There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who go to Disneyland and the rest of us who go to Elitch Gardens in Denver.

I would say that most of us who have grown up in Colorado have fond memories of visiting either Elitch Gardens or Lakeside Amusement Park - and maybe both. It's all the fun of a big amusement park - at a fraction of the cost - and it's close to home.

It's been a rough year for attractions like Elitch's but, it's back for 2021 and almost back to normal. It may be time for you to plan a road trip.

Great Memories of Elitch Gardens

One of my fondest childhood memories of Elitch's was my first-ever terrifying ride on a roller coaster. To this day I remember as a 14-year-old standing in the Mr. Twister line, filled with anxiety, apprehension, and sheer terror. "This could be the day I die," I thought as the line slowly moved closer to the boarding platform. The closer I got, the more fearful I became. I wanted desperately to abort the mission, but,  there was no turning back.

As it turned out, I did not die that day. In fact, that day changed my life. Not only did I conquer my fear of roller coasters, but I also fell in love with them. I think I did something like 15 coaster rides that day. I'm not sure I love them quite as much today as I did then.

Get our free mobile app

Elitch Gardens has changed a lot since those days and is winning over a whole new generation of fans. Elitch's is an amusement park experience that is well worth the drive from western Colorado. But, it is a long drive so I want to give you 10 things you should know before you go.

10 Things You Need to Know Before You Go

  1. You can buy tickets online for  $44.99.
  2. For an additional $45 you can get a Rapid Ride Pass, designed to reduce the time you wait in line.
  3. It's gonna cost you an additional $20 to park each day unless you have a bus or a 15-passenger van.
  4. Currently, the park is only open on the weekends but will begin daily operations on May 28.
  5. During the summer, Elitch Gardens is open daily but is closed all day on Tuesdays.
  6. Reservations are not required.
  7. As of this writing, masks are required to be worn by guests. Masks are not required for water attractions.
  8. The park has increased its sanitizing protocol in regards to high-touch services such as rails,  technology screens, handles, and doors.
  9. Elitch's has rides for families and children, as well as "thrill rides" for big kids and adults.
  10. Tickets are non-refundable, however, if the weather should close Twister II, Mind Eraser, Boomerang, Sidewinder, and the Water Park for longer than 90 consecutive minutes, you can get a return admission ticket.

If you have never visited Elitch Gardens I recommend putting it on your bucket list. If it's been a long time since your last visit, it's probably time for a return trip to see what you're missing.

20 Bucket List Items You Need to Do in Colorado in 2021