America’s first waterpark hits the market for $11million after crumbling in the desert for 17 years


The graffiti-festooned ruins of America’s first waterpark, put on the market in August for $11million after crumbling for two decades in the Mojave Desert, could get its fourth lease on life after a history plagued with bankruptcy. 

The dried-out pool and decaying waterslides of Lake Dolores Waterpark in Newberry Springs, California, have only seen urban explorers, skateboarders, film crews and infrequent rains since patrons last cooled off from the desert heat there in 2004. 

Conveniently located just off Interstate I-15, the park once boasted waterslides, a lazy river, zip-lines, a go-kart track, bumper boats and a family raft ride that held the title for the world’s largest in 1998.

‘I’ve visited the park several times over the years since it was first abandoned, and each time it is slightly more decayed and weather-beaten – not to mention covered in spray paint,’ Nevada photographer Shaun Hunter told the New York Post of the site.   

A lake resort with cabins and a picnic area, an RV park, a water or sewage treatment plant, a library, a museum, a shopping center, a hotel or an amphitheater would all fall under currently-approved land uses, according to the site’s Realtor.com listing. However, already-proposed plans are also available for the buyer to use. 

For all its possibilities, the land certainly has baggage. 

The park enjoyed its longest period open to the public between 1962 and the late 1980’s, after local businessman Bob Byers first built the site before falling into bankruptcy. 

Conveniently located just off Interstate I-15, the park has waterslides, a lazy river, zip-lines, a go-kart track, bumper boats and a family raft ride that held the title for the world's largest in 1998

Conveniently located just off Interstate I-15, the park has waterslides, a lazy river, zip-lines, a go-kart track, bumper boats and a family raft ride that held the title for the world’s largest in 1998

It reopened as ‘Rock-a-Hoola’ in 1998, but just a year later an employee was permanently paralyzed on the park’s ‘Doo Wop Super Drop’ slide in 1999 and, after he won a $4.4million judgement, then-owner Lake Dolores Group LLC filed for bankruptcy in 2000. 

The park was open for business again for an equally short period in 2002, this time under the name Discovery Waterpark, until 2004. 

The overgrown Mojave Desert park was featured in ‘Top Gear’ Season 5 in 2014 and a Tony Hawk commercial in 2015. 

G&GF Enterprise bought the site for $1.3million in 2013, and seemed confident about their prospects of reviving the park.

Although they received site approval for their plans last year, Insider reported, the firm put the site back on the market on August 2 – and, although the San Bernardino Assessor’s office values the site at $1.25million, they are offering it for for nearly ten times that value. 

The dried-out pool and decaying waterslides of Lake Dolores Waterpark in Newberry Springs, California, have only seen urban explorers, film crews and infrequent rains since patrons last cooled off from the desert heat there in 2004

The dried-out pool and decaying waterslides of Lake Dolores Waterpark in Newberry Springs, California, have only seen urban explorers, film crews and infrequent rains since patrons last cooled off from the desert heat there in 2004

The dried-out pool and decaying waterslides of Lake Dolores Waterpark in Newberry Springs, California, have only seen urban explorers, film crews and infrequent rains since patrons last cooled off from the desert heat there in 2004

Would-be buyers would have 'abundant water rights,' according to the property's listing on Realtor.com, and have equally-abundant options should they want to deviate from the property's original use.

Would-be buyers would have 'abundant water rights,' according to the property's listing on Realtor.com, and have equally-abundant options should they want to deviate from the property's original use.

Would-be buyers would have ‘abundant water rights,’ according to the property’s listing on Realtor.com, and have equally-abundant options should they want to deviate from the property’s original use.

A lake resort with cabins and a picnic area, an RV park, a water or sewage treatment plant, a library, a museum, a shopping center, a hotel or an amphitheater would all fall under currently-approved land uses.

A lake resort with cabins and a picnic area, an RV park, a water or sewage treatment plant, a library, a museum, a shopping center, a hotel or an amphitheater would all fall under currently-approved land uses.

A lake resort with cabins and a picnic area, an RV park, a water or sewage treatment plant, a library, a museum, a shopping center, a hotel or an amphitheater would all fall under currently-approved land uses.

Just a year after it opened as 'Rock-a-Hoola' in 1998, an employee was permanently paralyzed on the park's 'Doo Wop Super Drop' slide in 1999 and, after he won a $4.4million judgement, then-owner Lake Dolores Group LLC filed for bankruptcy in 2000

Just a year after it opened as 'Rock-a-Hoola' in 1998, an employee was permanently paralyzed on the park's 'Doo Wop Super Drop' slide in 1999 and, after he won a $4.4million judgement, then-owner Lake Dolores Group LLC filed for bankruptcy in 2000

Just a year after it opened as ‘Rock-a-Hoola’ in 1998, an employee was permanently paralyzed on the park’s ‘Doo Wop Super Drop’ slide in 1999 and, after he won a $4.4million judgement, then-owner Lake Dolores Group LLC filed for bankruptcy in 2000

'I’ve visited the park several times over the years since it was first abandoned, and each time it is slightly more decayed and weather-beaten – not to mention covered in spray paint,' Nevada photographer Shaun Hunter told the New York Post of the site

'I’ve visited the park several times over the years since it was first abandoned, and each time it is slightly more decayed and weather-beaten – not to mention covered in spray paint,' Nevada photographer Shaun Hunter told the New York Post of the site

‘I’ve visited the park several times over the years since it was first abandoned, and each time it is slightly more decayed and weather-beaten – not to mention covered in spray paint,’ Nevada photographer Shaun Hunter told the New York Post of the site

For all its possibilities, the land certainly has baggage. The park enjoyed its longest period open to the public between 1962 and the late 1980's, after local businessman Bob Byers first built the site. Since, Lake Dolores Park has seen bankruptcy, arson and catastrophe

For all its possibilities, the land certainly has baggage. The park enjoyed its longest period open to the public between 1962 and the late 1980's, after local businessman Bob Byers first built the site. Since, Lake Dolores Park has seen bankruptcy, arson and catastrophe

For all its possibilities, the land certainly has baggage. The park enjoyed its longest period open to the public between 1962 and the late 1980’s, after local businessman Bob Byers first built the site. Since, Lake Dolores Park has seen bankruptcy, arson and catastrophe

The overgrown Mojave Desert park was featured in 'Top Gear' Season 5 in 2014 and a Mini Cooper commercial with Tony Hawk in 2015

The overgrown Mojave Desert park was featured in 'Top Gear' Season 5 in 2014 and a Mini Cooper commercial with Tony Hawk in 2015

The overgrown Mojave Desert park was featured in ‘Top Gear’ Season 5 in 2014 and a Mini Cooper commercial with Tony Hawk in 2015

Although the San Bernardino Assessor's office values the site at $1.25million, G&GF Enterprises put the park on the market for nearly ten times that value after they bought the property in 2013 and tried, haltingly, to start up renovations

Although the San Bernardino Assessor's office values the site at $1.25million, G&GF Enterprises put the park on the market for nearly ten times that value after they bought the property in 2013 and tried, haltingly, to start up renovations

Although the San Bernardino Assessor’s office values the site at $1.25million, G&GF Enterprises put the park on the market for nearly ten times that value after they bought the property in 2013 and tried, haltingly, to start up renovations

G&GF Enterprise got site approval for their plans for the park last year and hoped to reopen the park by 2023, Insider reported, and with an adjoining RV park - but the firm put the land back on the market on August 2

G&GF Enterprise got site approval for their plans for the park last year and hoped to reopen the park by 2023, Insider reported, and with an adjoining RV park - but the firm put the land back on the market on August 2

G&GF Enterprise got site approval for their plans for the park last year and hoped to reopen the park by 2023, Insider reported, and with an adjoining RV park – but the firm put the land back on the market on August 2

'Our entire development is going to be for the comfort and entertainment and recreation of traveling people so that they can take a break and they can have fun,' Om Garg, the company's manager, told Business Insider last year

'Our entire development is going to be for the comfort and entertainment and recreation of traveling people so that they can take a break and they can have fun,' Om Garg, the company's manager, told Business Insider last year

‘Our entire development is going to be for the comfort and entertainment and recreation of traveling people so that they can take a break and they can have fun,’ Om Garg, the company’s manager, told Business Insider last year

'In the beginning, when we acquired the property, we thought that we would be able to revive the park the way it was operating from 1998 to 2004,' Garg told Business Insider. 'We found the zoning has changed and the old conditional use permit was not valid anymore'

'In the beginning, when we acquired the property, we thought that we would be able to revive the park the way it was operating from 1998 to 2004,' Garg told Business Insider. 'We found the zoning has changed and the old conditional use permit was not valid anymore'

‘In the beginning, when we acquired the property, we thought that we would be able to revive the park the way it was operating from 1998 to 2004,’ Garg told Business Insider. ‘We found the zoning has changed and the old conditional use permit was not valid anymore’

G&GF Enterprise's Om Garg told Business Insider last year that 90 percent of the park's infrastructure was still salvageable

G&GF Enterprise's Om Garg told Business Insider last year that 90 percent of the park's infrastructure was still salvageable

G&GF Enterprise’s Om Garg told Business Insider last year that 90 percent of the park’s infrastructure was still salvageable

'I understand it was an oasis in the desert and a heaven on Earth,' Garg said. 'Our goal is to make it even better'

'I understand it was an oasis in the desert and a heaven on Earth,' Garg said. 'Our goal is to make it even better'

‘I understand it was an oasis in the desert and a heaven on Earth,’ Garg said. ‘Our goal is to make it even better’

'Problems? We have no issues here. The resort is still in the planning stages and leadership being looked into very closely. Be ready…' wrote G&GF Enterprises on Facebook in September 2016

'Problems? We have no issues here. The resort is still in the planning stages and leadership being looked into very closely. Be ready…' wrote G&GF Enterprises on Facebook in September 2016

‘Problems? We have no issues here. The resort is still in the planning stages and leadership being looked into very closely. Be ready…’ wrote G&GF Enterprises on Facebook in September 2016

In March 2019, despite the destruction of an old arcade and a café on the site by an arsonist in 2018, the most recent owners of the site posted on Facebook, 'We will once again rise above the tiny grains of sand, and once again become the oasis in the middle of the desert'

In March 2019, despite the destruction of an old arcade and a café on the site by an arsonist in 2018, the most recent owners of the site posted on Facebook, 'We will once again rise above the tiny grains of sand, and once again become the oasis in the middle of the desert'

In March 2019, despite the destruction of an old arcade and a café on the site by an arsonist in 2018, the most recent owners of the site posted on Facebook, ‘We will once again rise above the tiny grains of sand, and once again become the oasis in the middle of the desert’



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