Lakeside Amusement Park is a family owned amusement park in Lakeside, Colorado near Denver. It was opened in 1908 as a popular amusement resort adjacent to Lake Rhoda spearheaded by prominent Denver brewer Adolph Zang, and popularly nicknamed the White City for its glittering original display of over 100,000 lights. Today it is one of the oldest amusement parks in the nation, and the oldest in Colorado in its original location. The park, comprising nearly half of the Town of Lakeside that it was responsible for creating in 1907, features the landmark Tower of Jewels.
There are many examples of architectural salvage to be found throughout the park. Inside the main restaurant is a marble and mirror backbar which was saved from the Denver Union Station, one of the picnic pavilions is created from a retired center column of a ride, and the pool for the current Skoota Boats ride is an adaptive reuse of the original Shoot-the-Chutes ride.
The main office features a functioning manual telephone switchboard that is still in use.
A nominal admission fee is charged for each person entering the park. Children under the age of two are admitted free. A coupon is issued to each person paying admission that can be redeemed for a ride coupon or be used towards the purchase of an unlimited ride pass. There are three entrances: a rarely-used west gate accessed from the Lakeside Mall parking lot, a drive-through auto gate accessed from Sheridan Blvd. and a walk-in entrance at the Tower of Jewels. The admission fee is collected at these entrances; ride coupons and unlimited passes are sold inside the park. This fare structure is a frequent source of confusion for first-time visitors. Many patrons think that they are paying for parking because the admission fee is collected at the auto gate before the vehicle is parked. Consequently some people will turn around, park outside and try to walk in through the auto gate, only to be stopped and directed to one of the cashiers, who then need to explain that parking is always free and that it costs the same to enter whether they drive or walk in. In contrast to, for example, Palisades Amusement Park, which had a chronic shortage of parking space, there is ample parking available at Lakeside and the spacious lot rarely fills up completely.
At one time, each ride was priced individually and had its own separate ticket booth. Most of these booths were of the standalone type. One notable exception was the Cyclone coaster, which had a built-in ticket booth between the entrance and exit ramps. Eventually, ride coupons were implemented with a fixed amount for each coupon, and each ride required from one to five coupons. Coupon sales were consolidated at four locations - the train depot, the carousel, the Ferris wheel and Kiddy Play Land. Unlimited ride passes are sold at the carousel, Ferris wheel and Kiddy Play Land. Many of the original ticket booths are still in place and are used for storage.
|The Cyclone||1940||An Ed Vettel-designed traditional wooden coaster.|
|Wild Chipmunk||1955||A Wild Mouse coaster.|
|Dragon||1986||A Zamperla dragon coaster.|
The Cyclone is by far the most popular ride at the park. Built in 1940, it is an ACE Coaster Classic and Coaster Landmark.
From the late 1930's through 1988, Lakeside Amusement Park operated Lakeside Speedway on the park grounds. The auto racetrack was a 1/5th mile oval and featured races of three car classes sponsored by CARC: stock, limited modified and fully modified. The race track was built on the site of the park's original baseball diamond and incorporated the original stands into the new use.
Through 1985, there was a Funhouse located on the site now occupied by the Dragon. The Funhouse featured an animated Fat Lady mannequin that signaled the opening of the Funhouse and the main park in the evening by loud laughter. Inside, there were slides, moving floors, spinning discs, rolling barrels, and catwalks.
While not considered a ride per se, there was a Casino Theater just south of the Tower of Jewels. Concerts, plays and dance marathons were held there while it was in operation. The building is still in place and is used for storage. Also still in place is the old Riviera ballroom.