Cinco de Mayo Festival. The largest Cinco de Mayo festival in the U.S. fills Civic Center Park May 4-5 with more than 400,000 visitors for food, drink and music. Enjoy mariachi bands and hit international bands from Mexico on three stages, browse through hundreds of exhibitor booths, and fill up on great food and drink, children’s activities, a parade – and the hotly contested green chili cook off! cincodemayodenver.com. Also, head down to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Blue Bonnet, to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. There will be free face painting, mariachi, food samples, and churro bar for children. bluebonnetrestaurant.com
World Premiere: Kenji Williams Presents Bella Gaia at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. On Friday, May 3, 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 4, 6 p.m. & 8 p.m., award-winning director and classically trained violinist Kenji Williams returns to Denver for the world premiere of Bella Gaia, a new planetarium show that combines art, music, and science. This spectacular “living atlas” journey uses NASA images and simulates space flight, taking you on a fantastic journey around planet Earth and the space that surrounds it. Brilliant images and sound illuminate the connections between natural systems and human activities, inspiring a renewed reflection of interrelationships of our world. During this special evening, Williams will enhance this new dome experience with a live performance. www.dmns.org
On May 4, the Denver Botanic Gardens will unveil their new exhibit, Catalyst. Opening day will be from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and will be fun for the whole family with guided tours of the exhibition, face painting, interactive murals, door prizes and more. This outdoor group exhibition celebrates the achievements and vision of Colorado sculptors. Twelve artists redefine the surrounding landscape with their 3-D work. The artwork introduces a variety of color, texture and form into an already rich environment. www.botanicgardens.org
On Saturday, May 4, 2013, the Denver Health Foundation is hosting a citywide baby shower to collect new baby items for its Newborns in Need program. The following new items are needed: Disposable Diapers (size 1 or 2); Baby Wipes; Baby Wash / Shampoo; Convertible Car Seats; Blankets; Onesies / Undershirts / Sleepers / Sweaters; Newborn Socks / Booties / Bibs. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., drop off new baby items at Denver Health Medical Center, 301 W. 6th Ave (near Bannock), Denver, CO 80204. Look for the baby shower balloons. For details, visit www.DenverHealthFoundation.org, or contact Robin Engleberg at 303-602-2988 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swoozie’s Tarpestry Picnic. Need Mother’s Day ideas? Swoozies, Cherry Creek’s contemporary gift store, has loads of fun gifts Mom will adore. On Saturday, May 4 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., they will be holding a picnic in the parking lot with a local food truck, corn hole games and free personalization on all of their popular Tarpestrys purchased that day. Mom will love these Colorado-made outdoor blanket/tarps include a velcro pocket and four grommet rings, perfect for picnics, soccer games and even camping! Be sure to check out their other gift ideas at their store at 589 Fillmore Street, Denver. http://www.swoozies.com/store/category/26082/Tarpestry/264081/Paisley-Tarpestry
Walk MS Denver. On Saturday, May 4, the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s annual walk features one- and three-mile routes around beautiful Denver City Park. Music, refreshments, a colorful team village, drawing for cooling products and more! Just 20 years ago there were no treatments for MS. As of March 2013, there are now 10 treatments available thanks to community support of the Society’s fundraising efforts such as Walk MS. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m. Suggested minimum fundraising of $50. walkMCcolorado.org.
Promise Walk for Preeclampsia.Governor Hickenlooper has that May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month in Colorado. In recognition, Denver will be hosting its third annual Promise Walk for Preeclampsia on May 5, 2013 at the pavilion in City Park. The Promise Walks are held to spread awareness of preeclampsia, support local survivors, and raise money for research. The Denver Promise Walk will include a 2 mile fun run, 1 mile walk. a memorial activity, many children’s activities, and a prize giveaway. www.promisewalk.org/denver
Listen To Your Mother: Giving Mother’s Day A Microphone. Listen To Your Mother Show on May 7 and 12, 2013. This Mother’s Day series of live readings will be held in 24 cities this year and will debut in Denver and Boulder areas. LTYM features live readings by local writers in celebration of Mother’s Day. Born of the creative work of mothers who publish online, each production is directed, produced, and performed by local communities, for local communities, with 10 percent of ticket proceeds benefiting a local non-profit cause. The Denver performance will take place on May 7 at 7 p.m. at The Elaine Wolf Theatre located at 350 S Dahlia St in Denver. The Boulder performance is on May 12 at 7 p.m. at The Dairy Center located at 2590 Walnut St in Boulder. Ticket information: http://www.milehighmamas.com/2013/04/02/listen-to-your-mother/
On May 11, the “Better Block” project will team up with WalkDenver along with Denver Arts and Venues, Volunteers of America Colorado Chapter for a day filled with live music, ballet performance, gardening demonstrations, storybike rides, food trucks, tennis, yoga, dance walking, youth marketplace and much more! Held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 24th Street between California and Welton Streets and Sonny Lawson Park in the historic Five Points, the “Better Block” community revitalization project is aimed to temporarily demonstrate how to improve a public space with pedestrian and public infrastructure mixed with art, culture, pop‐up businesses and street life. For one day, the project will install pedestrian improvements, create seating areas, provide landscaping and street furniture, incorporate art into the public space, provide live music, and more. To view the video of 2012 Better Block go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA5tMyuHXoo&feature=plcp and go to betterblockfivepoints.com for more information.
On May 14, it’s all about being real in “The Velveteen Rabbit” at the Broomfield Auditorium. Presented by Phamaly Theatre Company, the musical tells Margery Williams’ classic children’s story in a family friendly one-hour format. In it, a simple toy bunny dreams of one day becoming a real rabbit, the ultimate reward for a well-loved toy. Before he gets his wish, though, he has to attract the attention of his owner. 7 p.m. Friday, Broomfield Auditorium, 3 Community Park Road, Broomfield; 720-887-2371. Free, though a $5 donation is suggested. phamaly.org.
Going Wild at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Biodiversity rules and it’s live! Conservation biologist and crowd favorite Rob Mies returns with a new set of live wild friends. Learn about the largest and smallest animals living on Earth today, and hear about strange and wonderful adaptations animals make within their own environments. Meet a two-toed sloth from South America, a barred owl, an Australian bearded dragon, and a striped skunk. For teens: Friday, May 17, 6:30 p.m., (ages 13-17), $10 member, $10 nonmember. For adults: Friday, May 17, 8:30 p.m., (21+ only), $12 member, $15 nonmember. For families: Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. & noon, $12 member, $8 member child, $15 nonmember, $10 nonmember child. www.dmns.org
The Bash Dash on May 19 is a family-friendly adventure race for preschool-, elementary- and middle-school-aged kids. It challenges kids to work together with their peers to problem-solve and find creative solutions while learning about philanthropy and how they can make a difference in their community. Advance Registration: $20 per team member Day of Registration: $25 per team member (price of registration includes ice cream social). Family members not competing in the adventure race can purchase tickets to join us for the Ice Cream Social (adults are $10 for the ice cream social only; children at $7 for the ice cream social only). All proceeds will support Young Philanthropists Foundation and its in-school programs for the Denver metro region. http://www.ypfoundation.org/bashdash
Denver Day of Rock. Two dozen bands on five stages along a mile-long pedestrian path – and it’s all free! This day long rock ‘n roll festival on May 25 attracts top groups like Fishbone for a free day of music and sunshine. Beer gardens and food trucks help move the crowds from stage to stage at this family-friendly event that traditionally kicks of Memorial Day Weekend in Denver. It’s just the beginning of Denver’s Memorial Day Weekend fun – get more ideas at visitdenver.com/memorialdayweekend.
Also, don’t miss this event from Jeffco parks. LMNC programs are FREE and registration is required unless otherwise noted. Register online or by calling 720-497-7600. Looking for a program for your class, scout troop, or other group? Visit their website or call to learn about group programs.
Toddler Times: Astounding Ants 10:15; 11:15 A.M. 5/2/13 and 5/4/13, Golden. Join this interactive, up-close look into the mighty lives of ants. Test your strength, make a craft, find live ants and more.
Streaks Across the Sky 5/4/13 8:30PM, Pine. Join Astronomy Team members for a lively, interactive discussion about meteors, comets, asteroids, and other objects seen streaking through the sky.
Early Spring Wildflowers 5/5/13 9AM, Littleton. Walk with a Native Plant Master and discover the importance of our native plants to wildlife and humans. Participant limit: 25.
Junior Naturalists: Creek Study 5/10/13 6:30PM, Idledale. Be prepared to get your hands and feet wet as we investigate the health of Bear Creek. Search for and identify aquatic insects and more.
Dinosaur Ridge Day 5/11/13 9AM, Morrison. Nature Center naturalists will be at one of the stops on this walking tour of Dinosaur Ridge. Bring family, friends and plenty of water.
Wild Moms Rule 5/12/13 1PM, Indian Hills. What are wildlife mom’s doing to celebrate this Mother’s Day? Bring your mom and find out during this interactive, playful look at the amazing and varied ways that wildlife mothers nurture their young…or not!
Toddler Times: Astounding Ants 10:15, 11:15 a.m. 5/16/13, Golden. Join this interactive, up-close look into the mighty lives of ants. Test your strength, make a craft, find live ants and more.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Skills Day 5/18/13 9AM – 4PM, Pine. Help your kids connect to wildlife and wildlife-related recreation at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s annual Outdoor Skills Day. Activities are designed for kids aged 7-16, but all are welcome. Pre-registration is not required.
Spring Sketchbook Nature Journaling 5/25/13 8AM – 11AM, Lakewood. Strengthen your personal connection with the natural world by keeping a sketchbook Nature Journal. The first hour of class will be devoted to developing basic drawing skills and covering materials. For the second two hours, you will head out on the trail with your journals to observe and record the signs of spring—including some of the bird migrants in the park. This quarterly program explores different parks and journaling exercises each time, so repeat participation is encouraged. All experience levels are welcome.
Senses in Nature 5/26/13 1:30PM, Golden. Discover how wild animals found in Jefferson County use their senses to survive, and how our common sense helps us enjoy experiences in nature. Ages 6 – Adult.
Ongoing Fun for the Whole Family
Everything from roller coasters to rhinos.
Daily. After a popular run in 2012, the Children’s Museum of Denver relaunches its “3, 2, 1 … Blast Off!” exhibit. Created in conjunction with United Launch Alliance, “Blast Off!” teaches kids about the basics of rocket science by letting them build and launch their own rockets. The new version of “Blast Off!” includes two giant-size models of real-life rockets, plus a vaulted ceiling for vertical rocket launches — the previous space allowed only for horizontal flights. Museum members are invited to arrive at 9 a.m. Saturday for a special members-only hour before the museum opens. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Children’s Museum of Denver, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive; 303-433-7444. $9 for guests ages 2 to 59; $7 for 1-year-olds and seniors age 60 and older. mychildsmuseum.org.
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. www.dmns.org
Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
May – October
The nation’s ONLY downtown theme and water park opens for the season on May 4. With more than 45 thrilling rides, plus a splash-filled, 10-acre Water Park, musical stages, stunt shows, arcades and the StarToon Studios (a kiddie area with pint-sized fun), there’s something at Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park for just about everyone. elitchgardens.com
Explore the city on two wheels! Denver B-cycle is an automated bike sharing system designed for short trips around The Mile High City. It’s easy and fun. You can check out one of more than 500 bikes from any one of 50-plus stations (conveniently located near major attractions and neighborhoods) and return it to any other station. denver.bcycle.com
April 5-September 25
Major league baseball returns to downtown Denver’s Coors Field on April 5, as the Rockies square off against the San Diego Padres. The fun continues all spring and summer long. For an affordable option, buy tickets in the Rockpile, where seats are just $4 for adults and $1 for kids under 12. coloradorockies.com
Toyota Elephant Passage
Say hello to Denver’s new, five-ton locals. At 10 acres, this landmark $50 million exhibit at Denver Zoo is North America’s largest bull elephant habitat. You’ll see majestic Asian elephants cooling off in a shallow stream, Malaysian tapirs care for their young, acrobatic gibbons swinging overhead from tree to tree, fishing cats diving for their next meal and the piercing stare of a black leopard, all from the center of an Asian village. denverzoo.org
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. www.dmns.org
GPS Adventures at the Wildlife Museum. The Wildlife Experience recently opened 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.