Arts and Culture

Water World Won't Open in 2020. Elitch's and Lakeside? Maybe...

Water World is Denver's largest water park, and one of the country's largest theme parks.
Water World is Denver's largest water park, and one of the country's largest theme parks. Water World
Looking forward to zipping down a slide at Colorado's biggest water park this summer? Tough luck. For the first time in forty years, Water World will be closed all season long.

The decision, made to prevent the spread of COVID-19, wasn't made easily.

Water World staffers spoke with water park industry experts, local authorities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as they explored the issue. They brainstormed ways to keep the park open by ensuring social distancing, guaranteeing proper sanitization and offering extra employee training, among other measures. But ultimately, they decided that too much is unknown about what the State of Colorado will be allowing to open and whether large groups of people will be allowed to gather...and when.

“We are deeply disappointed to have to make this decision,” notes Water World spokesperson Joann Cortéz in a statement. “Water World is a summer institution in Colorado, and for many individuals and families, it’s
just not summer without Water World.”

Each year, the park employs around 1,000 workers; now those people will not have gigs in the months to come.

"For those kids, a summer job at the park is something they have aspired to after hearing the stories of a lifetime from older siblings and generations of family members who worked here before them,” adds Cortéz.

If you're looking for some Water World fun, consider watching The Surfer King, a 2006 stinker cult classic about employment at the park. It's so bad, perhaps you won't miss the water park at all.

Decisions have not been announced for the 2020 season at Elitch Gardens, though the park does appear to be hiring new workers and selling 2020 season passes.

Lakeside Amusement Park has yet to announce its opening day.

"Lakeside's 2020 Operating Calendar will be posted when it is determined," the park announced on its website. "We are currently in a world-wide state of flux, and flexibility is key. Lakeside is monitoring the local situation and plans to open for the 2020 season in an appropriate and responsible fashion."

As for the Water World, Cortéz says, “Our hearts are saddened for the fun water park memories that won’t be made in 2020." 
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris