Bluebird Finds New Nest

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.

colorful bus parked at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park tram base

The Bluebird found a new nest at Glenwood Caverns
photo by Mandy Gauldin

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!

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Glenwood Springs: Most Fun Town for a Colorado Spring Break

Girl on Alpine CoasterThere’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.

Glenwood Hot Springs PoolPlay 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!

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The Lookout Grille: Away From It All

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. Lookout Grille getaway restaurant table winter tram on a very snowy dayI 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!

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Retreats Offer New Perspectives for Management Team

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!

Glenwood Caverns Management Retreat 2011

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Glenwood Caverns’ First Employee Looks Back

Tour Guide manager Bob Koper standing near King's Row formation

Tour Guide manager Bob Koper in King's Row at Glenwood Caverns
Kelly Cox photo

Bob Koper knows a thing or two about being underground.

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!

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Looking Back at 2011 – What a Year!

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…

Bungee Jump at Glenwood Caverns

Colorado's Only Bungee Jump!

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 Editors 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.

Sam Champion and Bert Kresicher on the Giant Canyon Swing

Sam Champion and Bert Kresicher on the Giant Canyon Swing

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!

GCAP Lift-Up Donation 2011

Glenwood Caverns Tops Off 2011 Music on the Mountain Series with Donation to LIFT-UP.

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!

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Holiday Greeting

Holiday Wagon decorated with lights in front of Glenwood Caverns park entrance

;                      webmeisterdoug photo

May your days be merry and bright this holiday season

                                 –from all the elves at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

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Holiday gifts that bring smiles all year long

What’s small enough to tuck into a stocking or Christmas card, but big enough to last all year long? An annual pass to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park! You have two choices:

For just $25 per person, the Annual Tram Pass includes unlimited rides on the Iron Mountain Tramway for a whole year, plus a 10% discount at the Lookout Grille, the Snack Shack and General Store gift shop.Iron Mountain Tramway

Annual Tram Passes make great gifts for people who enjoy coming up to enjoy a meal on the deck or next to the fire, or who like to take in the views from the tram and deck. It’s also perfect for parents — and grandparents — who bring kids to the Park, but don’t always ride alongside them.

The Annual Thrill Pass provides unlimited access to most of the park’s attractions for a full year for just $91 for adults and $87 for kids ages 3 – 12, along with a 10% discount at the Lookout Grille, Snack Shack and General Store gift shop. (Guests 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult to the Park.)

One of the best features of the Annual Thrill Pass is that “unlimited” part. You can go up and spend the entire day playing as often as you’d like, or just go up for a couple of hours and ride the Giant Canyon Swing over and over and over again. It pays for itself in three visits!

You can’t go wrong with either option; but, if you can’t decide, you can also purchase gift certificates for any amount. Call the office at 970-945-4228 or 800-530-1635, ext. 111, or stop by the Tram Base during regular hours to find out more.

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Glenwood Caverns tops off food drive with donation to LIFT-UP

I love it when companies give back to their communities, and I’m especially proud when it’s a company I represent. Last week, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park did just that.

At the beginning of the year, the management team at the Adventure Park decided to ramp up their support of the LIFT-UP community food pantry. They set a goal to collect 10,000 cans of food during the third annual Music on the Mountain concert series. It was a lofty goal, and to be honest, it made me a little nervous! But with the series expanded to include nine concerts, they had a “can-do” attitude and decided to aim high.

glenwood caverns lift-up food drive group photoTo bring in more food donations during the series, the Adventure Park teamed up with some local businesses, including Bighorn Toyota, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, KSPN radio, Glenwood TV, the Hotel Glenwood Springs, US Bank, Swire Coca-Cola and Mountain Beverage, to promote the concerts to an even broader audience. In addition to providing additional marketing opportunities, the sponsors brought prizes and giveaways to each of the concerts — always a big hit with the audience.

After the last concert on Sept. 24, the total number of cans donated was slightly more than 7,600. The community donated an average of nearly 850 cans per concert. That’s a truly impressive number when you think about it, but it wasn’t the 10,000 everyone was hoping for.

So last week, owner Steve Beckley and members of the management team presented LIFT-UP’s executive director Mike Powell with a check for $1,200 to purchase the remaining 2,400 cans. When they set a goal, you can bet they’re going to reach it!

LIFT-UP provides a helping hand to more and more people every year. They are serving an average of 2,600 people a month, and distributing more than 3,000 bags of groceries a month. Visit their website at to find out how you can help.

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Visiting Glenwood Springs in the Fall

couple looks down at Glenwood Springs from Glenwood Caverns deckFall is my favorite season in Colorado, and it’s arrived in Glenwood Springs! The days are clear and warm, and then it’s sweater weather once the sun goes down.  This is a great time of year to visit, here’s why:

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is open daily, the lines are shorter – and rare on weekdays, and almost all of the attractions are still open. I love seeing the fall colors on the tram ride and from the deck at the Lookout Grille. With shorter lines, you can ride the alpine coaster over, and over, and over again.

The forecast: sunny or mostly sunny, with highs in the mid-to-upper 70s and lows in the 40s, for the next week! The weather is perfect for hiking and biking on the trails around town, or in the White River National Forest. The foliage is just starting to turn at higher elevations, so there’s plenty of time to plan your trip to catch the colors at their peak.

At night when the air is cool, sitting in the Glenwood Hot Springs is very relaxing. It’s open until 10 p.m., and the night rates apply after 9 p.m. You’ll find that throughout the town, and the Roaring Fork Valley, there are a lot of ways to enjoy the beautiful fall weather without the summer crowds. Come for a visit soon!

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