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Elitch Gardens Discussion Thread


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Thank you. This is making me feel better. The second I heard Elitch was gonna close I knew I had to plan a trip. With Lakeside being so close I figure I should visit. Wild Chipmunk looks so bad that its good

 

If you want to hit both parks in one day, I would recommend:

1. Fly into DIA and arrive about 8 - 9 am.

2. Take the "A" train to Union Station, about 40 min / $10.50

3. Walk approx. 1 mile to Elitch Gardens and stay until bored

4. Uber to Lakeside (approx. 5 miles each way from downtown)

5. Uber to Union Station when finished with Lakeside

6. Take "A" train back to the airport from Union Station

 

The light rail train is nice, clean, picks up at the airport, and runs past midnight. You can get discount tickets online for Elitch at their website. Groupon has discounts for Lakeside but you have to purchase two admissions for the discount. If you don't need two Lakeside admission tickets, you might as well pay at the gate as it is not that expensive. I would plan to eat at the airport or downtown. There is nothing really edible within walking distance of Lakeside.

 

This is the schedule for the train that runs from the airport to downtown:

www3.rtd-denver.com/schedules/getSchedule.action?routeType=32&routeId=A&serviceType=4

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  • 9 months later...

 

Just a quick thought on the closure/relocation of Elitch Gardens: I think a relocation is more likely than a straight up closure. I feel like Coasterbill is going to say something snarky about this if he finds this. Elitch recently posted a video about "getting through this together" like a lot of parks are doing on Facebook. Just the "we've been making fun memories for the past 130 years and we look forward to making more fun memories for the next 130 years." It just seems like a park on the verge of closing wouldn't say anything such as that. Plus, Elitch is still a well-loved park for the general public: it has consistently drawn in about 1.1 million visitors each year. It did peak at 1.5 million at the beginning of the 2000's, but then it dropped to 1 million in the mid 2000's before staying consistent at 1.1 million since. Given that the population of the Denver metro area is only 717,796 (not including surrounding neighborhoods), it should seem pretty substantial that they can pull such attendance numbers. My last thought is that they aren't choosing to leave that location. It's not like how Six Flags sold the land under Astroworld before closing. Since the government is taking the land, Elitch Gardens will be getting financial compensation. Maybe they will throw in the towel, but I do believe that another move is in the park's future.

 

I've always enjoyed the park, even though there aren't any standout attractions. The past three generations have travelled to Denver for family vacations and Elitch has always been a tradition. It was incredibly seedy in the 2000's, but we've enjoyed our visits throughout the 2010's.

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Just a quick thought on the closure/relocation of Elitch Gardens: I think a relocation is more likely than a straight up closure. I feel like Coasterbill is going to say something snarky about this if he finds this. Elitch recently posted a video about "getting through this together" like a lot of parks are doing on Facebook. Just the "we've been making fun memories for the past 130 years and we look forward to making more fun memories for the next 130 years." It just seems like a park on the verge of closing wouldn't say anything such as that. Plus, Elitch is still a well-loved park for the general public: it has consistently drawn in about 1.1 million visitors each year. It did peak at 1.5 million at the beginning of the 2000's, but then it dropped to 1 million in the mid 2000's before staying consistent at 1.1 million since. Given that the population of the Denver metro area is only 717,796 (not including surrounding neighborhoods), it should seem pretty substantial that they can pull such attendance numbers. My last thought is that they aren't choosing to leave that location. It's not like how Six Flags sold the land under Astroworld before closing. Since the government is taking the land, Elitch Gardens will be getting financial compensation. Maybe they will throw in the towel, but I do believe that another move is in the park's future.

 

I've always enjoyed the park, even though there aren't any standout attractions. The past three generations have travelled to Denver for family vacations and Elitch has always been a tradition. It was incredibly seedy in the 2000's, but we've enjoyed our visits throughout the 2010's.

 

The government isn't taking the land from Elitch. Kroenke and Revesco purchased the park in 2015 and have been talking about turning the land into residential units since their purchase of the property. Both companies hold several investments and Elitch is the only amusement park, so they let Premier run it for them until they could shut it down. If It was a sports team, Kroenke might keep it but he doesn't seem to care about amusement parks. Who knows, maybe it will move to Los Angeles?

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I liked my visit to Lakeside and Elitch. Sadly Half Pipe and Sidewinder were closed at Elitch. I loved the views of the city and mountains. I had said somewhere else I wouldn't mind seeing Elitch and Lakeside merge into one park if Elitch looses its land its on. Take the best of both parks and make one awesome park on the lake!

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  • 3 months later...
  • 10 months later...

Heading to Denver next week to graduate with my Master's degree!

While there, I am planning to hit Elitch Gardens.  Any discounts other than the $20 off from their website?

Was really hoping to visit Lakeside as well, but it doesn't look like they will be open til later in the summer.

Any other must do or must eat in the city?

Thanks!

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Congrats on graduation! For Elitches tickets, may see if there is something on Groupon. There tends to be pretty good deals on 2-4 tickets for either Elitches or Lakeside under normal circumstances. 

Even as a local, I'm not so sure about any specific places for food. Illegal Pete's is a CO-local Qdoba-esque chain if you haven't been, and the downtown location closest to Elitches has a bar!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, just got back from Denver.

Highlight: graduated from University of Denver with my MA in Creative Writing. I did the entire degree online and ended up with a 4.0!

Lowlight: Elitch Gardens.

I had visited the original park in 1980 and loved the Wildcat and Mister Twister. I had read horror stories about this park, but I wanted to get the credits.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by a sign which listed two rides as being closed.  Once I was in the park, turned out the majority of the rides were closed. Half of the coasters were closed (Half Pipe, Sidewinder, and the kiddie coaster) and most of the flats as well.

I did ride Mind Eraser (Vekoma SLC...painful) Boomerang (Vekoma boomerang..also painful) and Twister II.  It was ok but nothing like the original. 

Went on the park's website, and none of those rides (other than Half Pipe) are listed as closed. Pissed. I emailed the park and am hoping for a full refund but I doubt it.

Advice: avoid this park unless you like being disappointed.

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That sounds similar to our experience. We were not fans of that park at all. It seemed like word got out that it was going to close forever and they just figured they’d get a head start and close half of it right now.

I’m not sure when you got there but I will say that Sidewinder usually opens super late but there’s no sign anywhere telling you that.

Congrats on your degree!

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^Found that out about Sidewinder yesterday. On Thurs. the 3rd I decided to go for a Season Pass as I've been solo commuting to work with my car (used to always carpool and/or light rail), and with the park being a 10min walk from my work as well as it being likely my last year in Denver, I figured it might be worth it. That day, it was essentially the same as PianoJohn's experience. However, I went again yesterday and even though they were closed in the morning & midday, both Sidewinder and Half Piper were open by the time I got there after work. Rode the former 3 times with about 10-25min wait each, the latter once with a 70min wait that featured two breakdowns. Sign out front for closed rides was exactly as pictured above, so I figure they just can't be bothered to update it. 

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UGH.  I guess I could have stayed around hoping they would open those two coasters. But it was hot and there was no sign of life at either coasters. Oh well...two credits I will never get. Their loss!

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When I flew to denver a few years back and checked out the park both Halfpipe and Sidewidner were closed sadly. I also checked out lakeside and they had a bunch closed there as well 

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Really these Denver parks are way too hit-or-miss with their best coasters (which are good, but not anything great) for me to ever recommend traveling out here for just the parks. 

What really sucks is that the park was supposedly back up to almost 1.5 million guests before the pandemic (per a ride op I know on Instagram, so take that with a grain of salt), which kinda makes sense as it's ALWAYS busy. Along with having no more land, the fact that tons of people will show up anyways has given the park zero incentive to build anything new or even well-maintain & staff their existing rides (they rarely staffed Sidewinder before the shutdown, let alone now). Glad to be getting my last rides in this year but definitely feels like a slow death until they eventually close for the redevelopment.

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So I wrote the park directly as well as corporate, and they are refunding my ticket! I am sure they usually don't care about making people happy, but my tale of woe must have moved them.

I posted the same comments on the park's Instagram page and was met with a hostile comment: "This is the best park in Colorado, and if you don't like it. just stay the f*ck home!"

Umm...the best park in Colorado when there is literally one other one, also run down and barely open.

And I have never been, but it looks like Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is a better park than either Lakeside or Elitch! 

 

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Really these Denver parks are way too hit-or-miss with their best coasters (which are good, but not anything great) for me to ever recommend traveling out here for just the parks. 

I agree with that entirely. Elitch Gardens is an atrocious park. It has potential to be an "okay" park but it's so badly run. Lakeside is a total shithole but I found it to be a really fun shithole and they're open about being a shithole. If both coasters are open then it's fun at night. The wood coaster kind of sucks but Wild Chipmunk is the best coaster in Colorado so... fight me. lol Honestly, I like Lakeside. Expectations need to be set and it's totally weird but we had fun.

As for Glenwood Caverns, yeah... everyone should go there. It's fantastic.

I agree that nobody should go to Denver unless they're okay with like half of the coasters in the state being closed at any given time but on the flip-side it's a great city and it's Frontier's home airport so it's dirt cheap to fly there from basically anywhere if you don't mind flying them. People should go, but you're totally right that people need to manage their expectations for the parks.

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