Amusement Parks in the Sky

I had the opportunity this past weekend to drop by what we refer to at as one of the Amusement Parks in the Sky–Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. My family had spent the weekend in Aspen and on the drive back to Denver you go through Glenwood Springs (where Doc Holliday is buried and partook of the hot springs for his tuberculosis before his death). Since my son was old enough to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the park, we decided to hit it on the way back.

Now, the concept of Amusement Parks in the Sky is probably familiar to most of you. Perhaps the most famous is Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Although it has fallen upon hard times, hopefully it will return in the 2016 operating season, although I am not holding my breath. But, the idea here is an amusement park is built up on a mountain and, usually, you ride a sky lift, gondola or mountain tram to get up to the park.  In our case, it is a small triple-action gondola.


Then, once you get to the top, there is invariably a western theme of some sort, along with various attractions built to take advantage of the views and the mountain on which the park is built. We love these types of parks, which are sort of a step up from the classic old roadside attractions.

So at Glenwood Caverns, the first thing we did was interact with Doc Holliday and Kid Curry themselves. I am holding a Winchester 1873 Carbine and a Model 1897 Shotgun in this picture, which according to them are the most photographed guns in the world! Pretty menacing, don’t you think!


Then after we enjoyed a number of the rides at the park, including a small family coaster, it was time to check out part of what the park is known for: Caverns. Although they aren’t quite as extensive as some of the caverns you can see in the south and the southwest, it was still pretty neat, and my son really enjoyed them!


But in addition to giving you a little trip report, I wanted to remind you not to forget about these hidden gems located throughout the country. Everything doesn’t have to be a Universal Studios or a Walt Disney World. The Glenwood Springs Caverns, the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride, Ghost Town in the Sky, Silver Dollar City, Hauntings….if you get an opportunity to experience them, do so, because they bring an interest and excitement that is unique in the amusement park world. In addition to some ok rides and attractions, you get a look back to what attractions were like before the large corporations took over everything, and that nostalgia factor can be a lot of fun.

Especially, when the Amusement Parks in the Sky can give you views like this (our view while eating lunch!):


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