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Choose Your Own Denver Adventure – Local Ideas for Spring Break 2013

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The budding of life brings a fresh, new beginning – a soliloquy of nature resounding the promise of hope and new life.

I absolutely love spring break in Colorado…a glimpse of what is to come, interrupted briefly by the grand finale of heavy, wet spring snowstorms, culminating just in time to let our hearts fill with joy at the arrival of gorgeous Colorado summer weather.  Springtime in the Rockies is a sight to behold, and by far my favorite season of the year!

With this transition in seasons comes prime opportunity for adventure, fun and learning in the Denver area.  With snow in the mountains, you can hit the slopes early – sunshine included – and head back down to town for an evening of capris and flip-flops.  You can shred and tan all in one day…some dare to combine the two but that looks cold to me, ha.

If you’re going to get the most out of your spring break, you’ll want to design a plan of action.  Call a family meeting, make a priority list, choose some “plan B” items, sort the details and be sure to watch the forecast daily – Colorado can keep you on your toes!

Plan with a Purpose
To make this year’s spring break really interesting choose a theme – something your children are interested in – and plan around it.  Include costumes and face paintings in your exploration of our amazing city.  Use cookie cutters to pack themed sandwiches and peanut butter tortilla snacks in your sack lunches.  Incorporate themed lessons in your activity choices – you’re children won’t even notice that they’re learning when they’re having this much fun.

Volunteer
Along side your chosen theme, make an effort to volunteer in the community.  Contact a local venue and ask if your family can come help for a day.  This can also be a great way to visit an attraction you might not normally be able to squeeze into the fun budget.  Contact Volunteers of America if you are short on ideas – be sure to tell them your plan with a purpose and see what recommendations they make.  Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, build leadership skills and to instill empathy in our children.

Explore Denver
When making your adventure plans, focus on a specific area of town.  Here are some ideas, categorized by geographic area.  Remember not to over-schedule so that you don’t run out of steam too quickly!

CENTRAL DENVER

  • Botanic Gardens  – These top-ranked U.S. botanical gardens offers spectacular garden displays, outdoor art exhibits, gardening classes and workshops at two great locations–Chatfield and Denver.
  • The Denver Firefighters Museum (downtown) – The Museum offers not only outstanding exhibits on the history of fire fighting in Denver focusing on the Denver Fire Department, but innovative and exciting hands-on activities that allow visitors to interact with the traditional exhibits
  • History Colorado Center–The History Colorado Center has exciting new workshops and exhibits including Living West, a groundbreaking new 7,000-square-foot exhibit that explores the living dynamics between the people of Colorado and their state’s extraordinary environment.
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science–The big news at Denver’s favorite natural history and science museum is the brand new addition on the Museum’s south side has added 126,000 square feet and five levels of discovery to the Museum, providing even more space to engage, delight, and spark your imagination. Be sure to also check-out the new exhibit Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed (Feb. 14-Aug. 24, 2014.
  • United States Mint Tour (downtown) – Discover how our currency is made and take home a souvenir – FREE.
  • Molly Brown House Museum (downtown) – Interesting Colorado history and a lesson in selfless courage and leadership.
  • Racine’s Restaurant (between Cherry Creek shopping and downtown) – Giant gingerbread pancakes and beautiful works of art, need I say more?
  • Steuben’s Restaurant (downtown) – Diner atmosphere, excellent kids meals with carrot sticks, cucumbers with ranch, edamame, fresh berries and choice of entree and side. This downtown district is great for a lesson in acceptance and tolerance.
  • Il Vicino (downtown & other locations) – Micro brewery, great food, charming atmosphere and kids can make their own dessert using pizza dough.

Central Denver offers endless entertainment options for people of all ages.  I’ve purposely left out some of the main attractions and highlighted places you’ve possibly never visited.  Try something new this spring break!

NORTH

SOUTH

  • Hudson Gardens (Littleton) – Pack a lunch and spend a lazy day wandering.
  • The Streets at SouthGlenn (Centennial) – Beautifully lit at night with several places to stop for a bite to eat or see a movie at the Hollywood Theater.
  • Westlands Park (Greenwood Village) – Spend an entire day here, huge park with something for everyone – FREE.
  • Pasquini’s (Lone Tree & other locations) – Great atmosphere, delicious Italian food, kid friendly and you can play with dough while you wait!
  • Yogurtland (Centennial) – Variety of frozen yogurt choices, add your own toppings and pay by the oz. Great price for a family dessert that everyone is pleased with!

EAST

 WEST

  • Dinosaur Ridge (Morrison) – Exhibits, shuttle tour, and real dino tracks, just a few dollars/person, 3 and under are free.
  • Majestic View Nature Center (Arvada)–Majestic View Nature Center and Community Park has more than majestic views–The 3,000- square foot Nature Center features hands-on nature and environmental displays, wildlife exhibits, a kid’s area, classrooms and meeting space.
  • Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave (Golden) – Colorado history with spectacular views.
  • Casa Bonita (Lakewood) – It’s about the atmosphere and entertainment, kids love it, menu is limited.  Euphoric memories from your childhood?  Visit again–it hasn’t changed.

VARIETY OF LOCATIONS

  • Letterboxing – Go on a real-life treasure hunt.  Letterboxes are hidden all over the Denver area!
  • Pottery Painting – Find a paint-your-own pottery near you!  Prices are per project and make fabulous keepsakes for parents and grandparents.
  • Outdoor Fun – Colorado offers endless FREE fun outdoors.  Choose a location, dress for the weather and have a blast! If you’re looking for ideas, start at Jefferson County’s Open Space with maps and event listings.
  • Scrapbook – Be sure to keep a record of your spring break adventure.  Kids can practice journaling and note all that they are learning.

 HELPFUL RESOURCES

  • Restaurant.com - Enter a zip code and try something new…at a discount!
  • Science & Cultural Facilities District, Denver - With a mission for advancement and preservation of art, music, theatre, dance, zoology, botany, natural history and cultural history, this website provides a listing of excellent learning opportunities all around the Denver area – including a free days listing.
  • Denver 365 - For a listing of year-round area events.

What adventure will you choose this spring break?

Some venues provide group, local resident and senior discounts.  See individual websites for details.

Photo: Global Denver


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