- Night Plane Re-Release Offers Vintage Tracks and New Live Recordings
- Night Plane Descends on Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park this Saturday
- Already Gone is All Ready to Go at Glenwood Caverns
- Summer Music on the Mountain Kick-Off Party a Success!
- Kick Off Summer with Doctor Robert at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park this Friday!
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There is a lot of activity — and some dust — at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park right now as preparations are underway for an exciting summer season. Here’s what is in the works…
The Cliffhanger Roller Coaster — the highest-elevation, full-sized roller coaster in the U.S. — will sit above the rest of the park at an elevation of 7,160. The base, shown here, is in and the coaster itself will arrive soon. Check out the views!
There will be a beautiful walkway to reach the Cliffhanger. It winds back and forth through the pinion trees so that it’s not too steep, with beautiful views along the way.
The Mine Wheel, which is a Ferris-wheel-style ride, will sit where the Climbing Wall used to be, just above the gemstone sluice box mining. The Climbing Wall will be on the other side of Discovery Rock.
The Wild West Express family roller coaster will be located just past the Alpine Coaster on the right.
Silk’s Saloon Old Tyme Photos is expanding up and out, which will provide more room to get those souvenir photos taken.
Finally, the work to expand the cave tours is progressing very well. It’s a very slow process since everything has to be removed from the cave in buckets and wheelbarrows, and great care is taken to protect the cave formations. The new tours should be available in early 2013.
Stay tuned for updates on when the new attractions will open! In the meantime, please pardon our dust.
Go jump off a cliff! Trekaroo, a popular family travel planning website, just released its list of the Top 10 Things for Families to Do in Colorado…and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is included! In the ever-popular Jump Off a Cliff category, written just for those thrill-seeking families out there, the Giant Canyon Swing is called out for “launching daring riders 1,300 feet out and over the Colorado River trailing below.”
The article also includes the Wild Tour, Alpine Coaster and Zip Ride, which when combined with the Bungee Jump and the new Cliffhanger Roller Coaster opening this spring, makes a pretty exciting day for adventurous families. Here’s how that day could play out this summer (many of these rides are seasonal, this is to help you plan your summer vacation) …
9 a.m. — Hop on board the Iron Mountain Tramway and enjoy a scenic ride to the Adventure Park, which is nestled in the mountains overlooking Glenwood Springs, Colorado, voted the Most Fun Town in America in the Rand McNally and USA Today Best of the Road program. Check out the park map during the ride so that you can hit the ground running when you get to the top.
9:30 — Ride the Alpine Coaster one or five times. It was the first in the U.S. and is still the longest Alpine Coaster in Colorado. You will love it. Kids at least eight years old and 56” tall can ride alone, kids three and older can ride with an adult.
10:15 — Ride the new Cliffhanger Roller Coaster! Located slightly above the rest of the park, sitting at 7,160 feet, you’ll get amazing views of the Roaring Fork Valley…if you can keep your eyes open as it whips you around the curve right along the edge of Glenwood Canyon.
11:00 — Head for the Giant Canyon Swing, which was featured on the Travel Channel and Good Morning America, and see what all the fuss is about. Watch it a time or two, then get strapped in for the ride of a lifetime. Make sure someone has the video camera going so you can prove that you rode it.
11:45 — Make your way to the Bungee Tower. You can try the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride first, which zips you down the mountain, over the Alpine Coaster, and then back up to the top again. If you’re really brave, it’s time to try the Bungee Jump. It’s 70 feet up; you can jump, free fall backwards, or dive head first. Again, make sure someone is taping it so you can share your screams with your friends later.
12:30 — Time for lunch. The Lookout Grille offers some of the best panoramic views in Colorado, and features burgers, salads, sandwiches, a great kids’ menu and more.
1:30 — While you’re in the building, head upstairs and try out the Laser Tag Arena. It was just repainted this year, and the kids will have a blast.
2:15 — Head back outside and take your pick: the new Mine Wheel or Wild West Express Coaster, perfect for the young ones in the group, or race through Fort WhereAmI, a giant Western-style human maze. Take your camera and snap some shots from the towers, the views are incredible.
3:00 — You might need a breather now, so grab a cold drink at the Snack Shack and try the gemstone sluice box mining, pick out a geode and have it cut, or see how good of a shot you are at the Mining Shaft Shootin’ Gallery. You can also get an old time photo taken at Silk’s Saloon.
4:00 — Take the guided 70-minute tour of Glenwood Caverns and Historic Fairy Caves. It’s suitable for almost everyone, but there are 127 steps down and back up again, so be prepared to carry the little ones if needed. (Sign up at the base when you arrive in the morning, the tours can fill up during the summer.)
5:15 — Pick your favorite rides and try them again!
If your family is not quite adventurous enough for the Giant Canyon Swing, and Cliffhanger Roller Coaster and Bungee Jump, never fear. You’ll find plenty to do. The park also features a sand pit fossil dig, climbing wall, Giddy Up Western Ride, Wild West Wagon ride, new Mine Wheel and Wild West Express Coaster.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is located just off I-70, midway between Vail and Aspen. During the winter and spring, guests can enjoy the Iron Mountain Tramway, Alpine Coaster, Laser Tag, 4D Motion Theater and guided cave tours. The rest of the park’s attractions are scheduled to open by Memorial Weekend. For more information, visit glenwoodcaverns.com or call 800-530-1635, ext. 0.
Read the whole Trekaroo “Top 10 Things for Families to Do in Colorado” list.
Now, who’s ready for summer?
With more and more visitors discovering Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, it was time to add to the transportation options for bringing people up and down Iron Mountain. The tram is a fun and interesting way to make the trip, but in inclement weather or for large groups, another, reliable way to get around was becoming increasingly necessary.
A new bus was the obvious choice. It was agreed that the ideal model was a Bluebird. Bluebird buses are known to be strong and reliable, perfect for carrying people on Transfer Trail Road. The preferred model was one that is comfortable and accessible, with large, open windows and cushy seating. The problem was that this particular type of Bluebird bus was pretty rare, and the closest one they could find was in Las Vegas, Nevada. The staff decided to purchase it and have it wrapped with a large, colorful design created by their graphic designer, Alice Sjoberg.
Wade Beattie, longtime employee, tram manager and all around go-to man was dispatched to pick the bus up. Tasked with this solo mission, Wade flew to Vegas and stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, then got the bus and drove it back the nearly 600 miles from Las Vegas to Glenwood. “I got a few strange looks,” he said, pulling up to gas stations and rest stops in a brightly colored, freshly wrapped Bluebird bus. “I had a really fun ride though. The wide open windows allowed for great, unobstructed views.” From 72 degrees in Las Vegas to ice on the gas pumps in Beaver, Utah, he experienced all the variety in weather that the West has to offer and made it back to Glenwood safe and sound.
The new bus should be put into service this spring, so be on the lookout for something large and colorful driving around Glenwood Springs. Wade and the rest of the employees are very excited about the new addition to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park!
There’s a reason Glenwood Springs was named the Most Fun Town in America by Rand McNally and USA Today. It really is fun, and that makes it a great destination for spring breakers. Whether you live on the Front Range and need a staycation, or are coming from out-of-state for your Colorado ski trip, we hope you’ll consider Glenwood Springs.
During March and early April, here’s a look at what you can do in Glenwood Springs:
Spend a day with us! In the off-season, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has smaller crowds than you’ll find here in the summer. Our Winter Fun Pass will still be available, and it’s an incredible deal. For just $31 per person, you get a round-trip ride on the Iron Mountain Tramway, or a bus in inclement weather, a 70-minute guided Cave Tour, and unlimited access to the Alpine Coaster, 4D Motion Theater and Laser Tag Arena. You can add lunch at the Lookout Grille and spend around $160 for a family of four.
Ski or ride at one or more of the seven ski resorts located within an hour of Glenwood Springs, including Vail, Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Beaver Creek, Snowmass, Buttermilk and Sunlight Mountain Resort. That’s especially nice because the lodging in Glenwood Springs is significantly more affordable than in neighboring Aspen and Vail, and you are located right in the middle of these world-class resorts.
Play and relax at the Glenwood Hot Springs, the world’s largest hot springs pool, which is well known for its healing mineral waters. Weather permitting, the pool’s two water slides will be open the last two weeks of March, which adds even more fun to your swim. The pool is open until 10 p.m. every night, so you can spend the day with us, and then relax in the pool afterwards.
You can also laugh the night away at the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, get pampered at one of several spas in town, take a snowmobile tour, go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, choose from an amazing variety of restaurants and go shopping. With more than 100 stores, Glenwood Springs is the largest retail shopping area between Denver and Grand Junction.
You can learn more about visiting Glenwood Springs on our website. Hope we see you soon!
On a clear morning in early February, feeling cooped up but with work still to do, I decided to change up my routine and take the tram up to the Lookout Grille at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for some coffee, a snack, and some views. I boarded the tram, headed up, and marvelled at the 360 degree view of Glenwood – you could see it all! The steam rising from the Hot Springs Pool, the winding Colorado River flowing westward through the valley, Iron Mountain in front of me, Coal Seam Mountain behind, Mount Sopris in the distance. Vehicles on 1-70 began to look more like toy cars as we ascended. Arriving at the top, I stepped out of the tram car and headed into the restaurant.
It was a quiet mid-morning, with a few visitors eating an early lunch and people coming in from their adventures, ready for a hot chocolate after a coaster ride or cave tour. The employees chatted warmly with the customers and each other. I found a quiet corner at one of the wooden tables. A hot cup of coffee and a stone fireplace kept me warm as I worked on my laptop, using the free wi-fi available in the restaurant. I broke occasionally to look out the large windows at the surrounding mountains and valley below.
An hour or so later, having had my fill of caffeine and work, I packed up and took the tram back down the mountain. It had started to snow lightly, and I as I descended I watched the flakes fall across Glenwood Springs, and felt lucky to live in such a beautiful place. With a pleasant respite from the “real world,” I felt ready to face whatever the rest of the day would bring!
Each fall, after the summer crowds are gone, the Glenwood Caverns management team travels to an amusement park or attraction to see first-hand what each one offers, experience its customer service and come up with ideas for improving and expanding the Adventure Park. In recent years, the destinations have included Disney World, Universal Studios, Silver Dollar City and Royal Gorge.
2011 was no exception. In fact, the team enjoyed two different retreats. The first was in September in Virginia, where they visited Monticello and the New Market battlefield. They stayed at the Mimslyn Inn, which was quite a hit with the managers and supervisors, and toured three different caves in the area. The Grand Caverns is the oldest, continuously open show cave. It was open for tours during the Civil War, and the soldiers went on some of the tours. They also went to the Luray Caverns and the Shenandoah Caverns.
“The retreats provide an opportunity to really focus on one another. We are able to plan and brainstorm for the upcoming summer while seeing other attractions. We all leave with a better understanding of each other and one another’s positions,” explained Eric Brotherson, business development manager. “The end result will be more smiles on our faces and the faces of our valued guests.”
In November, the team headed to Colorado Springs, where they visited Cave of the Winds and Santa’s Workshop/The North Pole. Looks like they had a great time!
The longtime Glenwood Caverns tour guide has been sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge about the historic caves since 1999, the first year they were open to the public. Steve Beckley, Glenwood Caverns co-owner and operator, hired him on as the very first employee, as a manager and as the first tour guide.
Prior to joining the Caverns, Koper taught science at Rifle High School for 30 years. Among the many outdoor excursions he took his students on were field trips to the Fulford Caves, so he had some experience as a cave guide. After retiring from teaching, guiding cave tours at the Glenwood Caverns seemed like a natural position for someone who loved the outdoors and teaching. Twelve years later, he is still going strong as the Caverns’ most experienced tour guide, leading the Wild Tours as well as educational programs for both local and national school groups. He serves as a manager and trainer of new tour guides, and he also finds time to teach geology and astronomy at Colorado Mountain College.
For Bob, the best part of the job has been watching the Caverns change and grow year after year. “Steve [Beckley] is so innovative. He is truly a visionary, and it has been so much fun to see the progression. Every year, there’s something new and exciting,” he says.
Koper’s enthusiasm for the park has spread to his family members. About two years ago, he brought his granddaughter Gabby, then nine years, to the Park with him. She wanted to ride the Giant Canyon Swing, so he left her in the capable hands of the swing attendants and went to do some work. Some time later, he realized that she had been gone for awhile, so he went back to the swing, and she was still on it. She had ridden it 47 times! And she wasn’t done, either. She ended up riding the swing 72 times that day.
Koper says that being a tour guide is a life changing experience. “You become more outgoing. You learn how to stand up in front of people and feel comfortable. You’re not afraid to speak and show your excitement. It really changes a person in that way,” he says.
For his day to day work as a tour guide, Koper is challenged to keep introducing an exciting experience for guests every day – but he doesn’t find it difficult. “It’s very rewarding to see people’s smiles and to share in their excitement,” he says. His enthusiasm and energy spreads to the guests, and vice versa, which keeps every day interesting and invigorating.
Koper’s dedication to teaching people about the caves and his camaraderie with his fellow employees keep him going year after year, and he is excited for the future of the park, which will continue to expand. He proudly mentioned that the caverns just had a good year, even in the rough economy. “Especially considering that people aren’t traveling as much, we’ve had a great year,” he says. That’s no accident, though…and a lot of credit goes to the passionate and hardworking employees, just like Bob Koper!
While I’m not one to play favorites, 2011 is definitely on the short list of exciting years at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Here’s a quick look back at the highlights…
January: We announced that a new species of pseudoscorpion unique to Glenwood Caverns and Historic Fairy Caves was named.
February: Bret Pfost, Disney’s Senior Manager for Worldwide Safety, Training and Compliance, spent a day sharing his process for building a safety culture with our management team.
March: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park was named Editor’s Pick for “Best Emerging Attraction” by Colorado Meeting + Events magazine at its annual Best of Colorado awards ceremony in Denver.
March: We launched a mobile site to provide our guests with helpful information while they’re on the road.
April: Our friend Julian Vogt celebrated his 100th birthday with a ride on the Alpine Coaster.
May: This one is hard to beat…Bert “the Conqueror” Kreischer and Sam Champion, Good Morning America’s meteorologist, visited the park and screamed like little girls on the Giant Canyon Swing. The visit, which still makes me laugh out loud, was broadcast on Good Morning America.
May: We kicked off our third annual Music on the Mountain concert series on Memorial Day Weekend AND opened the only Bungee Jump in Colorado!
June: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park was voted #1 in two categories in the annual Post Independent’s Locals’ Choice Awards: Top Locals Attraction and Best Place for a Kids’ Birthday Party!
July: The Bert the Conqueror episode featuring our owner Steve Beckley sharing his first-ever ride on the Giant Canyon Swing with host Bert Kreischer, aired on the Travel Channel. Steve and Jeanne’s sons Shane and Stenar, along with many of our employees, were stars on the show as well.
July: More than 1,200 cavers from around the world visited Glenwood Springs as part of the National Speleological Society’s annual convention. The “Howdy Party” was officially the largest single private event in our history, and the convention itself was the largest ever held in Glenwood Springs.
July: Glenwood Springs was named the Most Fun Small Town in America during the USA Today – Rand McNally “Best of the Road Rally!”
August and September: Our Music on the Mountain concert series continued. All combined, the community donated more than 7,600 cans of food for the LIFT-UP food pantry during the series!
October: Since we’d set the lofty goal of reaching 10,000 cans during the 2011 Music on the Mountain series, our management team presented LIFT-UP executive director Mike Powell with a check for $1,200 to purchase the remaining 2,400 cans.
As the year winds down, we are all thankful for the support of our community, our guests, our fans, friends and followers, for a successful year. Here’s to even more fun in 2012!
May your days be merry and bright this holiday season
–from all the elves at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park