FARMINGTON — Hate crowds and long lines but love amusement park rides? Then the pre-season — April and May — is the place for you at Lagoon.

Lagoon amusement park is now open on weekends for its 120th season. The early season is an excellent time to ride until you drop. With the exception of a few rides, like the wooden roller coaster, lines are almost always so short in the spring that patrons have to stand in line only one cycle of the ride to get on.

This means many times during the early season at Lagoon, riders can take as many rides — several dozen in three hours — as would require eight or more hours during the busy summer season to equal. (Lagoon isn't open late at night in April and May.)

From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays is usually the shortest line ride time at Lagoon in April and May.

New this year are two children's rides — the Dinosaur Drop and Ladybug Bop.

Essentially, these are scaled down, kid-friendly versions of Lagoon's Rocket Ride. However, while the Rocket towers are 217 feet high and require that riders be 50 inches tall or more; these two new attractions are only about 40-feet-high and have a minimum height requirement of just 36 inches.

(However, kids between 36-42 inches in height need an adult to ride with them.)

The Drop and Bop are two separate towers, and Lagoon describes them as family rides that may appeal to all ages. Each ride has five double seats attached to a motorized ring driven around each vertical tower. Both towers offer several different ride programs, and both vertical and rotational movement can be controlled, providing different ride experiences.

With the addition of the "Bat" ride last year, other rides and special theming in recent years, Lagoon has beefed up its children's ride area.

Other changes at Lagoon this year include the addition of a Colosimo's Sausages outlet to the park's food services; the total reconstruction of the restrooms in the center of the park; and two new picnic terraces and expanded food catering to replace Lagoon's old Maple picnic terrace.

Dick Andrew, Lagoon spokesman, confirmed that the park is scheduled to open a major roller-coaster ride for the 2007 season.

"It will surpass anything we have," Andrew promised.

Ground should be broken on the new coaster this summer, and it will be located just west of the Fire Dragon ride.

Andrew also said that any of the continuing rumors about Six Flags purchasing Lagoon are false.

SIX LAGOON SECRETS: Here are secrets to an even better visit to the Beehive State's biggest amusement park:

1. Season passports are the best Lagoon value. Families of four or more, who attend the park just 10 times, between April and October, and you are only paying about $7.60 per visit — with season passes — versus about $36 for a single visit passport at full price.

2. Senior citizens, age 65 and older, can get in free to Lagoon. All they need to do is go to a ticket window and show proof of their age. This way they can see Pioneer Village and all the shows free. Rides aren't included.

3. Lagoon is one of the few amusement parks in the nation that allows outside food to be taken in. Lagoon has a huge area for picnicking, and families can bring in a cooler and find a spot.

4. There are many discounts available to attend Lagoon. Check Lagoon's Web site for some. Also, be aware of an LDS Stake Lagoon Day or a company Lagoon Day for some of the best daily discounts.

5. Don't forget Pioneer Village. Plan an hour or more in your visit and give your family some historical education/appreciation. But do it before dark as this part of Lagoon is the first to close for night. Also, consider a family keepsake, like an old-time photograph in the Pioneer Village photo studio.

6. Like to get wet? Lagoon-A-Beach, Lagoon's waterpark, doesn't open until Memorial Day. However, you get plenty wet riding Rattlesnake Rapids and walking through Lagoon's central court fountain in the pre-season.

PRICE INFORMATION: Lagoon will be open Saturdays and Sundays in April and May — plus Memorial Day. It will open daily on Friday, June 2.

It's six-acre waterpark, Lagoon-A-Beach, will open on Memorial Day, weather permitting.

Frightmares, Lagoon's seasonal Halloween event, opens Sept. 29.

Daily ride passports, for persons 51 inches in height to 64 years, are $33.95, plus tax. The "kinder age" passport, age 4 to 50 inches tall, is $28.85, plus tax. Toddlers, age 3 years and under is $19, plus tax.

For senior citizens, age 65 years of age and over, the ride pass is $22, plus tax.

Daily vehicle parking is $7 and oversize vehicle parking is $10.

Season passports, through June 6 are $82.95, plus tax, for each of 1-3 passes purchased and $72.95 each, plus tax, each when four or passes are purchased at once. Prices increase June 7.

A season parking pass is $30.

X-Venture Zone attractions are not included with season passports or with daily passports.

For more information on Lagoon, from Davis County, call 451-8000; from Ogden, call 605-5555; from Utah County, call 607-5555; from Salt Lake County, call 401-5555; and for other areas, call 1-800-748-5246 — all toll free.

For Lagoon's Web site, go to www.lagoonpark.com.


E-mail: lynn@desnews.com