Best Eastside lagoon (1965) (2010)

La Laguna de San Gabriel at Vincent Lugo Park

La Laguna de San Gabriel at Vincent Lugo Park is also known as Monster Park, due to numerous vibrant, large-scale creatures that serve as part of a children’s playground. Its designer, Benjamin Dominguez, was born in Mexico. He moved his family to the U.S. in 1956 and began specializing in artistic cement work. After creating imaginative play structures in Whittier Narrows and the Atlantis Play Center in Garden Grove, the 71-year-old Dominguez designed his final project in 1965 with his son Rene: La Laguna de San Gabriel at Vincent Lugo Park. The make-believe lagoon is home to colorful sea creatures, including a whale, starfish, octopus and a trio of dolphins. When the city of San Gabriel announced plans to demolish the park in 2006, the ad-hoc Friends of La Laguna rallied to nominate it to the California Register of Historic Places, while helping to designate it a local landmark for the city of San Gabriel. Also affectionately called Dragon Park or Dinosaur Park, La Laguna remains a popular destination for adults and children alike, and while it doesn’t actually have any dragons or dinosaurs, it does have the loyal support of the people of San Gabriel. Corner of Wells and Ramona streets, San Gabriel. (626) 308-2875, friendsoflalaguna.org. —Tanja M. Laden

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