2013 New Theme Park Attractions for the Western United States

Continuing our series on the new theme park attractions opening across the country, we turn our attention out west.  This post will cover attractions opening in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Washington.  Just like we did with Florida, we’ll give California a separate post all its own to deal with the many theme parks in that state.  Continue reading for details from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) report for the southeastern U.S including a new Fairy Cave tour and lots of water park additions – such as a whole new water park in the Las Vegas desert.

Glenwood Caverns Historic Fairy Caves Tour

Glenwood Caverns Historic Fairy Caves Tour

From IAAPA’s Press Release

Blazin' Buckaroo at Elitch Gardens, CO

Blazin' Buckaroo at Elitch Gardens, CO. Photo by Garrett Ellwood, courtesy of Elitch Gardens


Elitch Gardens in Denver, CO, opens a new family roller coaster, “Blazin’ Buckaroo.”  This 360-foot steel coaster is designed with children in mind and reaches a top speed of 15 mph.  The park also debuts seven new shows: the “Raptor Project” features up-close animal interactions; “Cirque Conjure” exhibits magical illusions and inspiring music; the “Do-Right Duo” superheroes get kids active; the “Mapapa African Acrobats” showcase amazing feats of agility; “Motorcycle Mania” thrills the crowd with extreme stunts; and two wacky shows that feature “Professor Norm” are designed especially for kids.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, CO, expands its cave tours.  The Historic Fairy Caves Tour now includes sections of the cave that have never been open to the public, with a stop at Exclamation Point overlooking the Roaring Fork Valley.  The Kings Row Tour takes guests into Iron Mountain on lighted walkways revealing the most highly decorated cave room in Colorado, complete with stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, and cave bacon rock formations.


Roaring Springs Water Park in Boise, Idaho, debuts “Cliffhanger,” a six-story, high-speed water slide that drops riders from a trap door launch capsule straight into a nearly vertical drop.

Silverwood Theme Park, located near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, opens two new rides in 2013.  “SpinCycle” is a 104-foot-tall thrill ride with a cylindrical-shaped vehicle that seats 24 people facing outward, with legs dangling and wearing only a harness.  The vehicle rotates 360 degrees at 13 revolutions per minute while at the same time swings like a giant pendulum all the way upside down.  “Barnstormer” rotates two 20-person vehicles on swinging arms as the ride climbs higher with each swing.

Wet ’n’ Wild Las Vegas


Australian entertainment conglomerate Village Roadshow opens Wet ’n’ Wild Las Vegas, located in southwest Las Vegas near I-215 and Sunset Road.  The 41-acre water park is home to more than 25 rides and attractions including the “Hoover Half Pipe,” a slide that drops riders 57 feet into a giant half pipe, and the “Colorado Cooler,” a 1,000-foot-long lazy river.

Cowabunga Bay is a new water park located near Las Vegas in Henderson, NV.  The park, managed by Huish Entertainment, features the 35,000-square-foot “Surf-A-Rama” wave pool, the “Cowabunga Kid’s Cove” children’s play area, several new thrilling water slides such as “Good Vibrations,”” Zooma Zuma,” and “Wild Surf,” and more.


Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Wash., debuts an indoor glow-in-the-dark mini-golf experience, Howl at the Moon Glow Golf.  Families use glow-in-the-dark golf balls to putt their way through a forest filled with woodland creatures. The Great Wolf Kids Store also opens, featuring exclusive Great Wolf Kids souvenirs and gifts and including “Creation Stations” where children can stuff their own Great Wolf Kids character to take home and decorate “Like Me” shirts – one to wear, and one to share with their new stuffed friend.  The water park resort also introduces two new dining options: a new family-style restaurant, Hungry as a Wolf, and the Wake Up with Wiley (and Friends) character breakfast buffet.

Great Wolf Lodge new characters

For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.