Top Ten Reasons Glenwood Caverns should be…

Top Ten Reasons Glenwood Caverns should be the Eighth Wonder of the World

Recently, the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association entered Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Caves into VirtualTourist.com’s contest to crown “The Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Tourism boards, chambers of commerce and visitor bureaus around the world are sending in nominations to the website, which is a leading travel research website and community. The public is being asked to vote for their favorites out of the more than 200 submissions, and the “Wonder” with the most votes will be crowned the winner and will be featured in a national broadcast TV segment.

The Original Seven Wonders of the World is a list, compiled in the second century B.C., of man-made structures built during the classical era.

The Seven Wonders are:

  • Great Pyramid of Giza
  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  • Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  • Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  • Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  • Colossus of Rhodes
  • Lighthouse of Alexandria

We think Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park should be named the Eighth Wonder of the World! While the caves were formed naturally, it definitely took a lot of manpower to get them ready for the public viewing. Charles Darrow and his team first opened the Historic Fairy Caves to visitors in 1895, and the work continues today, with the recent completion of the Historic Fairy Cave Tour, showcasing even more natural beauty and amazing formations.

In the spirit of the Late Show with David Letterman, we’d like to offer our own Top Ten Reasons Glenwood Caverns should be the Eighth Wonder of the World:

10) The original owners of Glenwood Caverns claimed it first, in 1897, well before most of the other contestants even existed.

9) Glenwood Springs is a lot easier to find than Ephesus and Halicarnassus!

8) Seeing any of the Seven Wonders means being prepared for sweltering heat: the average summer high in Giza is 96° and in Olympia it is 97°! The Historic Fairy Caves, on the other hand, are a cool 52° year round–perfect for a hot summer day.

7) Most major attractions only invite you to take pictures, but if you take the Wild Tour you’ll be invited to get dirty, crawl on your belly and go deep into rarely visited areas of the caves!

6) We’re not sure, but we don’t think any of the current Seven Wonders offer drink specials and live music (Music on the Mountain at Glenwood Caverns does, though!)

5) The best things in life involve bacon
(cave bacon, that is!)

4) Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Caves were explored/excavated by enthusiastic cavers, not Greek slaves.

3) You’ve got to go diving underwater to see what’s left of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, but it’s only a short tram ride up Iron Mountain in Glenwood Springs to see the Historic Fairy Caves and King’s Row in the most highly-decorated show cave in Colorado.

2) There are no scary, hollow-eyed, naked Roman statues at Glenwood Caverns, only carved happy Wooden Bears.

1) Many of the Seven Wonders are known for their impressive height—but perched on the edge of the canyon 1300 feet above the Colorado River, Glenwood Caverns stands WAY above them all!

Do you think Glenwood Caverns should be the Eighth Wonder of the World? Cast your vote! Visit www.virtualtourist.com to vote for Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Caves. Voting is open until Sept. 30.

Visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in historic Glenwood Springs, Colo., for a unique mountain-top adventure. Wholesome family fun, from kids’ activities and attractions to rides for die-hard thrill seekers, makes this the perfect vacation destination. Take a walking tour or an on-your-belly Wild Tour of Glenwood Caverns and Historic Fairy Caves, one of the country’s leading show caves. Ride the longest alpine coaster in Colorado, with individual cars on tracks that race down the mountainside. Enjoy the highest elevation roller coaster in America, a 4D motion theater, a giant swing over Glenwood Canyon,  a zip ride, breathtaking views from the Iron Mountain Tramway, a climbing wall, sluice box gemstone mining, geode cutting, a Ferris wheel ride, a giant maze and more. The Lookout Grille serves lunch on the deck or inside by the fire, with a great kids’ menu. Perfect for parties, groups and reunions.

Glenwood Caverns’ First Employee Looks Back

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. Koper wasn’t ready to give up working completely just yet and it helped generate more income. This definitely bucks the trend that we have seen lately of people preferring to seek Key’s equity release advice in order to raise money to enjoy in retirement instead. But Koper has never been one to follow the crowd.

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

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. Clearly, Koper is really enjoying his job at the Glenwood Caverns. The company must really know a lot about the retention of employees for Koper to have been working there for 12 years, despite him being eligible for retirement. It seems that he is working happily, with no signs of wanting to leave the company or job. Keeping employees passionate about their role is becoming increasingly difficult for many employers these days, perhaps they should take a look at Glenwood Caverns and their long-serving staff members.

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!