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Electerik

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Posts posted by Electerik

  1. On 10/10/2021 at 9:55 PM, 805Andrew said:

    While it's not water slides, Blizzard Beach and Volcano Bay have themed indoor sections of their lazy rivers kind of like dark rides and Aquatica Orlando has a section of its lazy river that goes through an aquarium. I don't know if you've been to any of these but if you're not typical water park people but like highly themed water parks with a nice atmosphere that is quality over quantity then you'd like Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Volcano Bay, and Aquatica Orlando.

    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.

     

    • Like 1
  2. 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

     

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    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!

     

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    It's here, about halfway to the entrance of the park, that you start to wonder if this is maybe a bad idea.

     

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    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.

     

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    Why is no one riding in the front seat? I didn't ask. I don't want to know.

     

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    This ride is closed for maintenance, but it's open.

    Analogy.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    Let's play, "Was it Open?"

    No, the answer is no.

     

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    But at least the Whip looks like we can ride it!

     

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    Hey, what park is this? This looks beautiful!

     

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    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.

     

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    This mirror maze looks a smidge too easy for me.

     

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    Lakeside features two defunct and completely-stripped full-sized ferris wheels. So that's a thing.

     

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    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.

     

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    Only two missing ride vehicles? Attraction of the Month, ladies and gentlemen!

     

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    You could tell me that this place was themed to The Shining, change nothing, and I would totally buy it.

     

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    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.

     

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    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?

     

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    If you really want to cry, look up the list of rides that used to exist in this park.

     

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    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?

     

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    The park has a couple of eateries and some redemption games, but no traditional fair games (that I recall) and absolutely no gift shops.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    Wild Chipmunk's ride vehicles each hold exactly one preteen Elvis-impersonator.

     

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    Why did we not come here at night?

    Oh, right, because we're old and we go to bed super early.

     

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    My first and last Vettel coaster.

    Not because it was bad, but because there aren't any more.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

    • Like 6
  3. 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.

     

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    On the other hand, there's a carousel and a 4D theater out front.

     

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    The actual aquarium is entirely on the second floor of the building, accessible via elevator or this nautilus submarine themed escalator.

     

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    Okay, I'm alright. I'm looking at fish now and I've calmed down.

     

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    Overhead fish.

     

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    This sign raises more questions than it answers.

     

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    The dry zone is a dead end. No joke. You must go through the wet zone.

     

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    Wait, this aquarium has air birds. So they do care about things above the water!

     

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    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,

     

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    This aquarium has neither leafy nor weedy sea dragons. But it does at least have seahorses.

     

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    I'm pretty sure you have to have one of these tunnel things to legally be considered an aquarium.

     

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    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.

     

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    No thanks.

     

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    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.

     

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    Proud

     

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    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.

     

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    Holy crap, this aquarium has tigers?! That's so awesome I don't even care how stupid it is.

     

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    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.

     

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    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."

     

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    A quick internet search for pet tiger names reveals that people are fracking morons.

    I mean, seriously, "Dave"?

     

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    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?

     

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    The Deep Blue Sea Foundation is dedicated to putting Samuel L. Jackson in more movie franchises.

     

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    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!

     

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    Downstairs is the gift shop and badly-named Aquarium Restaurant.

     

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    Wait, is that a roller coaster outside?!

    Well, yes. But it's an SLC and it's at Elitch. So calm down.

     

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    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!

     

     

    • Like 4
  4. 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

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    Denver of course being famous for its duck hunting.

     

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    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.

     

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    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!

     

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    "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."

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    It's a table-tilting labyrinth game where you drop your golf balls in and race.

     

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    Skee-Ball hole with bonus swirly bit (if you're good enough).

     

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    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?

     

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    Oh, yeah...now that's a mini golf hole that Bert would have sex with!

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

    • Like 2
  5. 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.

     

    • Like 1
  6. 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

     

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    Their slogan is, "America's Largest Water Park." Is it actually true? Who the hell knows? It is pretty big, though.

     

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    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?

     

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    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!

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    It seems like the whole "theming" thing is doing well for them, so they're trying to incorporate more and more.

     

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    Glacier Run. Did we ride it, or did we just take photos of it? You decide!

     

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    Best ride in the park.

     

    1066344220_235PXL_20210808_170204986.thumb.jpg.1767a3ac1bb2007161172a680b273b48.jpg

    Safety is for grownups.

    Also, Water World has a sky ride!

     

    1885614455_237PXL_20210808_172117317.thumb.jpg.ba33db9b77448a69f064bf49fc3dd067.jpg

    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.

     

    420377577_240PXL_20210808_172318239.thumb.jpg.19080bbb5bd256ab542b9af0b0bc4f2c.jpg

    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!

     

    727672864_242PXL_20210808_171226057.thumb.jpg.89758c19e1cdc367e0827e765a3aee9d.jpg

    I don't get this one. They just go along the outside. What's the point of the swirly bit?

     

    742598316_245PXL_20210808_173108104.thumb.jpg.1111c057a77167d2aed960d3e33a8b98.jpg

    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.

     

    263959596_246PXL_20210808_171330661.thumb.jpg.3cdb14ebfe2c9f3d7232c20c4d963ec5.jpg

    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?)

     

    1388898442_254DSCF0065.thumb.JPG.2535480da8a44d31b76cc4faa0236364.JPG

    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.)

     

    907004260_256DSCF0104.thumb.JPG.c07c2b6bdb51e23ee2abaf1d44f1fef4.JPG

    The Storm's exit theming.

     

    126339310_261DSCF0071.thumb.JPG.eec4d8babc09362797ad8a01f2c35393.JPG

    Voyage to the Center of the Earth

     

    1670760695_263DSCF0074.thumb.JPG.44585556bbebf26b8f598f7a328d9283.JPG

    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?

     

    1686836969_265DSCF0092.thumb.JPG.5f507493603115cccd480e954989ca1f.JPG

    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!

     

    290292359_272PXL_20210808_170813392.thumb.jpg.8d203c14def4aa5fea3a1354cb9c714f.jpg

    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.

     

    1482409202_274DSCF0214.thumb.JPG.664529d8e2575bc16762f8e6b4692999.JPG

    I believe this is called a Butt Bouncer.

    Or possibly an Aqua Scoot.

    Butt Scoot?

    Aqua Bounce?

    All of those are fine.

     

    977992903_275DSCF0192.thumb.JPG.3900d305fb2423df1f7ab24a481b6ea6.JPG

    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.

     

    1138648833_280PXL_20210808_222719385.thumb.jpg.f806206d7221dcc0a9e2b53d03897b2a.jpg

    On the other hand.

    What does Smisty have to say?

     

    1514932835_281PXL_20210808_222752614.thumb.jpg.9d29f8e42687a058208bfa40158636dc.jpg

    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!

     

    • Like 6
  7. 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.

    • Like 7
  8. 20 hours ago, bert425 said:

    you ever notice how the zoo's with carousels always seem to call them "Conservation Carousel"

    I did notice that! I nearly commented on it, too.

     

    20 hours ago, bert425 said:

    and thank you for not being horny for any of the offerings in this update - as you were looking at animals?  that would have been weird 😛

    You brought it up, sir. You brought it up.

    • Haha 1
  9. Oh, there will be complaining! But not much in this update, as this place was quite good.

    Denver Zoo

     

    1436937022_301PXL_20210805_143647292e.thumb.jpg.2da84267194cd8edd114e5fdf67cde6d.jpg

    Yes, it's another hot and smoky Denver day and we're ready to walk around outside!

     

    984974833_304PXL_20210805_144114395.thumb.jpg.45ee3c1b3d4fa86af88acca223f39986.jpg

    I don't think I've ever seen or heard a lion roar at a zoo, but that's exactly what we were greeted with at what Smisty has now declared to be her second favorite zoo.

     

    2090753481_305PXL_20210805_145200229.thumb.jpg.901f0cb9cf3c03decf1245392e69303d.jpg

    This zoo has an Animal Hospital in it, and you can watch live surgeries!

    Wait, that's kind of weird actually.

     

    1331945137_306PXL_20210805_145407899.thumb.jpg.89522ae0c6c7ab7084be8d2734f56818.jpg

    I just found out that I don't know how to spell "Rhinoceros." I can spell "flowers" though, so have a look at these flowers.

     

    117713655_310PXL_20210805_154834911.thumb.jpg.08b45cb93d005f889fd93781510c33bd.jpg

    No animals in this photo (I don't think?) but it is a good example of how nice this zoo can be.

    Of course, in my experience, most zoos are a mix of really nice new areas and older crappier-looking ones. That's just how it is. This one is mostly pretty nice.

     

    2115101033_314PXL_20210805_151904582.thumb.jpg.2ea68651e84c2cd74b189f6a2c2896ff.jpg

    Toucan Sam is the cartoon toucan mascot for Froot Loops breakfast cereal. The character has been featured in advertising since 1963. He exhibits the ability to smell Froot Loops from great distances and invariably locates a concealed bowl of the cereal while intoning, "Follow your nose!

     

    494397915_318PXL_20210805_144654321.thumb.jpg.804a0f7caa3c8357e1c5995f7032cc47.jpg

    The Denver Zoo claims to be doing away with maps due to Covid, but this is clearly a map.

    In other news, it's interesting how places in Denver only do things "because of Covid" that result in monetary savings.

     

    1710397736_320PXL_20210805_161128988.thumb.jpg.aadf2ab8404ef622307183fadf51d9ac.jpg

    Most decent zoos have a carousel...

     

    1317803494_322PXL_20210805_161435398.thumb.jpg.0035c5cb673e232ffe3730801184fe37.jpg

    ...and quite a few have train rides. Their website says that the train is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm daily, but does not mention anything about it shutting down from 1:30pm to 3:30pm "for lunch" as it did during our visit. This, combined with our lack of psychic powers, resulted in our not being able to ride it. So that's a shame. But, also, it's a train ride. We'll get over it. (Still qualifies as a "Denver Disappointment" though!)

     

    797594752_324PXL_20210805_171945193.thumb.jpg.7457865b1c99d0dd86a5444168c8e916.jpg

    On the other hand, Dole Whip!

     

    1145809638_326PXL_20210805_151624412.thumb.jpg.426e43d3f3d306f2f5dd5f38f1bef229.jpg

    The Denver Zoo features many exotic animals, such as this squirrel.

     

    2116590840_328PXL_20210805_153737544.thumb.jpg.3657982cea59ceccff2a9753ebe2c729.jpg

    Only one aviary, and it was small, but good. Actually, there's a building labeled "World of Birds" that is currently under construction/refurbishment, so maybe there's normally more...?

     

    503633936_332PXL_20210805_181232336.thumb.jpg.b09775ff7d5a5a47223464ef798cfba9.jpg

    No wonder they're endangered.

     

    208072337_334PXL_20210805_180350141.thumb.jpg.0e1c951199a0b69f9d13c46cd63986e8.jpg

    Snaked-headed Crap Turtles

     

    1328362334_336PXL_20210805_175414771.thumb.jpg.a0f3c702950f435798b0c4fc0a245c56.jpg

    I want the job of naming new animal species. What do I bring to the table? I don't despise animals.

    Whoever is doing it now is just clearly burnt out. "YOU'RE A STUPID SH*T BIRD!"

     

    1637695695_338PXL_20210805_183758182.thumb.jpg.149ab21451da3955add4bbed9bb0d93b.jpg

    Light-Green Weakass Snake

     

    70836234_343PXL_20210805_181739154.thumb.jpg.00a7b9490b43bf127438afddf9fb92fa.jpg

    Rather than show you a photo of actual sea lions, I've opted to show you this statue, with the underwater sea lion viewing area way in the background. Because I'm in charge here and you get what I give you.

     

    976014030_345PXL_20210805_183125181.thumb.jpg.226c62cdea52ab551059da0a7c644a69.jpg

    I've seen tiger bridges. Heck, this zoo even has one. But I've never before seen an elephant bridge.

     

    767189484_347PXL_20210805_183407994.thumb.jpg.17958a64b104f444ae29aecab4a6bf05.jpg

    Hey man, what would it take to get you to walk over that bridge so that I can take a photo of it? Do you want a fish or something?

    I have been informed that elephants do not eat fish. And that also that this is probably a lady elephant. But is gender really that important? And maybe they would like fish if they tried it.

    In other news, I am no longer allowed at the zoo.

     

    1113244536_350PXL_20210805_194430472.thumb.jpg.e804f3a7bbc9a4ee02ad99b00fcea28d.jpg

    I can still take a photo of the gift shop, though, because technically it's outside of the zoo--which I thought was interesting.

    No? Just me?

    Fine.

    How many zoos have we been to now? I think this makes 14 (not counting things like BGT or DAK).

    (Spoiler: By the end of this TR, it will be 15. Pretend to be excited!)

     

    • Like 4
  10. 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.

    981987468_103PXL_20210806_183813673.thumb.jpg.16dbcae93bdb7e9cf00d7f17a4de84f2.jpg

    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.

     

    656186665_104PXL_20210806_184242246.thumb.jpg.de18dcb6b2b59e46b87d2cb44115ce0f.jpg

    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.

     

    2052859220_107PXL_20210806_184403297.thumb.jpg.df76fa04b56aa3bca95e41910ea3b31d.jpg

    After the mini main street (or, er, teeny tiny CityWalk?) there's a carousel and the ghost of an observation tower on the right...

     

    1570109362_108PXL_20210806_203040189.thumb.jpg.02a4e477e2f1fab8b676fbed258b30d7.jpg

    ...the entrance to the included water park straight ahead (which includes this baffling sign)...

     

    444669923_109PXL_20210806_184517076.thumb.jpg.e81d7d9a79cf61ec01efc9e429a6d319.jpg

    ...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.

     

    750059864_110PXL_20210806_193232046.thumb.jpg.dd09661cc4901e878ee39582d9adf562.jpg

    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.

     

    2133534661_112PXL_20210806_190351578.thumb.jpg.5e698d087fa2dbe5120972112f24fe16.jpg

    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?)

     

    2036553051_115PXL_20210806_185932737.thumb.jpg.66c809efdab2eb1bc36d778d37a5f794.jpg

    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.

     

    605237430_118PXL_20210806_193523203.thumb.jpg.3b726ebcf0f46cb9392ef5cc184478a9.jpg

    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.

     

    1276438521_120PXL_20210806_195337988.thumb.jpg.4feec77f2ef4838024ec6402f045cad6.jpg

    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.)

     

    1009942795_122PXL_20210806_193837515.thumb.jpg.d2598b761a238ab06b91be2e384826db.jpg

    The games were all open.

     

    1650560869_126PXL_20210806_230231566.thumb.jpg.28b503454ea3d4c3bcbb5a12138b7297.jpg

    When Elitch says something isn't opening today, they are serious.

     

    1470142529_130PXL_20210806_215057866.thumb.jpg.c0363f8ea3427aee1de795e8fa1b30c5.jpg

    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.

     

    1826359649_135PXL_20210806_194812896.thumb.jpg.c23bedd52beca0b497c5f018ebd06968.jpg

    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.)

     

    342971190_137PXL_20210806_194857960.thumb.jpg.e94e7aa5632c8358d59564881cd22657.jpg

    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.

     

    1615999314_144PXL_20210806_194312080.thumb.jpg.524159e3a332e5f794c8c362aa5a018b.jpg

    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.

     

    985868852_147PXL_20210806_225828111.thumb.jpg.48730c77ae9dce7f69293dc48e26322a.jpg

    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.

     

    573073222_149PXL_20210806_230024973.thumb.jpg.d17d6fc8ebc91aad4b7110e0983779a7.jpg

    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.

     

    1223645036_152PXL_20210806_195806860.thumb.jpg.b0edf9e0cc3af2f3d9e9df1fb8297274.jpg

    Besides, Lech Coaster has my heart, currently.

     

    759043139_156PXL_20210806_200943770.thumb.jpg.2fc23abb874f27cc130081cc13dd02cb.jpg

    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.

     

    399921971_160PXL_20210806_195817686.thumb.jpg.7fe2953efeda4a66c3c38322d0bf694e.jpg

    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?

     

    2108503354_170PXL_20210806_184303772.thumb.jpg.a28ce1cac072748702f318f7df67eb0f.jpg

    The park's main gift shop is themed to a carousel building. So that's arousing.

    What?

     

    1323569720_172PXL_20210806_204108514.thumb.jpg.1b43ac7aeb0d8d57452a2bcf6f6fbc45.jpg

    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!

     

    1748729933_174PXL_20210806_233459334.thumb.jpg.07bbd00c9e37a0fb714a8025e7a16140.jpg

    The entirety of Elitch's covid response is not allowing returns. I feel so much safer.

     

    1845291185_179PXL_20210806_182419263.thumb.jpg.c8643ca05b8b8eb218f14c4c72bd70e3.jpg

    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!

     

    • Like 8
  11. On 8/16/2021 at 8:29 AM, bert425 said:

    is it not supposed to be in the International Space Station?

    (which is in orbit 220 miles above the Earth)?

    at least that's what I thought the name is supposed to be referencing


    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/good-morningfrom-220-miles-above-the-earth/

    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

     

    • Like 1
  12. Quote

    By Jamie Hale | The Oregonian/OregonLive

    On Monday afternoon, Enchanted Forest announced on social media that it would finally be reopening to the public, after the coronavirus pandemic, financial woes and an ice storm all devastated the beloved Oregon amusement park over the last year.

    But as word of their reopening plans got out, some fans responded with threats and angry comments, and owners walked back the reopening plan Tuesday morning.

    Park co-manager Susan Vaslev said most people seemed to be upset about the requirement to wear face masks inside the park (a state requirement) and Enchanted Forest’s decision to allow people to go without masks provided they show a vaccination card upon entry.

    “We weighed it all out and decided that we cannot open safely,” Vaslev said. “Until we reach the point where we all agree how this transition is going to take place between mask, unmasked, vaccinated, unvaccinated and everybody can be together safely and commingle – that has to happen before we can reopen.”

    That might be a tall order, judging by the feedback they received.

    Vaslev said the park is not releasing specifics about the worst threats that came via email and phone, but their original announcement on Facebook received nearly 1,000 comments, many of which were angry or abusive.

    Businesses are legally allowed to ask customers for proof of vaccination if that is a requirement to enter their premises. Some people are falsely claiming that doing so violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (better known as HIPAA), but that law applies only to certain entities like hospitals, doctors’ offices and others in the health care industry.

    It’s one of many false claims circulating about COVID-19 and the vaccines that have so far proven to be highly effective against the virus.

    That misinformation often goes hand-in-hand with skepticism of the coronavirus in general, and is spread among those who are vocally resistant to local mandates requiring the use of protective face masks in public places.

    Oregon officials have not yet released formal guidance for businesses even after lifting the mask mandate for fully vaccinated Oregonians on Friday, with a few exceptions including hospitals, long-term care facilities and prisons. Gov. Kate Brown said that guidance would be announced in the coming days. State epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said businesses would likely be required to inspect COVID-19 vaccination cards before allowing customers to go maskless.

    Vaslev said the Enchanted Forest was simply trying to follow those guidelines in its long-awaited plan to reopen to the public. She said the park never intended to quiz every visitor about their vaccination status, they just wanted to give vaccinated people the opportunity to go without masks provided they show proof.

    The backlash against that plan – from many people who claim to have recently donated to the park’s GoFundMe campaign to stay afloat – has been “extremely upsetting,” Vaslev said.

    Enchanted Forest has not yet announced intentions to reconsider its reopening plan. Anyone who already purchased tickets for this weekend will receive a refund, the park announced Tuesday.

    “We are desperate to open our park, we’re at our breaking point,” Vaslev said. “How to do that and how to move through this is probably the biggest challenge we’ve faced so far.”

     

    • Sad 6
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