Another large crane is standing over the skyline of downtown Denver and it's a sure sign of progress.

The crane is positioned over Elitch Gardens as the theme park prepares it's rides for a 126th season.

That crane means Spring and Summer are almost here.

In early November, Elitch Gardens went into winter mode. The cars on the roller coasters were taken off their tracks and placed indoors. The seats on the giant Ferris wheel were given winter coats to protect them from cold and snow.

Now, it's time to get everything back in shape for a new season.

To ensure everything is set, secure and ready to roll on opening day on April 30, a crane was brought in to assist park employees with some of the heavy lifting, like returning an 8,000 pound boat to the Sea Dragon ride. As difficult as that task sounds, it was a pretty easy process to anchor it back in place.

Crews assemble the Sea Dragon ride at Elitch Gardens on Thursday
Crews assemble the Sea Dragon ride at Elitch Gardens on Thursday

Before the wind got to strong in the afternoon Thursday, inspectors spent hours along the tracks of the Mind Eraser. They were rappelling 100 feet in the air, going from bolt to bolt, making sure the winter weather didn't compromise the structure.

"Every steel ride, everything that is steel and bolted together is looked at," Ride Maintenance Manager Craig Sundberg said. "If you get ice in there, sometimes things stretch, sometimes bolts get frozen over so we have to inspect the rides every year."

The 10-story wooden roller coaster, the Twister II is also undergoing a safety check of its 4,640 feet of track. The passenger cars also getting a new paint job.

Each of the theme park's 53 rides receives expert attention to ensure safety. No detail gets overlooked. Every Elitch team member is focused on safety.

Here is a rundown of other pre-opening priorities:

  • 73,000 man hours spent on park prep and training
  • 12,000 hours devoted to ride training
  • 3,000 job interviews conducted
  • 2,000 employees hired
  • 3,652 team member uniforms ordered
  • 300,000 park maps & brochures printed on recycled paper
  • 80,000 souvenir bottles ordered
  • 5,120,000 feet of toilet paper purchased for the season
  • 200,000 plush animals ordered
  • 7,200 pansies planted

All of the flowers that visitors see at Elitch Gardens are grown in the park's greenhouse from seedlings. Elitch Gardens has over 240 different varieties of perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees throughout the ground.

Until the start of summer, Elitch Gardens will only be open on the weekends, starting April 30.

Once Memorial Day weekend arrives, it will open seven days a week— that includes the Water Park.
Every Friday Night from July 1- August 5, guests at the wave pool can watch family-friendly movies: https://www.elitchgardens.com/dive-in-movies/

There's already a line-up of concerts which are free with admission to the park:
https://www.elitchgardens.com/concerts-2016/