New gondola takes you up 1,200 feet above Arkansas River at Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

New Gondola at Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
New Gondola at Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — “This is our 86th year, and there’s been 26, 27-million visitors to this park,” said Mike Bandera, vice president and general manager of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.

Bandera is expecting even more visitors as the new gondola opens up for the first time Saturday.

“It’s gonna be pretty exciting just to know about a new ride. It’s a new adventure,” said Antonio Corvera, who was visiting the park with his family.

The new gondola takes you across a 2,400 foot-span and nearly 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River.

“Yes, I’m a little scared,” said Riley Froelich, who visiting the park for the first time.

It’s the latest addition to the park after 18 months of demolition and construction following the wildfires in June of 2013.

“We were here last year, and we saw the fire damage, all the burned trees and stuff. Unfortunately the park wasn’t open, so we came back this year to give it another go,” said Howard Froelich, who rode on the old gondola 12 years ago.

Bandera tells FOX21, 90-percent of the park was damaged by the fire, leaving the park in an unfortunate situation.

“Of course, we had 200 employees at the time, and we had to lay off about 185 of those, so it’s nice to start bringing those jobs back,” Bandera said.

Bandera says by next weekend, they’ll have 360-degrees of attraction at the park, but he adds construction won’t stop for a while, as they plan to keep adding more attractions every year.

The new gondolas can seat up to 48 people and will be open year round.

The ride is already included when you purchase a general admission ticket.

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