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Everything posted by Electerik

  1. Well, here it is: the final (and most disappointing) chapter of our tale.... Not Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park Probably the biggest single thing that attracted us to Denver isn't actually in Denver, but a 2.5 hour drive west of Denver. So important to the trip was it, that we planned to go on Day 1, with the possibility of Day 2 being dedicated to it as well. However, shortly before our arrival in Denver, mudslides took out I-70--the one direct connection between Denver and Glenwood Springs. This left 2 possibilities: a 4.5 hour winding southern route, or an almost 8 hour winding northern route. We opted for the southern route, since it was theoretically shorter. But after 6 hours of driving, detour after detour, roads that were closed when we got to them and directed us somewhere else (that was also inevitable closed) and still being told that we were 4.5 hours away from the park, with no clear way to get there, we crawled back to Denver with our tails between our legs. Which then left us having wasted most of Day 1, and no guarantee that the supposedly 8-hour northern route would treat us any better. Best case scenario: 16 more hours of driving, likely sacrificing an additional day's worth of planned activities whether we succeeded or failed. So, we shuffled what we could forward and tried to save a day for the end of the trip, just in case they were able to clear I-70 before we had to head home. (Spoiler: they didn't.) This update therefore will not be Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, but rather all the other things we did in and around Denver that didn't merit their own update. So wash that rotten orange juice taste out of your mouth with some minty toothpaste and put your random-oddventuring veil on, because here we go! The Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnel, which is easily accessible while wasting your time trying to get to Glenwood Springs. Not that it was all bad. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science Kicking rocks. A temporary mirror maze--which was not much to write home about, but still cool that it was there, even if it was part of an exhibit celebrating the golden ratio, which is kind of science related, in that the ratio can be expressed with math, but which is otherwise pretty questionable in terms of claims made about it. Anyway...yay, a mirror maze! A view of City Park and the smoke-choked Denver skyline from the museum's super-secret not-that-secret outdoor viewing deck. Village Inn! Maybe you have these near you. We did when we lived in Orlando, but haven't for a while now, and really miss them because we're weird. One of our hotel's four elevators. The others depicted a ski lift, the cockpit of a jumbo jet, and a spaceship. But I think I know my audience well enough to confidently go with this one. Our hotel's 13th floor. The Curtis Denver, if you're curious. The good news is that our hotel had a view of an amusement park. The bad news is that it was Elitch Gardens. (I used that joke on Instagram, but I'm just going to assume that you've forgotten it by now, even if you do follow me there.) Colorodeos really love their flag. Coloridiots? Coloradicals? Ice cream was had. The first permanent structure in Denver was a saloon. They are a hardy people. Sakura House (not too far from Coors Field) was unassuming and kind of hard to find, but amazing. Denver Botanic Garden just missed getting its own update, but I figured y'all only wanted to look at so many pictures of flowers. Flower photo. If you wanted more of this, just keep scrolling back up to here every once in a while. This Dale Chihuly glass work is entitled "Colorado." I mean, not to brag or anything, but Seattle has an entire museum-type attraction dedicated to his work and we're weirdly competitive about it. I really enjoy Brutalist architecture. I've phrased that in such a way so that if someone tells me this is actually an example of some other type of architecture I can say, "Yeah, I know. I wish it *were* brutalism because then I would like it." I don't like to lose. [*takes bite of apple*] Really enjoyed this art exhibit by Yoshitomo Saito. The Denver Botanic Gardens also had an exhibit of Salvador DalĂ­. But I'm pretty sure these things change with the seasons, so they might not be there when you visit. But hey that's life you know? Change. We didn't get to experience as much of Casa Bonita as we wanted, since they were mostly closed except for a small gift shop and occasional tours. But this place is fascinating. Between when this photo was taken and when it was posted, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have bought the place with the promise to "change nothing and improve everything." But since we couldn't eat at Casa Bonita, we hit up Culver's again! We've never actually lived close to one of these, but we wish we did. Adventure Golf & Raceway has three 18-hole courses, one of which is really nice and two of which are good but obviously older. They also have go karts, a ropes course, and a maze. We did the maze, which we paid for but seemed to be run on the honor system, and perhaps unsurprisingly had some maintenance issues. If you miss, it sprays water. But kind of late. Like, when the next player is about to putt. So that's fun. Garden of the Gods It's like a bite-sized national park. Inside the visitor's center. It won't take you all day, but well worth checking out. Back on our mini golf BS. This one is called Colorado Journey and might be run by the city...? Each hole is themed to a local landmark. So kind of like Urban Putt, but more traditional. Do not look directly at the sun. No, wait, it's fine. Blucifer surveys his sulfuric kingdom. Thus endeth the disappointment. Though obviously that was mostly a just framing device. We always have fun on vacation. Even to Hell on Earth
  2. Not all of our time in Denver was spent in Denver. Some of it was spent in Colorado Springs. And thus this update isn't going to have much in the way of disappointment. Oh, but just you wait until the next and final one! For now, though, it's time for the second zoo credit of the trip: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (& Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun) Because why wouldn't there be a zoo on top of the North American Aerospace Defense Command? So, the zoo is quite, well, mountainous. Which makes a chair lift to the top, so that you can then walk downhill through the zoo, a pretty great idea. Unfortunately, they didn't think of that. Instead, the chairlift goes to the highest point of the zoo, which is not connected to the rest of it. So you have to take the chairlift back down and then walk up the mountain again on foot. There's not much where the chairlift takes you either. Just a restroom and a couple of yurts. So I'm going to pretend that this jungle gym for goats is at the top instead, because that would be way cooler. And back down we go. Nice view, too. Would probably be extraordinary on a proper clear, non-wildfire-smoky day. If god had wanted us to live at this elevation, he would've made us out of water. Pelinguins These animals are called Guinea pigs, and both parts of their name are a lie. Adventure path! I think he just liked my shirt. Almost all of the eateries are clumped together in one area. I'm not taking a stand for or against it. I just think it's interesting and unusual. I touch clown. Various food items. Hey, some days I'm funny and some days I'm not. Tough luck today. "My Big Backyard" has a little cabin with reptiles and such. Dirty skink. Big water hose in "My Big Backyard." On a side note, I've seen that movie. It wasn't what I thought it would be, I'll tell you that much. Smisty's favorite animal to see at a zoo is the moose. I know she's weird. There's a road that cuts through the middle of the zoo. But more on that oddness later. This seems unusual. There's a building with reptiles and such and cool decorations that are quite different from what you'd expect which while perhaps less natural-looking make it far easier to spot the animals although you maybe wouldn't realize it from this photo which does in fact have sloths in it and this sentence probably needs more punctuation but here we are. No "where is the snake at" here. Standard beastiality golden shower simulator. The elephant on the left just pooped. The two on the right are all like, "Dude." Not a joke. That really seemed to be what was happening. Bridge over elephants to the elephant barn (by way of the sky). Do you say "zee-bra" or zeh-bra"? I'm American, so I say "stripey horse." But I also say "anti-clockwise" so you can't go by me. Root beer is temporarily Dr. Pepper. The closest I've ever been to an okapi. The gift shop, though not quite the exit, and certainly not the end. Your admission to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo also includes admission to the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, accessed exclusively in your own vehicle via the road the cuts through the middle of the zoo. And what is the WIll Rogers Shrine of the Sun? It's an observation tower! Why does it exist? To look at things from slightly higher up! (Never mind that it's built halfway up a mountain that you could just go higher up on.) Why is it named after Will Rogers? Because he died in a plane crash while it was being built. (Actually, the plane crash might not have anything to do with it.) Look man, I visited the place but I don't have the answers you're looking for, okay? I spent five minutes googling Will Rogers quotes about religion, hoping he had something atheistic to say that I could put here below this photo of a little chapel in the bottom level of the tower, but no such luck. You win this round, sincerity. "You've got to go out on a limb sometimes because that's where the fruit is." The inside has quite a few interesting paintings, as well as various small rooms full of artifacts, old photos, and newspaper clippings. Some of it is Will Rogers oriented, and some of it just murals of people fighting trees, and buffalo descending stairs. Truly something for everyone. The view from the top. Note that the zoo is bottom right. And back down the road we go. This was all very weird. So, obviously, we loved it.
  3. We have been to Aquatica in Orlando, and I would say that it's easily our favorite water park, for whatever that's worth. We lived in Orlando for years (pre-Volcano Bay) but could never be arsed to go to Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. The difference being that we got into Aqautica for free.
  4. Yeah, no fun house. To be fair, they had only just reopened a couple of weeks earlier, after being closed for all of 2020 and most of 2021. So maybe (what I assume is) their one semi-retired maintenance guy is working as hard as he can!
  5. What follows is one of the most difficult trip reports I've ever compiled. Why? Because of the place itself. Literally every photo Smisty and I took of it is interesting. Not because we're amazing photographers--although, obviously, we are--but because every square inch of the place is a study in joy and decay. So get ready for lots of weird analogies, because we're going to.... Lakeside Amusement Park First, a quick reminder of the weather conditions during our trip to Denver: hot and choked by wildfire smoke such that you could stare directly at the sun without (obvious) eye damage. So some of these photos may seem washed out or oddly colored. But that's just what things looked like at the time. In the background, you can see Lakeside Speedway, which apparently used to be a big moneymaker for them, but then some people died and now sits abandoned. Welcome to Lakeside! It's here, about halfway to the entrance of the park, that you start to wonder if this is maybe a bad idea. The, um, "entrance." Okay, imagine that every park you've ever been to is a person. Some are ugly, some are beautiful, some are tall, some are short, some are trans, and some are in Canada. Now, maybe you've seen photos of, or have even visited, an abandoned amusement park or two. Those are dead people. But Lakeside is none of those things. Lakeside is a zombie. Why is no one riding in the front seat? I didn't ask. I don't want to know. This ride is closed for maintenance, but it's open. Analogy. The wildcat or whatever is closed, the little ferris wheel thing is closed and the truck is a question mark, but the dead end murder path is open. Striking the right tone here is already proving to be difficult. Because I love this place. It's amazing. It's like going back in time but then realizing that everyone you meet is riddled with diseases that will kill them before they make it to 30. It's hard to even describe it. Like, if everything here worked and someone actually cared about "show" this could honestly be one of the best amusement parks in the world. But as it is, I half expected Haley Joel Osment to be waiting for me on my way out to reveal that I was the ghost all along. Let's play, "Was it Open?" No, the answer is no. But at least the Whip looks like we can ride it! Hey, what park is this? This looks beautiful! You probably already know that this park is famous for its Art Deco architecture, signage, and lighting. Of course, we weren't here late enough to see the lighting, but I have no doubt that it is beautiful and also that half of it doesn't work or only partially works. This mirror maze looks a smidge too easy for me. Lakeside features two defunct and completely-stripped full-sized ferris wheels. So that's a thing. There's no ride here. When did it close? Who knows? What was it? Well, Speed Boats, obviously. What does that mean? I have no idea. Only two missing ride vehicles? Attraction of the Month, ladies and gentlemen! You could tell me that this place was themed to The Shining, change nothing, and I would totally buy it. In the background, you can see the Tower of Jewels, which is, obviously, haunted. But also is--or rather was--the park's real entrance. Can you go up there? Ha ha, no. Why do we not use this entrance any longer? I don't know. Maybe we just like the dirty dirt dirt one better. Or maybe it's because there's two flights of stairs between this and the park proper with no visible ADA lift or ramps. I mean, it doesn't seem like it would be that difficult to add one of those things. But then again, Lakeside does very much smack of being out of money in RollerCoaster Tycoon and just sitting there waiting for a new person to come through the gate so that you can build a new bench, so who knows? If you really want to cry, look up the list of rides that used to exist in this park. Did I peek behind a fence to get this shot, or is this just smack dab in the middle of the park, naturally visible from every direction? Based on what you've learned so far, which seems more likely? The park has a couple of eateries and some redemption games, but no traditional fair games (that I recall) and absolutely no gift shops. But seeing as how Lakeside is both the best and worst place we've ever been, we had to have a magnet. So we bought some extra ride tickets and will just create our own. Analogy. This might be a good time to mention that rides don't actually have queues here. Just an entrance gate and an exit gate and people lined up down the pathways wherever they feel like it. This park is like the saddest old dog at the shelter and I just want to take it home and love it but it costs 100 million dollars and it definitely has heart worms. Wild Chipmunk's ride vehicles each hold exactly one preteen Elvis-impersonator. Why did we not come here at night? Oh, right, because we're old and we go to bed super early. My first and last Vettel coaster. Not because it was bad, but because there aren't any more. In fact, this ride is kind of amazing. I mean, there's no airtime or anything. But it's fast and relatively-smooth and it exists in a park with 3 non-functioning ferris wheels and no gift shop. Basically, all of their maintenance budget goes here. Actually, I doubt that anyone here uses budgets. But they keep this ride running, and that presumably keeps the park running. Somehow. And I'm glad it does. I think this photo nicely sums up Lakeside,. And yes, I'm pretty sure that I could've reached over that fence laid my hand on the track with no effort. But I didn't, because I don't want to know which of us is real.
  6. I've not been, but apparently the Landry's Downtown Aquarium Houston has white tigers. (Denver's, for the record, are Sumatran Tigers.)
  7. An aquarium run by a restaurant group sounds like a joke about how we live in a corporate nightmare, but in fact Landry's owns four of these things and we do. Downtown Aquarium Denver So, like a lot a places during the age of Covid, they've gone to timed ticketing. Which means that you have to choose a date and time in advance, pay online, and then you receive an electronic ticket. Unlike a lot of other places though, here, you then have to wait in line at the ticket booth, where a ticket seller will look at your ticket with their eyes, and then print you out a paper ticket that a person inside scans. Because they can't invest in equipment that would allow them to scan an electronic ticket? And it's not like the ticket sellers also still sell tickets. You must buy in advance, and you must then wait in line at the ticket booth. And, sure, maybe they think this is just a temporary thing. But surely an aquarium, which one would presume is in favor of using technology to support conservation, would be able to see the advantage of being able to scan electronic tickets even after the pandemic. You know, like to save trees? Eh, I guess zoos can worry about land stuff. On the other hand, there's a carousel and a 4D theater out front. The actual aquarium is entirely on the second floor of the building, accessible via elevator or this nautilus submarine themed escalator. Okay, I'm alright. I'm looking at fish now and I've calmed down. Overhead fish. This sign raises more questions than it answers. The dry zone is a dead end. No joke. You must go through the wet zone. Wait, this aquarium has air birds. So they do care about things above the water! These are the voices of modern industry. This is a placeholder caption that I intend to change later. If you're reading it, I either forgot to go back and change it or I literally couldn't think of anything better--which is insane because that's terrible and also a reference that only, like, Robb might get, This aquarium has neither leafy nor weedy sea dragons. But it does at least have seahorses. I'm pretty sure you have to have one of these tunnel things to legally be considered an aquarium. A quick internet search reveals that the top 10 names for male pet fish in 2019 were Nemo, Bubbles, Jack, Captain, Finley, Blue, Moby, Bubba, Squirt, and Shadow. No thanks. The top 10 female fish names in 2019 were Dory, Cleo, Cora, Whoopie Goldfish, Tuna Tiner, Simon & Gillfishel, Shrimpy McDumbface, James Pond's Childhood Home of Seafall, Honda Acura, and Whatever Will Smith's Character's Name Was In That DreamWorks Movie Where He Played A Fish. Proud The fact that this implies that you are so gross that if these fish bite you, *they'll* die, makes this my new favorite sign. Holy crap, this aquarium has tigers?! That's so awesome I don't even care how stupid it is. It was a bit crowded on the outside, so they let me go in and take a photo from inside the tiger enclosure, which I thought was pretty nice of them. Please note that I was just kidding. The Downtown Aquarium Denver (sheesh that's an awkward name) did not actually give me permission to enter the tiger enclosure, and in fact were quite insistent that I would not be allowed to do so because, and I quote, "your awesomeness would overshadow the tigers, and we can't have that." A quick internet search for pet tiger names reveals that people are fracking morons. I mean, seriously, "Dave"? I'm...not sure what this is supposed to be. A mid-film plot twist in horror movie? Another "no service animals" warning? An advertisement for the restaurant? The Deep Blue Sea Foundation is dedicated to putting Samuel L. Jackson in more movie franchises. I don't know why I'm being so salty, this aquarium was just fin. A little fishy operationally, but otherwise quite gouda. Wait, that's a cheese. Carp! Downstairs is the gift shop and badly-named Aquarium Restaurant. Wait, is that a roller coaster outside?! Well, yes. But it's an SLC and it's at Elitch. So calm down. Lunch was just okay. But dessert was amazing. So, should you go to this aquarium? I mean, yes, because it's an aquarium. And especially if it's 95-degrees outside and smoky. But it was good. Denver just broke me. More to come! Whee!
  8. Admittedly, a lot of things have happened in the several years since I've been there, but I absolutely adored Indiana Beach. Interestingly, your trip report looks a lot like my trip report from, like, a dozen years ago.
  9. Cyclone at Lakeside, my first (and it very much looks like last) Vettel coaster.
  10. "If you're watching a parade, don't follow it. It never changes. If the parade is boring, run in the opposite direction. You will fast-forward the parade." - Mitch Hedberg
  11. Well, er, um...it was pretty crowded there...? "Erik & Smisty's Denver Mixed Bag" just doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
  12. We like mini golf. Oftentimes, though, indoor mini golf is...not that great. And this place's main business seemed to be restaurant/bar, so I wasn't expecting much. But, we were walking by, so we poked our heads in. And then we *had* to do it. Apparently this is one of two locations, the other being in San Francisco. And each is themed largely to the history of their respective cities. We didn't eat here, so I can't speak to that. And I assume that you already know if you personally want to drink craft beers while mini golfing. The story I'm telling in my head is that the amount of people who do want to do that keeps the mini golf course well maintained. Urban Putt Denver Urban Putt is located in the historic City Cable Railway Building, which once housed Denver's Old Spaghetti Factory. When you purchase the mini golf, instead of handing you a ball, they give you a token that you use to get the colored ball of your choice from the appropriate gumball machine. It's completely pointless, but fun. So...actually, not pointless, I guess. The actual Denver Airport was disappointing. I mean, I didn't expect to see secret tunnels or lizard people--because the whole point is that those things are secret--but I was hoping to at least see some disquieting artwork or something. The closest we got was seeing (the real) Blucifer from a distance. Anyway, this hole was cool. Denver of course being famous for its duck hunting. Drop the ball into the tube, then use the periscope to shoot the ball at the enemy ship on the screen. If you hit the ship where it suggests, it should go into the hole. Being landlocked has never stopped Denver from having their submarines attacked by octopuses. (Yes, "octopuses." Octopi is acceptable, but less preferred since "octopus" is not a Latin word. In fact, it's a Greek word, so octopodes would actually be a better pluralization than octopi.) Er...I mean, look at that facebutt with his ball stuck in the corner! "You know what the kids are into these days? Video games!" "I knew that! You didn't give me enough time to answer!" "Whatever, it's my idea. You putt a real ball into a video game!" "..." "I call it, TRON." If you putt it underneath the tiny drum set, it goes up the screw-elevator thing on the left and then down through the instruments attached to the (red) rock wall. You might have to zoom in to read the "pro tip," but basically what they're saying here is that Denver cuts every corner. But if that were true, would they really have installed giant windmill blades on their capital building? I think not. It's a table-tilting labyrinth game where you drop your golf balls in and race. Skee-Ball hole with bonus swirly bit (if you're good enough). So there's been a submarine and an octopus, cable cars, alien abduction (not shown), and now a space ship. But how about some REAL Denver history? Oh, yeah...now that's a mini golf hole that Bert would have sex with! The back of the ticket booth is also the last hole for both courses, or the ninth hole, since each is a half course. They're very good half-courses, though. Delphina dropped out of creative writing school to become a fortune teller. Not that I'm in any position to criticize someone else's choices. I went to Denver for vacation.
  13. I've seen at least four parks mentioned in this thread that I absolutely adore. (Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Holiday World, Drievliet, and Enchanted Forest.) Ah well, I guess that's why they make chocolate and vanilla. I'll say, that unless there's a cool new thing or big change, I'm in no hurry to get back to Wonderland in Amarillo, Wild Adventures, Elitch Gardens, or Adventuredome.
  14. We're not water park people. I mean, we've been to a small handful, but it really needs to be something special to get us to deal with all the inherent inconvenience of the general water park experience. (And also, many water slides are terrifying.) However, Denver is home to a place with something that, to my knowledge, no other water park really has: "dark ride" water slides. So, we decided to check it out: Water World Their slogan is, "America's Largest Water Park." Is it actually true? Who the hell knows? It is pretty big, though. Okay, so, as I mentioned at the top, we haven't been to a whole lot of water parks. But none of the ones we had been to had the system that Water World largely employs. Basically, there's a line at the bottom of the slide, where you wait to get a tube form someone getting off of the ride. You then carry that tube up the hill to the top of the slide, where you wait in another line to actually go down the slide--but in this line, you're constantly having to wait longer as people who paid for "tube valet" cut in front of you. I say "you" because that wasn't me. We paid for tube valet. We also sprung for a little bungalow thing because I wanted to make our water park experience as pleasant as possible. I did see one complaint. But it was from a guest with tube valet who was upset that some regular guests had been allowed to go in front of her. Have I mentioned that that Denverites are very confrontational? The park is very relaxed about what guests can bring in. I mean, okay, they won't let you bring glass jars and the like, but you want to bring some chairs and a tent and a cooler the size of small car? Sure, just camp anywhere! What I'd heard (or maybe just assumed?) was that these "dark rides" were lazy rivers. But not so much. There are calm sections (where most of the scenery is), but there are also some pretty wild sections. This is a good photo. Relatively. At this point, I was using a cheap waterproof camera that, you guessed it, doesn't do so well in low-lighting conditions. It seems like the whole "theming" thing is doing well for them, so they're trying to incorporate more and more. Glacier Run. Did we ride it, or did we just take photos of it? You decide! Best ride in the park. Safety is for grownups. Also, Water World has a sky ride! This sky ride consists of two "trains" worth of gondolas that run in opposite directions. No turning in the station, though, they just reverse. Sort of like a funicular. From our vantage point high in the sky, we can see some peasants carrying their own inner tubes. I'm actually really against "fast pass" systems. All the more so because opting out just gets you screwed over. Still, having said all that, I was quite happy to not have to carry my own inner tubes up long winding uphill pathways. But, I now realize having typed all that, that it misses the real issue entirely. Put in some conveyor belts, you d*ickhe@d water park! I don't get this one. They just go along the outside. What's the point of the swirly bit? Well, it's not available, it's ours. Or, it was. I guess it could be available now. Anyway, here's lunch. Pretty standard stuff, but not horrible. Colorado is super-into its flag. Like, more than Texas. (To be fair, it's a nice flag. Who wants to cornhole Colorado's flag?) Schlubs carrying their own tubes up to The Storm. Actually, even people *with* tube valet have to carry their own tubes for this last bit. (Tube valet tubes are red.) The Storm's exit theming. Voyage to the Center of the Earth Again, this one is fairly wild in parts. Which I don't mind. What I was less fond of is that we kept getting stuck on, like, ridges on the bottom? We weren't the only ones, I don't think. And we sort of had to shimmy our way off of them to continue. Maybe weight was a factor, though we certainly didn't exceed any posted weight limits. At one one point, there was a backup that resulted in the tube behind ours slipping under the back end of our tube in a way that I would describe as alarmingly-about-to-capsize-we're-all-going-to-die. Still, we didn't. And I don't know if these "stalls" are a purposeful part of the design or not. We're not water park people. I mean, it didn't *feel* entirely safe. But what do I know? I can only apologize for the quality of this photo. Is it worse than no photo? If so, well, just don't look at it. STOP LOOKING AT IT! I'M SORRY! A lazy river. Of the type I would've preferred the "dark rides" to be. Still, they're unique and (mostly) pretty fun. But I'm still going to label them as a... *takes off sunglasses* ...disappointment. I believe this is called a Butt Bouncer. Or possibly an Aqua Scoot. Butt Scoot? Aqua Bounce? All of those are fine. They also have a couple of water coasters. So, certainly, they have a lot of stuff. And it takes up a lot of room. Of course, a quick internet search reveals that Noah's Ark in the Wisconsin Dells also claims to be the largest water park in the US. Neither of them have Commerson's Dolphins though, so whatever. On the other hand. What does Smisty have to say? So there you have it. Two people who have no business at a water park judging it as okay-ish. Stay tuned for more hot smoky Denver fun!
  15. One of the weird things about this hobby is how very difficult it is to get the same experience as someone else. If we were all super-into movies, for example, even if maybe I saw it in a better theater than you did, we still basically saw the same movie. Of course we might have different reactions to it, but we wouldn't have to figure out which day the other person saw it on, what year, where they started, where they ate, what row they sat in, which employees they encountered, how the projector was running that day, their weight, height, and age, and a million other variables. We could just say, "Oh, you like different movies than I do." (And then we could have a knife fight about it.) But I've had vastly different enjoyment levels myself at the same park on different visits, and I'm sure most of you all have too. So how do you know the next one won't be better? Of course, I'm not advocating repeated visits to a park you hate. But I've personally never been to a park that was so bad that it couldn't possibly improve.
  16. I did notice that! I nearly commented on it, too. You brought it up, sir. You brought it up.
  17. Thanks. I wondered if that might be the case. But what was where the carousel is now?
  18. Hello! Like a lot of folks, Erik & Smisty haven't traveled a lot since 2019. So, a few months back, on the theory that as vaccines rolled out, built-up desire for leisure travel would result in booked up airlines and expensive flights, we sort of speculatively bought tickets for an August trip to Denver. Well, my theories didn't quite pan out, but it didn't seem so bad that we should cancel the trip or anything. And we still had fun. But, as the title suggests, there were some let downs. But, actually, not so much because of Covid. Because of climate change. Speaking of disappointment... Elitch Gardens Okay, to be fair, even though we'd never been to this park, Denver, or even the state of Colorado, we knew exactly what to expect from Elitch Gardens. It's reputation suggests that it's one of the worst parks in the country. And...it's not great. But we knew that going in, so with lowered expectations we still had a good time at what was, after all, a new-to-us amusement park. The following attractions will not be operating today. As well as a bunch of other attractions not listed on this sign. Note also that this includes both of the park's water rides during a heatwave in early August. I did enjoy the covered mini main street entrance. I think there's a lot to be said for this design. Actually, that brings up one of the most interesting things about Elitch, as this is a park that completely relocated back in 1995. So, sure, that was 26 years ago--but, still, this place is an answer to the question: What if you were redesigning an existing theme park from scratch? What would you do differently? How would you rearrange the rides that you already had? And viewed through that lens, everything about the layout of this park, good and bad, is absolutely fascinating to me. After the mini main street (or, er, teeny tiny CityWalk?) there's a carousel and the ghost of an observation tower on the right... ...the entrance to the included water park straight ahead (which includes this baffling sign)... ...and a second, uncovered "main street" leading to the park proper. We entered the park midday, and headed for the Ferris wheel, only to have unexpected lightning move into the area while we were in line. So, off we went to the park's only dark ride. This is an interesting set up. It's sort of a covered midway that connects what would otherwise be two dead ends, and contains the entrance to the dark ride, a gift shop, some vending and game machines, and a small food stand. Also there's an SLC in this photo. If you don't know already, model coasters are very much Elitch's thing. The nice thing about Denver is that Covid isn't a thing there. Apparently. I joke, but it's not lost on me that I may be part of the problem. I mean, we are fully vaccinated, but still, should we have done any of this stuff? Traveling right now is weird. Not as weird as this dark ride, though. (How's that for neck-snapping transition?) Well, you can't take pictures inside, but here's the animatronic robot barker and a ride vehicle for Meow Wolf's Kaleidoscape, a Scooby-Doo Ghostblasters dark ride rethemed to...um, interdimensional travel via splitting doughnut eggs or something? It's low-budget psychedelic weirdness and I am here for it. By which I mean, I primarily came to Elitch Gardens for this weird-ass dark ride. and it was almost worth it. Elitch has some nicely themed buildings that reminded me just a bit of Frontier City. The "one big food court" building probably helped with that impression, also. Not one ride in this photo was open this day. Not one ride in this photo was on the closed sign out front. In fact, the observation tower has apparently not been open for multiple years now, which I can find no kinder word for than "offensive." Luckily, I already knew that going in, or I would've been quite upset. (What can I say? I know myself.) The games were all open. When Elitch says something isn't opening today, they are serious. I couldn't think of a good caption for this weird sign, so I googled "wears like a pig's nose" only discover that this was probably a real sign (or at least a copy of a real sign) as Finks really did make overalls and used both of these slogans. Brain Drain did run that day, though it was down for lightning at the time this photo was taken. I can't blame the park for lightning, though. Seems like they handled that about as well as they could've. (And, as someone who's worked in rides at several different parks, including ones in Florida, this is a subject I know a tiny bit about.) I want to say this was the first Half Pipe...? The park doesn't really invest in new rides anymore, though--and I don't think that's going to change any time soon, since the land it sits on has already been sold. Will Elitch Gardens move again, or just close for good this time? And does anyone care? Actually, I think Denverites care. We talked to a few fellow park-goers (there was a lot of lightning) who seemed to really love the place. I guess the most important thing about a theme park is its location. Because this place would be absolutely buried by any kind of competent competition. I can't imagine it surviving long in the same market as, say, a Cedar Fair park. Elitch has one non-model coaster: Twister II. "Built wilder the second time," is its slogan, and while I never got to ride the original Mr. Twister, I can only imagine that's a lie to shake the heavens. Having said that, Twister II wasn't bad. I mean, there was no airtime or anything, but it was fast and fun and not too rough for a 26-year wooden coaster at a park that can't even keep track which rides are temporally closed, which rides are closed for the day, and which rides are completely abandoned. It's quite an attractive ride. Actually, most of the park *looks* pretty good, and is well upkept in terms of paint and such. But yeah, Twister II's lines are very appealing. I'm not saying that I want to have sex with a roller coaster. That's not what I'm saying. And even if I hypothetically did, looks aren't everything, you know. Emotional attachment is important. Shared interests. A better park to have it in, maybe. Besides, Lech Coaster has my heart, currently. This kiddie ride had a nice theme. One thing worth noting is that most of the kids rides didn't have queue, nor did the carousel. Just entrance and exit gates and maybe three pair of foot prints to indicate where you should start lining up. A bit unstructured for my taste, but an interesting choice. I also think that the blue arch in the background is a perfect encapsulation of this park. The front of it says "Kiddy Land," which it is the entrance to. But the back is just blank, even though that's also the exit. It just says nothing. Not goodbye, thanks for visiting, now leaving kiddy land, buy a season pass, nothing. It's like they couldn't immediately decide what it should say, so they just gave up forever. We tried again to get on the Ferris wheel, but again lightning came while we were in line. And again, the park is not unattractive. Not that anyone is suggesting sleeping with it. Geez, would you stop that already? The park's main gift shop is themed to a carousel building. So that's arousing. What? If you look closely, you can see that this awful shirt is actually three different awful shirts. And, what's more, they don't say Busch Gardens on them! The entirety of Elitch's covid response is not allowing returns. I feel so much safer. Is this a good time to mention that Denver was enveloped in smoke from Oregon and California wildfires the entire time we were there? I mean, that's not Denver's fault, but if I sound a little gruff it's only because I was smoking the equivalent of two cigarettes a day and I've never smoked before. Anyway, Elitch Gardens has potential. But it's potential that this version of the park will almost certainly never reach. Still, I'm glad we visited. Stay tuned for more complaining, coming soon-ish-ly!
  19. Yes, I'm sure it is. But that doesn't stop me from reading it wrong! This reminds me of a joke I made up and that is only funny to me: Q: What's the hardest name to spell? A: Eric
  20. I want to say that a space-themed restaurant was part of the original plans for what became Mission: Space, and I always lamented its axing. Nice to see it finally happening! The "220" bit really confuses my brain, though, which keeps trying to read it as "2020."
  21. Just a couple of quick notes on GhostRider: The mid-course block brake has always been there. But note that there is a difference between a MCBB and a trim brake--although a MCBB can also be used as a trim brake if a park wishes. No shirts/jackets tied around the waist was policy on GhostRider when it opened, the concern being loose hanging cloth getting caught up in the train wheels.
  22. I rather like the Knott's Hotel. Admittedly, it's been two or three years. But I always liked that it was just a nice most;y-regular hotel right there on property. Maybe I'm just low class.
  23. I guess you could make almost anything a first if you sub-categorize it enough. But the first thing I thought of was the original two modern looping coasters, Corkscrew at Knott's Berry Farm and Revolution at (not Six Flags) Magic Mountain. Being old helps in this case.
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