Do You Remember the Celebrity Sports Center?
News is constantly spreading around the country that Denver is the place to be, but many wise people have been sitting on that secret for years, so it’s no surprise to them. For those that were lucky enough to spend their childhoods in the Mile High City, there’s a good chance they have some happy memories at Celebrity Sports Center.
But, do you realize this place was brought to life by Walt Disney himself?
Located in Glendale, Colorado
This magical place was first opened in 1960 and was located on Colorado Boulevard in the city of Glendale within Denver, CO. The bowling alley came first, but the rest of the attractions followed the year after. It managed to stay in business for 34 years, but it eventually had to shut its doors in 1994. It was truly the end of an era when that happened.
Celebrity Sports Center is most commonly thought of as a big bowling alley, but it’s really much more than that. At the time, Denver was growing at a fast rate (not so different from today), and there were quite a few options for people to entertain themselves. But, many of the exciting choices depended on the good weather of the great outdoors. The city has 300 days of sunshine a year, but colder days and fast-moving thunderstorms have a way of dampening that statistic.
So, some wise people decided that there needed to be an indoor place with fun and entertaining options for all ages.
Had Something for Everyone
If you never experienced this wonder, you may not understand why it was so loved. It’s hard to give you the feel, but let’s try. It was a wide assortment of various arcade rooms and other fun spots. Most people are adequately impressed when they hear that there were 80 different bowling lanes, but it also had over 300 pinball machines and video games spread throughout.
To make sure the adults stayed happy, it also had a full-service restaurant and a bar called the Hofbrau. There was also a billiards hall that allowed for some friendly competition. Going back to the active activities, there were bumper cars, ski ball machines, a shooting gallery, and a pool with multiple water slides.
The pool was a pretty impressive feature of the place, and it was intended to be used for recreational purposes as well as to try to draw in some competitions. Sometimes it had practical uses like Red Cross training sessions, and it was used on multiple occasions to host sailboat races (with massive fans providing the necessary wind).
Because of the involvement of Walt Disney, the pool occasionally played host to goofy who rode his water skis around behind a motorboat.
There Were a Few Famous Investors
This wasn’t a small project, and it cost a pretty penny to get started. As a matter of fact, it took around $6 million dollars to build. Fortunately, there were a few famous investors who helped make it a reality. Walt Disney and his brother Roy both put money into it, as well as Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, and some other big names of the era.
Training Ground for Disney Employees
This wonderful place came about before Disney World was built in Florida, and the wide variety of different jobs required to run it gave an idea to Mr. Disney. It became a training ground for almost all of the different functions that would be required at the park, so there was already an experienced management staff ready to go when it opened.
All Things Must End
Unfortunately, this amazing place couldn’t last forever. Many of the celebrity investors had lost interest in the early years of Celebrity, but Walt Disney arranged for his company to buy them out. He was passionate about the place for the rest of his life, but a few years after his death, the company decided to sell it.
By the 1990s, it had become fairly worn out, and it would have taken a significant investment to bring it back to its glory days. This led to the sad decision to close it for good, and it was demolished to make room for new shopping centers.
Make New Memories at Glendale 180
As sad as everyone is that such a Denver icon is gone, the future is bright. Construction will soon be finished on Glendale 180, and it looks pretty promising. The development is basically a mix of a mall, a park, an entertainment center, and a restaurant district. It’s not quite the same as a Disney project, but it has a lot of people excited.
What’s Your Favorite Memory of the Celebrity Sports Center?
So, do you remember the Celebrity Sports Center? What was the best memory you had? We’d love to hear about it!