Sven November 29th, 2012
I saw it while bearing down Interstate 15 through the Mojave Desert. The skeleton of a water park looming in the midday desert sun is hard to miss, surrounded by nothing, and sits quiet and sad in the blistering heat. I made mental notes to come back this way that night. I probably should have made a note of the location, too, what with the age of GPS and all. Things are hard to see at night.
Southern California border patrol didn’t give me a second glance when I passed their checkpoint, and I began eyeing off mile after mile of highway roadside, trying to remember just how far away the waterpark was. It was much further than I thought, which is kind of how it goes when running on memory alone. I figured it would be hard to miss the scrawny palms in the still night air, though, and kept onward until finally it made its presence known.
A full moon over the desert is like a full moon anywhere. Bright and cool. It was quiet, except for the nearby rumble of constant traffic on the interstate. Nothing much moved in the waterpark, and nothing had for a long time. This place is obvious, though, and obvious places get trashed. There wasn’t a lot left undamaged when I walked through by moonlight, and there’s even less left now.
There’s a sadness to the dereliction of places that were created purely for entertainment that you just don’t feel for the institutions and remnants of industry. Such places fall into ruin because the people are gone. Maybe people loved this place once.
Not much remains of the place, and each new batch of photos from skateboarding or exploring or whatever shows things rapidly collapsing into the desert. But, it’s worth a visit, if only to tread the dry bed that used to be something of an oasis, and wonder how things used to be.