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Lagoon focusing on ‘little kids’ in ’04

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FARMINGTON — The 2004 season at Lagoon — its 118th year — is shaping up as the season for the "little kids."

After a decade of catering to the big kids with mega rides — the Rocket, Rattlesnake Rapids, the Wild Mouse — Lagoon is adding two major new children's rides, some elaborate theming, plus an interactive fountain.

The improvements will cost up to $2.5 million, according to Dick Andrew, Lagoon spokesman. "We're reconfiguring Kiddie Land. This is a pretty extensive makeover."

One of the new rides will be Kon Tiki, a Tidal Wave-type ride. However, parents will be able to ride with their children on this attraction, and the cars will rotate, in addition to the entire structure swinging back and forth in a way similar to Lagoon's current Tidal Wave.

The other new ride is the kids-only attraction the Dragon Fly, a circle-motion ride that features a huge dragonfly with a 16-foot wingspan.

Andrew said an interactive fountain will dominate the center of the Midway. A large water fountain will be installed near the focal point of Lagoon's walkways, east of the main gate, the square by Fascination and near the Terror Ride. The fountain will have lights and a choreographed water show. "It will fill the entire area," Andrew said. "We even had to take out some of the gardens on both sides."

The fountain will be for all ages, he said. It will also mean that some of Lagoon's entertainment that used to be held there will have to be relocated.

In addition, Lagoon is creating 200-plus metal flowers and bugs, perhaps the most dramatic theming since the Mother Goose shoe arrived many decades ago, Andrew said. Lagoon is building, welding and painting these 5-foot-high flowers and bugs in its own shops and art studio. "You'll have to see them to appreciate them. It'll be a very different look."

Kiddie Land at Lagoon was last remodeled in 1985, when the Puff the Fire Dragon coaster ride was added.

Lagoon also plans to have a regular stage show for kids this summer, as well as some employees in flower costumes. "It will be a really nice integration."

Andrew said Lagoon is planning its season-opening day on Saturday, April 10, weather permitting. All the new attractions should be up and running.

Lagoon's daily admission prices will be $31.95, plus tax, for patrons 51 inches tall to age 64. For children age 4 to 50 inches tall, daily passports will be $26.95. Toddlers will be $17. Senior citizens will be $20. Vehicle parking will be $7. Season passports at a reduced price for four or more, $72.95, plus tax, through June 6; three or fewer are $82.95.

For more information on Lagoon, call 451-8000, or go on-line to www.lagoonpark.com.

FLASHBACK: What were Lagoon's newest rides 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago? Dracula's Castle and the Sky Ride came along in 1974 and the "Flying Swings" (predecessor to today's Centennial Screamer) was installed in 1964. Lagoon added the Hydro Luge in 1994 and the Red Baron in 1984.


E-mail: lynn@desnews.com