These Are The 5 Best Amusement Parks And Water Parks In Colorado For 2018


We used science and data to determine which amusement parks and water parks in Colorado are the best to spend a day or weekend with the family.

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Just imagine:

You get off your favorite ride, jazzed up by the excitement, and on your way to get a uniquely American snack at your favorite amusement park.

Alright, now, open your eyes and come back to me for a moment as we go into where best to have that same experience in Colorado. These are the water parks and amusement parks in {state} that have everything you could hope for in a day out with the family.

Using data from The Park DB, we were able to take a look at over 250 amusement and water parks across America, which includes Colorado of course. After pouring over reams of data, Six Flags Elitch Gardens emerged as the best park in the Centennial State by a hefty margin.

Here’s a look at the best amusement parks and water parks in Colorado for 2018:

  1. Six Flags Elitch Gardens
  2. Elitch Gardens
  3. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
  4. Lakeside Amusement Park White City
  5. Hyland Hills Water World

There are a whole lot of smiles and good memories wrapped up in those parks. Not to mention corn dogs, popcorn, roller coasters, and water slides.

Before you go out and buy your ticket to {first}, let’s take a look at how we ranked the parks on this list and what each of the top dogs has to offer.

If you’re looking for other family friendly things to do, check out the best farmers markets in Colorado or the best cities for families in Colorado.

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How We Ranked The Best Amusement Parks And Water Parks In Colorado

If you haven’t check out The Park DB, we recommend it. It has all kinds of data on amusement parks big and small throughout the world.

Fortunately for us, they opened up their data set and let us take a look. So how do you rank the best amusement park in Colorado? We looked at the following criteria:

  1. Size (How big is the park and how many rides are there)
  2. Price (Perhaps counter-intuitively initially, we did the higher the price the better. More on that)
  3. Age of the park (The newer the better)

We know your probably thinking ‘why is more expensive better?!’

Well, we believe in supply and demand and a higher price means that people must really want to go to the amusement park. It normally also means there’s either a strong brand associated with the park and/or plenty of things to do.

We also recognize that many water parks and amusement parks get renovations and additions throughout the years, but we still think newer is generally better.

If you disagree with our criteria, no offense taken. We are just trying to get the ball rolling on great places to spend a day or weekend in the Centennial State.

So, with that out of the way, we ranked each park from best to worst for each of these criteria with one being the best. (If a park was missing criteria, it got the lowest score for that criteria).

We then averaged the rankings of each criteria to create an amusement park score and normalized it to 100.

For Colorado, Six Flags Elitch Gardens took the top spot with a score of 68.2.

Here’s a bit more on what the top parks have to offer.

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1. Six Flags Elitch Gardens

Six Flags Elitch Gardens

Score: 68.2

Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park, locally known as ‘Elitch\’s’, is an amusement park in Denver, Colorado. It is owned by Stanley Kroenke and operated by Premier Parks, LLC. It is open May through October, and unique in that it is located in a downtown area.

2. Elitch Gardens

Elitch Gardens

Score: 22.7

Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park, locally known as ‘Elitch\’s’, is an amusement park in Denver, Colorado. It is owned by Stanley Kroenke and operated by Premier Parks, LLC. It is open May through October, and unique in that it is located in a downtown area.

3. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park


Score: 20.5

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is an adventure park located above Glenwood Springs, Colorado, about 160 miles west of Denver. Prior to 2003, only cave tours were available until a major expansion took place. The park is unique because it sits at an altitude of 7,100 feet on a mountain above Glenwood. Today, the park features numerous attractions in addition to the cave tours.

4. Lakeside Amusement Park White City

Lakeside Amusement Park White City

Score: 20.5

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 still running in Colorado. The park, comprising nearly half of the Town of Lakeside that it was responsible for creating in 1907, features the landmark Tower of Jewels.

5. Hyland Hills Water World

Hyland Hills Water World

Score: 20.5

Water World is a water park that is part of the Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District and located in Federal Heights, Colorado, roughly 10 miles (16 km) north of downtown Denver, Colorado. The park first opened in 1979 with the first two waterslides in the state of Colorado (The Bonzai Pipeline). Water World is generally open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, but may be closed some school days.

The park occupies 67 acres (27 ha), making it one of America\’s largest water theme parks. As of the 2015 season, the park has 49 attractions including a multitude of water slides, a ‘lazy river’ (a circular artificial river with a slow moving current), inflatable tube rides, multi-guest inflatable raft rides, and a water-themed fun house which offers gondola access from the top of the park. The park has two wave pools: the new Cowbunga beach boogie boarding attraction, as well as the older Thunder Bay wave pool.

Closing Out The Souvenir Shops In Colorado

There you have it — a look at some of the best amusement parks and water parks that Colorado has to offer. The Park DB constantly updates their data, so we’ll update the data as they update theirs.

Now go out there and have as much fun as humanly possible — your favorite ride is always waiting for you.

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