10 Ways to Keep the Summer Fun Going in Colorado

Colorado is cool in the summertime. Keep the fun going with these 10 outside activities you can enjoy across the state.

In addition to the high-flying summer fun at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, America’s only mountain-top theme park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, the entire rest of the state is a playground of outdoor adventures!

    1. Go wild. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Also giraffes, rhinoceroses, elephants, wolves, and alligators are waiting for you at major zoos. Check out the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, and the Colorado Gators Reptile Park in Mosca.
    2. Take a hike. Smell the wildflowers at Yankee Boy Basin near Ouray, Shrine Pass near Frisco, or Lake Isabel near Colorado City. Enjoy the waterfalls at Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs, Seven Falls in Colorado Springs, or Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride. Retrace history on the Santa Fe Trail’s Sierra Vista Overlook near La Junta, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Pueblo dwellings in Montezuma County, Skyline Drive dinosaur tracks near Cañon City. View elk at Horseshoe Park in Rocky Mountain National Park, bighorn sheep and mountain goats at Mount Evans Wilderness Area near Idaho Springs, and moose at State Forest State Park near Walden.
    3. Camp out. Find cabins and yurts at Golden Gate Canyon State Park near Golden; wilderness backpacking at West Fork Campground near Pagosa Springs, Trappers Lake near Meeker, and Ansel Watrous Campground near Bellvue; and lakeside tent and RV sites at Elk Creek Campground near Grand Lake, Cherry Creek State Park near Aurora, and John Martin Reservoir State Park near Hasty; and amazing views at Silver Bar Campground near Aspen and Moraine Park Campground near Estes Park.
    4. Ride a bike It’s summer, so you can pedal down the ski slopes on Vail Mountain, Purgatory, and Keystone Resort, with a ride-up on the gondolas. You’ll find bike parks at Winter Park Resort, Lory State Park near Fort Collins, and Palmer Park in Colorado Springs, and paved routes in Glenwood Springs, Denver, Vail, and Golden. Mountain biking was invented at Crested Butte, where you can find a great singletrack rides.
    5. Float your boat. Waterski at Navajo State Park, Jackson Lake State Park, and Blue Mesa Reservoir; canoe at Lake Granby in Granby, Gross Reservoir near Eldorado Springs, and the Colorado River near Palisade; fish at Grand Mesa Lakes near Cedaredge, Lake Pueblo State Park, and Steamboat Lake State Park; sail at Lake Dillon in Dillon, Grand Lake, and the Ruedi Reservoir in Basalt.
    6. Swing your club. Golf at mountain courses such as Pole Creek Golf Club, Copper Creek Golf Club, Breckenridge Golf Course, among rock formations at Arrowhead Golf Course and dinosaur footprints at Fossil Trace Golf Club, or on the highest course on the continent at Mount Massive Golf Course.
    7. Go underground. Get out of the sun at Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs, Rifle Falls State Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Whit4e River National Forest and our own Glenwood Caverns.
    8. Eat & Drink. As the fruit ripens across the season, check out the peach, cherry, and apple orchards and the wineries on the Western Slope, especially around Palisade, Grand Junction, Paonia, Hotchkiss and Cedaredge.
    9. Paddle whitewater. Go for the fast water in the Arkansas River Headwaters near Salida, Gunnison Gorge near Gunnison or Browns Canyon National Monument near Buena Vista. Take it a little milder at Glenwood Canyon near Glenwood Springs, Ruby Canyon near Grand Junction, or Eagle River near Gypsum. Take it easy at Cottonwood Lake near Buena Vista, Pearl Lake State Park, or Barr Lake State Park. For whitewater, hit Confluence Park in Denver; Clear Creek Whitewater Park, Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park, or Gunnison Whitewater Park.
    10. Get festive. Join the celebrations at the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival July 6-15, the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo July 14-15 in Steamboat Springs, the Denver Underground Music Showcase July 26-29, the Vail Dance Festival July 28-Aug. 11, the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo Aug. 28-Sept. 3, and A Taste of Colorado in Denver Aug. 31-Sept. 3.
Explore Glenwood's many hiking trails

Summer Holidays to Celebrate at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

You’re familiar with Independence and Labor Day— summer holidays traditionally celebrated with family and friends. However, these lesser known occasions, while obscure, can be just as much fun!

It’s summer, and at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park as far as we’re concerned that means every day is a great reason to have fun, do something different or daring, hang out with your peeps, eat your favorite foods and most of all make memories that live on long after the season ends. Sure, Fourth of July and Labor Day are day-off-from-work celebrations, but these off-beat “alternative” holidays add novel new reasons to get going, get-together and get busy doing something out-of-the-ordinary.

July is National Anti-Boredom Month. July is the half-way point of summer vacations. Filling the days between now and back-to-school can leave kids and their parents feeling restless. Annihilate boredom at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. A mountain-top of thrill rides, attractions and cave tours keeps the fun flying, zipping and soaring along!

Friday the Thirteenth. July 13th lands on a Friday this year. Instead of hiding from cats walking under ladders and avoiding broken mirrors, why not face your fears instead? Our thrill rides will give you plenty of opportunities to do just that. The Giant Canyon Swing launches riders out 1,300 feet above Glenwood Canyon; the 

The Alpine Coaster  and Cliffside Roller Coaster will have you on the edge of your seat as the G-forces kick in. There’s no better day than Friday the 13th for a screaming good time!

National Hot Dog Day is July 18. Theme parks and hot dogs go together like funnel cakes and whipped cream which we have as well.  Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has three locations to grab a bite to eat. The Lookout Grille which has a full menu of options including burgers, wraps and salads; the Popcorn Wagon is perfect for grab-and-go options like cinnamon glazed nuts, funnel cakes, corn dogs and popcorn; and the Snack Shack in the plaza features pizza, brats, ice cream, sno-cones and of course hot dogs!

August is Family Fun Month. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park was voted Best for Family Entertainment in the 2018 Glenwood Post Independent Locals’ Choice Awards. For families with younger kids the Park’s small attractions are exciting without being too scary. In addition to cave tours, the 4-D theater, laser tag, Wild West Express, Giddy Up ride, Mine Wheel, climbing wall and new sluice box provide hours of entertainment. Older kids and teens tend to favor the park’s thrill rides. A melodrama show, Trouble Bubbles at Iron Mountain Hot Springs gets laughs from all ages.

Just Because Day. This is one of our favorite oddball holidays. Every day, all of us do the things that are expected or required of us because we have to. Well, on National Just Because Day, celebrated on Aug. 27, that does not apply.  This day is a chance to do something without rhyme or reason like go to a theme park located on top of a mountain —just because.

Autumnal Equinox. Sept. 22, marks the day first day of fall; thankfully it still feels like summer. As for sky-gazing, there’s no better place to watch a Glenwood Springs sunset than from the viewing deck at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Glenwood Caverns was also voted the Best Place to Watch a Sunset in the 2018 Locals’ Choice awards.

All of these are great reasons to get out and do something fun and different like visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Pick a day, any day and make it special however you please!

Let the Fear Be Part of the Fun!

Cliffhanger Roller Coaster
Cliffhanger Roller Coaster

Conquer your fear and experience the fun of adrenaline-pumping thrill rides at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

Let the Fear Be Part of the Fun!

When it comes to roller coasters, the fear is part of the fun—unless it keeps you from taking the ride. Many people want to join the thrill ride—or at least not just stand and watch their friends at the park—but can’t overcome that fear, so Harvard Medical School professor Brian Newmark and clinical psychologist Michael Otto developed the Coasterphobia Stress Management Program nearly 20 years ago.

Coasterphobia is not a medical diagnosis— reluctance to ride won’t cripple your life like other fears— but it often bears traces of other recognized fears such as acrophobia (heights),  illygnophobia (vertigo), claustrophobia (tight spaces), social phobia (embarrassment), mysophobia (contact with germs), emetophobia (vomiting). Sometimes the fear results from a childhood experience. The fear, anxiety, panic, and/or dread can lead to shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, rapid breathing, sweating, and nausea.

One of the 15 members of the first Coasterphobia Stress Management Program class, Erik Minton, wrote about his experience for Psychology Today. Participants were encouraged to trust the engineers who had designed the rides, then were put through some preparatory routines: “We tensed and untensed muscles to learn to relax. We did breathing exercises. We circled our heads to induce dizziness. We rocked back and forth in our chairs to simulate a coaster’s motion. Then we circled our heads while rocking. We screamed, which Otto pointed out not only forces you to breathe on the coaster but is part of the ride’s fun. We watched a passenger perspective video of The Incredible Hulk, rocking as we did so.” For graduation, the group rode The Incredible Hulk at Universal Orlando Resort— and each one went on at least twice.

Free advice online will suggest taking baby steps or starting with the biggest coaster you fear, closing your eyes or opening them, staying in control of whether your ride or telling your friends to carry you on if necessary. Here are Otto’s professional tips:

  1. Make sure you are not being pressured or pushed into riding the roller coaster; this will only add to the feeling of not being in control.
  2. While waiting in line, try relaxation exercises. Practice tensing and slowly releasing your muscles as you breathe in for four counts and out for eight.
  3. It is important that you picture yourself enjoying the strange sensations involved in riding roller coasters. Anticipating fear and anxiety will only make it happen faster and stronger.
  4. Outsmart the “scare factor.” Remember that the loops and sudden drops are part of the roller coaster and are perfectly safe.
  5. During the ride, scream. Screaming stops you from holding your breath and helps relieve tension.
  6. Keep your eyes open. Being able to see what is happening actually helps terminate fear and nausea.

Let the fear become part of the fun at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park!

Our Top 10 Tips for a Top-Notch Time

Little things can spoil an otherwise perfect day; these tips will keep the good times rolling all day long at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

  1. Plan for the crowds. Peak season for Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is from mid-June through mid-August. If avoiding crowds is important to you, plan your visit to fall outside the busiest time of year.
  2. Arrive early at the tram base. In the summer months park hours begin at 9 a.m. If you arrive ahead of that time at the Iron Mountain Tramway you can be among the first to board rides at the mountain-top theme park.
  3. Choose a cave tour upon arrival. Make your first stop the General Store gift shop where you can check the guided cave tour Tours fill up fast and tend to be in higher demand later in the day, so show up a few minutes before the tour is scheduled to begin.
  4. Eat. Avoid hunger pangs and the grumpiness that comes with it. Mountain-top dining choices include the Lookout Grille, the Snack Shack and the Popcorn Wagon. High noon is everyone’s favorite time to eat, so for quicker service grab a bite before or after that time.
  5. Come later in the day. Most days the Park is open until 9 p.m. Consider visiting in the late afternoon. Crowds tend to dissipate by this time of day and temperatures cool off. You might even be able to catch an instagrammable sunset overlooking the Roaring Fork Valley from the viewing deck.
  6. Be ready for summer weather. Inclement weather, especially afternoon thunderstorms are common in Colorado. When storms are in the area, the Park may have to temporarily shut down rides. Fortunately, they typically blow through quickly and don’t last long. We advise waiting it out. Grab a snack or drink, play laser tag or head to the 4D Theater for a short movie. It’s usually not long before the sun is shining again.
  7. Wear sunscreen. Glenwood Caverns Park is located at 7,100 feet in elevation. Even on cloudy days the sun’s rays can burn and damage skin. Don’t panic if you forget your sunscreen, the Park has plenty for guests to use, and it’s free! Other ways to prepare for a day at the park include wearing comfortable shoes, light colored clothing, a hat and bringing along a rain jacket just in case.
  8. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to irritability, headaches, dizziness, nausea and worse, none of which you want to experience on your vacation. Glenwood Caverns has water-bottle-friendly fountains where you can replenish, or you can purchase a drink with a refillable cup at the Lookout Grille and refill it for just $1.
  9. Plan ahead. Our goal is to put a smile on the face of every guest. We never want you to be disappointed if a ride is closed for maintenance or if you wait in line for a ride only to find out that your child doesn’t meet the height or weight requirements. If we have a temporary ride closure we’ll post it on our website, along with the physical requirements for all of rides. We want the only surprises you encounter to be happy ones.
  10. Buy tickets online. Save time by purchasing Park admission tickets online. Funday passes are our best value and include the tram, 2 cave tours, and unlimited access to rides and attractions.
Take a cave tour at Glenwood Caverns for National Caves and Karst Day!
4D Motion Theater at Glenwood Caverns

Take it from us, these 10 simple tips will help ensure your next visit to America’s only mountaintop theme park is an over-the-top experience for everyone in your family or group. Learn more at glenwoodcavdev.wpengine.com.

Iron Mountain Tramway Celebrates 15 Years!

It’s our Tramiversary! April 26th marks 15 years since Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park opened the Iron Mountain Tramway, giving visitors a scenic lift to a mountaintop of fun.

Big changes for Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

On April 26, 2003, a crowd of hundreds cued up at the base of the Iron Mountain Tramway, waiting patiently to be among the first to ride the newly opened gondola from the valley floor to the top of Iron Mountain. It was a historic moment for Glenwood Springs and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.  Owners, Steve and Jeanne Beckley, along with local dignitaries marked the occasion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and news outlets covered the event. Going forward, instead of spending 30 minutes taking a dusty passenger bus up a rough road, visitors could now board a sleek, modern mode of transportation that would whisk them up and away to America’s only mountain-top theme park and cut the travel time down to approximately 15 minutes.

Construction of the Iron Mountain Tramway, as well as the gift shop and restaurant began in 2002.  Helicopters were used to pour the concrete pads and place towers—taking great care to preserve the scenery and disturb as little of the mountainside as possible. It was not uncommon for crowds to gather to watch the aerial acrobatics. An 8,400 foot steel cable was spliced into a continuous loop to carry the gondolas up and down the mountain. At the time it was installed, the pulse gondola designed by Poma-Leitner was the first of its kind in the US. The six-person, fully enclosed cabins travel 4,300 feet up the mountain and provide visitors with magnificent views of the Roaring Fork Valley, Mt. Sopris, Glenwood Springs and the Colorado River.

Gondola at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

To commemorate our 15 year Tramivesary, we are giving away daily and annual tram passes with our “Celebrate 15 Years with 15 Winners in 15 Days” Facebook Contest which starts April 11 and runs through April 26. Be sure to participate for your chance to win. Daily tram passes are valued at $16 and annual passes at $32.

More changes to come

It’s been fifteen years since the first riders stepped inside the bright orange cabins as the inaugural part of their Glenwood Caverns experience; now it’s time to update and move forward again.  The current Iron Mountain Tramway will be retired in November of this year and replaced with a faster, more modern version.

The new tramway will be comprised of 44 detachable, six-passenger cabins with a capacity to convey up to 1,000 people per hour. For comparison, the current tram, with 18 cabins, transports 300 visitors per hour. The new tram will cut the travel time in half, from 15 to approximately seven minutes, effectively eliminating customer wait times. It will also be less susceptible to inclement weather. Fewer slow-downs and closures will enhance guest experiences, especially during the busy summer season and major park events such as Music on the Mountain. It will take approximately four to five months to install the latest iteration of the Iron Mountain Tramway, during which the park will be temporarily closed.

Take a ride with us and enjoy all that Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has to offer — cave tours, thrill rides, attractions and great views. It all starts aboard the Iron Mountain Tramway!

To enter:

On Facebook, please post a photo or drawing of the tram in a comment of the main “Celebrate 15 Years with 15 Winners in 15 Days” Post. It can be of people inside the tram, the views from the tram or the tram from a distance.

The contest starts on Wednesday, April 11, and will run through Thursday, April 26. There will be a winner chosen from that post everyday until the grand prize, which will be picked on the 26th at 1 p.m. The first day winner will be chosen on Thursday, April 12. The contest ends on Thursday, April 26, at noon.

The first 14 daily winners will receive 2 Tram Passes Valued at $32.00.

On Day 15 of the Tramiversary Contest the Grand Prize will be 4 Annual Tram Passes valued at $128!

The Fine Print:

  • The photo or drawing must belong to you.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must have permission to use the image of anyone in the photograph.
  • Photos must be family-friendly.
  • Watermarked photos are acceptable, and you may use filters to enhance the image.
  • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has the right to reuse the photo entries with credit to the photographer. We may ask your permission to use it in our advertising as well.
  • You may enter as often as you’d like.
  • Winners are selected at the sole discretion of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

Let’s see those Tram pics!

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park: Who Does That?

Ever wonder who works the various jobs at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park or what it’s like to be employed at America’s only mountain-top theme park?

As Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park prepares for a hiring spree for the upcoming summer season, three employees share their insights and experiences. To learn more about summer employment, check out the video above. Our mission is to make people smile; if it’s yours as well, we invite you to apply for an opportunity to join our team.

RYAN MOREAU

What’s your job at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (GCAP)?

Tram base supervisor. I pretty much take care of operations at the base and that includes running the tram, manning the register and supervising the day-to-day operations at the tram base.

How long have you been at GCAP?

About nine months.

What keeps you at GCAP?

I love it! I’ve worked lots of retail jobs; the people at those other jobs were never happy—neither my fellow employees nor the customers. My naturally happy personality didn’t fit in there. Nancy, who is the general manager at the Park, noticed me at my old job and scouted me out.  She liked my work ethic and said she was going to hire me one day. She did! Thank you Nancy!

What’s the best part of your job?

I get to sell smiles for a living and it’s fantastic! GCAP is a very unique workplace. I have never experienced anything like it. I am part of an awesome company that feels more like a family than a job. GCAP is a company that’s going nowhere but up, and I want to be on board with them for the ride so to speak.

Do you have a memorable customer story?

I love the guests. There are a lot of neat people who visit the caverns. There are so many great stories, but one of my favorites is of a guest who was afraid of heights. She was very nervous about riding the tram. She wanted to see our amazing caves so bad though that she was able to tackle her fear of heights, get on top of that 7,100 foot mountain, and have fun. It was awesome!

DAN CHANEY

What’s your job at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (GCAP)?

I’m a cave tour guide. I do all the tours — walking and crawling.

How long have you been at GCAP?

I just wrapped up two years.

What keeps you at GCAP?

This job suits me to a T! I’ve been an earth sciences nerd for ages. I’m an amateur geologist, fossil hunter and prospector, so to say I’m at home in a cave is an understatement! Glenwood Caverns has a great product and outstanding management; it’s a testament to who Steve and Jeanne Beckley (the owners) are as people that working here it feels like a family.

What’s the best part of your job?

I love that I get to share what I know with the public. I’m one of those people who can remember details for 30 years—I’m a top-notch Trivial Pursuit player—I’ve been called the Bill Nye of Caves!

Do you have a memorable customer story?

You mean have I had a personal moment with a customer? Yes! Every day! One that stands out is when I had a geophysicist on one of my tours. This is a scholarly guy who really knows his stuff. Well, after the tour he let me know that he learned a few things he hadn’t known before. I took that as quite a compliment. Another time involved a grandfather and his grandson. After learning something new about cave science, I remember the boy saying with such enthusiasm, “Wow grandpa! That’s so neat!” It’s rewarding to engage with all kinds of guests, from all backgrounds, from all over the world.

DONNA WALKER aka “MAMA DONNA”

What’s your job at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (GCAP)?

I’m a grill cashier at the Lookout Grille.

How long have you been at GCAP?

I’ve been in Colorado for eight years — transplanted from Georgia — and worked at the Caverns for five years.

How did you get your nickname?

(Laughs) A bunch of guys in the kitchen started calling me that and it sort of stuck. I like to take care of people and make them smile.

What keeps you at GCAP?

It’s a great place to work! I love the location on top of a mountain and riding the gondola to work every day.  I love the customers, especially the kids. I’ve been able to see some of the kids of our regular customers grow up over the years and that’s a lot of fun. I also like the fact that GCAP offers military discounts. My son Dusty Walker is a bomb specialist in the US Army, and I’m proud of him and of all our veterans. When veterans visit, I like to go out of my way to thank them for their service.

What’s the best part of your job?

I’m a people person. If I can make someone’s day better I will. If I see a mom is struggling with her kid for example, I’ll make a whip cream face on a plate with chocolate eyes and a smile. That pretty much turns the kid’s day and the mom’s day around right away.

Do you have a memorable customer story?

This one time a gentleman gave me a great compliment. He said I should be on the Dr. Phil show to show other people how customer service is done. I just like to work with the public. It makes me happy to make other people happy.

If you’re on a mission to make people smile, consider joining the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park team this summer. Visit glenwoodjobs.com for more information.

The Family that Theme Parks Together Reunites Together

Family at Glenwood Caverns
Family at Glenwood Caverns

With families spread out across the country like never before, the logistics of organizing a family reunion can become especially challenging. When the group is too big for a backyard picnic, families look to larger venues to handle issues such as lodging, food and activities that can interest multiple generations.

“For larger reunions, you may want to consider a park, campground, a nice resort, or maybe even a theme park,” advises the popular site Family-reunion.com.  In reunionsmag.com, Jacky Runice points out that theme parks like Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park even provide a metaphor for families: “Since we all know family life is like a roller coaster ride with its ups, downs, sudden turns and heads bumping together, why not go with the flow and consider a family reunion around a theme park vacation?”

Once you’ve decided on a theme park location, someone in the family should take the lead as organizer for the group and liaison with the venue. That means communicating with everyone to choose the best date (with plenty of time in advance to arrange work schedules), purchase the tickets (which may involve tailoring tickets to individuals’ preferences), book the lodging and meals (after reaching general agreement on budget), and coordinating transportation (individuals and families can make their own plans, but the leaders should know the itineraries).

At Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, groups of 25 or more can get catered meals and special rates for admission. There’s a wide variety of shows, entertainment, rides and attractions for all ages, plenty of lodging nearby, and you can even add an excursion for a relaxing, healthy soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Contact us for more information. We promise a mountaintop experience that your family will remember for generations to come!

A Faster Ride to the Top: New Tram Coming to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

When you can’t wait for the fun to start, you want to get to where you’re going—fast.  With guest satisfaction in mind, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will soon install a speedy new tram that transports visitors to America’s only mountain-top theme park faster than ever before.

It won’t be long before Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park welcomes guests aboard a state-of-the-art new tramway slated for installation later this year. The new tram will double the speed and triple the capacity of the current Iron Mountain Tramway, the main transport system that takes visitors via gondola cars from the floor of the Roaring Fork Valley to the top of Iron Mountain, an elevation gain of 1,300 feet.

The new tramway will be comprised of 44 detachable, six-passenger cabins with a capacity to convey up to 1,000 people per hour. For comparison, the current tram, with 18 cabins, transports 300 visitors per hour. The new tram will cut the travel time in half, from 12-15 minutes to approximately seven minutes, effectively eliminating customer wait times. In addition to its speed, the new tram will be more reliable. The detachable tram is designed to equally distribute the weight of the cabins across all the towers, which will allow it to sustain higher winds without impacting operations. “This system will help us enhance our guests’ experience by reducing wait times and reducing the frequency of weather-related tram closures,” Nancy Heard, general manager of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, explained. “It will be more stable in high-wind conditions and will eliminate 80 percent of the shutdowns caused by wind and lightning.”

The reason the new tram will be less susceptible to weather-related closures is twofold. First, operators will have the ability to clear people off the tram in seven minutes rather than 15. Second, the new tram will have lightning arrestors that will dissipate the electricity and minimize the potential damage to the tram. This will allow operators to wait to see if a storm develops before deciding to shut down the tram. Currently, the tram closes as a precaution even though in some cases storms may not materialize. The more resilient new tram will reduce the need to run busses and Adventure Vehicles up and down the mountain during inclement weather.

For guests attending Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park events such as Music on the MountainFriday Afternoon ClubOctoberfest or Winter on the Mountain, the high capacity and more dependable tram will be an asset to event attendees who want to depart at the end of a show, a time when there is a high demand to return to the base.

As for the timeline, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be open as usual during the peak season from spring through Oct. 28, 2018. During the construction of the new tramway, from mid-November through mid-March, 2019, the park will be temporarily closed.

After the new tram is installed, it’s full-speed ahead for fun at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park!

Glenwood Caverns to Host National Caves Association Convention

Take a cave tour at Glenwood Caverns for National Caves and Karst Day!

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is preparing for the 2018 National Caves Association Convention, September 24 – 28.  The event will give America’s only mountain-top theme park an opportunity to welcome members and show off its own spectacular show cave and park.

For five days in September, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will host the 53rd annual National Caves Association (NCA) Convention. The NCA represents 80 show caves from across the US, Bermuda and Barbados—including Glenwood Caverns. It was founded in 1965 by a small group of private show cave owners with the goal of encouraging the public to discover America’s underground wonders.

The NCA website highlights some of America’s most enchanting subterranean landscapes. In addition to Glenwood Caverns, a sampling of other show caves from across the country includes Natural Bridge Caverns and Caverns of Sonora, both in Texas; Moaning Cavern in California; Lost Sea Caverns in Tennessee and Luray Caverns in Virginia.

The NCA is also dedicated to educating about cave science. They provide material resources; give talks and tours about everything from cave critters and how to protect the fragile cave environment to the mesmerizing cave formations that delight visitors.  At Glenwood Caverns guests learn about stalactites, stalagmites, cave bacon, popcorn, flowstone and soda straws on the King’s Row and Fairy Caves tours.

NCA visitors are encouraged to explore Glenwood Springs while they are in town for the convention.

During the convention, the NCA group will gather for a welcome reception at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, attend a series of discussions and a vendor showcase at the Hotel Colorado, and have an opportunity to participate in both planned and free-time activities. Conference breakout sessions will include topics such as cave lighting, social media savvy, ride safety, and how to create a successful destination business presented by Jon Schallert. The keynote speaker, to be announced, will likely be a representative from a Colorado company within the tourism industry.

While in town, convention attendees will also have the chance to experience classic Colorado and Glenwood Springs activities. High Canyon Adventures at Bair Ranch will lead jeeping and horseback riding excursions into the high country above Glenwood Canyon. Guests can also take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and all that Glenwood Springs has to offer with self-planned outings like cycling in Glenwood Canyon, fly fishing, tandem paragliding adventures, golfing at the area’s championship links and of course soaking in the geothermal waters.

Visiting cave aficionados will also get the opportunity to take a turn on all the rides and attractions at Glenwood Cavern Adventure. Glenwood Caverns is excited and proud to host the 2018 NCA Convention. We look forward to meeting our colleagues from across the country, learning from one another and sharing our passion for both caving and business at this year’s event.

Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs

Spend some time relaxing at Iron Mountain Hot Springs during the NCA convention.

Steve Beckley Shares Business Insights and Advice at GlenX Space

Steve and Jeanne Beckley

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Iron Mountain Hot Springs owner, Steve Beckley (pictured here with his wife and business partner Jeanne) spoke to an audience of entrepreneurs at GlenX Space in Carbondale, sharing his thoughts about company culture with business owners of all ages.

As one of the most innovative entrepreneurs in the Roaring Fork Valley, Steve Beckley was invited to share his approach to business at GlenX Space in Carbondale, a co-working space, educational center and business incubator that encourages collaboration and seeks to connect entrepreneurs with mentors and potential investors.

AnnMarie Deter, CMC Radio Sales and Marketing Manager and event moderator opened the evening by sharing Beckley’s background and the impact his businesses have had on the Roaring Fork Valley. Both Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Iron Mountain Hot Springs have become destination attractions that benefit Glenwood Springs in a myriad of ways from generating revenue for the city and jobs for hundreds of individuals to creating one-of-a-kind amenities that are enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. “As you grow, strive to make your business an asset to the community; one that both you and the community can be proud of. Grow smartly and add assets that are positive,” Beckley said.

Much of the evening focused on developing a healthy company culture—intangibles that define a company’s personality. In the case of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park those include the company’s mission: to make people smile, its long term vision: to be the destination and employer of choice, and its core values: safety, teamwork, efficiency, presentation, guest service and communication. The company’s seven guiding principles—patience, kindness, trust, unselfishness, truthfulness, forgiveness, and dedication—follow those outlined in the  book Love Works by Joel Manby, a faith-based, servant-leadership management model. “Most people want to be part of something that’s bigger than themselves. People will do so much for you when they feel special.”

Alpine Coaster is a favorite ride at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Making people smile is what it’s all about at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

When audience members wanted to know how to find people who are a perfect fit for a company’s particular culture, he went on to describe Glenwood Caverns’ unique hiring methods. “Our interview process is based on our core values; it’s almost theatrical, we use role playing, games and encourage people to be silly and be themselves. It’s been an effective process to find people who match our core values.” While the Caverns’ interview techniques might not work for all businesses, Beckley reminded attendees that hiring the right people was critical, “You can’t teach core values, you can teach skills.”

Beckley also stressed the importance of listening to ideas from everyone on staff—management to front-line personnel—and cited an example to illustrate that employees have great ideas if only you’ll listen. “I have always dreamed of doing a drop ride. The problem is we have limited space; I couldn’t figure out where to put it because we have caves everywhere. One of our employees suggested a building location that I never would have thought about.

Construction projects are some of the most challenging times at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, requiring employees to rally together and problem solve.

When asked how he gets through business rough spots, Beckley said the hardest times are when the Park is in the midst of a building project—a time when employees and management staff need to rally. “We are fortunate to have a very low turnover rate. Many of our managers have been with us for nine to 13 years! Good thing, the expansions have been prolific in recent years, with more to come. Iron Mountain Hot Springs opened in 2015,  and a new tram will replace the old one with construction starting in the fall.

At the end of the evening, speaking from experience Beckley encouraged fledgling entrepreneurs  to “Know your core values, have high integrity, be honest, listen to others, do what you say you are going to do, help others achieve their goals and have a mindset that says ‘let’s build something great together.’”