Friday, July 22, 2011

Elitch Gardens, A History

To correspond with our Park Impression, we've got a historical update on Elitch Gardens. The Elitch Zoological Gardens opened in 1880 on only 16 acres of land. In 1897 they added the popular Elitch Theatre, which was in use until 1987. The park added their first coaster in 1904, a Toboggan Figure 8. The park's first carousel opened in 1906, and is still operating today in Burlington, Colorado.

After the park was sold in 1916, the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) stepped in to build the Wildcat roller coaster, which opened in 1922, and their carousel (1928), which still operates at the current park. It was around this time that the famous slogan "Not to see Elitch's is not to see Denver" was popularized, and can still be seen around the park today.

Over time, the floral gardens were expanded and the zoo eventually closed in 1930 to make way for new attractions. In 1964, PTC returned with John Allen to build Mister Twister, a new wooden roller coaster. 96 feet tall, and "without a foot of straight track," Mister Twister was very popular, and it inspired today's Twister II.

The Sidewinder shuttle loop roller coaster opened at the park in 1990, and was the only coaster to make the move downtown in 1995. After attendance dramatically increased following the move downtown, Premier purchased the park and branded it as Six Flags Elitch Gardens, purchasing all other Six Flags properties as well. CNL Lifestyle properties purchased the park in 2007, leasing it to Parc Management. The park is currently operated by Herschend Family Entertainment, under lease from CNL.

Elitch Gardens Theatre, 1923. From Wikipedia. Click for larger.
Park Map, 1980. From Click for larger.

Park Map, 1997. From Click for larger.

2003 Brochure Cover. From NewsPlusNotes. Click for larger

2003 Brochure Page. From NewsPlusNotes. Click for larger.

For more on Elitch Gardens, view our Park Impression or park photos.


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