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Mile High Mamas’ Family Trip of the Month: Crested Butte

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Last summer, my family embarked upon a roadtrip that highlighted the best that Colorado has to offer. We loved every single destination but Crested Butte was the one standout and is our choice for THE must-visit destination in July.

Crested Butte is a haven for outdoor summer activities including hiking, climbing, mountain biking, boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, camping and horseback riding. But let’s face it: you’ll find most of these activities at Colorado’s other mountain resorts.

There were three things that made Crested Butte one of my family’s favorite all-time vacations: the kid-friendly Crested Butte Music Festival, the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory’s Summer Camp and the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival.

Crested Butte Music Festival, July 3-August 5

Take world-class musicians, singers and dancers to one of the nation’s most stunning mountain hamlets, add children and adult programs geared to music and movement and you have a vacation your family will never forget.

For the entire family:
From July 6-10, both traditional bluegrass and “newgrass” will be showcased in a range of events: a three-day camp for kids (now sold out), workshops for adults, children’s performances and six top-level bands. For five days of foot-stomping fun, learning, and camaraderie, “Bluegrass in Paradise” will keep festival goers on their feet.

For the kids:
The FREE Divine Family Young People’s Concerts will be held Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. Designed for kids 4-12, these special programs are focused on introducing families to the Festival’s diverse cultural offerings.

Brass for Kids: July 3rd at the Center for the Arts
Performing a variety of fanfare, patriotic and march pieces, Alpen brass (a twelve-piece ensemble) will have the kids dancing and marching in their seats.
Bluegrass for Kids: July 10 at Red Lady Lift, Mt. Crested Butte
The Bearfoot Bluegrass Band performs foot-stomping tunes for kids at the base of the mountain.
Legends for Kids: July 17 at Crested Butte Depot
Mirabei Daniels will charm kids into the world of stories and legends. Accompanied by instruments, this will be an adventurous and miraculous morning.
A Nose for Space: July 24 at Center for the Arts
Hot air balloons, Newton’s apples, the Wright brothers and the first monkey in space all make surprise appearances in this fact-filled quest for lift off. Jim Jackson teams up with musician extraordinaire Benjamin Pratt to bravely go where no clown has gone before as they explore the history of flight, a trip to the moon and what lies beyond.
Blow the Alphorn: July 31 at the Center for the Arts
Arkady Shilkloper (the world’s best alphorn player in the world hailing from Moscow) will perform for kiddos and parents alike (think Ricola commercial!)
Hansel and Gretel, August 4th at 11 a.m. at the Center for the Arts
Based on the Grimm brothers’ famous fairy tale, this opera tells the classic story of how Hansel and Gretel get lost in the forest. www.crestedbuttemusicfestival.com

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, July 12-18, 2010

It is only befitting that “The Wildflower Capital of Colorado” has a festival dedicated unto its glories. With the fuchsia pinks, sunny yellows and majestic purples of the lupines, Aspen sunflowers and mule’s ears, you will think you crawled onto a Monet canvas of mad, extravagant colors.

There are more than 85 hikes and walks for all ranges of fitness, wagon rides and so much more. The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival has added child-specific classes to their roster this year that includes hikes, art projects and learning about wildflower identification while parents enjoy their own events.

Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory

Sure, there are oodles of children’s camps out there but how many are conjoined with the nation’s most renowned high-altitude field station with the top students and researchers from around the world?

The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory is located in Gothic, a 4-mile drive from Crested Butte and a stone’s throw away from paradise a.k.a. the Gunnison National Forest and Continental Divide.

My daughter Hadley’s Nature Camp experience was the highlight of her trip because these aren’t your average camp counselors. They are dedicated professionals who—in just two hours—gave her an in-depth look at our fascinating natural world through games, hikes, crafts and scavenger hunts.

Deals and Steals

Watching your wallet? Be sure to check out Gunnison-Crested Butte’s fantastic festival packages! To read last year’s trip report from Crested Butte with many other activity ideas, please go here.

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