Is Denver Going to be Without an Amusement Park?

Speculation and rumors continue to take place regarding both of Denver's Amusement Parks. Six Flags Elitchs Gardens is one of the six parks that Six Flags is looking at as a possible selloff. Given the value of the land that the park sits on, many believe that this park could end up in the hands of developers. Meanwhile, the ongoing rumors continue regarding Lakeside Amusement Park possibly nearing its end.

What is actually likely to happen? Will someone acquire one of the parks and continue to operate it? Will a new park be built in the outskirts of Denver possibly with some rides from the existing parks?

If both parks are gone, it is going to be a long drive from Denver to Lagoon or Worlds of Fun.

Arthur Bahl

Not saying you're wrong, just curious as to the rumors regarding Lakeside.

It's not a huge park and I wouldn't be surprised if it's in financial troubles. I mean the electric bill alone has to be staggering. ;) I could see it having an upswing in attendance without SFEG around.

I think Lakeside has a bad rep in parts of the Denver market. I met several people who thought that the park was filled with thugs and other unsavory types. While the park patrons generally did not seem to come from the economically elite areas of Denver, I never once felt unsafe due to the other guests (some of the rides might have freaked me out, but that's another story).

It's a nice place to spend an evening without dropping a large chunk of change. I hope it stays that way for decades to come.

Yeah is Good!
rollergator's avatar
Assuming Lakeside can hold on for '07-'08, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect a sizable jump in attendance? I mean, they might be hurting now, but it's not hard to imagine a brighter future RIGHT on the horizon...

The upcoming Denver trip HAD to happen this year no doubt...

THe rumor mill involving Lakeside has been going on and off for several years. It's just now that SFEG is also a target of speculation and rightfully so now thanks to what Six Flags is saying.

Unfortunately, Lakeside, to many people is that park "on the wrong side of the tracks." That doesn't have to be the case. I always hold up Kennywood as an example of what Lakeside could and should become, especially if SFEG goes.

KW is not exactly in a "good" part of the Pittsburgh area. In fact, some of the most economically depressed communities around are within a mile or two of the park. In the past, the park had gang problems but they overcame them. The park now had a good family image even though a lot of teens come to the park as well.

There is nothing wrong with having old rides. Some parks like KW and Knoebels take great pride in having such rides. They just maintain them well.

Maybe if SFEG goes, someone might make the investment in Lakeside to give it a better image. Overhaul the old rides and replace any that are too decrepit. Tear out the SBNO rides. Refurbish and paint the puildings and other structures. Add some newer rides, possibly including some from SFEG. Focus on family rides plus an occasional thrill ride for new attractions. Restructure the pricing to control the crowds while keeping the park affordable. At the same time, preserve the special charm that this historic park posesses.

Denver needs to keep having a local park. It's asking a lot for a family to drive an entire day to get to a suitable amusement park elsewhere.

Arthur Bahl

Robocoaster's avatar

rollergator said:
The upcoming Denver trip HAD to happen this year no doubt...

Amen! :)

They Live. We Sleep.

I heard an interesting rumor about Lakeside when I was there almost a month ago.

It was pointed out to me that the park's 100th season is coming up in either 2007 or 2008.

It was also suggested to me that Rhoda is thinking about *changing the name of the park* either for or immediately after that 100th season.

So it is possible that Lakeside may only be around for another couple of years, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the park is closing or going away.

It's also worth noting that Elitch Gardens is a viable park, and would probably be a more viable park if it didn't have all that Six Flags baggage associated with it. This could be a Wyandot Lake situation: if Six Flags were to sell it to someone who actually gave a @#$! about operating it, it would probably be successful.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

In my opinion, land value downtown is too much for a seasonal amusement park to justify its operation. The park is already landlocked, so future expansion is very limited. The money that a developer could make from the property (both residential & commercial development) far exceeds what an amusement park could bring in, at least in the short term.

A replacement for SFEG would be a few years out, the question is where to put the park. Go south of Castle Rock and you could market the park to all of the front range. Go north, and you could advertise as far north as Cheyenne. Go east though and you have to deal with restrictions due to the airport. West isn't an option due to overpriced land values in the foothills.

In the meantime, Lakeside and Waterworld could take advantage of the situation and make some money and improvements to their respective parks. Rhoda would just need to be willing to stick it out and try to survive, which she seems to be able to do every year.

I'm more interested in the *other* rumor regarding Lakeside: the restoration of the Staride. They restored the whip a few years ago.
I'd love to see the staride restored, just have to ask, when is the last time it ran?

Arthur Bahl said:If both parks are gone, it is going to be a long drive from Denver to Lagoon or Worlds of Fun.

Don't forget you have Wild West World opening in Wichita next summer (part of Pres Con 07)

I can't imagen Elitch Gardens being moved again. It will either survive or it will die. If it dies that will be tragic given that the community had the park moved.

At least Denver will still have Water World.

I've been hearing that Lakeside is here to stay. I can't imagine why the park would close if Elitch Gardens is soon going to be history. It would be the perfect time for Lakeside to add some attractions and try to absorb those crowds.
Speaking of that, when was the last time Lakeside added a new ride? I'm usually up to date on new ride installs each year, but I swear I cannot remember them adding anything for quite a while. Did I miss something?

- Aaron K

Lakeside added a haunted house and one other flat ride either two or three years ago. Both are sort of carny-type rides, but better that then nothing I suppose.

The closing of Elitch's is sad for sure, despite having Waterworld and Lakeside (hopefully). I honestly have no desire to travel 8 hours to Salt Lake or Witchita for a "homepark." Sure I would like to visit those parks sometime, but not on occasion.

"Would you like to buy a photo of you boys enjoying the Line Ride?"

SFEG is not a done deal yet. They are still just looking over the possibilities of unloading this park and the other five that they mentioned. I do believe, however that Six Flags has no interest in operating a landlocked urban park that is going to have a difflcult time fitting into the chain's future plans. All you have to do is to remember SFAW. IMO this park will eventually become condos, offices, and shopping as Six Flags cashes in some real estate.

Arthur Bahl

Lakeside isn't going anywhere IMO. Rhoda only has to pay the electric bill, maintence, and staff. Like you guys said, the park hasn't added a ride in years, and the dark ride and starship2000 they added a couple years ago were part of another company. The rides and land are paid off.

As for SFEG, one can only speculate...

"Here's my ten cence, my two cence is free"-Eminem
If Elitchs goes, then Rhoda should consider finding a partner that could make major investments in the park. Either Kennywood or Knoebels would be a good choice. They could help with the tearing down of that racetrack (if not already done), expanding the park grounds, buying some of the Elitch's rides, building another clone of Mr. Twister, adding new flats, and sprucing up the existing park. They might even be able to do something about that declining mall next door to help expand the park further or to add a waterpark.

A Mr. Twister clone would be just the ticket to get people who loved the old Elitchs to come to the park. The Knoebels could help with this. Some landscaping work would help make the park a better draw as well.

One other benefit of having a partner would be that there would be someone to keep the park going after Rhoda is no longer around. *** Edited 7/23/2006 3:04:48 PM UTC by Arthur Bahl***

Arthur Bahl

With that old race track and boneyard, Lakeside has a lot of room to expand. But I hardly see any expansion happening...

"Here's my ten cence, my two cence is free"-Eminem
Rumor has it Rhoda is just changing the name not closing the park, but then again it's just a rumor. My grandparents are friends with Rhoda. I'm going to Colorado on vacation tomorrow so we'll see. *** Edited 7/27/2006 1:02:57 AM UTC by crombiedude11***

2006 - 2009 Cedar Fair Ride Operations
2009 - Walt Disney World Attractions.

Arthur Bahl said:

Rhoda should consider finding a partner that could make major investments in the park

I would personally like to see Herschend come in and develop it similar to Celebration City, with different themed sections. I think this is the closest the park could get to being a modern theme park without losing its traditional charm.

Prowler. Opens May,2 2009.

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