Rock-A-Hoola Waterpark

Have I mentioned that I adore abandoned buildings? Was my post about the Camarillo State Mental Hospital not clear enough? I can remedy that. Today on the drive home from the Vegas, I pulled off on a side road to get a closer look at something that has been lurking in the back of my mind for YEARS, begging to be trespassed and visited.
Rock-A-Hoola Waterpark, located in Newberry Springs, California.
This waterpark (originally named Lake Dolores Waterpark) was designed back in the late 1950s by Bob Byers.
His original plan was to have this park for private use of his extended family.
Over the next 25 years, rides were added and the park expanded as tourism to Las Vegas rose, as did interest in motocrossing in the sandy area.
The park was incredibly popular from the 1970s to the mid-1980s.
The popularity ran out in the late 1980s, and Byers sold the park in 1990.
The new owners tried to revitalize it with a new name (Rock-A-Hoola) and re-opened it in 1998.
The park was open for three more years and amassed three million dollars in debt.
In 1999, a park employee was paralyzed after he used one of the slides after hours.
He went down the slide and into the runout lane, but the water wasn’t at the height that it was supposed to be.
He realized that he wasn’t slowing down as much as he should have been and hit the concrete end of the runout lane, which you can see in the picture above.
He was paralyzed and sued the park. He was awarded $4.4 million dollars, which undoubtedly lent a hand to the upcoming bankruptcy and closure in 2000.
In 2002, new owners decided to give it another go. They spent $400,000 updating the park and renamed it “Discovery Waterpark.”
The park was open seasonally until 2004, when it closed for good.
Since then it’s been ripped apart, piece by piece, and sold to other waterparks.
Vandals have also gone wild, spray painting every standing structure, prying open doors and shattering any glassware they can find.
The lazy moat is filled with tattered mattresses, and the vandals really want you to know that “Nutsaks” are available there. (See the bridge above)
No, seriously. They really, really want you to buy some of their “Nutsaks”.
The stairs that led up to the tallest slides have been overgrown by large bushes. Sharp bushes. They hurt to walk through. I suffer for the good of my blog.
This park is beautiful and tattered, eerie and forgotten. I think it was made just for me.
I really need to find a history class that teaches only about abandoned towns/buildings/parks such as this.
This was my idea of a perfect day.


Filed under Abandoned buildings, Travel

33 Responses to Rock-A-Hoola Waterpark

  1. justin

    I’ve driven by that thing a dozen times, never stopped. Really amazing. How did they get water to that place?

    • The place is on top of a bunch of underground springs fed by the Mojave Aquifer. There used to be a man made lake there that they filled via those springs and used for jet ski races, but it’s all dried up now.

    • I just watched a YouTube vid and he want to the Walter park with his friends one of them kicked the wall and broke it I wish it was still open because I never been there before and it looks so fun ??

  2. There are some awesome forums and photo groups dedicated to this– I gave it a shot for a while but in SoCal there’s really not a lot available (except for things like Camarillo State and my personal fav, the Paramount Ranch racetrack).

  3. Justin

    Looks like you had an amazing time! I love looking at pictures of abandoned buildings.

  4. Andrew

    I thought that since you enjoy abandoned buildings as much as you do you might want to check out the blog it has some pretty cool pics.

  5. James

    If you like abandoned buildings check this blog out:

  6. I never realized people actually went to the water park there!

    I LOLed at nutsaks

  7. claire

    Any pix out there when it was beautifully thriving? what a loss!!! ….i was there during the mid 70’s (once):): when it was in it’s infancy stages….such a terrible loss to the people of Barstow!!! ):):):

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  9. Elyssa

    Thanks so much for sharing your pictures!
    I’m from Sydney, Australia and was recently on holiday’s, driving past on my way to Vegas. I spotted ‘Rock-a-hoola’ for a split second out of the window and have been OBSESSED ever since.
    So interesting that there was once so much life and fun in the park and now its just forgotten… so beautiful and interesting.
    Thanks again!

    • I’m glad you found it! It haunted me for a few years after I first saw it. I was so glad to finally get in there and see it up close!

  10. Shawnone

    NUTSAK is a semi-famous graffiti writer. There are videos of him painting on Youtube. VERY COOL!

  11. Joey

    What is it about abandoned buildings? Love them but can’t tell exactly why. Do we somehow relate to the abandonment in one form or another? Is it the sadness of what could have been, of unrealized potential and dashed hopes, that somehow draws us in? Is it just the fascination of discovering something, anything as faint as an echo from the past?

  12. Hi Becki,

    I’m a photographer from Southern California and I’ve taken photos of abandoned buildings in Miami and Detroit. I have been interested in stopping at the Rock-A-Hoola park for some time, but just haven’t done it yet. Were you able to enter the premises easily?

    Well, great work on the photos! Thanks for sharing! 🙂


    • There was no issue getting in there. No gates or fences or anything. There is an occupied house behind the hill, but no one came out to see what we were up to or anything. It’s a great place!

  13. JOn~=:-)

    Hi Becky.
    I passed this abandoned park last week, and have been digging up everything I could find since to learn what it was. Your blog and photographs are one of many I was drawn to. Thanks for trekking through (braving those bushes!), writing the story, and the great photos! Just wanted you to know I appreciate what you’ve done! Thanks, JOn~=:-)

    • JOn~=:-)

      OOps! Sorry. Becki, for the misspell above of your name! I guess I have been reading/ researching too many stories at this wee-hour, huh? Forgive Me? 🙂

  14. David

    hi becki,
    great blog, my compliments to you! i’ve been there last week, one of the best places i’ve ever been. if you like, here a some pictures i took, more are coming soon!

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  16. Patrick Bateman

    I went to Electric Daisy Carnival at Rock A Hoola, way back in 1999. It was really surreal; ten thousand kids going nuts at an abandoned water park. There’s a handful of pics embedded in the video here:

    If you like ruins, check out Desert Center, just east of Palm Springs. That’s probably the most surreal looking one I’ve ever seen. Even stranger than Detroit.

    • I went to that EDC , in fact it was the first EDC I ever attended..been to them ever since, even the one in Vegas now. But the park was not abandoned then..insomniac was just allowed to hold their event there over night, and in the desert around it, tents were set up, camping allowed. I remember them turning the water on at one point during the night for ravers to use the slides. It was a crazy night. Would say yeah at least 6-10,000 people went. I was only 17..and was not exactly my memory is a bit foggy from those years lol. But the park was operational from 98-2001..then closed..then re opened for the last time very briefly as stated in this article, then closed for good in 2004

  17. Rus

    I went to school with the original owners daughter. I spent time there with her family while it was still private. It originally had two steel slides on a large mound of dirt, and they dropped into the lake which was not lined. There was a dirt island in the middle, if you got going fast enough you could reach it. There was also an oval lake which the kids learned to sky on, they would sky barefoot most of the time.

  18. Mark

    I was one of the racers with BP racing that raced there. Awesome venue. Just too far away from anything to be worth it.