the Mojave Aquifer. Utilizing these underground springs, they constructed a man-made, 273-acre lake.
In May of 1962, a campground was placed adjacent to the small lake, and opened to the public. Many travelers along Interstate 15 on their way to Los Angeles or Las Vegas would visit the campground, and business began to rise. Over the next 25 years, additions were made, such as rides and attractions. These additions transformed the site into a waterpark, and later advertised on television as “The Fun Spot of the Desert.”
Between the early 1970s and mid-1980s, business was booming for Lake Dolores as visitors flocked from all over to enjoy a vacation in the desert. The park offered numerous rides and attractions, including eight identical 150-foot sixty-degree-angle steel waterslides. To descend the slide, riders rode on small plastic “floaties” which skimmed 40 to 50 yards across the lagoon when they hit the water at the slide’s end. Other rides included two V-shaped waterslides, also 150 feet in length, which were ridden standing up, and shot the standing rider out of the end like a human cannonball. Safe, yeah? The park also had a “Zip-Cord” ride, where riders hung from a device attached to a guide wire for approximately 200 feet at a downward slope. At the end, the hand-grip would catch a blocking mechanism, coming to a halt about 20 feet above the water, throwing the rider 20 feet forward into the lagoon.
Though the park enjoyed great business for years, it was closed in the late 1980s. It was not until August of 1990 that Byers sold the defunct park to Lake Dolores Group LLC. The group was a three-member investment group led by Oxnard businessman Terry Christensen, who dreamt to bring the park back in time, showcasing a more polished 1950s theme. The original waterslides on the hill were removed in 1995 to make room for new rides. A few years later on July 4, 1998, the park was reopened as “Rock-A-Hoola.” Rock and roll music from the 1950s – 1960s played continuously throughout the park.
The annual Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) was held at the Rock-A-Hoola park on June 26, 1999. Though it would seem that business was doing well for the park, in its three seasons, it amassed over $3 million in debt. In addition to the debt, three investors experienced financial problems, and a park employee crippled in a 1999 accident received $4.4 million in damages. The park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February of 2000.
When no buyer was found, the bankruptcy filing was changed to Chapter 7 liquidation in August of 2000. By decision of the bankruptcy judge, the property was turned back over to Dolores Byers, with most debts discharged. Bob Byers had died in 1996, which left Dolores in charge. Dolores sold the property in September 2001 to S.L. Investment Group LLC. She died only a month later.
The new owners completed a $400,000 renovation, and opened in May 2002 under the name “Discovery Waterpark.” From 2002-2003, the park operated normally from weekdays through weekends, but in 2004 only operated intermittently. The park was closed very shortly after in the summer of 2004, and has remained closed since.
In March of 2008, Rob Dyrdek and friends skated the waterpark in an episode of Rob & Big on MTV. On May 27, 2013, Boards of Canada debuted their album Tomorrow’s Harvest by playing it within the Lake Dolores Waterpark. The park was used in a lyric video for the song “Reapers” by British rock band Muse. Even Mini used the park in the Spring of 2015 to shoot one of their commercials.
This is only a handful of interesting uses for the park in more recent years.