Glenwood Caverns Hosts National Caves Association Convention

King's Row is a spectacular sight
King's Row is a spectacular sight

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be hosting the 53rd Annual National Caves Association Convention, Sept. 24 – 28, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Members of the National Caves Association (NCA) will convene in Glenwood Springs and at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for their annual convention on Sept. 24 -28. The event is a venue for the exchange and sharing of ideas on all things related to owning and operating a cave attraction. While in town, NCA members will have the opportunity to learn more about Glenwood Caverns and its operations as well as share about their own experiences and insights.

Some of the convention highlights include a vendor show at the Hotel Colorado, an opening reception at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, keynote and other speakers, as well as Q & A sessions. There are also opportunities for visitors to get the full Glenwood Springs experience. Convention guests will have a chance to soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs and ride the thrill rides at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. On Tuesday, a western-themed afternoon is planned at Bair Ranch High Canyon Adventures complete with four-wheeling or horseback riding excursions, a chuckwagon dinner and a bluegrass band.

This year’s keynote speaker is Mike Kaplan, President and CEO of Aspen Skiing Co. Kaplan was one of the youngest executives of a top U.S. ski resort when he took the reins as president and CEO of Aspen Skiing Co. He earned his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Denver. Kaplan offers a depth of knowledge about the fast and changing pace of guest expectations, recreational technology and growth opportunities.

Others include Jon Schallert, an internationally known speaker that helps small businesses improve their marketing strategies and become destinations that attract visitors far beyond regional geography. Schallert’s message resonates with cave owners, many of whom are family-owned enterprises. Also speaking on the topic of marketing is Trent Blizzard, owner of BlizzardPress, a website design and marketing firm in Glenwood Springs. A social media expert, Blizzard will share tips with NCA members about how to engage with audiences across a variety of marketplace platforms.

Photo op from Exclamation Point

With 146 registered participants, Glenwood Caverns is expecting the largest turnout for an NCA convention to date. 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 association 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.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be open to the public and operating as usual during the NCA convention.

Firefighter Appreciation Day at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Firefighter Appreciation Day

Firefighters and their immediate families are invited to spend the day enjoying cave tours, thrill rides and kid-friendly attractions, courtesy of the mountain-top Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Members of the community can drop off cards or signs of support at the tram base by Sept. 15.

In light of the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices made by firefighters in the Roaring Fork and Grand Valleys this year, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is hosting a Firefighters Appreciation Day on Sunday, Sept. 16. These heroes and their immediate family members are invited to spend the day at the park, free of charge. For those unable to attend, a make-up day is being held Sunday, Sept. 23.

“This is our way of saying thank you to these brave men and women and their families for the sacrifices they have made,” Nancy Heard, general manager of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, said. “We are also inviting the public to drop off thank you notes and signs of support that we can display during their visit.”

To obtain the free Funday Passes, firefighters must show their badge or ID at the tram base upon arrival. The passes include transportation up and down the mountain, two walking cave tours and unlimited turns on all rides and most attractions.

Heard, whose family was evacuated during the early days of the Lake Christine Fire, added, “I know a lot of the volunteers who fought so hard to save not just our home and those of our friends and neighbors, but the entire towns of Basalt and El Jebel. I saw firsthand the incredible danger that they willingly subjected themselves to in order to serve our community. We all hope that they can take some time on the 16th or 23rd to relax, laugh and play a little, our treat.”

Anyone interested in dropping off cards, notes or signs should do so at the tram base by Saturday, Sept. 15. The park will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Caves, Karst and 10 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Glenwood Caverns

Cave care is important to help underground ecosystems thrive
Cave care is important to help underground ecosystems thrive

Caves are fascinating and mysterious places worth exploring. These ten surprising facts are just the tip of the stalactite! Learn more at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park where we’ll be celebrating National Caves and Karst Day on June 6.

For the second year in a row, the National Caves Association (NCA) is celebrating National Caves and Karst Day on Wednesday, June 6. The goal is to raise awareness about the crucial roles both play in our lives and encourage vacationers to add a cave visit to their Colorado summer vacation itinerary.

 “Almost everyone knows about caves, but only a small percentage of people have even heard of karst,” said Steve Beckley, who owns Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park with his wife Jeanne. “Karst is terrain that’s typically characterized by sinkholes, caves, underground rivers and barren, rocky ground. Caves and karst are rich in resources, including 175 different minerals, a few of which have only been found in caves. Forty percent of the drinking water in the U.S. comes from karst aquifers!” That just scratches the surface of how caves and karst impact our daily lives.”

Take a cave tour at Glenwood Caverns for National Caves and Karst Day!
  1. Speleology is the study of caves. Our free speleobox mimics what it’s like to crawl through narrow cave passageways.
  2. Glenwood Caverns is one of the few caves that is located on top of a mountain.
  3. The caves were created by the mixing of ascending hot springs water and descending surface water. The combination of the two created an acid that dissolved the rocks and created miles of cave passageways and chambers.
  4. There are 127 steps (with platforms for viewing and resting) down to King’s Row which is the most highly-decorated cave room in Colorado. A light show highlights the spectacular cave formations.
  5. Many critters call the caves home. The creatures that spend their entire lives underground are called troglobites and include insects and spiders.
  6. Active, living caves are extremely fragile environments. To keep the atmosphere friendly to underground life, the Beckleys installed airlocks to reduce airflow, and technology that monitors temperature and humidity.
  7. In 2000, a two new species of troglogbites were discovered. Both are currently known to live only in Glenwood Caverns.
  8. A student and former tour guide discovered not one, but seven previously unknown forms of bacteria, some of which may have applications in fighting disease!
  9. Glenwood Caverns has a marvelous array of cave formations including snowflake-like aragonite crystals, flowstone that resembles frozen waterfalls, colored bands of cave bacon, mounds of cave popcorn and delicate soda straws, as well as a multitude of stalactites and stalagmites.
  10. The caves were always the main attraction at Glenwood Caverns, thrill rides were installed to give visitors something to do while they waited for the cave tours. Glenwood Caverns now offers three different cave tours and multiple thrill rides.

There’s no doubt about it; caves are intriguing. Explore Glenwood Caverns this summer. Whether you choose the easy-to-walk Historic Fairy Cave Tour, the popular King’s Row tour or the crawling adventure of the Wild Tour, our expert tour guides will shine a light on the fascinating world of caves. Join us on June 6, for the National Day of Caves and Karst or visit us anytime. To learn more about Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park visit glenwoodcavdev.wpengine.com.

Vaccine is good news for travel industry

Music on the Mountain Hits It Out of the Park with 2018 Lineup

Music on the Mountain is ten for ten! Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s concert series is opening its tenth season with 10 mountaintop performances starting May 19. 

Get your groove on at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and let the good times roll! The 2018 Music on the Mountain season begins on Saturday, May 19, with the Goodman Band and two performances by Dance of the Sacred Fire, and continues with concerts in June, August and September.

All Music on the Mountain concerts are free with cans-for-a-tram rides beginning at 4 p.m. on Saturdays with music from 6 – 10 p.m.; and for Sunday shows at 2 p.m. with performances from 4 – 8 p.m.  To hop aboard the Iron Mountain Tramway for free just donate a canned or non-perishable food item. The cans-for-a-tram program helps to stock the shelves of Lift-Up, the local food pantry. To date, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has collected more than 66,000 cans and food items!

Whiskey Stomp band

With all the dancing you’ll be doing, you’re sure to get hungry. Grab a bite at the Lookout Grille or Snack Shack, both are open for dinner and refreshments, with drink specials available inside and in the outdoor plaza. Guests can also enjoy the park’s rides and attractions during the events. A Funday Pass, just $38 with the free tram ride, includes both walking cave tours and unlimited access to all open rides. The outdoor rides are open until dusk; the Laser Tag arena and 4D Motion Theater are open until the park closes.

Music on the Mountain would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Thank you to: Bighorn Toyota, Glenwood Insurance Agency, Community Banks of Colorado, Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Lift FM, Swire Coca-Cola, Glenwood TV, Hotel Glenwood Springs, Young Services and Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

2018 Music on the Mountain Lineup

 Saturday May 19—Music on the Mountain kicks off with The Goodman Band playing Stevie Ray Vaughan covers and classic rock, plus two performances of Dance of the Sacred Fire, a mesmerizing, high energy show featuring flame throwing and fire breathing!

Saturday, June 2Whiskey Stomp; bluegrass, funk, Latino, rock, jazz, country and original songs

Saturday, June 9The Mixx;  Top 40s, R&B, classic rock, funk, country, blues, and good ol’ rock and roll!

Sunday, June 10Motivado; Tex-Mex, Sierreno and Norteño

Saturday, Aug. 18Fifty50; classic, modern and original rock

Saturday Aug. 25Hell Roaring Stringband and Defiance String Band; a string band double-header featuring American hoedown, bluegrass, swing, rags, waltzes and more

Saturday, Sept. 8Vidicus Maximus; rock, funk, blues, soul and pop

Sunday, Sept. 9Christian Music on the Mountain featuring talent from The Orchard in Carbondale

Saturday, Sept. 15The Missing Link Band; country, rock, blues, pop and R&B

Saturday, Sept. 22Emotional Rescue; a Rolling Stones cover band

In addition to Music on the Mountain, Friday Afternoon Club on the Mountain returns from June 15 through Aug. 10. Tram rides are free after 4 p.m. with a coupon from the Post Independent. The melodrama, Trouble Bubbles at the Iron Mountain Hot Springs, begins Memorial Weekend and continues through Labor Day with shows at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Friday through Monday.

Find out more about what’s happening this summer at America’s only mountaintop theme park at glenwoodcavdev.wpengine.com.

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.

FAC at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Take the party to new heights at Friday Afternoon Club every week now through Feb. 23 at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.  

Celebrate the end of the work week or the beginning of a weekend getaway to Glenwood Springs with an altitude adjustment – Glenwood Caverns style. On Friday nights though late-February, ride the Iron Mountain Tramway to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, where all winter long we’ll kick-start the weekend with an evening of socializing, merry-making, drink specials, live music, free tram rides, dancing, lots of twinkly lights and delicious food specials.

FAC takes place from 5 – 8:30 p.m. With a quick ride aboard one of our signature orange gondolas, we’ll elevate your weekend plans in a matter of minutes. Guests can ride the tram free after 4 p.m. with a coupon that appears in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent on Fridays. The coupon is valid for free tram rides for up to four people.

At the top, wander around, take in the views and snuggle by the fire pits, or upgrade your free tram ride at the General Store to a Funday pass for just $26 to include 2 cave tours, the lighted Alpine Coaster, 4D Theater, and Laser Tag.

When you’re ready, settle in for the remainder of the evening at the Lookout Grille where we’ll be serving up specially priced food and drink specials that warm both the belly and the spirit. Drink specials change every half hour with the spin of a wheel.

The highlight of each Friday night is amazing music played by some of our favorite, hyper-talented local bands. Count on this lineup to have you toe-tapping, boot-scootin, and foot stompin’ the night away.

Glenwood Caverns Kicks Off the Holidays, Nov. 18

America’s only mountain-top theme park celebrates the start of the holiday season with its 4th Annual Turkey Tram-a-Ganza and Winter on the Mountain at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

The tradition continues! Count on Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, for holiday spirit and merriment – lend a helping hand to those in need, spend time with friends and family, and get into the holiday groove with music, lights, Santa and more.

It all begins on Saturday, Nov. 18.

  • Turkey Tram-a-Ganza. (Noon to 4 p.m.) Generosity and giving to those less fortunate are an integral part of the holidays; that’s why we kick off the season with our Turkey Tram-a-Ganza. Bring a frozen turkey to the Glenwood Caverns tram base and receive up to four free tram rides per donated turkey, or bring a can of food (or non-perishable) for a single tram pass. Community food pantry, LIFT-UP will distribute turkeys and other Thanksgiving fixings to area families in need. Turkey donors also get the chance to enter a drawing to win an Annual Thrill Pass or two day passes to Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

  • Winter on the Mountain Kick-off Party. (5 p.m. to closing) Stay for the festivities at this annual party that celebrates the start of the holidays with an abundance of good cheer. Kids can meet Santa in the North Pole and get bear hugs from the Coco-Cola polar bear. The Alpine Coaster will be open, as well as several other attractions. Warm up, roast s’mores and sip hot beverages around the fire pits in the plaza. Local trio, the Leonard Curry Band will be performing holiday favorites in the Lookout Grille. At 6 p.m., the lighting of a musical Christmas tree is one of the highlights of evening.

Bring a turkey to the base of the tram and get up to four free tram rides to the top!

Shop the Top: Merchants’ Point of View

 ‘Shop your Way to the Top,’ a new Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park marketing campaign provides a community boost during the Grand Avenue Bridge project.

Glenwood Springs has passed the halfway point of the largest highway construction project in western Colorado in 25 years. Upon completion, the Grand Avenue Bridge will not only be a safe and effective corridor for vehicular travel with wider lanes and better traffic flow, but a welcoming, new gateway to Glenwood Springs and all it has to offer.

During the construction, the bridge is closed through mid-November. A detour takes drivers on an alternate route through town bypassing some of the town’s major shopping districts including downtown Glenwood Springs and the Glenwood Meadows Shopping Center.

To encourage shopping and lend a helping hand to merchants during this time, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has come up with an innovative plan that benefits store owners and their guests. It’s called Shop your Way to the Top.  Here’s how it works: Shop at stores or restaurants in Glenwood Meadows or in downtown between Cooper and Colorado Avenues and 6th to 10th Streets. Make a minimum purchase of $16 and receive a free tram ride – valued at $16 – to the top of Iron Mountain, the location of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. If the receipt is for $32 or more, then two free tram passes can be redeemed, with a limit of four free tram rides per receipt!

It’s easy too; just bring your receipt to the Glenwood Caverns tram base cashier to redeem. Visitors can also upgrade tickets to a Tram & Cave or Funday Pass if they choose. Shop your Way to the Top purchases can be made until the bridge opens and those receipts are valid through Dec. 17, 2017.

Here’s what Glenwood Springs merchants are saying about Shop your Way to the Top:

“I’ve told my customers about it and they are just delighted! I ask them if they’ve taken the tram before and often they say no. I tell them, well now’s your chance,” said Vicki Van Engelenburg, owner of A La Carte, a clothing and gift boutique on Grand Ave. She added, “The Shop your Way to the Top campaign has been very successful and positive for us, bringing in customers that might not have stopped otherwise. There’s also camaraderie among businesses in Glenwood Springs that we’re all in this together, I appreciate the Caverns’ efforts to support my business and others during this project.”

From Miles Rattet, owner of The Fourth Dimension, a men’s apparel and home decor store on Cooper Ave., “We were super excited to be included in this. The Cavern’s campaign is fantastic for the entire community; it enriches our whole town by bringing us even closer together. Shop your Way to the Top is a great example of how businesses can work together to support one another and it’s a model for our community going forward in the future.”

According to Mike Mercatoris, owner of two Glenwood Springs’ restaurants – Zheng Asian Bistro at the Glenwood Meadows and The Grind on Grand Ave. in downtown, “The Shop your Way to the Top campaign has been awesome!” He added, “The bridge construction has definitely been a ding in our business, but the cool thing is Glenwood Caverns doesn’t have to do this. They really aren’t impacted the way downtown or the Meadows are. It really shows their character and the character of Glenwood Springs. It’s been cool to see our patrons, especially locals respond to the program. They get pretty excited when they find out in addition to a great meal they can get a free tram ride and take in some of the most amazing views of the Roaring Fork Valley from the top.”

Who says there’s no such thing as a free ride? With Shop your Way to the Top, claiming your free ride is as easy as enjoying yourself by shopping and dining in Glenwood Springs – at the Meadows or downtown. Show us your receipt, then kick back for a free tram ride to one of the most scenic overlooks around, or spend the day checking out the caves, rides and attractions at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

It’s Fright Season at US Theme Parks

Count on theme parks, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park included, for a screaming good time at Halloween and year-round. 

Many amusement parks across the United States dress up for Halloween – some for tricks, some for treats. There’s the frightful transformation of Pittsburgh-area Kennywood’s Raging Rapids into the Voodoo Bayou, Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream Blood Asylum, in
Williamsburg and Knott’s Berry Farm’s Pumpkin Eater, Voodoo Maze, Ghost Town Streets, and 13 haunted mazes. More kid-friendly choices range from the Sweet Trick or Treat Trail at Hersheypark to pumpkin decorating and the Not-Too-Spooky Howl-O-Ween Radio Show at Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa.

Other theme parks stay haunted all year – the scary installations are called “dark rides” in the industry. There’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood studio, a drop tower that goes on to a “fifth dimension” star field where you hurtle toward doom. Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando and Hollywood includes a ride through Hogwarts Castle with threating spiders, dragons, Dementors, and Death Eaters. For a more classic fright, check out the Spook-A-Rama at Coney Island in New York or the Haunted Mansion at Knoebels in Elysburg, Pa. Curse of DarKastle at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., combines the traditional scares with 3-D CGI animation and other modern features.

Check out USA Today’s Readers’ Choice 2017 selections for seasonal spooky them parks to find one near you this month, or TripSavvy’s list for a scary treat any time.

A Mountain-full of Colorado Fall Fun

Fall is a beautiful time of year to visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Autumn in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is spectacular, but fall at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, America’s only mountain-top theme park, is over-the-edge for seasonal colors, family-fun and thrills! 

Autumn splendor is on full display at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park where for four weeks you can experience your favorite Colorado fall activities including Octoberfest, leaf-peeping, hayrides and more. Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of fall at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

Every Day. All of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s rides and attractions are open for the fall season – that includes the Alpine Coaster, Giant Canyon Swing, Cliffside Roller Coaster, Canyon Flyer and the Flying Eagle Zip Ride.

Color Viewing. The Park’s mountain-top location is ideal for spotting colorful fall foliage. Views include Glenwood Canyon, the Roaring Fork Valley with Glenwood Springs in the foreground and the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Sopris and the Elk Range. The tram, the Lookout Grille, the Mine Wheel and viewing decks at the Giant Canyon Swing and above the restaurant are some of the best places for leaf peeping and photos.

Saturdays Only.  In addition to all the daily happenings at the park, on Saturdays (Sept. 30, Oct.7, 14, 21 & 28), from noon to 5 p.m., visitors can spend the afternoon participating in family-oriented activities such as tractor-driven hayrides, fall-themed games for kids, face painting and pumpkin decorating.

Octoberfest. Grab your dirndls and lederhosen. For two consecutive Saturdays, from noon to 4 p.m., Oct. 14 and 21, the oompah band Alpine Echo, will regale visitors with German music including the crowd-pleasing chicken dance, polkas, waltzes, Bavarian pub songs and everyone’s favorite from the Sound of Music – Edelweiss.

Festive Food & Drink Specials. All month long, the Lookout Grille will be serving bratwurst and sauerkraut, seasonal beers, spiked apple cider and festive fall drinks for kids. Satisfy your sweet tooth at the General Store with homemade fudge, including some with pumpkin flavoring.

The Details. Face painting, kids’ games and hay rides are included with admission; pumpkins are just $3 each. Regular admission rates apply. Funday Passes, which include the tram ride, cave tours and unlimited turns on all open rides, cost $54 for adults and $49 for kids 3 to 12. Tram rides cost $16 for adults and $11 for kids. Through Oct. 29, the park is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It will be closed Oct. 30 through Nov. 9.