Aside from the rapids of the Colorado River, the state of Colorado has little in the way of natural water attractions. To make up for the deficit, however, there are a number of water parks. Two in particular, Elitch Gardens and Water World, serve the Denver area. Both are easily reached by car.
Elitch Gardens water park is part of a larger amusement park. It’s a family-friendly environment with stunning views of downtown Denver from the heights of its water slides. There are a number of worthwhile attractions with better than average wait times. The three body slides, collectively called Paradise Pipeline, are at the top of a high tower and vary in degrees of steepness from a gradual rolling affair to a straight drop. The Sun Plunge is a higher and faster speed slide. The two-man slide, called the RipQurl, features a drop through an oddly toilet-like whirlpool into a covered flume. The Splash Down is a raft ride that tantalizes riders with its height and sharp curves. Elitch also has a wave pool and a slow tube ride called Commotion Ocean and Castaway Creek, respectively. For smaller children Hook’s Lagoon is a bit of a watery funhouse.
Open Memorial Day through Labor Day 10 AM to 6 PM
2000 Elitch Circle, Denver, CO
South of I-70 and just off I-25. Accessible by bus or walking.
Elitch Gardens main competition is Water World. Water World is located further out of town in a suburb north of Denver. It’s a dedicated water park that is larger and has more attractions. Water World has more options for families and small children including low-thrill rides like Clown Around the Creek, Cimarron River and Fun House Express Gondola. For thrill seekers the Mile High Flyer is the water park equivalent of a roller coaster with hills and drops as well as a group raft experience. River Country, composed of Gunnison River, Colorado River, Rio Grande and Purgatoire River is a series of a high speed, low altitude tube rides. White Lightning is more of a rolling speed slide; it’s principle competition is Jet Stream, a covered speed slide. Space Bowl is a speed slide that dumps riders into a whirl pool before further dropping them. Water World also has the old standbys of a wave pool and hot tub.
One complaint of park goers is the tube valet service, which allows patrons who pay an extra $45 to cut to the front of lines and not have to carry their own tubes. This has contributed to wait times of 45 to 120 minutes on average for general admission guests.
Open Memorial Day to Labor Day 10 AM to 6 PM
8801 North Federal Street, Federal Heights, CO
North of I-70 and West of I-25