Theme Parks where it’s Always Christmas

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park gets all decked out just for the holiday season, but  at these theme parks it’s Christmas all year round!

Many theme parks dress up for Christmas—not only Disneyland and Universal but also smaller parks. Dollywood has its Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival, Sesame Place its Very Furry Christmas, Silver Dollar City its Old Time Christmas, Six Flags its Holiday in the Park, Lake Compounce its Holiday Lights, Cliffs its Cliff’s Magical Christmas, Hersheypark its Christmas Candy Lane. Knotts Berry Farm its Knotts Merry Farm, and more. These parks come as they are – they’re Christmas all year round (except for after-Christmas winter months when some close):

Santa’s Workshop in North Pole, N.Y., opened in 1949, six years ahead of Disneyland, and claims to be the forerunner of U.S. theme parks. The developer, Julian Reiss, had made up a story for his daughter about a baby bear who found Santa Claus and his workshop. The girl wanted to visit the place, so he built it. The park has child-oriented rids including Candy Cane Express train, a sleigh coaster, carousel, Ferris wheel and talking Christmas tree.

Santa’s Workshop in Cascade, Colo., opened in 1956, is a village where you can meet the North Pole crew from May through Christmas Eve. It has 28 rides, mostly geared toward children, including a high-altitude Ferris wheel, Peppermint Slide, and Candy Cane Coaster.

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari Water Park in Santa Claus, Ind., has separate holiday-themed areas for 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Many of the rides are geared toward children, but the park also has a Thunderbird roller coaster and two large waterslides, among other family and thrill rides.

Castle Noel in Medina, Ohio, is all indoors but includes a Blizzard Vortex tunnel, Santa’s Chimney Squeeze, and a 25-foot animated Christmas tree. Its major attraction is a huge collection of props from a dozen Hollywood Christmas movies and traditional Christmas displays from upscale New York department stores. You can even ride the red slide like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story.”

Santa’s Village in Jefferson, N.H. has 20 rides mostly geared toward children, including a Chimney Drop, Little Drummer Boy spinning ride, Little Elf Flying School sleighs, Yule Log Flume, Santa’s Express Train, Reindeer Carousel, and S.S. Peppermint Twist small roller coaster. Its Ho Ho H20 water park is open in the warmer month. The village has several coasters, a monorail, food, and entertainment.

Santa’s Enchanted Forest in Miami claims to be the world’s largest holiday theme park. It has more than 100 rides, shows, games, attractions, and a free carnival. In addition to the child-focused rides, the site has thrill rides and roller coasters for adults and families. The park is open from mid-October through early January.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park over the holidays and enjoy Winter on the Mountain which includes holiday festivities such as visits from Santa, fire pits for roasting s’mores, live music and entertainment, as well as theme park rides and family attractions, cave tours and more.

Winter at the Adventure Park: What Not to Miss

A winter day on the Alpine Coaster
A winter day on the Alpine Coaster

While many Colorado theme parks shut down for the winter months, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park remains open all winter long with seasonal rides, cave tours, dining and entertainment.

Open year-round

Elitch Gardens, the amusement park in Denver may have wrapped up its season, but Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs keeps the fun going strong all winter long with Winter on the Mountain, a wonder-filled season at the mountain-top theme park.

With plenty of chilly, but sunshine filled days ahead, visiting the Adventure Park in the off season has its perks. Visitors can look forward to fewer crowds and reduced off-season pricing, all while still enjoying many of the Park’s highlights including award-winning thrill rides, fun family attractions, two spectacular cave tours, dining with a view and live music entertainment.

What Not to Miss

Yuletide Splendor

Winter on the mountain is an ongoing celebration that shines bright on winter’s darkest nights with a dazzling display of more than a half million lights which can even be seen from Glenwood Springs. A giant Christmas tree with lights choreographed to holiday songs is a focal point in the plaza, where there are also fire pits for warming up and for roasting s’mores (purchase your s’mores kits from the General Store). And, throughout the time leading up to Christmas, Santa will be making regular stops to pose for photos with youngsters.

Fun & Games

Glenwood Caverns’ rides and attractions have season-spanning appeal and a knack for making kids of all ages smile from ear to ear. The Haunted Mine Drop, an indoor ride, is a scream and a visitor favorite.  The Alpine Coaster, which features twinkly fairy lights after dark, provides a more controlled downward descent with a magical and relaxing tow back to the top. Winter guests can also shoot it out in the laser tag arena and watch one of four animated shows in the 4D motion theater.

Cave Tours

Cave tours are especially delightful in winter where the caverns’ temperature is a steady 52 degrees year round, which can seem downright cozy when the mercury dips into the single digits. Choose either the Historic Fairy Caves Tour or the King’s Row Tour; both are about 40 minutes long. In addition to viewing and learning about formations like stalactites, stalagmites, cave bacon, popcorn, flowstone, soda straws and more, like the rest of the Adventure Park the caves too are decked out for the holidays with festive lighting appropriate to the season.

Dining & Entertainment

The Lookout Grille is a picture-perfect setting for lunch or dinner. Along with a casual meal enjoy spectacular views of Glenwood Springs below, the Roaring Fork Valley to the south and the Colorado River Valley to the west. On Friday nights, from 5 to 8:30 p.m., don’t miss Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) with live music featuring talented local bands and food and drink specials. Gondola rides are free after 4 p.m. with a coupon that appears in the Post Independent each Friday. Each coupon is valid for up to four people.

Adventure Park Winter Hours

Winter on the Mountain at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park hours are as follows: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 29, 2020. The park is closed Monday through Thursday. During the holidays, it will be open daily Nov. 15 to Dec. 1, except for Thanksgiving Day, and Dec. 20 to Jan. 5, except for Christmas Day.

Don’t miss out on a mountain-full of adventure this winter! Plan to visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park today.

An Intimate Glenwood Springs Wedding Venue

Weddings at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, you will find an intimate Glenwood Springs wedding venue. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park offers a one-of-a-kind mountain-top setting for a unique wedding experience. Accessible by scenic gondola ride, with incredible views of the Roaring Fork Valley, Mt. Sopris and Colorado River.

Gondola Giving

Gondola Giving

Glenwood Caverns invites you to GIVE at the base of the Glenwood Gondola for our community-minded event, Gondola Giving. Beginning at 2 p.m.,  we will be continuing the tradition of collecting food donations for Thanksgiving meals to community members in need. Guests who bring in non-perishable food items will receive one free gondola admission ticket for our Winter on the Mountain Kick-Off event beginning at 5 p.m., or you can donate grocery gift cards of $20 or more for 4 gondola admission tickets to be used at the event and be entered to win great prizes! Prizes included Annual Thrill Passes and soak passes to Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Donations can be dropped off at the Bighorn Toyota truck parked at the gondola base, then pick up your free gondola passes at the cashier window. The free passes are valid Nov. 23, 2019, only.

During Gondola Giving, local radio broadcaster, Jim Williams will be riding the Glenwood Gondola from 2-4 p.m., broadcasting live to keep the giving going. With special interviews from Glenwood Caverns Employees and later, Santa will give a special interview before making his debut appearance. A special thanks to Bighorn Toyota for collecting cans in a beautiful Toyota truck to later be sent to local food pantry Lift-UP.

See you at the Glenwood Gondola base for Gondola Giving and the Winter on the Mountain Kick-Off!

Holiday Season Kicks Off Nov. 23

The mountain-top Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colo., continues its tradition of community-minded holiday fun on Saturday, Nov. 23, with a fundraiser and food drive to provide Thanksgiving meals to community members in need, followed by a kick-off party with live music, holiday lights and a visit from Santa.

 Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park continues its tradition of community-minded holiday fun on Saturday, Nov. 23. It starts with Gondola Giving from 2 to 6 p.m., a fundraiser and food drive to provide Thanksgiving meals to community members in need. Guests can receive free gondola passes to use that day by donating grocery store gift cards or non-perishable food items. The mountain-top Winter on the Mountain kick-off party begins at 5 p.m. with live music by the Leonard Curry Trio, a tree lighting at 6 p.m., more than half a million holiday lights and visits from Santa Claus and the Coca-Cola polar bear.

“This day is all about community. It’s friends, neighbors and even strangers making it possible for others to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together,” explained general manager Nancy Heard. “Then, everyone can come together to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season at our kick-off party. The only cost is a can of food, and that includes a ride on the new Glenwood Gondola, the lighting of our Christmas tree, beautiful light displays, music, a visit with Santa and a cup of warm apple cider.”

Turkey Tram-a-Ganza transitions to Gondola Giving

Gondola Giving is a joint promotion with Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Bighorn Toyota. This event, which runs from 2 to 6 p.m., benefits local food pantries. In years past, the food drive focused on frozen turkeys. That is not the case this year; LIFT-UP has specifically requested grocery store gift cards and non-perishable Thanksgiving dinner fixings for area families in need foods.

Anyone who donates a gift card worth $20 or more receives four gondola passes to use that day and one entry in a drawing to win Annual Thrill Passes, Funday Passes and passes to soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Those donating a can of food receive one gondola pass to use that day. People can drop off donations and register for the drawing at the Bighorn Toyota truck parked at the tram base at 51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, then pick up their free gondola passes at the cashier window. The free passes are valid Nov. 23, 2019, only.

Winter on the Mountain at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Winter on the Mountain returns for 5th season

After a hiatus last winter for construction of the Glenwood Gondola, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park celebrates the return of Winter on the Mountain. Beginning at 5 p.m., guests can take in the holiday lights, visit and take photos with Santa Claus in the North Pole and get a hug from the Coca-Cola polar bear in the Plaza, where the lighting of the Christmas tree begins at 6 p.m. The Leonard Curry Band is performing Americana, bluegrass and some holiday favorites in the Lookout Grille throughout the evening.

“There’s a strong sense of family, community spirit and even a little holiday magic in the air at the kick-off party every year,” added Heard. “The kids are excited to share their wish lists with Santa, and parents can get that perfect pic of them together in time for holiday cards. With the lights, music and festive atmosphere, it’s a very special evening.”

Entertaining Guests All Season Long

This family-friendly park in Glenwood Springs, Colo., shines all season with a display of more than a half million lights, a giant Christmas tree, fire pits for roasting s’mores and lighted rides on the Alpine Coaster. The Haunted Mine Drop, cave tours, 4D motion theater, laser tag arena and General Store are open as well.

Fire pits in the plaza are a natural gathering place to warm the hands and roast s’mores, with a tempting selection of hot cocoa, cider and winter beverages for kids and adults available inside the Lookout Grille. Along with a cozy fireplace and holiday décor, the restaurant offers appetizers, sandwiches, hearty winter specials and desserts. Beer, wine, cocktails and a robust Bloody Mary bar round out the drink options. There’s live music in the Lookout Grille nightly during the holidays as well.

From Nov. 15, 2019, through Feb. 28, 2020, the Lookout Grille hosts Friday Afternoon Club from 5 to 8:30 p.m. with live music and food and drink specials. Gondola rides are free after 4 p.m. with a coupon that appears in the Post Independent each Friday. Each coupon is valid for up to four people.

Ride Alpine Coaster at Winter on the Mountain

Winter Season Rates and Hours

 The discounted Winter Funday Pass is the best value to enjoy Winter on the Mountain. It includes the gondola ride, unlimited turns on the Alpine Coaster, Haunted Mine Drop, 4D Motion Theater and laser tag arena, and two guided cave tours at a cost of just $42 per adult and $37 per child, ages 3 to 12. A round-trip ride on the Glenwood Gondola is $19 per adult and $14 per child for guests who want to view the lights, enjoy lunch or dinner at the Lookout Grille, do some shopping at the General Store and visit with Santa.

Winter on the Mountain at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from Nov. 15 through Feb. 29, 2020. The park is closed Monday through Thursday. During the holidays, it will be open daily Nov. 15 to Dec. 1, except for Thanksgiving Day, and Dec. 20 to Jan. 5, except for Christmas Day.