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Denver’s kid-friendly, sophisticated activities for the whole family

Grumpy, bored children rank right up there with obnoxious in-laws and ex-lovers as the worst companions with whom to grab a drink or slice of pizza.

And in the case of kids, they don’t even have to be yours to ruin a potentially fun evening on the town.

We take our kids with us everywhere in Colorado, but engineering kids’ activities is about more than just giving them something to grab onto and pummel into submission. The best casual family outings are the ones you want to repeat, and the secret lies in keeping parents just as happy as the little ones.

It’s why few parents will jump at the chance to revisit Chuck E. Cheese or the Children’s Museum, “Disney on Ice” or the latest Pixar cash cow, a few weeks after their last visit.

So, in the spirit of “The Muppet Show” — which famously catered to children while dropping more than a few bread crumbs for adults — we present a sampling of kid-friendly spots along the Front Range that won’t leave the parents counting the minutes until they leave.

Parenting and pot: Colorado divorce lawyers’ perspective on marijuana legalization

Jake and Emily Smith have three children: Kristin, age 9, Austin, age 7, and Olivia, age 4. The Smiths (a hypothetical family for the sake of this commentary) appear to be the perfect family — happily married for 12 years, a stay-at-home mom, a lovely suburban home, two shiny new cars, and cute kids.

There’s only one problem: Three to four nights a week, Jake quietly steps into the backyard or the basement to smoke a joint. Emily has never approved of his marijuana use, and as the children get older, she has increasing concerns about their exposure to Jake.

Jake says: “What’s the big deal, honey? It’s legal in Colorado now. You don’t hear me complaining when you have a few glasses of wine after dinner.”

The final straw comes when Jake decides to make some extra money to pay down credit card bills (the perfect family vacation to Hawaii is expensive, after all) by starting a small grow operation in his basement to sell marijuana to medical and retail locations. Emily files for divorce — and she doesn’t want Jake to have the children at all because she believes that the grow operation and Jake’s recreational marijuana use are dangerous to them.

What happens to parenting when marijuana dependency is involved? growing by tapping community of crafters

The Craftsy studios on the outskirts of Denver were hopping.

Beth Ferrier had flown in from Saginaw, Mich., to shoot a class on appliqués, and Amy Herzog of Somerville, Mass., was in another studio laying down some insights on knitting.

In a third studio, Gwen Bortner of Le Grande, Calif., was ready to tape a class on turning your craft into a living.

And that, in essence, is precisely what Sympoz Inc. is doing.

The 3-year-old Denver startup has turned crafts — such as quilting and breadmaking — into a multimillion-dollar cash stream through its Craftsy website.

It’s Not too Late to Stick to Your Resolutions–Here’s How!

We are quickly approaching the end of January. Does that mean that your resolutions have already taken a nose-dive? Statistics say something like 80 percent of people who make resolutions have already dropped them by the end of January. But those same odds makers tell us that if you consistently do something for just 21 days it becomes habit.

I was recently given an opportunity to ask a few questions of LiveWell Colorado’s Rally Man, Jamie Atlas who knows a thing (or ten) about tips to help you keep those resolutions alive. The questions I asked him were real mom issues.

Me: I made this resolution but I don’t know what to do to get started.

Rally Man(Jamie): Think about three small changes you can make in order to create momentum that will eventually turn your resolution into a reality. For example, do you want to exercise two days per week? To get on the right path have your gym bag ready and by the door in the morning. Try going to bed earlier to work out before you head to the office or your kids wake up. Call a friend to go for a power walk instead of dinner or drinks. All of these are great first steps. Bottom line: Focus on those few first steps.

Denver Ski Deals for February

SIA (Ski Industry Association) tradeshow rolls into Denver this weekend. We will get a first peek at the newest ski and snowboard gear!! In the mean time, I will see you on the slopes showing off my NILS coat (which I love – and learned about at last year’s event)! I will be taking advantage of some of these great deals:

Ski and Trade

Colorado Ski & Golf Stores (including Colorado Ski & Sports at Park Meadows and Boulder Ski Deals) still offers the Junior Trade In Program – which allows you to rent equipment for your kids for the entire season at one low price and keep them all season long (unless the kids grow out of them in which place, Colorado Ski & Golf will replace with the right size). Even better… you get 1/2 the money back when you return the equipment!


While most people will stay in to watch the SuperBowl (or critique the ads) you can score a great deal on including: 48% savings at Copper Mountain with lift tickets starting at $55; Save 38% on lift tickets at Winter Park with prices starting at $65; At Arapahoe Basin save 30% on lift tickets, plus a Bacon Bloody Mary, with prices starting at $62. There are also other deals in other states.

Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail

Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail caters to the entire family with the complimentary Kids For All Seasons childcare service, a world class spa with high altitude treatments and the exciting Adventure Ridge. The Family Ski Package is a three-day package including:   Three-day lift tickets for up to two adults and two children 12 years of age and younger;   Three-day ski or snowboard performance rentals for up to two adults and two children;   Complimentary meals for children five years of age and younger, excluding contents of private bar; Luxurious accommodations

 Vail Cascade Resort

Vail Cascade Resort, managed by Destination Hotels and Resorts, a top-rated resort for families, has a Blue Sky Cloud Nine Package sure to interest any family. The Package includes skiing, First Tracks access to the mountain and a special pass to skip the lift lines.  Happy Birthday Vail Deal; Book a four-night stay and get the 5th night for 50 cents!


Loveland offers free season pass when you purchase three lesson pack! Or Play Hookey with 95.7 The Party Radio station…sign up for Party VIP so you can join  for Hooky Day on Thursday, February 7th featuring $25 tickets!  Simply sign up for Party VIP, print your coupon good for a $25 ticket.  Can’t make it on Thursday?  The coupon also includes a buy one lift ticket get one free valid for two weeks after Hooky Days!

Copper Mountain

Kids stay, eat and tube free! Copper is offering two FREE pancake breakfasts. Then tear up the mountain on your skis for FREE if you’re a kid (ages 6-12). Make sure to save some energy for FREE tubing in the afternoon. You’ll also save up to 53% on lodging. If you’re a kid, you’ll ski free!

Snow Sale at Vail and Save up to 50 Percent on Lodging

Celebrate the snow and enjoy Vail this winter.  Book your mountain getaway now and save up to 50 percent on accommodations at The Arrabelle, The Lodge at Vail, The Austria Haus and Legendary Lodging at The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Vail. This special package can also be customized at an additional cost to include discounted lift tickets, ski school and more just ask our vacation specialists for more details. Visit for more information. Vail is celebrating their 50th Birthday with some fun events! Check out the full list.

Kids Ski Free at Keystone. Every Day. All Season Long. No Blackouts.

Keystone Resort is taking kid-friendly programming to new heights; throughout the entire 2012-2013 winter season, children 12 and under will ski/snowboard for free at Keystone. As simple as childhood itself, Keystone’s Kids Ski Free program removes the red tape and fine print, has no blackout dates and is available on all weekends and holidays, a rarity in the ski industry. To qualify, families must stay two or more nights in one of Keystone’s accommodation options, which span from luxury hotel rooms to cozy ski-in/ski-out condominiums. Families big and small are able to take advantage of the offer, as there are no restrictions on the number of children per adult.  While it is not free – it is definitely fun – tubing at the top of Keystone or climbing around in the snowfort atop Dercum Mountain!

Crested Butte

Kids Stay and Ski Free (valid March 16 – April 7, 2013). Kids 12 and under stay and ski FREE when you book your lodging through Crested Butte Vacations. Take advantage of this amazing deal and treat the kids to an unforgettable Crested Butte adventure! In Crested Butte, kids get their own trail map to show them some awesome trails where adult skis won’t even fit. The Kids’ Terrain Park and a Jib Park are perfectly suited to getting the youngsters rippin’ in style.

Arapahoe Basin

ArapahoeBasin is offering the Holiday 3 Pass – Get three days of skiing for the price of two, plus one half-price “Bring a Friend” lift ticket for $158. On sale now through February 18, 2013. They are also offering 4 Lessons 4 U. The lessons are fully transferrable – meaning you can use all four on yourself or bring your family up and have everyone take a lesson on the same day!

Snowshoe at Beaver Creek
February 3, or March 3, 2013 – Take your snowshoeing to new heights as a beginner or a world class level snowshoer for the Snowshoe Adventure Series which features competitive 5K and 10K events as well as the Kids’ 1K. In addition to renowned alpine skiing, Beaver Creek is home to 20K of designated Nordic and snowshoe trails in McCoy Park, located at 10,000 feet and surrounded by stunning mountain ranges. The series includes a cash purse and participants may enter one or all of the events. In addition to snowshoe demos and sponsor booths, competitors enjoy a post-race party in the village.

Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek is hosting Local Appreciation Days (good news is that EVERYONE is a local at Wolf Creek – and no I.D. Required). On Local Appreciation Days Adult lift tickets are jsut $35 and children/seniors are $20. January 30; February 3, 10, 27; March 6, 31; April 3 & 7, 2013.

Skin Cancer

Protecting your skin from skin cancer is often associated with being outdoors in the hot, summer sun. Yet many people don’t realize they are at risk for skin cancer in the winter, especially if they are around snow or at a higher elevation. That’s why professional skier and three-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso is serving as a SPOTlighter with the American Academy of Dermatology’s (Academy) SPOT Skin Cancer® initiative, helping get the word out about skin cancer prevention and detection. Mamas please don’t forget to put sunscreen on your kids in winter too!

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

Don’t want to miss any of Mile High Mamas’ contests and events? Be sure to sign up for our weekly email newsletter so you can forward these great deals to your friends.

You can also follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.


Denver Deal: Yogurtland, Garbanzo’s, & Aeropostale

I have recently discovered The site gives me a full week’s menu (along with side dishes) and the shopping list. I love the fact that I don’t have to think so hard about what do make for dinner – and my kids are getting more to eat than the four things that I was rotating regularly. Plus, it helps to create meals on a budget. You can use the discount code BUDGET for $3 off any eMeals dinner meal plan subscription.


On Monday, February 4, Yogurtland is celebrating National Frozen Yogurt Day and thanking loyal fans with FREE yogurt and toppings from 4 – 7 p.m. They are also promoting literacy. In conjunction with Books First they are looking for funds to provide more than 8,000 new, high quality books for kids in need.

Happy Birthday Garbanzo’s

Garbanzo’s Mediterranian Grill is celebrating their fifth birthday with deals for YOU. With a valid coupon (available via email, facebook or twitter): Saturday, Jan. 26: Five free falafel; Sunday, Jan. 27: 5 cent Garbanzo Deal (side and drink add on); Monday, Jan. 28: $5 entrees (excludes Kabobs and Salmon Platter); Tuesday, Jan. 29: 5 cent soft drinks; Wednesday, Jan. 30: Five times the VIB card loyalty points.

Wahoo’s Fish Tacos

Wahoo’s Fish Tacos opens in Highlands Ranch on Tuesday, January 29. While they didn’t specifically mention any thing about a Grand Opening Party – they did remind me that they do have a “Kids Eat Free Thursday” promotion.

Do Something Jeans Donation is once again pairing with Aeropostale in their annual jeans drive. 1.7 Million teens are homeless – and the #1 thing requested at shelters is a pair of jeans. You can Do Somethign and drop your jeans off at your local Aéropostale store between January 14th and February 10th and take 25% off a new pair for each donated pair.


I know several people read my posts for the great free days at area attractions like the museums, zoo and more.  This weekend, we have free days at the Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, Denver Art Museum, Denver Zoo and Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, as well as Target Tuesdays at the Children’s Museum of Denver. We have posted the free days that we are aware of for the next several months.

Denver Ski Deals
We have updated our Ski Deals page with all kinds of great new deals! Check it out!

Happy New Year and have a fantastic week!

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

Don’t want to miss any of Mile High Mamas’ contests and events? Be sure to sign up for our weekly email newsletter so you can forward these great deals to your friends.

You can also follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Events: Kids Bowl at Wildlife Experience, Snowdown & more!

Kids Bowl at The Wildlife Experience. On Saturday, Feb. 2 (the day before the Super Bowl), your kids will score a goal at this fun and exciting event featuring sports-themed interactive games and, new for 2013, outdoor adventure sports activities inside the museum including snowboarding, indoor snowshoeing, a BB Gun range, a spin casting challenge, a museum wide scavenger hunt and more. Kids can participate in the fun and games as well as crafts and a few new exciting surprises. Price included with the cost of admission and it goes from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; the film will be at 7 p.m.

Snowdown, Durango (January 30 – February 3). Celebrate snow at Durango’s annual quirky winter festival, where this year’s theme is “Get Your Geek On” iSnowdown 2.0.13. Guests will enjoy more than 60 unique and zany events: evening torchlight parade, ski softball tournament, Snowdown Balloon Rally, wine tasting, beard growing contest, Snowdown Follies, Bed Race, a magnificent fireworks show and more.

Mile High SnowFest. January 30-February 2, 2013. In Denver, we celebrate winter sports all week long with Mile High SnowFest. With something different every night, from the fascinating Art of Winter in Larimer Square and the Theatre District to great times at Downtown Denver’s top restaurants, bars and clubs, there’s always somewhere to go next.
Totally Insane Winter Blast at Granby Ranch. Granby Ranch is turning totally insane on Saturday, Feb. 2! Enjoy games on the mountain, activities at the base area, a rail jam and live music and a dance party, followed by night skiing and tubing.  The activites are FREE and open to the public.  If you plan to ski, you will need to purchase a lift ticket.
No Dogs Allowed at the Arvada Center.  From Feb. 7 – April 13. Leaving the Bronx for a day at the lake is a rare treat for Iris and her close-knit extended family. Despite Papi’s instructions to pack light, Mami brings enough food for a week and Iris sneaks in the family dog – after all El Exigente is part of the family! The drive to the lake is filled with all sorts of misadventure, but the family finally arrives at their destination, only to discover there are … No Dogs Allowed! Good humor prevails as everyone comes together to save the day in this warm and cheery family venture. Tickets $8 and $10. Tuesday-Friday: 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Saturday: 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Southwest Rink at Skyline Park. Through February 14. Take a spin on the ice – for free! Southwest Airlines and the Downtown Denver Partnership invite you to grab your family and friends and head to 16th and Arapahoe in Downtown Denver to the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park! Skate rentals are $2 – or bring your own pair and skate for FREE! Free days for kids will take place throughout the season. Look for regularly scheduled entertainment and activities each week including: Friday night Djs; Saturday morning skating lessons; Saturday night concerts; and Sunday afternoon family entertainment.

GPS Adventures at the Wildlife Museum. Starting on Feb. 9, the Wildlife Experience opens its newest exhibit, which sets you on a course for hidden treasure… all you need is a GPS unit and a sense of adventure. This life-sized maze exhibition introduces visitors to cutting-edge Global Positioning Systems (GPS) through Geocaching – a family friendly treasure hunting game.  More than four million people around the world are on the hunt for over a million hidden treasures.  In addition to hidden booty, these geocachers are finding the real treasure: reconnecting with family, community and nature in a meaningful way.

Disney’s Phineas and Ferb Live: The Best LIVE Tour Ever! “Mom! Phineas and Ferb are going on a LIVE tour!!!” School‘s out for summer and anything is possible as Phineas and Ferb create their biggest invention yet — Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever! On February 1 and 2, Phineas, Ferb, and the whole tri-state area gang embark on a bold escape jumping out from behind your TV and onto the stage in a live action adventure – right in at the BellCo Theater in the Colorado Convention Center. Tickets are between $27-67.

WinterFest Weekend, Pagosa Springs (February 7 – 10). Join in three snow-filled days of fun as Pagosa Springs celebrates winter. Some events include Nordic races for kids and adults, Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race, Snow Sculpting Contest, Snowshoe Stop and more.

Colorado Garden & Home Show. Sure, we’re in the throes of winter but nothing says “hello spring!” like the Colorado Garden & Home Show. An impressive 400,000 square feet of the Colorado Convention Center will transform into a virtual marketplace of garden and home improvement ideas Feb. 9 – 17, 2013. More than 600 companies from 25 states and Canada will introduce new technologies and trends in landscaping, gardening, energy-efficient heating and cooling products, window treatments, siding, flooring, lighting, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, patio furniture, gutters, sound systems, storage systems, greenhouses, decks, spas and more. Kids 12 and under are free.

RidgeGate Free Kids Expo.On Feb. 9, South Suburban’s Lone Tree Recreation Center will present the second annual RidgeGate Free Kids Expo from 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. featuring kid-friendly activities and resources for parents. There will be a variety of booths featuring programs in cultural arts, summer camps and more. Another attraction will be South Suburban’s Living Well van at the adjacent Prairie Sky Park.  The van will host interactive Wii games and a host of activities, including giant stacking cups, hula hoops, jump ropes and athletic balls.

Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age. On Feb. 15, return to the Ice Age at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Marvel at life-size models of awe-inspiring Ice Age animals, fossil tusks and skulls, interactive videos, and hands-on activities. Examine the differences between mammoths—beasts weighing up to eight tons, bearing tusks up to 16 feet long—and mastodons, their shorter, stockier cousins. The 13,000-square-foot exhibition also looks at the role human predation, climate change, and other factors may have played in the eventual extinction of these giants. Tickets will go on sale Feb. 1.

Titans of the Ice Age 3D at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Opens February 15.  Titans of the Ice Age 3D transports you back 10,000 years before modern civilization to the beautiful and otherworldly landscapes of North America, Europe, and Asia. Peer through the 3D canvas as dazzling computer-generated imagery brings this mysterious era and its giant animals to life. You will  come face to face with saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and woolly mammoths as they share the land with early humans who both feared and relied upon these majestic beasts. Experience this dynamic chapter in the age-old story of human ingenuity, a “trial by ice” that compelled our ancestors to seek understanding and meaning in nature.

 NEW! Flight of the Butterflies 3D at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Opens February 15. A scientific adventure. A compelling detective story. A stunning sight to see. Flight of the Butterflies 3D is all this and more. Dr. Fred Urquhart spent nearly 40 years working to discover the monarch butterflies’ secret hideaway and solve the mystery of their unique migration path. In this dazzling 3D film, you will experience the inspiring story of this scientist’s passion and see up close the lifecycle of these beautiful creatures. Get a butterfly’s-view of the world as you fly over North America and into the isolated mountaintops in Mexico where you will encounter hundreds of millions of fluttering monarchs.

The Westin Riverfront Fire & Ice in Nottingham Park. The Town of Avon will be blasting off more than 10,000 shells of fireworks on President’s Day weekend with the special event, “The Westin Riverfront Fire & Ice in Nottingham Park.” On Sunday, Feb. 17, six world-renowned ice carving masters will battle it out at a carving competition at 3 p.m., followed by a larger than life Ice Bon Fire, balloon sculptors, fire and light hula-hoop artists and live music from Turntable Review. The grand finale is Avon’s legendary fireworks display. Starting at 6:30 p.m., this will be the largest winter fireworks show in the Colorado Rockies set to a musical score and broadcast locally on KZYR 97.7.

Baby & Kidz Expo. This event on Feb. 23 at the National Western Complex is a kid extravaganza with bouncy castles, family stage entertainment including science experiments, a magic show, diaper derby, toddler derby, karate and more. A number of vendors will be on-hand including schools (preschool, charter, home school, after school), camps, birthday information, family vacations, deals, theatre, music and dance, a petting zoo and pony rides. Adults are $10, seniors $5 and kids 12 and under are free.

Yo Gabba Gabba. Join DJ Lance Rock and those crazy colorful characters Brobee, Foofa, Toodee, Muno and Plex as they dance and sing live on stage in “Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!: Get the Sillies Out!” Feb. 24 at 2 and 5 p.m. The tour based on the award-winning, live-action Nick Jr. preschool series will bring its musical style to the Paramount Theater (1621 Glenarm Place Denver, CO 80202). Tickets start at $25.

Winter Beauty in Denver’s Parks. The Mile High City boasts more than 4,000 acres of traditional parks and parkways, which include 2,500 urban natural acres. In the winter, they take on a wondrous glow, offering opportunities for cross-country skiing, sledding and snowshoeing. Stroll through City Park during this season and take in gorgeous views of the skyline, framed by the Rocky Mountains. Cheesman Park positively glitters in winter, with large snowy expanses stretching out in front of you. Snowball fight, anyone?

The Ski Joring & Crystal Carnival, Leadville (March 1 – 3). Ski joring is a competition where a horse and rider pull a skier at a fast pace through a course that features gates, jumps and rings. The skier is timed through the course, and penalties are assessed by missing gates or jumps, and by missing or dropping any of the rings. Additional activities include a children’s parade, Nordic and winter mountain bike races and more.

Peter and the Wolf. On March 17 at 2:30 p.m., the Colorado Symphony presents kid-favorite Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev’s fun musical tale in which Peter and a myriad of animals are brought to life by the instruments. Also featured is Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals in an ‘animated’ program perfect for young and old alike at Boettcher Concert Hall. Tickets start at $13.

Win 2 Tickets to See Bon Jovi in Denver!


What could be a better Valentine’s Day present for Denver moms than to see Bon Jovi in concert April 16 at the Pepsi Center?!

As Bon Jovi gears up for a monumental year, the all-American rock icons have announced the first set of U.S. dates, taking them from coast to coast on their “BON JOVI Because We Can – The Tour.”  The tour will kick off in Uncasville, CT on February 9, treating fans to one-night-only performances in U.S. arenas nationwide, plus multiple stadium shows including a two-night stand at MetLife Stadium in the band’s home state of New Jersey.

Bon Jovi is offering a wide range of ticket options, starting at $19.50 (plus service charges).

The details:

Bon Jovi’s Because We Can – The Tour
April 16, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Pepsi Center–The-Tour


Mile High Mamas is giving away a set of tickets to see Bon Jovi at the Pepsi Center. Please go here to enter. Contest deadline is Feb. 11, 2013.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge offers free wildlife drive

Downtown Denver’s skyscrapers are only minutes behind me as I take a right at a car parts shop in Commerce City, followed quickly by a left just before the 18,000-seat stadium that is home to the Colorado Rapids soccer team.

Suddenly, I’m in the prairie, braking for cottontail rabbits and taking photos of white-tailed deer in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, where a nine-mile do-it-yourself Wildlife Drive recently opened, augmenting hiking trails and occasional bus and guided bike tours.

This 15,000-acre site where the U.S. Army made mustard gas during World War II was once on the Superfund list of high-priority hazardous-waste sites. Its transformation, completed in 2010, was no easy journey. But Tom Dougherty, a former regional director of the National Wildlife Federation, says it’s something of a victory that few now remember the decades of environmental debates, legislative wrangling and literal and figurative heavy lifting that went into creating the refuge.

Visitors today can “just value what’s there,” said Dougherty, who helped establish the refuge.

In the Heart of the City, the New Downtown Denver Expeditionary School

When my husband and I attended an open house for the “new downtown elementary school” a little over a year ago, I turned to him and said, “Do not raise your hand to volunteer, we are over extended.”  Sure enough, I was the one raising my hand to help out with community outreach for the “proposed” school.

I am happy to report that a tremendous community effort will culminate in the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School (DDES) opening at 1860 Lincoln St in August 2013. DDES will open as a K-2 public charter school, adding a grade each year for full build-out at K-5.

I became invested in the school for several reasons: