Elitch Gardens rings in its new season today with new rides, more flowers and a fresh coat of paint

Elitch Gardens opens today for its 122nd season, but you wouldn't know this institution is that old by looking around the current park. With 25,000 new flowers, three new shows and three new rides, it looks as though this season's opening could be its grand opening.

"We've been doing a lot of restoring, remodeling and repainting," says Tracy Durham, director of marketing for Elitch Gardens. "We've planted lots of new perennials all over the park to return to the idea of it really being a garden, and we've used 350 gallons of paint, including entirely repainting the Tower of Doom."

More on the Tower of Doom later.

The new flowers in the pavilions, and all around the park, were designed by renowned landscape designers Lauren Springer-Ogden and Scott Ogden, and include Canadian roses, dwarf English lavender and many perennials indigenous to Colorado.

The park has entirely revamped its children's section, renaming it KiddieLand and adding two new rides: Tikes Bikes and the Rockin' Tug. It's also introduced a new kid-themed show called "Rock School for Kids," at which children can learn to play various instruments live on stage.

There are two other new shows at Elitch Gardens this season: Cirque Innosta Verano and Reflections. Verano is performed in the round, allowing guests to take part in the show, which includes music, acting and circus performances. Reflections, this year's Main Street show, is "inspired by the idea of infinity and the elegance of pure water," according to Elitch Gardens, and blends together lights, music and pyrotechnic effects.

Though the water park doesn't open until Memorial Day, the park will be debuting a new ride there as well: The Tube Top, an entirely enclosed water slide you ride down on inner tubes in groups of two or four, which spins you around and shoots you out in to 12,000 gallons of water.

One of the biggest things at the park this season is the concert lineup. There are six confirmed bands already, including Hot Chelle Rae and Victoria Justice, and two more in the works. The Elitch Gardens summer concert series kicks off with Cobra Starship on June 9; concerts are free with park admissions.

SpongeBob Square Pants and Dora the Explorer are going to be at the park today and tomorrow for a meet-and-greet and to pose for photos with park-goers. Dora will on-hand from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; SpongeBob will take over from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Park tickets are $37.99 for those taller than four feet, $27.99 for those shorter -- or you can purchase a season pass for $69.99 no matter your height.

Park hours vary; for more information can be found on the Elitch Gardens website.

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Claire Delahorne
Contact: Claire Delahorne