Steeped in local lore, Lakeside Amusement Park, at 4601 Sheridan Boulevard, is an art-deco wonderland. Framed by mature trees and blinking lights, the classic theme park is one of the oldest still in operation in the country.
At its architectural heart is the Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster whose twists, turns and dips as the ride skims terrifyingly close to the edge of Lake Rhoda are just scary enough for even the most seasoned of patrons to get jumpy. But there's so much more to Lakeside: near-neck-cracking rides like the Wild Chipmunk, the Whip and the Tilt-A-Whirl, for example, as well as a Ferris wheel, bumper boats, go-karts and a carousel housed in a building that also pays architectural homage to the park's 1930s heyday renovations.
A slow and creaky train ride around the lake at night provides the perfect smooching spot for a date, along with an across-the-water view of the century-old park and its many attractions. Lakeside definitely has a carnival vibe, but it remains tethered to the landscape it helped develop (the town of Lakeside comprises just the amusement park and a handful of small cottage homes).
There's nothing better than a summer night at Lakeside. It's the best kind of time warp and one that won't take you for a ride: Gate admission to the park is just $2.50, and unlimited-ride wristbands run from $9 to $22.
For additional information, visit www.lakesideamusementpark.com or call 303-477-1621.
This story originally appeared in the 2012Westword
Summer Guide, which you can pick up on newsstands now. Find complete (and updated!)Westword
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