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Erik & Smisty's Denver Disappointment!

The Finale - Not Glenwood Caverns

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7 hours ago, pianojohn said:

I went here in 1980 and remember the art deco and the neon and the insane Fun House.

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! 

 

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Just read that the park has only had two owners in its history. And as for the current owner:

"there have been plenty of offers to buy Lakeside/develop the property... and no, owner Rhoda Krasner is not interested Owner Rhoda Krasner is notoriously uninterested in selling the property or partnering with an investor to put money into "fixing it up." The beauty of Lakeside may be in the eye of the beholder, but anyone who visits the park and gets its old-school charm knows the park is fine just the way it is. Krasner has been known to say that part of the reason she hasn't struck a deal is because she wishes to stick by her father Ben's original intent of keeping the park affordable to all."

So keep the park a sh*thole rather than fix it up? Makes no sense.

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^Yeah, that's really odd.  Surely someone must understand the difference between modernizing the place and paving it like a Cedar Fair park, and just making sure the rides are running and lights work?!?!

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On 8/24/2021 at 2:38 PM, Electerik said:

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:

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.

On 8/24/2021 at 2:38 PM, Electerik said:

 

 

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

That's what I immediately thought the first time I rode one of those! The first time I rode one of these was at Beech Bend in 2016 and they hyped it as the first of its type in America and I rode it and was let down when it didn't do anything special. Definitely over hyped.

On 8/31/2021 at 5:58 PM, Electerik said:

 

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.

 

Urban Putt Denver

Looks cool. I recently did an outdoor popup mini golf course (18 holes) in SF themed to the history and evolution of the city near Oracle Park called Stagecoach Greens but I'll have to try the Urban Putt there. 

 

Great Denver TR btw. Elitch Gardens and Lakeside aren't bucket list parks for me but I'm amazed that Elitch got a Meow Wolf dark ride. That would be the thing that would interest me the most at Elitch followed by their rare shuttle loop and halfpipe coasters. I gotta be honest about Lakeside, it looks like a shithole but it does has a couple of interesting rides. Water World looks like the park that would be interest me the most in Denver. The only park in Colorado I've been to is Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park but it looks like it wins best park in the state by a landslide (I did enjoy it). 

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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.

 

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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)

 

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Because why wouldn't there be a zoo on top of the North American Aerospace Defense Command?

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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And back down we go. Nice view, too. Would probably be extraordinary on a proper clear, non-wildfire-smoky day.

 

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If god had wanted us to live at this elevation, he would've made us out of water.

 

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Pelinguins

 

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These animals are called Guinea pigs, and both parts of their name are a lie.

 

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Adventure path!

 

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I think he just liked my shirt.

 

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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.

 

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I touch clown.

 

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Various food items.

Hey, some days I'm funny and some days I'm not. Tough luck today.

 

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"My Big Backyard" has a little cabin with reptiles and such.

 

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Dirty skink.

 

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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.

 

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Smisty's favorite animal to see at a zoo is the moose. I know she's weird.

 

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There's a road that cuts through the middle of the zoo. But more on that oddness later.

 

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This seems unusual.

 

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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.

 

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No "where is the snake at" here.

 

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Standard beastiality golden shower simulator.

 

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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.

 

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Bridge over elephants to the elephant barn (by way of the sky).

 

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Do you say "zee-bra" or zeh-bra"?

I'm American, so I say "stripey horse."

 

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But I also say "anti-clockwise" so you can't go by me.

 

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Root beer is temporarily Dr. Pepper.

 

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The closest I've ever been to an okapi.

 

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The gift shop, though not quite the exit, and certainly not the end.

 

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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.

 

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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?

 

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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.

 

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"You've got to go out on a limb sometimes because that's where the fruit is."

 

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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.

 

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The view from the top. Note that the zoo is bottom right.

 

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And back down the road we go.

This was all very weird.

So, obviously, we loved it.

 

Edited by Electerik
Typo correction.
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  • 1 month later...

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!

 

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The Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnel, which is easily accessible while wasting your time trying to get to Glenwood Springs.

 

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Not that it was all bad.

 

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The Denver Museum of Nature & Science

 

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Kicking rocks.

 

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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!

 

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A view of City Park and the smoke-choked Denver skyline from the museum's super-secret not-that-secret outdoor viewing deck.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Our hotel's 13th floor. The Curtis Denver, if you're curious.

 

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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.)

 

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Colorodeos really love their flag.

Coloridiots?

Coloradicals?

 

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Ice cream was had.

 

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The first permanent structure in Denver was a saloon.

 

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They are a hardy people.

 

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Sakura House (not too far from Coors Field) was unassuming and kind of hard to find, but amazing.

 

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Denver Botanic Garden just missed getting its own update, but I figured y'all only wanted to look at so many pictures of flowers.

 

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Flower photo. If you wanted more of this, just keep scrolling back up to here every once in a while.

 

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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.

 

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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*]

 

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Really enjoyed this art exhibit by Yoshitomo Saito.

 

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The Denver Botanic Gardens also had an exhibit of Salvador Dalí. 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.

 

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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."

 

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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.

 

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Adventure Golf & Raceway has three 18-hole courses, one of which is really nice and two of which are good but obviously older.

 

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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.

 

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If you miss, it sprays water. But kind of late. Like, when the next player is about to putt. So that's fun.

 

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Garden of the Gods

It's like a bite-sized national park.

 

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Inside the visitor's center.

 

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It won't take you all day, but well worth checking out.

 

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Back on our mini golf BS. This one is called Colorado Journey and might be run by the city...?

 

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Each hole is themed to a local landmark. So kind of like Urban Putt, but more traditional.

 

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Do not look directly at the sun. No, wait, it's fine.

 

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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

 

Edited by Electerik
Typo corrections.
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Your amazing Photo TR reminds me of a very depressing article I read that talked all about how travel was going to prove more and more difficult due to global warming. Basically, screwed up weather and bigger meteorological disasters are going to screw over air travel and making plans and anything outdoors in our lifetime. So yeah, get ready for more disappointment I guess!!? Thanks for taking us along!

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