Atmosphere

Endless Summer

September 2010

School is back in session, but summer’s not reeeeally over till the garden gates close—Elitch Gardens, that is. For most of Denver’s history, the theme park has topped many a 10-year-old’s to-do list—even a young Chauncey Billups eagerly awaited summertime tickets to Elitch’s when he was growing up in Park Hill. • This year, as Elitch’s celebrates its 120th anniversary, the oldest amusement park west of the Mississippi is renewing efforts to get back to its community roots. Its original site at 38th and Tennyson housed Denver’s first movie theater, zoo, and symphony orchestra. The 62-acre park relocated to its current site in 1995 and became a cornerstone of LoDo’s revitalization, but corporatization under the Six Flags umbrella obscured the park’s family values. • Under new management since 2007, Elitch’s is rebuilding its community relations by partnering with organizations such as the Denver Public Library. Thousands of kids participating in DPL’s summer reading program received park day-passes this season, as did 25 underprivileged children served by the Chauncey Billups Foundation. And, so, tradition continues.