Lakeside Amusement Park
Satellite view in April 2004
|Slogan||Enjoy the Ride!|
|Location||Lakeside, Colorado, U.S.|
|Opened||May 30, 1908|
|Operating season||First weekend in May to Labor Day|
|Area||Northwest metropolitan Denver area|
Lakeside Amusement Park is a family-owned amusement park in Lakeside, Colorado adjacent to Denver. Originally named White City, it was opened in 1908 as a popular amusement resort adjacent to Lake Rhoda spearheaded by prominent Denver brewer Adolph Zang. Eventually the name was changed to Lakeside Amusement Park, but the local populace kept referring to it by its original name for its glittering original display of over 100,000 lights. Today it is one of the oldest amusement parks in the United States, 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.
The lone remaining American amusement park to have had the name White City, the park was originally built in the Exposition and White City architectural styles. Following its acquisition by Ben Krasner in the 1930s, Lakeside underwent a period of major renovations and incorporated many new features in the Art Deco style. Architect Richard L. Crowther designed much of Lakeside's Deco and Modern features and included a great deal of neon lighting in his work.
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 former 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.
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 six 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 lake-circling, 1 ft 10 3⁄4 in (578 mm) gauge miniature railway train features the steam train locomotives "Puffing Billy" and "Whistling Tom" from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair along with the world's first miniature gauge diesel locomotive, patterned after the California Zephyr.
- The 1908 carousel was apparently made up from used figures from other carousels. Many of the animals bear characteristic designs of famed woodcarver Charles I. D. Looff. The carousel has also been credited to the Parker company, but the Lakeside horses do not have the typical Parker metal horseshoes.
- Lakeside has every type of Eyerly "O-Plane" ride except for one: the "Fly-O-Plane."
- Type: 4 rows, Park, 3-level platform, all wood composition
- Figures: 16 jumping horses, 16 standing horses, 4 chariots; figures include 2 bears, 4 burros, 3 deer, 4 dogs, 5 goats, 2 lions, 4 pigs, 4 rabbits, 2 tigers, 2 zebras, 2 panthers, 1 cheetah, 2 monkeys, and 3 cougars
- Music: no band organ