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Love is always in the air for giraffes at Colorado Springs zoo

At first glance, the giraffe area at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo might not seem an exceedingly romantic spot.

Granted, it boasts a lovely location, high on a hill, with Colorado Springs spread out below. But when you get down to it, it’s just a big patch of dirt surrounded by a stone wall. And the inside enclosure, where the ruminants ruminate when it’s too cold to go outside, is, well, stinky.

But together they compose one of the world’s most renowned settings for giraffe love.

With 194 successful births since 1954, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo claims one of the most successful giraffe-breeding programs anywhere.

It helps that it has a lot of giraffes to start with. The 20 reticulated giraffes residing at the zoo make up the largest collection of that subspecies in any zoo, according to Katie Borremans, public-relations manager.

It also helps that there is no breeding season; giraffes can start up a relationship at any time of the year.

Still, there must be some magic in the rarefied air up on that hillside, right? Something

How to stay fit this winter

Outdoor-workout enthusiasts reveled in a balmy autumn, running, hiking and cycling for as long as possible before the snow finally fell.

But as colder days and earlier nightfall give way to freezing temperatures, slippery snow and numbing winds can kill motivation for even the most hard-core exercisers.

Instead of hibernating, fitness experts say that transitioning now to indoor workouts that challenge your body in different ways can lift spirits while maintaining sports performance and base-line conditioning until spring.

“Athletes who shift workouts indoors often find that when they do go back outside, they are better,” says Shannon Fable, group fitness manager at the Colorado Athletic Club in Boulder. “They’ve given their body a chance to recover from overuse injuries that occurred from running or biking every day. And they’ve taken the time to build their other core components of fitness, including coordination, flexibility, strength training and cardiovascular.”

Use these tips to keep up with exercise despite the cold:

Kid-friendly music adults will like

Good music for kids requires all the same ingredients of good music for adults: talented musicians, a beat that gets you moving, clever lyrics and a catchy melody. This year’s kids music picks have it all. Some albums are mellow, some are rock, some will make you laugh, some will make you think; but whatever your musical tastes, these tunes are all sure to get your feet tapping into 2011.

Oh, and an added bonus? They’ll probably get your parents’ feet tapping, too. Turn up the volume!

– The Pop Ups, “Outside Voices.” Many of these songs sound like what your parents may have listened to in

New Year’s Eve Explodes with Two Fireworks Displays and Family-friendly Activities

What are you doing New Year’s Eve? You’d better decide quickly. On a night like this, the best events sell out early. Here’s a list of possibilities — entertainers, special dinners, nights on the town — across the Front Range.

Zoo Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve party beginning at 5 p.m. with entertainment for children and an early countdown at 9 p.m. Zoo lights are lit up over 38 acres. $6-10. 2300 Steel St. 303-376-4800.

Night in Vienna with Colorado Symphony

6:30 p.m. to end in time to see the 9 p.m. fireworks on the 16th Street Mall. $32-85. 1000 14th St. 303-623-7876.

Big Head Todd and the Monsters

Doors open at 8:30 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre. $60.50-70.50. 1621 Glenarm Place. 303-825-4904.

Children’s Museum of Denver

Five ball drops just like Times Square every hour from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. watch confetti splash the plaza and make their own fireworks when they jump of

Event round-up: Noon Year’s Eve, Extreme Rodeo & More!

Friday. Little ones get a New Year’s party all their own at the Children’s Museum of Denver’s “Noon Year’s Eve” bash. The plaza outside the museum turns into a mini-Times Square, complete with a sparkly ball-drop – every hour, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., revelers can gather and count down to the drop. Sheets of bubble wrap everywhere simulate the sound of fireworks. The festivities continue inside the museum with art projects, performances and storytimes. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Children’s Museum of Denver, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive; 303-433-7444. Admission is $8 for guests ages 2 to 59, $6 for 1-year-olds and seniors age 60 and older. Visit to learn more.

Friday. Gather up the crew and head downtown for Denver’s New Year’s Eve fireworks extravaganza. Two identical fireworks displays will light up the city – an early show at 9 p.m. for the kiddos and a midnight welcome to 2011. All sorts of street entertainers will walk the mall to add to the atmosphere, including stilt walkers, balloon artists and magicians. The best part: All RTD public transportation is free after 7 p.m. tonight, so hop a bus or a light rail and forget about parking problems. Fireworks displays: 9 p.m. and midnight. The 16th Street Mall, Downtown Denver. Admission is free. For more information, go to

Friday. Experience a ski-town New Year’s in Breckenridge. The fun starts with a torchlight parade down the resort’s Peak 9, when skiers and boarders zoom down the mountain with lit torches – it’s visible from anywhere you can see the run. Back in town, rock group Yamn puts on an all-ages holiday show with openers The Shook Twins. The concert will pause at 9 p.m. so guests can run outside and watch Breckenridge’s annual fireworks display over the Ten Mile Range. Parade, 6 p.m.; concert, 8 p.m.; fireworks, 9 p.m. The parade is viewable from anywhere in town that Peak 9 is visible. Concert: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge. Tickets are $25. Visit or call 970-547-3100 for more information.

Through Sunday. It’s the final weekend to take a dip in the Amazon at “Amazon Voyage: Vicious Fishes and Other Riches” at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Learn all about the Amazon’s diverse ecosystem, including plenty of tidbits about the South American river’s more ferocious denizens: piranhas, anacondas, electric eels and more. See how researchers do their work in the field, and explore the ways the river can be preserved. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd.; 303-370-6000. Admission is $11 for adults, $6 for students and seniors. Visit for more information.

Friday. It’s a Colorado kind of party: First National Bank’s New Year’s Eve Extreme Rodeo, going on at the Budweiser Events Center. The family-friendly show rings – or bucks – in the New Year with an evening of rough-ridin’ competition. Cowboys challenge each other in four events: bareback riding, saddle-bronc riding, bull riding and (yikes) freestyle bullfighting. 7:30 p.m. tonight. Budweiser Events Center, 5290 Arena Circle, Loveland; 970-619-4100. Tickets are $14-$27 for adults, available at or at the door. Kids’ tickets are $8, including fees, if purchased at the box office. Visit for more information.

Kathleen St. John

Happy Holidays!

Mile High Mamas hopes you have the happiest and safest of holidays surrounded by those you love. Posting will be sporadic next week as we enjoy time with our families. Be sure to tune in at the beginning of the week to see our round-up of post-Christmas happenings.

On another note, children will be able to track Santa’s journey this year with whatever high-tech gadgetry they can get their hands on.

The NORAD Tracks Santa website went live Tuesday, and features holiday games and activities that change daily, according to a NORAD news release.

This is the 55th year that the North American Aerospace Defense Command will track Santa.

The big event begins at

To Snoop or Not to Snoop?

When my younger brother was in elementary school, he begged and begged for a special video game for Christmas. One day, a few weeks before Christmas, he saw a present under the tree with his name on it. It was the exact size and shape of a Nintendo video game, so he decided to take a peek. Pulling at one corner of the paper, he was able to see enough to know it was his dream gift.

Our mom worked part-time, so she wasn’t home two or three days a week when we got home from school. He took advantage of her absences to unwrap the present, play it on his Nintendo, then rewrap it before she got home. When Christmas morning finally arrived, he had to act completely surprised and utterly thrilled at the thoughtful gift. He did his best job, enough to fool our parents into thinking the game was new to him. But the excitement was long gone and replaced by guilt. The game wasn’t fun anymore.

I was also a present snoop, but never matched my brother’s legendary sneaky-peek.

Tips for surviving holiday travel

Denver International Airport officials expect 1.11 million passengers will use the airport for the week that ends Monday, making it the busiest Christmas week in DIA’s 15-year history.

The week’s passenger volume is expected to be 6 percent higher than the comparable period a year ago.

Officials expect passenger totals to hit about 170,000 today and again Thursday.

DIA spokesman Jeff Green noted that the airport is forecasting a surprisingly high volume of 144,038 passengers on Christmas Day.

Of record-breaking travel for the week, he said, “I think this is the result of really good airfare deals the last few months and a gain in consumer confidence.”


Event Round-up: Zoo Lights, Schoolhouse Rock & More!

Through Jan. 2. The Denver Zoo is all aglow for the 20th anniversary of the park’s Zoo Lights. Light displays twinkle in the trees and along pathways, some in the shape of the zoo’s residents. Warm up at warming stations scattered throughout, and take a break for a live animal demonstration or a visit with elephants Dolly and Mimi. A couple of special events are left on the calendar, too: On Sunday, Zoo Lights celebrates Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve gets a wild twist with Zoo Year’s Eve. 5-9 p.m. daily. The Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St.; 303-376-4800. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors age 65 and older, $4 for kids ages 3 to 11. Denver Zoo members receive at $2 discount. Bring a nonperishable food item and get $1 off admission. Learn more at

Friday. The Tesoro Foundation hosts its annual Las Posadas celebration at The Fort. A tradition in Mexico and other Latin American countries, Las Posadas re-tells the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, where Christ was born. “Las posadas” means “inns” in Spanish — the last day of the festival is Dec. 24, the night Mary and Joseph bedded down in an innkeeper’s stable when they couldn’t find shelter elsewhere. Tesoro’s Las Posadas event includes free hot drinks and bisochitos, New Mexican shortbread cookies. 5-7 p.m. Friday. The Fort, 19192 Highway 8, Morrison; 303-697-4771. Admission is free. For more information, visit or call 303-839-1671.

Wednesday the 29th. Disney-philes get a special present when the Colorado Symphony Orchestra presents “Disney In Concert.” Hear familiar tunes from the Disney movie catalog performed live, including songs from “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Mary Poppins” and more. It’s not just an instrumental concert, either — guest vocalists chime in with the lyrics. While the music plays, the audience takes in visual elements that incorporate original storyboard drawings with footage from the films. 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Boettcher Concert Hall at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis Streets. Tickets are $32-$85. Buy tickets and learn more at, or call 303-MAESTRO.

Through Dec. 30. Kids on winter vacation probably aren’t thinking much about school, and would like to keep it that way, but it’s the last few days to catch “Schoolhouse Rock” at the Arvada Center. The show follows the story of a young teacher who gets his kids learning with snappy songs. Parents will get a dose of nostalgia, too, in songs from the original Saturday-morning cartoon like “Just a Bill” and “Interplanet Janet.” 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.; 720-898-7200. Reserved tickets are $10, general admission tickets are $8. To buy seats in advance, call or visit

Through Jan. 2. Need to work off some holiday calories and get a brain boost at the same time? Head to the Denver Art Museum, where kids age 17 and younger are admitted free through Jan. 2. Have some “Adventures in Egypt” in honor of the museum’s “King Tut” exhibit, running through Jan. 9: Help prepare a model mummy and make crafts like fingerprint crocodiles and “gold” jewelry. Visit the Spanish Colonial galleries, as well, to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe with bilingual activities. Spanish-language museum tours start at 2 p.m. on Sundays. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. The Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Avenue Pkwy.; 720-865-5000. Adult admission is $10 for Colorado residents, $13 for nonresidents; student and senior discounts are available. “King Tut” tickets are $16.50-$30; they’re a separate charge. For more information, visit

Kathleen St. John

Three part peace

To:  You
From:  Three sisters
RE:  Holiday wishes

Happy and peaceful holiday wishes from me and mine to you and yours.

Tami, Lori, Sheri