Denver's Lakeside Amusement Park August 2nd

Associated parks:
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Thursday, August 4, 2005 4:27 PM
I’ve lived in Denver my whole life and the last time I had been to Lakeside was when I was really little and rode the kiddie rides. I’ve grown up thinking the worst of the park as many people in the area had that misconception. So I’ve been trying to make it out there for the last few summers and finally was able to make it. I went with one of my colleagues from the “other” park in Denver. He got me in free because he has connections.

After we got our wristbands at the Ferris Wheel ticket booth, we went and rode the train. It was a cool little ride. It goes all around Lake Rhoda, and you can catch glimpses of the park’s boneyard. Then there’s the backside of the Lakeside mall, anchored by Target and the Avanza Supermarket, part of the old Montgomery Ward sign is still on the building. After the mall, the train rounds the far end of the lake, it then goes past the new Chase bank, formerly Bank one, building. Then it reaches a cool tunnel and after that you emerge back into the park and see the rides.

We then rode the Flight to Mars dark ride. The ride was pretty cheesy and only a few effects worked, but it was fun and the reverse lift was cool. Even though it was kinda lame the first thing that illuminated at me did make me jump.

We then headed to the Cyclone. I was fortunate enough to get a front seat ride for my inaugural ride. The tunnel at the beginning reminded me of the Giant Dipper at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It was a really fun ride. I was shown the spot where “everyone” said the train flew off and landed in the lake. You gotta love urban legend. The trains were cool, the lap bar doesn’t move so you have maneuver around it to take a seat. Good times.

We then stopped at one of the retro food places and had some dinner. It had a really cool multi colored light fixture running along the ceiling. When I was in college I took a lot of lighting classes, so it was fun seeing all of the old stuff and seeing the cool signage all of the rides had.

After that we headed over to the whip. I know it was newly restored and it was a fun, tame ride. I didn’t know what to expect but it was cool and it was classic.

We then met some other cohorts from the “other” park in Denver. I rode the Roll-o-plane, with one of them. That ride is awesome, it’s one of those rides that looks sickening but really isn’t. It reminds me of our Chaos ( :( RIP). It bangs you up a bit, but who cares, it rocks.

We caught a couple rerides on the Cyclone and some of the flats as the night went on. The other rides/attractions we hit were:

The Crystal Palace- a cheesy glass walled maze, but it is still fun

Rock-o-plane- I had never been on one of these before so I was trying to get the hang of it. My buddy got stuck upside down for a bit while the ride was in the loading phase. More good times.

The Satellite- This one is kinda like the rocket jets from Disneyland. You get to “pilot your own car” as it spins in circles. For some reason they didn’t illuminate it that night.

The Matterhorn- It’s a Himalaya type ride with the swinging cars. It was more fun than Elitch’s Thunderbolt, but didn’t go backwards. I still miss the old Elitch Holland Express.

The Scrambler- Who doesn’t love the scrambler? It reminded me of the scrambled eggs ride from RCT, which then reminded me about the scrambled eggs I had to clean off the Elitch Spider last weekend. Aren’t you glad you’re reading this? :)

Night time train ride- There is just something about seeing this park illuminated at night and reflecting off the lake. Although there were some parts of the ride that smelled bad and the kids had fun screaming their heads off in the tunnel.

Dragon Coaster- So this is a Zamperla powered coaster, they cycled it 3 or 4 times and it would spiral around the curves and gain speed. The ride was really “vibratey” and if you keep your feet flat, it’s like a footsy wootsy foot massager they have at parks. Good times.

We saw Rhoda toward the end of the night. She is a really nice woman, we talked to her for a few minutes. She told us that the Wild Chipmunk was sick as well as the Round up. Their season goes into weekends soon and she still hasn’t decided how late into the year the park will stay open.

The last ride we hit was the good old fashioned Ferris Wheel. I think the last time I had been on one of these old Eli’s was when the old Elitch’s had theirs, so it must’ve been about 13-14 years.

We had a really good time and it seemed everyone there was enjoying their visits as well. So if you guys make it to Denver visit Lakeside (and their other amusement park neighbor, too ;)). *** Edited 8/4/2005 8:30:30 PM UTC by J.***

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Thursday, August 4, 2005 4:37 PM
I went to Lakeside Park back in 2002 and I thought it was pretty nice. When I went though it was dead and this was in the middle of August! I didn't get to see the park at night, something I wished I had gotten to see. However, I enjoyed myself at the park.

I remember the Wild Chipmunk being a pretty wild ride for being a mouse. It was my first time riding an "old" mouse coaster. The Cyclone was gorgeous! The laterals at the base of drops are nuts because of the odd banking it has. Did they ever fix the part on the train ride that looked like the train was going to derail at the tight turn? That part made me wonder if that was right.

I'm glad to see Lakeside is still open, I didn't think it would stay open for long the last time I was there. Oh and glad to see the Whip is open! Great classic!

~Rob Willi

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Thursday, August 4, 2005 10:14 PM
Thanks for the report! I still haven't been to the park at night either...would love to see those lights sometime!

As a side note, what's up with Chaos?

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Thursday, August 4, 2005 11:11 PM
I love this little Gem, Practically even better than it's "OTHER" park. I wish that the old Ballroom was still open, for that thing is a true srebel. Where is the Crystal Palace? I forgot where it was? My father used to work there when he was younger as well as my mother, they both worked at the Garden too (Elitch's). The park really has made a name for itself. Im glad to see that "The Whip" is fully restored now, last time I was there 2003, they were not completely finished.
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Thursday, August 4, 2005 11:47 PM
I had an opportunity to visit this wonderful little park last month when I was out in Colorado visiting my brother. It was so nice to fianlly get a chance to ride some of the older flats that I've seen before but was always too afraid to ride. The Rock-O-Plane is a very unique ride, though once was enough for me!

The Wild Chipmunk was a great mouse. There are some really good head-choppers on that ride too! My first time through, I came into the station so fast, I flew right through the unload brakes and into the load area (they didn't make that mistake again).

The Cyclone was wonderful. I always wondered if there was a ride that had banking at the bottom of the drops. I must say that the front was a much better ride than the back for me, though.

In the restaurant next to the stairs by the main entrance there is a weight machine (I think) that has postcards and pictures from the park way back in the day. There were some really neat rides there, especially what looked like a switchback railway type ride. Too bad those rides aren't still there.

Kev

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Friday, August 5, 2005 11:08 AM
I never noticed a spot along the train that would derail, so I guess it's fixed.

I don't know the exact details why, but the Chaos is closed forever, and not because it's broke.

The Crystal Palace is near the Bumper Boats.

I saw that scale in the restaurant. I almost popped a quarter in it, but didn't.

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Friday, August 5, 2005 1:56 PM
Any word on when the Chipmunk is supposed to be back up and running? I'd like to hit the park one more time before I move and the Chipmunk is a must.
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Friday, August 5, 2005 6:07 PM
Thanks for the report J. Lakeside is a great little park that really blows away the new park downtown. I'm no expert on Colorado and the history, but Lakeside apparently suffers from bad press and people who think newer means better (as in Elitch's).

I was only in Denver once ('97) to visit both parks, and I was warned that people in Denver don't know about Lakeside. Or if they do, they think it's old, rundown and not worth the visit, like certain people around here fell about Conneaut. In fact, when we checked into our hotel that trip, the desk clerk told us the exact same thing I was warned about and couldn't believe we wanted to go there (Lakeside). He actually told us not to go to Lakeside. "Elitch's is the park to visit" he said.

After one day at Elitch's, we all agreed it's a sh!thole and we couldn't wait to get to Lakeside that evening for the *real* amusement park atmosphere and rides that Elitch's lacked. But even then, the crowds weren't there for the old park. Everyone was at Elitch's answering the *cattle call* theme/corporate parks are known for.

I remember leaving Denver with a lump in my throat for the grand old park. Rhoda was great and made us feel welcome when we were there. No one made us feel that way at the other park. Lastly, when we checked out of the hotel, the desk clerk finally admitted to us that he had never been to Lakeside and was just going by what others had told him. We thanked him for his honesty at that point and told him to visit the park explaining why it's such a classic. Everyone needs to visit Lakeside (and other parks like it) at least once in their lives just for experience. If you don't....you're really missing out on something special.

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Friday, August 5, 2005 7:52 PM
IMO Lakeside is the better of the Denver parks. SFEG has the bigger, newer rides but they sure aren't better (with the exception of the drop tower, I love those things :) ).

I find a lot of people here in CO that think Lakeside is a dangerous place to go. It's not in a great neiborhood, but it's far from dangerous. I've never heard one first hand account of something bad happening at the park as far as security is concerned.

In my short stay in CO I have definately spent more time visiting Lakeside then I have SFEG. I love being able to swing by for an hour or two without it costing a bunch and just taking in the endangered aura of parks that still have the old time charm.

As I said above, I'm looking to make one last trip before I move back to the midwest in two weeks. Hopefully the Chipmunk will be running soon.

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Saturday, August 6, 2005 1:04 PM
Geez, while I can respect everyone's opinion and understand your feelings. I was hoping this wouldn't turn into a bash Elitch's thread. I know not to take it personal, but when people say stuff about a place I've worked countless hours for years, I can't help but take it a little personally. They're both good parks but for different reasons.
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