Eerie pictures show remains of America's first waterpark

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Eerie pictures show remains of America's first waterpark

It was once branded the 'Fun spot of the dessert", a man made oasis in the Californian drylands.

This is what remains of Lake Dolores, America's first ever waterpark.

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The abandoned leisure attraction has become a magnet for urban explorers, artists and photographers, as these stunning new pictures show.

Situated in the town of Newbury Springs, the former tourist hotspot closed forever in 2004, after several ill-fated attempts to reinvigorate it.

One image shows a rusting staircase, silhouetted against the evening sky, leading to a water slide that was long ago removed.

Credits: Raise the Stakes Projects/Jam Press

The deserted attraction has become a popular spot for photographers

Credits: Raise the Stakes Projects/Jam Press

Lake Dolores was a popular attraction in the 70s and early 80s

Opened in 1962 by businessman Bob Byers, the attraction started as a huge manmade lake and small recreation area built atop a natural spring.

Named after Byers' wife, the park began attracting more business as motorists travelling between Los Angeles and Las Vegas on nearby Interstate 15 started to take notice.

Gradually more and more attractions were added - a set of eight identical 150ft slides which riders would slip down on floats and into the eponymous lake; two V-shaped metal slides that could be ridden standing up, and spitting out the surfers 15ft above the landing pool.

Credits: Raise the Stakes Projects/Jam Press

Empty turnstiles at the abandoned Lake Dolores waterpark

Credits: Raise the Stakes Projects/Jam Press

This staircase used to lead to a water slide

Meanwhile the "Big Bopper" raft ride would become a signature attraction, as would the slower, children friendly Lazy River.

There was also swings, zip lines, bumper boats and an arcade, drawing thousands of fun-seekers during the park's heyday of the 70s and 80s.

But by the late 80s, Lake Dolores had run into trouble, with declining visitors forcing the park to close.

Byers sold the park to a group of investors in 1990. He did not live to see the park re-open, dying in 1996.

In 1998, the attraction reopened as Rock-A-Hoola Waterpark, a 1950's themed attraction with new rides alongside some of the old favourites.

Credits: Raise the Stakes Projects/Jam Press

The now empty, manmade Lake Dolores, from which the park got its name

Credits: Raise the Stakes Projects/Jam Press

The layout of the park still remains long after the rides have gone

It was to be a short-lived revival. In 1999, an off-duty employee was left paralysed after landing in an inadequately-filled swimming pool, resulting in a $4.4 million judgement against the waterpark, forcing its closure.

The park was handed back to Byers' widow, Dolores.

She again sold the property in 2001, and after another renovation, the park would open as Discovery Waterpark in 2002, only to operate intermittently and close following the 2004 season.

Credits: Raise the Stakes Projects/Jam Press

The abandoned Lake Dolores at night

This would be the last time the park would operate as a functional waterpark, though after its closure, it would seem to take on another life as a magnet for rogue artists and filmmakers.

In 1999, the waterpark was the site of the EDM-centered festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, attracting an estimated 10,000 people.


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