Farm, train and PIrates Cove open May 23

Posted 5/12/09

Opening day, May 23, means the barn door opens at the Belleview Park Children’s Farm, the Lions Club Miniature Train begins the endless trips …

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Farm, train and PIrates Cove open May 23


Opening day, May 23, means the barn door opens at the Belleview Park Children’s Farm, the Lions Club Miniature Train begins the endless trips around the park and swimmers splash down at Pirates Cove Family Aquatic Park.

Opening of the Belleview Park attractions traditionally kick off the summer season at the popular park.

The farm lets children get close to animals like calves, ponies, goats and sheep. The farm is closed on Monday, with the exceptions of Memorial Day and Labor Day. Normal hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $1, and children under 2 are admitted free. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Group tours are available. For information, call 303-798-6927.

The Lions have operated a miniature train in Englewood since City Park was where CityCenter Englewood is today, but this year saw the handing over of operations and maintenance to the City because club members felt they could no longer keep the train running.

The tiny train takes riders rumbling along the track, clattering over a trestle and whisking through a tunnel during the mile-long ride around the park. The train is idle on Monday except on Memorial Day and Labor Day. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. on Sunday. A ride ticket is $1, and children under 2 ride free.

In addition to the special attractions, the expansive park offers picnic areas, shelters, a nature area and even a creek chuckling over the stones where kids of all ages can go wading. The pavilion, restrooms and the playground on the east side of the park have being totally rebuilt. The large, improved pavilion offers covered picnic areas. The columns of the pavilion are covered with stones from the former Englewood City Hall on South Elati St.

The building project also created a new and much improved playground and improved basketball court.

Jerrell Black, parks and recreation director, said crews are working daily, putting final touches so all the facilities will be ready to go by opening day.

Crews are also making final preparations for the May 23 opening of Pirates Cove Family Aquatics Park.

Pirates Cove offers slides, tubing on the “Lazy River” a beach-like entrance to a family water play area plus a regular lap pool. Additionally, there is a snack bar and sand play area.

The facility is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily until Aug. 16. For information, call 303-762-2683.

The cluster of attractions are very popular. Black said it would be difficult to determine how many people visit the park. For example, several thousand visitors gather at Belleview Park on July 4 to watch the fireworks display. He said his best estimate is there are probably about a half-million people who spend time and visit the facilities at Belleview Park during any 12-month period.

The land that now is Belleview Park was once part of the Silver Dollar Ranch. That changed in the late 1960s, when Englewood sold City Park to developers who turned it into Cinderella City shopping mall. Englewood got almost $1 million for the park and pledged to use the money to create a city-wide park system.

Within a year, Englewood bought land and opened Belleview Park. The miniature train moved in soon after. At that time, the train was a miniature version of a Rio Grande streamliner. The petting zoo was built by the Lions Club, and later the city took over and it became the Belleview Children’s Farm.

All the early parks had a theme, and Belleview’s theme was space. The original playground equipment, designed by Parks and Recreation Director E.P. “Packy” Romans and built by the city, included rockets and space stations.

The park got a “real live” rocket in the 1970s when the United States Air Force donated a missile, which became playground equipment. Belleview became widely known as “Airplane Park.”

But time, weather and use caused potential safety hazards, and there was talk of scrapping the missile in the late 1990s. However, a group headed by City Councilman Al Vormittag set about restoring the missile, which had become the trademark of the park. Eventually the city got an arts grant, and the missile now has a permanent home atop a pedestal. Ceremonies marked the event in June 1997.


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