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Erik & Smisty's Denver Disappointment!

The Finale - Not Glenwood Caverns

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Erik!! You forgot the best part: the water park didn't sell or rent towels. It was just, "Good luck, travelers."

I also bought the best generic shirt here. It just says Water World at the bottom. Am I a fan of the movie? Did I go to an aquarium? Does the water park have sharks? So many questions....


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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.


Edited by Electerik
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25 minutes ago, Electerik said:


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


Damn right about that! (or as my Canadian friends would say: "Garwsh darn sure aboot that!:)

and with a hidden Mickey too!


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18 hours ago, SharkTums said:

Wow, so this mini-golf looks like a Denver Non-Disappointment!?!

Well, er, um...it was pretty crowded there...?

"Erik & Smisty's Denver Mixed Bag" just doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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.






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."


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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.


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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!



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7 minutes ago, SharkTums said:

I feel like we now need to research if there are any other aquariums that also have Tigers. 

I've not been, but apparently the Landry's Downtown Aquarium Houston has white tigers. (Denver's, for the record, are Sumatran Tigers.)


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There's an aquarium here in Korea that keeps white tigers, white lions, bears, hyenas, arctic foxes, and a bunch of smaller animals at the end and charge the kids to put meat on a stick through a hole to feed them.... Makes a fortune for them I'm sure but seems pretty grim that they live permanently indoors.



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Yeah, I'm doing some research now and it seems some of these aquariums got crap for having tigers indoors and never actually seeing the sun.  Now it seems like they've invested in better habitats for them.

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this puts the Landry's Downtown Houston Aquarium to Shame!  (yes, even with the Houston one having White Tigers).


I so want to go to this one now too.. . .

and why doesn't Kemah Boardwalk have an Aquarium????  (maybe too close to the Houston one or the competition from Moody Gardens one in Galveston. . . but still. . the Boardwalk should have an aquarium).


great report!

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14 hours ago, SharkTums said:

Yeah, I'm doing some research now and it seems some of these aquariums got crap for having tigers indoors and never actually seeing the sun.  Now it seems like they've invested in better habitats for them.

I've been to the Dallas world aquarium and they had a Jaguar in a rather small enclosure. The whole place looked rather poorly run with shoddy looking exhibits in terms of the health of everything too. One of the few times I didn't read reviews about a place before going. Apparently the owner has a lot of controversy surrounding him as well. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

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.




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.




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.


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1 hour ago, Electerik said:

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.


this is perfection in sentence form.

I seriously ❤️ you right now.

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It looks like a place the mechanics take rides that have started to misbehave and threaten them this that is where they could end up if they don't change their ways.

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Perhaps the park is a study in joyous decay: The Park at the Edge of the Apocalypse. It also looks like the best setting for amusement-park horror movie this side of Wonder Rakutenchi in Japan.

Carnival of Souls 2: Lakeside Boogaloo.

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Jeez, I visited Lakeside park just three years ago. It was pretty run down back then too, but the amount that it has managed to continue to fall into disrepair in that time is pretty shocking. Like, I don't remember all of the missing ride vehicles on the flatrides from my visit.

Maybe this is just due to the park being shut down for 2020?

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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."

Ahhh it just gets funnier every time I read it!

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What is it with Colorado and amusement parks that seem to be on borrowed time...?

This place looks so sad that it might just ball over and cry...which makes me sad for it. Where's Gene Staples and Ed Hart when you need them?

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1 hour ago, swfan1988 said:

What is it with Colorado and amusement parks that seem to be on borrowed time...?

This place looks so sad that it might just ball over and cry...which makes me sad for it. Where's Gene Staples and Ed Hart when you need them?

Must be all the pot in the air and the water and the food and the blood and the....

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Old pictures of Lakeside are intriguing.  I know what Lusse Auto Skooters are, but I found a picture of an earlier version of Lusse Skooters at Lakeside that I had never seen before.  The attached picture is thought to be from the 1920s/1930s.

For more vintage Lakeside pics, check this out:  https://history.denverlibrary.org/gallery/lakeside-amusement-park




Lusse skooters.jpg

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