At its opening Lagoon advertised “Bowling, Elegant Dancing Pavilion, Fine Music, A Shady Bowery and Good Restaurants.” Since then other attractions, typical of those found at amusement parks throughout the country, have been added. At one time or another, Lagoon has offered hot-air balloon rides, boxing and wrestling matches, great names in entertainment, horse racing and pari-mutuel betting, roller-skating, baseball games, dancing, swimming, bicycle racing, a zoo, motion pictures, live theater, blackface minstrel shows, rodeos, a midway, rowboating, marching bands, wild West shows, fireworks, and mechanical rides.
The first “thrill ride” was the “Shoot-the Chutes,” a distant cousin of today’s log flume, in 1899. Swimming in the lake began the next year. A merry-go-round, featuring forty-five hand-carved wooden horses, and still in use today, was added in 1906, a roller coaster in 1921, a swimming pool, with a sandy “Waikiki Beach,” in 1928, and a fun-house in 1929. A fire on the night of 14 November 1953 destroyed much of the park, but it was quickly rebuilt and continued to expand–in contrast to its chief rival, Saltair, which closed permanently after the 1958 season. In 1968 the Lagoon Opera House, a 300-seat theater, was added; in 1976 Pioneer Village, a collection of historic buildings and artifacts purchased the previous year from the Sons of Utah Pioneers; and in 1989 a $5.5-million, 4.5-acre water park, “Lagoon A Beach.”