To the surprise of almost no one, Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park has decided that it will not open for the 2020 season, citing the state's executive order "prohibiting the operation of amusement parks due to COVID-19."
While the news isn't surprising, it's definitely a disappointment to those who consider trips to the amusement park an integral part of summer in Colorado. After all, when voters agreed to approve $14 million in bonds covering infrastructure costs so that Elitch Gardens could move to the Platte Valley from its century-old home in northwest Denver, it was after a 1989 campaign that urged them to "Vote for Elitch's — it's Denver."
Not this summer, it isn't. On the last day of July, Elitch Gardens shared the sad news, noting that after months of consulting with experts, management has determined it's simply not possible to open. "Park ownership and management are disappointed not to be able to entertain the more than one million guests who visit the Park every season, and regret not being able to hire the 1,400+ people normally employed each summer," reads the announcement.
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General Manager David Dorman also sent out this message:
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I am disappointed to have to report that in response to the State’s Executive Order prohibiting the operation of amusement parks due to COVID-19 and undetermined timelines for the easing of such restrictions, we have made the very difficult decision to not open Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park for the 2020 season. To you, our guests, we sincerely apologize that we will not be able to entertain you this season. We truly miss hearing your screams of joy on Mind Eraser and happy splashes in our Commotion Ocean wave pool. We deeply regret not being able to hire our 1,400+ team members this season that become part of our large Elitch Gardens’ family every summer. Although we are sad to have to make this announcement, we are already anticipating seeing everybody’s smiling faces again in 2021.
Even though about 85% of the theme and water parks are open and operating safely around the U.S., and almost all other attractions in our Denver area community and throughout Colorado have been given permission to re-open, Elitch Gardens continues to be denied that opportunity. We have held out hope for so long that our park would be treated fairly as we watched the Denver Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Aquarium, the Museum of Science & Nature open in various stages, the casinos welcome back players, the ski resorts’ summertime attractions go into full swing, and even Red Rocks re-open this month for concerts. Park management has spent months consulting with industry experts and government officials to develop a comprehensive plan, including new sanitation and social distancing protocols, that would allow the Park to operate safely. We have also spent a considerable amount of resources training employees, inspecting rides, filling pools, and sprucing up the property, all in anticipation of opening day. Unfortunately, despite management’s substantial efforts, we have been unable to obtain government approval to open. As a result, Elitch Gardens will remain closed in 2020.
We would like to sincerely thank all those that have been patient with us through this challenging time. We all know that there are better days ahead and we will be ready to welcome you back in the spring of 2021...
We are heart-broken that you and your family and friends will not get your fill of thrills this season, but we look forward to helping you create many fond memories at Elitch Gardens in 2021 for our 130th Anniversary Celebration 2.0. Again, your continued support and understanding is greatly appreciated. In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy.
See you in 2021.