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What Was Once Here and What Still Is

What Was Once Here and What Still Is, A Travel Story From Lakeside Amusement Park Denver

No one here tonight likely knows what the rusted Kellogg’s vending machine would have sold many years ago, but from outward appearances the still sunshine yellow M&M ice cream dispenser could pass for a functioning source of frozen treats to this day.

What Was Once Here and What Still Is, A Travel Story From Lakeside Amusement Park Denver

Both are tucked away, along with at least a dozen fallen friends, in plain sight of brave young buccaneers sailing high on The Flying Dutchman. The artifacts are shoved behind the cantina which, if open, would be serving up cheesy nachos and burritos of questionable quality. Instead, tonight the cantina’s tables provide respite for moms and dads who need a breather while kids grab another 3 minutes in Skoota Boats as scattered neon begins to toss electric colors onto the pool.

What Was Once Here and What Still Is, A Travel Story From Lakeside Amusement Park Denver

When things fall apart beyond repair at Lakeside they aren’t repaired, they’re just accepted as is, as a cost of doing business, of growing old. There’s no polish rubbed onto veneer, no attempts to hide the harsh effects of time. Yet the beat goes on. Families still smile together on the Ferris Wheel and teenagers still scream on The Cyclone. The lake still shimmers at night and the ICEEs are still not worth the buck.

What Was Once Here and What Still Is, A Travel Story From Lakeside Amusement Park Denver

What Was Once Here and What Still Is, A Travel Story From Lakeside Amusement Park Denver

The decay becomes atmosphere making this 110 year old place something akin to a rent controlled apartment, and the tenants are an unpretentious lot.

What Was Once Here and What Still Is, A Travel Story From Lakeside Amusement Park Denver

Some of the neon has gone dark but we know the words by heart.

What Was Once Here and What Still Is, A Travel Story From Lakeside Amusement Park Denver

The metronomic hiss of compressed air being released as the Satellite’s six remaining rockets rise and fall beside the twinkling glint of the lake is reassurance that while we’re all a little damaged, each of us a mixed bag of emptiness and light, we are still kicking too.

What Was Once Here and What Still Is, A Travel Story From Lakeside Amusement Park Denver

Tattoos kiss after The Spider comes to a complete stop and small feet scamper past hurrying into cotton candy dreams.

Another night lived without regret.

What Was Once Here and What Still Is, A Travel Story From Lakeside Amusement Park Denver

The Staride, inoperable for the last 45 years, sits quietly in the shadows at the heart of it all.

The old wheel is the most glaring reminder of what was once here and what still is.

What Was Once Here and What Still Is, A Travel Story From Lakeside Amusement Park Denver

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