Elitch Gardens

Elitch Gardens was a family-owned amusement park, theater and botanic gardens in the West Highland neighborhood of northwest Denver, Colorado. It was located at 38th and Tennyson Streets. Elitch's was a Colorado entertainment destination that was loved by millions for more than 100 years. It was well-known for its lush gardens, the Trocadero Ballroom, the Elitch Theatre, and Mister Twister, a wooden roller coaster. In 1994, the park was moved to downtown Denver and became Six Flags Elitch Gardens (now Elitch Gardens). The former site has been redeveloped.

Elitch's Zoological Gardens was opened on May 1, 1890. It is situated on 16 acres (16 ha) of former farmland purchased by John Elitch (and Mary Elitch). It was the first west-side zoo, and offered a unique cultural experience to the Denver community.

After two seasons at the new location, with an average attendance of around one million (compared to 750,000 at the old location) and a second season goal at 1.2 million, Premier Parks purchased the park. Premier Parks then bought all Six Flags parks. From 2006 to 2006, the park was known as "Six Flags Elitch Gardens". CNL Lifestyle Properties purchased Elitch Gardens in 2007 from Six Flags and leased it to PARC Management. The park was renamed simply as "Elitch Gardens". CNL ended its lease with PARC Management in 2011 Herschend Family Entertainment was then chosen to manage the park. Herschend Family Entertainment operated it until 2015, when Premier Parks, LLC took over.

The former amusement park's 28-acre (11 ha), site has been redeveloped as Highlands' Garden Village. The Environmental Protection Agency awarded the site the 2005 Overall Excellence in Smart Growth Award for its urbanism development, which included 308 housing units as well as a variety office and retail spaces. Many of the park's elements were preserved, including the Elitch Theatre, entertainment gazebo, and the structure which once housed the carousel. The site is now a picnic area. The new development was built to exceed Colorado's Built Green, Energy Star and recycled construction materials. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. planned to build a Neighborhood Market grocery store at the site. However, neighbors protested the store and said they didn't want one in the area. Wal-Mart decided to not build it in the fall 2004. Sunflower Farmers Market announced that they would anchor the center in July 2005 with a grocery shop. The Sunflower Market retail building at HGVGreen Commons was designated the first LEED core and Shell Gold Supermarket in the United States in January 2009.

Elitch's was opened in downtown Chicago on May 27, 1995. It has fifteen of its twenty major rides that were removed from its old location. The new location is located adjacent to Interstate 25, between Empower Field at Mile High (the Pepsi Center) and the Pepsi Center. It is one of the few remaining downtown amusement parks in America.

In November 1995, two separate arson acts occurred at the old location. They severely damaged the Splinter water ride as well as the Wildcat roller coaster.

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