How is Lakeside Park Doing?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 12:31 AM
I live a long way from Denver but is is interesting to keep up with the happenings at the historic traditional park there which is celebrating its 100 year anniversary this season. I am referring to Lakeside Amusement Park.

I was looking at their web page and they have some cool historic pictures. More importantly, the park added a drop tower, a sign that the park is movig ahead again rather than stagnating as it had for a number of years.

Has anyone been there this year that can provide a trip report? I do know that high gas proces and airfares mean that the park will be primarily patronized by the locals this year but maybe someone out there has more to say about the park.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 1:15 AM
I'll be visiting Lakeside by the end of the week. I'll let you know about my visit. I consider Lakeside my second "home park".
Wednesday, July 9, 2008 12:59 PM
It was packed on Labor Day Weekend two years ago. Hopefully it's stayed strong since then, as it's a wonderful park!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008 1:02 PM
I was there last July. It was pretty packed at dusk.

Now if only they'd restore the star and swing rides. The entire place could use a bit of paint, but the lights were all working and the atmosphere is fantastic.

*** Edited 7/9/2008 5:02:34 PM UTC by janfrederick***

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 3:09 PM
I'll be there Saturday, but I drive past the park everyday and w/ the exception of some recent afternoons (due to monsoon season) the park has looked fairly busy.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008 9:29 PM
I was there this past Memorial Day weekend. It was packed, well, packed for Lakeside. Seemed like all operations were going well and the new drop tower is probably the star attraction. I didn't write a report, but I was happy to have spent a day there with my wife and 2 kids.

Only coaster I rode was the Cyclone, ouch.

Thursday, July 10, 2008 2:07 AM
I went a couple Mondays ago. They got a new ride this year in the Kiddie's Playland, it's like a mini skater/rockin' tug, but I didn't see it when it was running. I was sad the Roll-O-Plane wasn't put back up this season, it's my favorite ride at the park.
Thursday, July 10, 2008 12:22 PM
^^Surprised you found Cyclone rough. We were there last Labor Day weekend, and it was really QUITE good then. I was proud to have it as my #500.

The ONLY shortcoming I found at Lakeside was the way the flying scooters were run....everything else was awesome...esp. the lights, and the train ride at night.

Thursday, July 10, 2008 12:41 PM
I love the Cyclone's layout. Big bowl followed by an out and back. Could have more air, but fun nonetheless.
Thursday, July 10, 2008 2:13 PM
How is the Rock-O-Plane ride they have? Can you please tell me if you liked it, and how does it compare to the Zipper?
Thursday, July 10, 2008 4:21 PM
rollergator, I never said "rough," just "ouch." ;) It was more of the odd way the track lists to the left before a left turn, followed by the very abrupt direction change. There were several spots in the course where it did that, and I couldn’t figure out why, and it just rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps also I just wasn’t expecting it to pack much of a punch, and it did. I only got one lap, and it was in the back seat, maybe that was part of the problem too? I’m certainly willing to give it another shot when there are less crowds. There was a 40 minute wait, one train operation.
Monday, July 14, 2008 11:53 AM
I haven't done a trip report in ages (and it seems I have no desire to wrote one now) but I can offer you some impressions as a first-time Lakeside visitor that spent two days at the park less than three weeks ago.

First of all, the place was packed on Friday night and all of Saturday. No ride was without a line, especially Saturday night. I was told the park hasn't been busy in years past and it was likely we'd have the place pretty much to ourselves, but that wasn't the case. While I selfishly wished for shorter lines so I could ride more, it was great to see Lakeside doing so well. I hope they continue to attract crowds so the place can survive well into its second century of operation.

Cyclone is a weird coaster. It's crazy intense for the first half of the ride (think the spaghetti bowl section of Kennywood's Thunderbolt on steroids) and then it turns into the Rye Playland Dragon Coaster. Only one train was running and was comprised of both red and blue cars. The other train- also comprised of red and blue cars- was sitting unused. While the first half of the ride was intense, it wasn't at all rough. It offered the kind of ride one should expect of a classic wood coaster.

Wild Chipmunk is a lot of fun. I think it's the best of the three old Miler mice I have ridden (the other two being Tree Top Racers and Mighty Mouse at Playland in OC, NJ- now at Funtown Pier in Seaside Heights). It's one of those rides that I'd love to have in my backyard. For a small mouse, it has six very good drops, and a fantastic helix at the end of the ride.

The Flying Scooters is a 10-tub ride with 8 tubs. Two were missing. It's possible to snap the cables but the ride stays at full speed for only a minute or so. The rest of the ride (about three minutes) is the thing slowing down, as it seems to operate without brakes... or working brakes.

The Eli Bridge wheel had the most ridiculous operation I had ever seen on a Ferris wheel. The ride was loaded and unloaded with no obvious pattern (car 1 followed by car 10 followed by car 6 and so on, or something like that) but instead of loading up the cars as they were unloaded, the wheel was completely unloaded before loaded again. Our ride was literally 30 minutes long. The ride op also did nothing to scold a couple of kids that were throwing rocks from the ride. He talked to them but they walked away laughing so he obviously didn't do much to get through to them.

The Kasper Klaus Satellite Jet was not working, and seems to have been SBNO since last summer. Too bad, as I really wanted to ride it. At least the thing is still illuminated at night. Everything said about the way the park looks when the sun goes down is true. It looks perfect at night, despite it's obvious blemishes. Some swing-type ride called the Flying Dutchman was also down. The bumper cars were awful- very slow, and they often stopped moving for no reason. It was funny sitting in an idle car, getting bumped back into motion by another car, and watching that one sit idle instead. Everything else seemed to be working just fine, from the Spider to the Rock-o-Plane to the Scrambler to the Whip.

Eventually I'll get around to posting photos, at which point I'll post the link.

*** Edited 7/14/2008 3:56:32 PM UTC by Rob Ascough***

Monday, July 14, 2008 12:53 PM
Sounds like they need to clean the bumper car contacts.
Monday, July 14, 2008 1:32 PM
I'm guessing that could be the problem, since it's unlikely there are "dead zones" in the ceiling, right?

A friend of mine told me that Lakeside struggled for many years and it would often take the park years to save up enough money to make necessary repairs once rides broke down. Perhaps the bumper cars don't receive much work because they work (albeit not very well), while other rides like the Satellite Jets are down?

Monday, July 14, 2008 3:00 PM
Or floor...the usual culprit are the floor contacts. People spill drinks on the floors, there's dust, trash ends up on the floor. When I worked at Rue Le Dodge, we'd have cars catch on fire from discarded park maps getting wedged under there. And when some cars were slower than others, it was usually because the bottom contact was all nasty. The ceiling contacts never seemed to be a problem.
Monday, July 14, 2008 3:10 PM
Lakeside is an interesting situation. The present owner inheirited from her father. Now he had other attractions around the Denver area (the most notable as I recall is the Cave of the Winds). Her siblings each inheirited one of the attractions from their father, along with undeveloped real estate. Over the years the predominate interest was with real estate devlopement with most of the family. Rhoda has held stedfast with keeping Lakeside intact , with I might add a fair amount of sacrifice on her and her immediate family's part, usually under pressure from her siblings to shutter the park and turn it into condos or a shopping center.
Monday, July 14, 2008 3:49 PM
Interesting, because I was under the impression that Lakeside was one of many things Rhoda owned in the Denver area. I'm not saying you're wrong, just that what you said contradicts what I always believed to be the truth.

I got a chance to meet Rhoda's daughter and she more or less suggested that she was "forced" to work at te park by her mother. I'm not sure if she was joking around but she didn't seem too unhappy. Still, that makes me wonder what happens to the park when Rhoda's no longer able to keep it going. I'm assuming she's in her fifties, right?

Monday, July 14, 2008 6:59 PM
I got a chance to meet Rhoda's daughter and she more or less suggested that she was "forced" to work at te park by her mother. I'm not sure if she was joking around but she didn't seem too unhappy. Still, that makes me wonder what happens to the park when Rhoda's no longer able to keep it going. I'm assuming she's in her fifties, right?

Rhoda's daughter, or Rhoda? Frankly I'm not touching that.

I did find this interview

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 8:59 AM
Great article. If Rhoda has been operating the park for 40+ years, I'm guessing she's in her sixties, or maybe even seventies? Weird, because her daughter didn't appear to be that old.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 11:34 AM
I seem to recall that she took over in the early to mid 1950's after the passing of her father. Her daughter was a toddler at that time and Rhoda was a recent college graduate. So by the powers of reasonable deduction I'd say that the daughter's my age (mid 50's) and mom is in her 70's.

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