Denver, Colorado (Abbreviation: EG)
Known at Six Flags Elitch Gardens (1999 - 2006)
Owned by KSE Elitch Gardens / Reversco / Second City, LLLP.
Managed by Premier Attractions Management
Park News - (7/21/21) Elitch Gardens has announced that the theme park (and waterpark) are now open with no capacity restrictions (reservations required) for the rest of the season, which will end of October 31, 2021.
(7/12/21) Elitch Gardens has apparently been having a problem with ‘unruly teenagers” at the park so far this season. The issue has caused enough trouble so far that the theme park has now officially changed their policy regarding allowing teenagers into the park unsupervised.
Effectively immediately all children under the age of 16 now must have an adult chaperone with them at all times. Teenagers aged 16 and 17 are fine during the early hours of operation, but they too must have an adult chaperone with them at all times if they wish to remain in the park after 3pm.
By the park’s definition, adult chaperones must be at least age 21 and have traveled to the park with the minors and be able to prove their age with a valid ID.
(4/9/21) According to a local area reader, it looks like Elitch Gardens may be removing their Thunderbolt ride, a Chance Alpine Bobs flat ride. Thunderbolt was added in 1996 and according to the photo sent it, it appears that the top sections of the ride structure and sign have already been removed. While this could just be for an extensive refurbishment, the ride has also been removed from the list of the attractions on the park’s website. Note: It is still shown on the park map, but the current map on the website is from the 2019 season.
If anyone knows more about the ride’s fate and if it is being replaced or simply retired, please let us know.
(3/30/21) Great news for Elitch Gardens fans! The park has confirmed that they have been approved by both City and State officials to open the park for the 2021 season with new safety guidelines in place. Passholders will gain access to the park on April 24-25, and the General Public can visit again starting May 1, 2021. Reservations are required to visit Elitch Gardens.
2021 - Nothing is known at this point...
The End of Elitch Gardens -
(3/19/20) While Elitch Gardens has postponed their original opening date from Apr. 11 to May 16, 2020 it is also worth mentioning that the park’s owner (Kroenke Sports and Entertainment and Reversco Properties) have secured a $124.6 million loan to refinance the debt of the theme park property.
According to this article the intent of the loan is to retire existing debt as well as provide funds for “predevelopment work” for the future River Mile redevelopment project that will eventually take over the site and all nearby areas.
(11/23/19) The local news has posted an update on the proposed River Mile redevelopment project that is planned to take over the site of Elitch Gardens. The video they have shows some of the concept art for the planned redevelopment of the area, where Elitch Gardens has been wiped off the face of the Earth. Rezoning has already been approved and developers hope to begin work along the South River area within the next 18 months.
(12/20/18) I said it before and I’ll say it again… enjoy Elitch Gardens while you can, because before you know it, it will be gone. The local news has confirmed that the development project slated to replace Elitch Gardens won the needed approvals on Monday to move ahead with the approval of a broad new design and rezoning plan for the 58-acre property to allow for the construction of several “tall, slender towers” up to 59-stories tall that will contain up to 8,000 residential units along with required “affordable” units for lower income levels.
While the total build out could take about 25 years to finish, the initial phases of construction are expected to begin “in the near future”, starting with “a parking deck and other structures on the park’s current surface parking lots”. This likely means that work could begin on the waterpark side of the property, but given the downtime and maintenance issues the park has been having with the Twister II wooden coaster, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being one of the first major rides to get the axe going forward.
There currently is no set date to completely close the park, but as I described before, what you will see over the next several years is the park start to shrink, things will get old and more run-down as any costly maintenance issues will be carefully measured against the ticking clock to see if they are financially worth the investment to fix, and major new additions will soon be a thing of the past. Instead the park will slowly shrinks smaller and smaller, until it gets to the point where it just isn’t cost effective to run it any longer and then poof… it will vanish forever and be replaced by a forest of skyscrapers.
(9/16/18) According to the local news redevelopment on the Elitch Gardens property could break ground as early as 2020 now, with claims that the new plans and required zoning changes have begun pursuing a more "agressive timeline". Meanwhile some interesting new rumors regarding a new of the park's attractions have come by way as well... with on claiming that inspections on Twister 2 are not turning up very positive results, with large sections of the coaster's wooden structure said to be in need of urgent replacement. If the park is looking to shrink down or close more quickly than previously expected, it doesn't bode well for Twister 2 to get the budget needed for these repairs. I'm also told that the park's "arena" is also expected to be demolished within the next year or two to allow for some of the first phases of condo development.
(6/13/18) Ugh, here we go again... according to the local news the owners of Elitch Gardens have proposed a new future development plan for the land that would eventually see the theme park wiped off the face of the Earth. Of course they say that they would try to move it to a new location... but if you may recall... this already happened once.
The current Elitch Gardens theme park just opened 23 years ago in 1995. Prior to that it was located in an entirely different location where it existed for a little over a century, from 1890 to 1994. Many would say that Elitch Gardens lost a lot of it's old charm along with the move to the current urban landlocked location downtown within spitting distance of Mile High Stadium and the Pepsi Center.
While the park owner says this is a long-term vision they have for the site, which could see Elitch Gardens remain open for another 20 years, we theme park fans know what Elitch's owners aren't saying. The park will only remain open as long as it's profitable, and any theme park with a looming expiration date isn't likely to invest in costly new attractions in the years to come. As the years pass the only new additions may be lower end attractions with low-price tags, or perhaps discounted items they come across on the used-ride market (much like last year's Star Flyer). But the long term key for theme park survival is to constantly re-invest capital into new attractions to give your guests a reason to return year-after-year. Without that... attendance will soon become stagnant and eventually begin to decline.
Unfortunately for the people of Colorado, theme parks just don't grow on trees out there, and the loss of another Elitch Gardens will be felt unless they really do follow through with some serious plans to build a third version of the park, hopefully in a location with room to grow and a budget to build something that will endure. Otherwise Elitch's loss will be Lakeside Amusement Park's gain.