The Royal Gorge Fire burned more than 3,000 acres and nearly demolished the park.
When the smoke cleared, the iconic suspension bridge was still standing, but little else. Forty-eight of the 52 structures at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park had been destroyed.
The park pledged to rebuild, and just under two years after the fire have fulfilled that promise. It has spent the last 23 months slowly coming back to life. A print and online tourism campaign kicked off just three weeks after the fire to spread the word that park's closure was only temporary. The bridge reopened in the fall of 2013, followed by the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in the spring. Then up came the attractions, old and new. A 14,000 square foot visitor center. Cafe 1230, a new restaurant. A zipline, a gondola, the reconstructed Plaza Theatre. In fall 2014, the park was ready for a soft reopening, but there was still more to be done.
The nearly two-year odyssey ends this weekend. The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is holding its grand reopening and unveiling the results of $30 million in repairs and labor. Visitors can expect much of what they loved before the fire, with a modern twist.
Events over the weekend include live music, a magic and aerobatic show, appearances by Disney princesses and superheroes courtesy of the character performers from Columbine and Company, face painting and much more. And of course: all the attractions new and old to begin creating new memories on.
Prices through May 22, 2015 are $21 for adults, $15 for children ages 4-11, and free for children 3 and under.