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Top 12 Lagoon rides, ranked by intensity

SHARE Top 12 Lagoon rides, ranked by intensity

Although trips to Disneyland, Six Flags or other major amusement parks are often hot spots for family vacations, Utahns have their own land of thrill and terror close by. Lagoon is a popular summer destination for locals, but not everyone is prepared to ride the most intense attractions. We ranked our 12 favorite rides by thrill level and enjoyability.

LOW INTENSITY

Sky Scraper

Intensity: 1 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 5 out of 5 stars

Looking for the perfect view of the park — and the best view in the Salt Lake Valley? There is no better spot to sightsee than on Sky Scraper, Lagoon's ferris wheel. The ride, which reaches 150 feet above ground, is gentle and smooth and is made "to withstand hurricane-force winds," according to Lagoon's website. Each of the pastel-colored gondolas seat four to six people and come equipped with a wheel in the center for you to change the view of your seat any time you wish.

Hop in line for this ride while friends and family are clamoring for one of Lagoon's newest roller coasters Cannibal, which is right next door. Though, be warned — you may have to ride this one a few times before your friends are done waiting in line for Cannibal, which has one of the longest waits in the park.

Dracula's Castle

Intensity: 1 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 5 out of 5 stars

Need a break from the heat? Take a ride on Lagoon's classic haunted house, which was first built in 1973. But don't expect any serious scares. While there are some loud sounds and sudden movements (from robots only!) inside, the scares are meant for laughs only — and maybe a small fright here and there.

Find this ride at the entrance to the park, but maybe save it for midday when the sun is at its peak. Just keep in mind that while the lights are dim in this ride, and it does provide a moment to cool down for a second — it is gone in a flash. The ride only takes about three minutes to complete once you've finished waiting in line.

Sky Ride

Intensity: 1 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 5 out of 5 stars

One of the most relaxing rides in the park has a purpose. The Sky Ride, similar to a ski lift, is meant to transport riders from one side of the park to the other. Break away from the pack to get a quiet moment to yourself. On this ride, enjoy even more views of the park, which lifts you 60 feet above ground. Scope out the gardens, fountains, and other rides on your trip. Also, if you can, try to get a good look at the food options they offer, too. Having knowledge of all the good places to eat may just make you the hero of the day later on.

Turn of the Century

Intensity: 2 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 5 out of 5 stars

In a quiet spot somewhere at the back of the park, check out this peaceful ride, which similar to a carousel, spins riders around on a swing. Just hop in one of the swings and sit back as you glide through the air. The trip is surprisingly smooth, and features a beautiful view of the lagoon for which the park was named after. If you are lucky, you may catch a view of a turtle in the water.

The ride was built in 1987 in honor of Lagoon’s 100th birthday, according to their website, and sits close to the water park. Check out this ride while friends visit the more daunting Tidal Wave next door. Children and parents can also ride together in two connecting seats. Just beware that some adjacent swings may bump into you as the ride gently comes to a stop.

Tidal Wave

Intensity: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 4 out of 5 stars

Tidal Wave is a traditional swinging boat ride that can be found at a variety of U.S theme parks. The ride is extremely family friendly, with the large space allowing entire families to sit together as the boat swings back and forth, gradually ascending. While some younger kids could be afraid as the boat reaches its maximum height, the boat’s highest point reaches 66 feet, according to lagoonpark.com — lower than other rides of this nature. Tidal Wave is a low-intensity family ride, and offers a nice contrast to the high-thrill rides such as Cannibal and Wicked.

MEDIUM INTENSITY

Roller Coaster

Intensity: 3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 4 out of 5 stars

Built in 1921, Lagoon’s candidly-named Roller Coaster is America’s fifth-oldest roller coaster. The attraction was partially destroyed by a fire in 1953, but has since been rebuilt. Employees rebuild a section of the coaster every off-season to ensure it stays safe for visitors.

Roller Coaster features no loops or abrupt turns, making it more appropriate for hesitant riders, but its several hills and wooden frame make for a satisfying bumpy ride for thrill seekers.

Centennial Screamer

Intensity: 3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 4 out of 5 stars

Centennial Screamer looks a little like a ferris wheel. The ride fits 20 cars around a disk that slowly lifts to an almost vertical position, giving riders the opportunity to ride completely upside down.

Despite the upside-down action, the ride isn’t particularly intense. Centripetal force keeps riders firmly in their seats, and nothing is unexpected. Centennial Screamer does, however, provide some dizzying entertainment that will make guest feel like they’re flying.

Spider

Intensity: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 4 out of 5 stars

Spider fits four riders to a car, two facing forward and two facing backward. According to Lagoon’s website, the car unlocks when it ascends the second hill, allowing it to spin freely and providing for a different experience every time.

Spider doesn’t have any loops, but the experience of going down a hill sideways — or even backwards — will satisfy visitors who want a moderate amount of thrill.

Rocket

Intensity: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Rocket includes two different rides: Rocket Blast Off and Rocket Re-Entry. Rocket Blast Off accelerates 12 riders rapidly from ground level to more than 200 feet high before pulling them back down. Rocket Re-Entry works the opposite direction, raising riders slowly — agonizingly slowly — to the top, before pulling them down rapidly.

Rocket Re-Entry gets extra intensity points because the ascent is absolutely terrifying (one boy, upon looking at it, said, “We are not riding that!” and ran away from the line). The ride gives even the most seasoned amusement park visitors way too much time to consider their coming plight as they watch themselves get higher, and higher, and higher. But the descent is thrilling enough to help riders forget their fear and leave with slightly dazed smiles.

HIGH INTENSITY

Colossus

Intensity: 4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Colossus has a classic roller coaster beginning: the slow, steep ascent that builds a combination of sweat and anticipation in riders before curving downward and gaining momentum into a smooth ride that takes passengers on a journey of loops and turns. The ride’s most notable feature is its double loop that takes riders upside down two times in a row. The speed of this ride is similar to Wicked, and because of the two upside down loops, riders will want to make sure that their items are safely stored in nearby lockers.

Wicked

Intensity: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 5 out of 5 stars

The second tallest roller coaster — surpassed only by Cannibal — Wicked is a ride that easily satisfies the need for speed. One of the most exhilarating parts of the ride takes place at the very beginning. The journey starts in a dark tunnel where riders wait only a few seconds before being launched to high speed onto a tower hill that they then vertically descend at a 90-degree angle. Although this is perhaps the best part of the ride, the thrill continues throughout the entire course.

And while Wicked’s intensity level might be slightly beneath that of Cannibal’s, riders should still take advantage of the set of lockers near the ride’s entrance — glasses included. With the ride’s high speed beginning, there’s a good chance glasses could fall off, and it would be a shame to not be able to take in the sights of the park for the rest of the day.

Cannibal

Intensity: 5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 5 out of 5 stars

It made the cut on the Huffington Post’s list of scariest roller coasters in the United States as well as Trip Savvy’s list of the world’s steepest roller coasters. And for a ride that lifts passengers up 208 feet in a dark tower only to plunge them down a steep 116-degree drop into the outdoors, making the cut is extremely justifiable.

While typical passengers might be inclined to keep their eyes tightly closed throughout the ride’s course of twists and turns, if they can stomach a few seconds of additional bravery, riders can get a glimpse of some beautiful Utah scenery before losing their stomachs as the Cannibal rushes downward and reaches a top speed of 70 mph.

This ride is a thrill, but it is not for the fainthearted. It should be noted that one 13-year-old rider was enjoying the ride for the sixth time. When judged for both intensity and enjoyability, the Cannibal passes with flying colors.

Those up for the ride must store all of their loose items in a locker, or give their belongings to a friend or family member to hold. Lockers are available for use right next to the ride’s entrance. Loose items include backpacks, purses, cellphones and glasses.

Dishonorable mentions:

Wild Mouse

Intensity: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyability: 1 out of 5 stars

Wild Mouse is probably the least comfortable, least commendable ride at Lagoon. In fact, its main purpose seems to be to make visitors feel as if they’re about to fall off the track. It may be an amusing thrill for kids, who are smaller and less familiar with actual fun, but the ride’s abrupt turns can be painful for adults. For a park that’s otherwise enjoyable and thrilling in most respects, Wild Mouse stands out as a rare disappointment.

Find out more about Lagoon’s history by watching “Lagoon: Rock and Rollercoasters” on KUED at 7 p.m. on June 7 and 6 p.m. on June 10.