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 - (8/18/2023) Future Site Developer Floats Possible Location To Relocate The Park
(8/9/2023) According to local area source Tower of Doom and Half-Pipe at Elitch Gardens have both been down since June, and may be down for the rest of the season. Both of these Intamin creations are apparently in need of parts to make repairs, and over the past few years, we know parts for rare Intamin ride designs have a tendency to take several months to deliver. We can hope for the best, but this is Colorado we’re talking about, the winter will arrive here sooner than later.
(7/3/2023) Since we mentioned the opening of the Twister III: Storm Chaser coaster at Elitch Gardens in our last update, I’ve been sent a little more information about the park. According to our source the park’s Sidewinder, a rare Arrow Shuttle Loop coaster, has been down for the past month or so, waiting on parts. I’m told that the shipment has arrived and they are hopeful that it could reopen within the next week or so if all goes well.
2023 - Twister III: Storm Chaser - (7/4/2023) A quick update, it was pointed out that Twister’s trains were actually shortened down to only 3 cars back around 2019.
(7/2/2023) Elitch Gardens has officially reopened the Twister II wooden roller coaster, but have since renamed it Twister III: Storm Chaser. The tunnel has been painted and the trains have now been shortened down to only 3 cars, which means a total of only 18 riders can fit per train.
(4/7/23) According to a release from Elitch Gardens, the park has transformed and renamed the park’s old Twister II wooden roller coaster. As Screamscape had previously reported, the ride had been spotted undergoing some extensive repairs and re-tracking over the past few years which limited its operating season somewhat. Now the park is introducing the ride as “Twister III: Storm Chaser”, and post refurbishment the coaster now features a 100 foot long pitch black tunnel that is said to feature the “sights, sounds and winds of a real tornado”.
(8/21/22) According to a local source, apparently the Twister II wooden roller coaster at Elitch Gardens has not been running all season. Our source has been waiting for it to reopen before visiting but every time they check the website lists the coaster as being “Currently Unavailable”. They reached out to the park for clarification on what is going on and got the following official response from Elitch Gardens.
“Thank you for reaching out to Elitch Gardens!
We do not exactly when Twister II will reopen, but we are hopeful it will be back up before the end of the 2022 season.
Unfortunately, we are waiting on the arrival of maintenance parts, before we can reopen.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.”
The End of Elitch Gardens - (8/18/2023) In an somewhat unexpected statement, Revesco Properties who co-owns Elitch Gardens and responsible for the future development that will see the park closed in the near-future to make way for new developments in the city, is now looking into new sites to relocate the theme park.
They say that nothing has been decided yet, but they do choose to mention “Aurora” as a possible new home, as it is already home to the Gaylord Rockies Resort and may be looking to expand their entertainment options in the area. Of course, they commit to nothing at all, so this may be nothing more than a public mention of Aurora to see just how much support or opposition to the idea floats to the surface in the weeks to come.
For those unaware, the current site of Elitch Gardens is already the park’s second home, as the original version of the park in Denver opened way back in 1890 before closing down in 1994 to reopen in the current location a year later with a new collection of rides.
One item to note is if the developer is talking about finding a new home for the park now, that probably means the current site of Elitch Gardens has fallen within their near-future plans for development. In other words, if this is true there may only be 2 or 3 more seasons left before the park is forced to close. It would be easier to transition into a new park if they planned the move out like they did before, allowing one park to close at the end of a season and have the new park ready to open the very next season. Will that happen? I can’t say… but if they close Elitch Gardens before even starting work on a new version, then the chances of it ever reopening in a new location fall dramatically.
(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.