By Joel Hillan

DENVER (CBS4) –  Opening day for Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park kicked off with the Ducktona 500 in the lazy river.

elitch opening 5pkg frame 0 Unofficial Kickoff To Summer In Full Swing At Elitch Gardens

(credit: CBS)

On the park side, a marching band played the National Anthem to officially open the park.

elitch opening 5pkg frame 375 Unofficial Kickoff To Summer In Full Swing At Elitch Gardens

(credit: CBS)

Annalyse Jensen and Gabriel Anoba were among the first to enter the park. They went right for the teacups.

“It was my first time ever on them, so it was a little weird,” said Jensen.

elitch opening 5pkg frame 315 Unofficial Kickoff To Summer In Full Swing At Elitch Gardens

(credit: CBS)

She loves the Mind Eraser, for Anoba, it’s all about the Half Pipe.

“It feels like you’re about to fly off when it goes all the way up,” Anoba said.

They came prepared for the heat and sunshine.

elitch opening 5pkg frame 633 Unofficial Kickoff To Summer In Full Swing At Elitch Gardens

(credit: CBS)

“We got water, we got tons of sunscreen,” said Jensen.

elitch opening 5pkg frame 255 Unofficial Kickoff To Summer In Full Swing At Elitch Gardens

(credit: CBS)

A lot of people enjoyed the water side of the park as a way to cool off and have fun, including Liz Weigel’s family.

They came to the park to celebrate a pretty special day.

“This is Rachel. It’s Rachel’s Birthday!” she said. “We just thought it would be fun to come out and not have a mess at our house.”

elitch opening 5pkg frame 940 Unofficial Kickoff To Summer In Full Swing At Elitch Gardens

(credit: CBS)

Thanks to a pretty cool grandma and grandpa, they’re sure to be back.

“My parents got everyone season passes for Christmas, so, yeah we’re spoiled,” she said laughing.

Elitches’ General Manager stopped by to say hi, so he and CBS4’s Joel Hillan decided to take a ride on the Slingshot.

He called it the perfect way to launch into the unofficial start of summer.

LINK: Elitch Gardens Ticket Information

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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