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Mama’s Weekly Picks for Colorado’s Best Family-Friendly Events!

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It’s officially May! You can tell, because the calendar is packed. To the brim. If you or your kids are bored in the coming week, you haven’t read down the list far enough. Trust me, there is something for everyone in my humble opinion. Free Days, First Fridays, athletic endeavors for those so inclined, family festivals. . . it’s an embarrassment of riches, people, it really is.

Also, please note the expanding Mother’s Day list of events. If you or someone who loves you is still stuck for something to do, you might just send this their way.

As always, call or check the website before you go, just to make sure.

Free Days:

Friday, May 1, Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, 8500 Deer Canyon Road, Littleton 303-973-3705 or www.botanicgardens.org.

Saturday, May 2: Free First Saturdays at the Denver Art Museum (free for Colorado Residents), 100 W 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver (in the Civic Center Cultural Complex, on 13th Avenue between Broadway and Bannock). 720-865-5000 or www.denverartmuseum.org. Please note that the groovy Psychedelic Poster exhibit does cost extra if you want to see it. But if you go on a free day, you’re still saving money.

Sunday, May 3: Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys, 1880 Gaylord Street, Denver, 303-322-1053 or www.dmmdt.org. This is part of the SCFD’s “pay what you can” family free days, so donations are happily accepted. Enjoy dolls and miniatures, along with a fun craft. My oldest son attended a birthday party here, and came home with a pretty cool little craft and a thumbs-up report. Given our penchant for all things boy, this museum clearly has a little something for everyone.

Tuesday, May 5: Free First Tuesdays at the Children’s Museum, 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., 2121 Children’s Museum Drive (Off of I-25 and 23rd Ave, near the Denver Aquarium), Denver 303-433-7444 or www.cmdenver.org.

First Friday, May 1

I will not say anything about the weather, I will not say anything about the weather, I will not say anything about the weather. . . just take a coat with you if you go. Wow. Do I sound like a mom or what?

Tennyson Street, Tennyson Street between 38th and 44th Avenues, Northwest Denver www.denverartwalk.com

Santa Fe Drive, between 4th and 12th Avenues, Central Denver; Free Shuttle available from the Light Rail Station at 10th & Osage; Parking also available at West High School, for a small fee that directly benefits the high school. www.artdistrictonsantafe.com

Golden Triangle, On Lincoln, between Speer and 13th, Central Denver, www.goldentriangleofdenver.com

Community Events:

Friday, May 1 – Sunday, May 3, Various times and locations, Denver Community Clean-up Initiative. Feeling civic-minded? Join players from East High School’s basketball team (Go Angels!) as they clean up the area around the Downtown Aquarium. This event is sponsored by Safeway, as they roll out their eco-friendly cleaning products. I’m wondering: Are they so friendly that they do the cleaning for you? Following is a list of all clean-up sites around the Denver metro/Boulder area:

Friday, May 1st: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Safeway in Boulder, 3325 28th Street

12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 29th Street Shopping District in Boulder

6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Fiske Planetarium on the CU-Boulder Campus

Saturday, May 2nd: 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Downtown Aquarium

Sunday, May 3rd: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Denver Botanic Gardens

3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 16th Street Mall, Denver

Saturday, May 2, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Ft. Lupton Heritage Fair, County Road 14 ½, Ft. Lupton, Colorado. www.spvhs.org. Ft. Lupton is located about 25 miles north of Denver, off Highway 85. The Heritage Fair features history reenactors from various periods, including the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the Civil War. The heritage fair has demonstrations on how things were done back in the day, such as blacksmithing, weaving, and pottery. This event is free, but there is a charge for some activities, as well as food. Check the website for more details and directions to Ft. Lupton.

Special Events

April 30 – May 2, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; May 3, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Titanic: Treasures from the Deep. Park Meadows, 8401 Park Meadows Circle Drive, Lone Tree. www.countrytitanic.com. Sponsored by Country Financial, in partnership with RMS Titanic, Inc., this FREE (!) mobile museum makes its way down south for its final stop in Colorado. The exhibit features 50 artifacts from the Titanic, personal stories of people aboard the Titanic, along with the history of the ship and tons of other interesting stuff. You can even get your picture taken (for free) as though you were on the Titanic.

Saturday, May 2, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Local Foods Festival at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. , 8500 Deer Canyon Road, Littleton 303-973-3705 or www.botanicgardens.org. It’s all things local when it comes to growing food, finding local food and those who make/raise it, learning about Community Supported Agriculture, and even discovering the joy of raising chickens (which is experiencing quite a resurgence, in case you didn’t know. We here at Casa de Jennifer are forever hoping for chickens, but not all adults are on board with the idea.). There will be a “local food court” for snacks, along with cooking demonstrations, and a host of other activities. A perfect way to kick off the farmers’ market season. $10 per car/$5 per pedestrian or bicycle. Discounts available for Botanic Gardens members.

Saturday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Sunday, May 3rd, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Denver Green Festival, Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, www.greenfestival.org/denver-2009. Eco-friendly businesses, information about sustainability, and the Big Green Rabbit. It’s a naturific experience at the Denver Green Festival. $15 per person gets you passes to the festival, plus 2 months of The Nation and some other excellent perks. Kids 18 and under are free. Also free if you are a Denver Zoo member and you present your membership ID. Check the website for other pricing details.

Saturday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Boulder Home & Garden Fair. 29th Street Shopping District. www.homeandgardenmag.com/fair2009. Your typical home and garden show, except that it’s in Boulder, which negates any typical aspects about it. Lots of kids activities, including gardening workshops, art activities, face painting, and music. FREE! The best kind of event.

Sunday, May 3, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Celebrate Family! at the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 S. Dahlia, Denver www.jccdenver.org or 303-399-2660. This FREE festival for families features all sorts of FREE activities, including the Science Guy, a climbing wall, several performances, including a clown and a magician, bounce houses. . . you name it, it looks like they’ve got it. They’ll also have FREE snacks and Starbucks, chair massages, and a Wii Cube Demo. Starbucks and massages? Oh be still my heart. And did I mention that it’s FREE?

Wednesday, May 8, 11:00 a.m. Firehouse Tales for Tots at the Denver Firefighters Museum, 1326 Tremont Place, Denver. www.denverfirefightersmuseum.org. Presented on the first Wednesday of the month, this program for kids ages 2 – 6 features books, finger puppets and other props to help promote fire safety. Free with paid admission. Adults $6, Seniors $5, Kids 1 – 12 $4.

Mother’s Day Events

Ok, if you haven’t yet made reservations for Mother’s Day, there’s no need to panic. There are still spots available at many places, probably even your favorite local restaurant. Even so, never underestimate the power of IHOP.

May 8, 9, and 10, Various times: Mother’s Day Full Tea at the Molly Brown House, 1340 Pennsylvania Street, Denver. www.mollybrown.org or 303-832-4092. The only spots available for this popular event are on Friday at 11:00 a.m., and those are probably even going faster than fast. Take your daughter/s (I’m sorry, I just can’t see my boys getting into this. . .), share fancy tea with your favorite Mom or Grandmother, and tour the Molly Brown House while you’re at it.

May 10, 8:15 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Mother’s Day Brunch at Hudson Gardens, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton. www.hudsongardens.org or 303-797-8565 x 321.

A glorious way to spend Mother’s Day: Surrounded by beautiful flowers you didn’t have to plant or weed! Seating is European style, which means you may be seated with other parties. Check the website for complete information, including menu descriptions, seating areas, and specific seating times. Tickets are $12 for children, $23 for adults.

May 10, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Mother’s Day Tea, Denver Firefighter’s Museum, 1326 Tremont Place, Denver. www.denverfirefightersmuseum.org or 303-892-1436.

A traditional tea party and reading of the book No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons). Sure to please any Mother-Child combo. Tickets are $10 per person, and reservations are required.

May 10, 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Mother’s Day Feast at the Downtown Aquarium, 700 Water Street, Denver. 303-561-4450 or www.aquariumrestaurants.com. The Downtown Aquarium offers one of the best places in a landlocked state to view aquatic life while eating, no doubt about it. Adults/$34.99, Seniors/$29.95, Kids 3 – 12/$13.99, 2 and under/Free. Includes ½ price Adventure Exhibit wristbands and validated parking.

May 10, 8:30 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. Members Only Brunch at the Denver Botanic Gardens. 1005 York Street, Denver. 720-864-3500 or www.botanicgardens.org. It may seem exclusive, but really all you have to do is buy a membership. Then you can take that special woman in your life (or you can be that special woman) to a fabulous brunch at the Botanic Gardens and enjoy the benefits of membership all year long. Adults are $29.95, Seniors and children ages 4 – 12 are $19.95, and children 3 and under are free; Reservations required.

May 10, 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Members Only Brunch at the Denver Zoo. 2300 Steele Street, Denver. 303-376-4800 or www.denverzoo.org. A huge spread for members and their guests. Get in to the zoo early, before regular hours, and stroll around talking to the animals before everyone else gets there. Reservations are required. $30 age 13 and over, $15 ages 3 – 12.

May 10, Denver Botanic Gardens. If the brunch isn’t your thing, or you’re not up for purchasing a membership, you can still visit the Botanic Gardens and enjoy a beautiful Mother’s Day. Bring a picnic lunch, and stroll through the gardens. Their new Jurassic Gardens exhibit features realistic models of dinosaurs, along with prehistoric plants and their modern relations. The Botanic Gardens will also have family activities from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.. Regular admission rates apply.

May 10, 9:00 a.m., Washington Park, Denver Spina Bifida Association of Colorado Walk, Run, and Roll; A Fundraiser and Public Awareness Event for the Spina Bifida Association of Colorado. 5k Run/Walk/Roll, and 1 Mile Family Walk. Registration: $20/individual, $50/family, $12/youth and seniors. Register by May 8th at www.coloradospinabifida.org. We have a fabulous kid in our life who has Spina Bifida, so I may be biased in mentioning this event. But what could be more fun than burning off your Mother’s Day meal before you eat it? And Washington Park? On Mother’s Day? Beautiful! Go. Run or walk. Eat. Enjoy!

May 10, 9:00 a.m., Boulder Reservoir, Title 9k+ Mother’s Day Run; Rag-A-Muffin Run at 8:15. www.titlenine.com.

This is an awesomely fun race around Boulder Res. It’s 6 miles, which is pretty similar in distance to that other race in Boulder in May. You can run/walk it alone, with your kid/s in a stroller, or with your kid/s as a team. Only, no dads, or any other men. Seriously! A great way to celebrate your umph as a woman and a mother. And did I mention the Rag-A-Muffin run? It’s too cute. The post-race festivities include live music and fun activities of all varieties for kids and parents alike. The race is limited to 1800 participants (this is a good thing, believe me!), so register ASAP.

May 10, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Mother’s Day Bike the Refuge at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. 56th and Havana, Commerce City, 303-289-0930 or www.fws.gov/rockymountainarsenal (click on the Wild News link for information about this event). Bring your bikes and tour the Arsenal with a guide, scoping out the wildlife and learning a thing or two about what you see. Kids can make a keepsake memento for Mom. Perfect for the nature-loving Mom or Grandma.

Theater and Music:

Friday, May 1, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 2 at the End at Carino Coffee, 20971 East Smoky Hill Road, Aurora. 2 at the End is a local band featuring a great friend of mine, so I get to include their gig in my events listing. Go see them! They cover Phish’s “Bouncing Around the Room.” Who does that, unless you’re a Phish cover band? Which they’re not, they’re a regular cover band, and that’s why they’re so great. Oh, and also: This is a family-friendly event. Take the kids, enjoy some music, and you’ll all be home and in bed by 9:00. Unless you forgot to order the decaf.

Through May 9: Just So. Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada. www.arvadacenter.org or 720-898-7200. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s tales, including How the Leopard Got His Spots, this musical is a feast of entertainment for school-aged children. Weekday General Admission: $8, Weekend Reserved Tickets: $10. Check with the Arvada Center for show times and days.

Through May 15: Snow White and the Dwarves of Dweedlebury, Boulder’s Dinner Theatre, 5501 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder. Show times are most Wednesdays through Saturdays, Various times. www.theatreinboulder.com or 303-449-6000, x4 for reservations. A musical participation experience, recommended for kids in preschool – 5th grade. Tickets are $7. Check for specific show dates and times.

Through May 17: The Emperor’s New Clothes at the Denver Puppet Theater, 3156 West 38th Avenue, Denver. www.denverpuppettheater.com or 303-458-6446

Show Times: Thursdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, 1:00 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes prior to show time. Tickets are $6.00. Group discounts and discounted ticket packs available.

Shows at the Denver Puppet Theater are appropriate for children ages 3 and older.

*Please note: Times change during the summer months. Check before you go!

The Denver Puppet Theater is a funky little hidden gem in North Denver. Puppets truly are art, and take on a life of their own (but not in a creepy, Poltergeisty way). Definitely worth a visit.

Other Fun Stuff:

Friday, May 1, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Hudson Gardens and Event Center, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, 303-797-8565 or www.hudsongardens.org. It’s the first official day of the season at the gardens. Adults $5; Seniors; $3, Kids 3 – 12, $2.

Sunday, May 3, Colorado Rockies Run for the Homeless, 8:00 a.m., Coors Field. Kids 1k fun run at approximately 9:30 a.m. www.active.com. Registration fees are $30/adult, $15 senior/child if you register no later than today (May 1), or you can register at the race, but the fee will be just a bit higher. With your registration, receive a t-shirt, post-race food and beverages (including free beer. . .), and 2 free Rockies tickets.

This 5k takes you through the streets of downtown Denver. The real treat, however, is where you finish: The warning track of Coors Field. It’s such a rush, you’ll sprint to the finish. You also get to see yourself on the Sony Jumbotron. Which can be good or bad, depending. . . 2 free Rockies tickets are included with your registration. We’re all about the bargains here, and this is a great one. We’ve gotten some pretty sweet seats when we’ve redeemed those free tickets. The kids’ fun run (ages 10 and under) also goes around the warning track on the field, and, like all kids’ fun runs, it’s a major photo-op. Moms and Dads can run with their little ones if need be.

Tuesday, May 5, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Tuesday Tots at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, 56th and Havana, Commerce City, 303-289-0930 or www.fws.gov/rockymountainarsenal

Nature program for children ages 2 – 5 (parents must attend). This month’s focus is “Slithering Snakes and Slimy Salamanders.” Eeeeww. Call for reservations.
Consignment and Rummage Sales :

Saturday, May 2, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00. Boulder County Parents of Twins & More HUGE Spring Sale. Boulder Valley Christian Church, 7100 South Boulder Road near Cherryvale. Admission: $1 per adult. www.boulder-twins.org. If you’re looking for gently used clothing for your kids, or toys, furniture, or gear, this is where you should be on Saturday. Lots of bargains, and it all goes to a non-profit that helps out families with multiples. Lord knows anyone with more than one baby at a time needs all the help they can get!

Farmers’ Markets

Several Farmers’ Markets begin this weekend, with more opening every week. Look for a comprehensive list of all the markets around town, coming soon!

Saturday, May 2, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Cherry Creek Fresh Market, 1st Avenue and University (in the Bed, Bath, and Beyond parking lot), Denver. This market will be open on Saturdays through May, then in June adds Wednesdays along with the Saturdays. www.coloradofreshmarkets.com

Saturday, May 2nd, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Metro Denver Farmers’ Market, Southwest Plaza SE Parking Lot, Wadsworth and Bowles, Littleton. www.denverfarmersmarket.com

Saturday, May 3rd, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Highlands Ranch Farmers’ Market, Highlands Ranch Town Center, 9288 Dorchester Street, Highlands Ranch. www.denverfarmersmarket.com

If you would like an event to be considered for Mile High Mamas’ weekly round-up, please email jennifer@milehighmamas.com.

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