The Wild Ride Is Almost Over for Heritage Amusement Park

Heritage Amusement Park will dry up after June 30.
Heritage Amusement Park will dry up after June 30.
Kera Morris
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Just a little over a month after its grand reopening, Heritage Amusement Park is closing for good.

The amusement park got its start more than sixty years ago as Magic Mountain, an attempt by investors and Disneyland veterans to re-create the success of the California theme park that had opened just a few years earlier. But Magic Mountain fell flat in the Golden foothills, and the project was abandoned.

A decade later, local investors scooped up the property and turned it into Heritage Square, a village of quaint shops, eateries and performance venues, including an opera house and a wedding chapel. It later added a park featuring several kiddie rides, dubbing that area Heritage Square Amusement Park.

But in 2011, the property that held both the Heritage Square village and amusement park was purchased by Martin Marietta Materials. Four years later, the company announced its intention to tear down Heritage Square, building by building. Within two years, only the amusement park remained, with a lease that extended to 2039. But what was now renamed Heritage Amusement Park didn't open at all in 2017. And now, after a drawn-out legal tussle between landowner Martin Marietta and park leaseholder Alan Bader, who's run the place for almsot two decades, it will be closing its gates for good on June 30.

Alan Bader at the park he took over almost two decades ago.
Alan Bader at the park he took over almost two decades ago.
Kera Morris

“It is now time to say a fond farewell to our home of almost two decades," Heritage Amusement Park announced on Facebook June 22. "We are so grateful to our customers, employees, family & friends who have made the experience of running this Amusement Park so rewarding.”

After that closing announcement appeared, hundreds of visitors, past and present, posted happy memories, photos and farewells.

Commented Whitney Rubin Nallathamby: “So sad to see this happening. We've been going every year for a long time watching as parts of Heritage Square were closed and torn down. This was one place the smaller aged kids could go and have a great time and ride almost every ride. ”

Said Joshua Hanson: “It is a sad thing. I've had fond memories of this place. It was the last bit of Heritage Square. I miss the Alpine Slide and Spider Mansion. I miss the Victorian era buildings and the Opera House. I know change is a constant. but this is a sad thing.”

Heritage Square's opera house is already gone.
Heritage Square's opera house is already gone.

Added Tamara Anne: “It is sad news. ’Cause most likely this beautiful spot will become more housing... your park will be missed by many. Thank you for always supporting the youth with employment and offering a fun, safe place to have LOADS of fun.”

The future of the property is the subject of much speculation on Facebook, and Bader doesn't have any answers.“I haven't heard anything yet," he says. "I am also curious!”

Inquiries to Martin Marietta were passed along to property manager Peter Bovis. “At this time, a final determination for the next stage for the former Heritage Square site has not been made,” he says.

Neighboring Martin Marietta's property is the Magic Mountain excavation site, now an archaeological area of interest on the National Registry of Historic Places, which was part of the original ’50s theme-park purchase. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is excavating the site this summer but does not anticipate any issues related to any redevelopment of the nearby property. 

Soon Heritage Amusement Park will also be a part of history. The facility is offering a special coupon deal before it closes: a Farewell Family 4-Pack of four unlimited-ride premium passes.

“Plan your final visit and say your goodbyes and farewells one last time," the Heritage Amusement Park website urges. “Thank you for 20 years of support. We will always cherish the memories!"

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.