Reader: Heritage Amusement Park Worth the Walk Through History

Heritage Amusement Park reopens on May 26.
Heritage Amusement Park reopens on May 26.
Kera Morris
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Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and that means...amusement parks! Elitch Gardens opened at the end of April but is upping its game this weekend with fireworks on Sunday, May 27. Lakeside Amusement Park opened on Friday, May 25. Water World opens for the season at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 26. That's when Heritage Amusement Park will also open, making a comeback after taking a year off.

In anticipation of that opening, Kera Morris wrote about the park's wild ride through the past six decades, including the name change from Heritage Square to simply Heritage. Will readers welcome it back? Says Amy: 

Was extremely disappointed in Heritage Square. Definitely declined since its glory days.

Adds Lauren: 

Ugh. We can’t plunge to our deaths on the Alpine Slide anymore.

Responds Monica: 

Yayy! We will miss the Alpine Slide but happy Heritage Park is back???

And Bobbi concludes: 

Fantastic! The article gives a nice history, although a sad story of its getting torn apart in the 1990s. At least the owner is willing to try once more. Yippee! A walk down the pathway of history is worth $18, when a movie and popcorn is $18.

Alan Bader has revived Heritage Amusement Park.
Alan Bader has revived Heritage Amusement Park.
Kera Morris

As Morris reported, prominent Colorado investors, engineers and artists were inspired by Disneyland, which opened in 1955, to collaborate on Magic Mountain in the foothills of Golden, where attractions included the Magic Mountain Railroad, the Magic Mountain Playhouse, Eden Palais — a magnificent historic carousel that was one of the world’s largest — and a ski run packed with artificial snow, which turned out to be the most successful attraction when the park opened in 1957.

But Magic Mountain closed just three years later, and finally was revived in 1971 as Heritage Square. An artisanal homage to Colorado gold-rush towns, it boasted a small village of quaint shops and artisans — a general store, a glass-blower, a metal master— as well as such modern pleasures as a beer garden and restaurant. The legendary alpine slide and child-friendly rides were added in the next decade, and the area morphed into Heritage Square Amusement Park.

Since the late ’90s, when Alan Bader took over, it's been a wild ride, with a changing economy and a new landlord that challenged the "Square" in the name and removed signage, among other things. But he's taking Heritage Amusement Park for another spin this season.

Have you been to any of the incarnations of this amusement park? What's your favorite in metro Denver? Post a comment or email editorial@westword.com.

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