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Summer Reading Program Rewards & Tips for Getting Your Kids to Read!

Studies repeatedly show that children who do not read during the summer demonstrate a significant loss in reading skills, and start school behind where they left off.  Luckily, libraries across the state provide summer reading programs to help prevent what is called the “summer slide.”

For 85 years, the Denver Public Library has provided summer reading programs as a fun way to incorporate reading and literacy-rich activities into summer family time. The program is divided up into three age-appropriate themes: birth –preschool, kids K-5th grade, and teens 6-12th grade. Prizes are given as they reach three reading milestones including books, Elitch Garden’s tickets, bookbags and other goodies.

Summer of Reading is one of the Denver Public Library’s most important programs for children and teens and is offered annually at the Denver Central Library, the Library’s 24 branch locations and through two bookmobiles.  New this year, the Library is teaming up with Mayor Michael B. Hancock to encourage participation. As part of his commitment to ensuring that all Denver kids can compete and succeed, he has launched the Summer of Reading Neighborhood Challenge. One lucky branch will win an ice cream social with the Mayor for the greatest increase in registrations during the first two weeks.

At graduation, Colorado girls’ blooming friendship takes center stage

The plan calls for Kati Pietrafeso to take a seat with her Overland High School graduating class in a chair at the end of a row. Then, when it’s time for her best friend, Elena Nevel, to walk across the stage Friday and receive her diploma, Kati can quickly rise and join her.

If all goes well, they will take the last steps of their high school careers together, inseparable as they’ve been all year.

“It would feel really good to help her celebrate all she’s accomplished,” says 18-year-old Kati. “It’s a big day for me, but it’s also a really big day for her.”

Elena, also 18, cannot express what the moment would mean for her. Diagnosed with significant developmental delays and severe autism, she is, for the most part, nonverbal except for a few words, spoken only when prompted.

And yet, graduation represents more than a mile marker in Kati’s continuing academic career and Elena’s move from the special-education program in the Cherry Creek School District to adult services in Denver.

It’s a touchstone for a transcendent friendship.

‘Boy or Girl?’ Gender a new challenge for schools

From the time they are born, we put our boys in blue beanies and our girls in pink ones. It’s a societal norm, an expectation even, that you just are what you are born—a boy or a girl.

From early on, we divide toys and activities by very distinct gender lines, with superheroes and trucks and muck on one side and princesses and dolls and all things frilly on the other.

Many children land, enthusiastically, on the expected side. Others dabble in both “girl” and “boy” things. But what if your kid, even from an early age, mostly showed interest in doing opposite-gender things? More importantly, what if they wanted to BE the opposite gender—or a less-defined mix of both? And what if they wanted to test those limits in public places, like school?

Would you let them?

Quiz: What Color Should You Paint Your Toes?

Summer sandal season is here! Not only is it time to shave your thighs instead of just your calves, it’s time to take nail color seriously. Your tootsies can’t hide in boots or in fuzzy slippers. Let those protective layers of hardened keratin shine!

But what color should you paint your toenails? This is a difficult question we must all answer. With hundreds of colors to choose from, it can be a daunting decision. Here’s help.

1. You recently dropped a frozen pork roast on your foot, resulting in severe bruising. It reminds you of:
a. A sunrise over a tropical ocean
b. Kermit the Frog
c. A Goth’s tender smile

Pirates Cove Family Aquatic Center

**CONTEST CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO LISA V. AND JACLYN F.***

Ahoy, Mateys!

Mile High Mamas wants to send you to Pirates Cove Family Aquatic Center in Englewood and we have a giveaway and fantastic deal to do it! Pirates Cove offers a leisure pool with a large play structure, a 25-meter, 6-lane pool, a 35-foot slide tower with three slides, a lazy river, concessions, and more for your summer fun.

They are open now through Labor Day and, in addition to the daily fun they offer, Tuesday, June 18 at 9 a.m. will be the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (we’re talking Guinness Book of World Records!) to build awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning.

Denver Deal: People’s Fair, Bowling, Movies & More

Memorial Day weekend was AWESOME for me! I flew a plane over Denver! Seriously! This was something that I have wanted to do for a long time. I got hooked up with Western Air at the Broomfield airport via Cloud9Living.com. My instructor seriously let me actually fly the plane in the air – even though this was my first time in a plane! Now, I’m totally hooked and want to do it again. Is there something that you have wanted to try? Step outside your comfort zone and just do it!  My review will be posted on Cloud9Living.com shortly!

Pirate’s Cove

Pirates Cove Family Aquatic Center in Englewood is Open! For a LIMITED TIME ONLY: Discounted Family Four Pack to Mile High Mama readers:  4 General Admission Tickets (any combination of Adults & Children) for $20 (retail value $39). Hurry! Only a limited number available.

People’s Fair

The giant annual event – The People’s Fair will be at Civic Center Park in downtown Denver June 2 & 3. The event features free entertainment and more. This year in addition to the fun and frivolity (and the ability to munch on a turkey leg), the Fair has a special Health & Wellness area.

Denver Museum FREE Days

Denver Art Museum is having a FREE day on Saturday, June 1.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science is FREE on Monday, June 3.

Fireside Chat at Bluff Lake

Enjoy a campfire and marshmallow roast as you learn about the animals and ecosystems at Bluff Lake. on Thursday, May 30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Bluff Lake is located at 3400 Havana Way Denver, Colorado 80238) $1 suggested donation. Topic: Children’s Music, presented by Music for Aardvarks.

KidSpree

Radio Disney Denver will be at the KidSpree @ Yumfest from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 8 for the Radio Disney LIVE! powered by New DOLE Fruit Squish’ems.  Don’t miss activities, dancing, music and more. Be there for a special Q&A session and meet & greet with Billy Unger from Disney XD’s “Lab Rats” from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. KidSpree is a free event at the Aurora Municipal Lawn.

Family-friendly flicks for 50 cents

Harkins Theatres Northfield 18 Summer Movie Fun season tickets are available for just $5 for 10 films, one a week (Monday to Friday, you pick the day) at 9:45 a.m. from May 27 through Aug. 2.  Available at Northfield 18 Box Office. 8300 E. Northfield Blvd., 720-374-3118.

AMF Bowling

Kids 15 and under can get two free games at day at AMF Lanes when you register now  The offer is good through September. Parents, you can also buy a pass for yourself! (Just $34.95 for four adults to play two games per day).

North Face Stores Free Stuff

North Face Stores will offer free park passes, camping guidebooks and activity guides.

Home Depot

Make dad a free Father’s Day gift at this month’s Home Depot Kids Workshop on Saturday, June 1.

Container Store Sale

The Container Store has a sale on luggage and other travel-related items like clothing organizers, toiletry bags and power adapters. The sale runs now through June 23.

Fresh Produce Sale

The Fresh Produce annual warehouse sale featuring women’s clothes from casual dresses to tunics and accessories continues through July 7 at West Flatiron Crossing Drive, Broomfield, 303-442-7507

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: Capitol Hill People’s Fair, Theatre Hikes Colorado, Elitch Gardens’ New Additions

Capitol Hill People’s Fair. On June 1-2, the largest of Denver’s summer festivals, this fun and funky event in Civic Center Park features live music, one-of-a-kind arts and crafts, and a food bazaar with Colorado cuisine. This year the Kids Corral will include a carnival as well as free craft projects and activities for kids including spin art from KOSI 101 and crafts projects from the Girl Scouts and Home Depot. Don’t miss the bungee trampolines, bounce houses, rock climbing wall and more from the kid’s carnival! http://www.peoplesfair.com/

Theatre-Hikes Colorado. June 1 and 2, 11 a.m.; June 8 and 9 11 a.m.; June 15 and 16 10:30 a.m.; June 23, 10:30 a.m. Join Theatre-Hikes Colorado for an exciting retelling of “Snow White” by Marjorie Sokokoff where audience and actors take a moderate hike amidst the scenic backdrop of Boulder Open Space while scenes from “Snow White” are performed along the way. This updated version of the classic story unveils the villain’s perspective, from her tragic childhood to her quest for revenge. Join all seven quirky dwarves, a tongue-tied prince, a sassy mirror, a dancing chicken, and of course Snow White, in a tale about beauty, friendship and happily-ever-afters with a twist.  Audience members are encouraged to bring camping chairs and/or blankets and mats to sit on while watching the scenes. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children 10 and under. Meet in the Chautauqua Picnic Shelter. Theatre-Hikes Colorado.

Elitch Gardens. The nation’s ONLY downtown theme and water park is now open daily for the summer. 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. New additions this year include a family-friendly rollercoaster Blazin’ Buckaroo and seven new shows including the must-see Cirque Conjure in the Trocadero Theater, a sophisticated combination of illusions, music, dance and comedy parents and kids will enjoy.   elitchgardens.com

The Heritage Square Music Hall Children’s Theatre presents “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Emperor Mullinium is the original “Fashionista” and thinks more of his clothes than his own people!  Is that any way for an Emperor to behave?  We think not!  It’s up to the audience to help him get his priorities straight.  “The Emperor’s New Clothes” runs through August 31, 2013 with performances every Saturday at 1:30 PM. Tickets: $8 for children and adults, $7 for seniors (62 and up). Special rates for groups of ten or more children apply. Weekday performances are available, but vary, so call for information. For reservations, call 303-279-7800. Heritage Square Music Hall Children’s Theatre is located at 18301 W. Colfax D-103, Golden, CO 80401. More information at www.hsmusichall.com

Golden’s First Friday Street Fair on June 7. Year round, Golden’s downtown merchants offer extended hours and special deals and events on the first Friday of each month, but during the months of June through October (June 7, July 5, August 2, Sept. 6 and Oct. 4), First Fridays include a lively Street Fair from 5-8 p.m. on Washington Avenue.  There will be entertainment, music, specialty foods from Golden restaurants, and more.  A Golden favorite, free horse-drawn carriage rides, are available. Pick up your ride on 12th Street between Washington and Arapahoe.  visitgolden.com

 Arvada’s 2nd Saturday Street Festival. Summer evenings in Olde Town Arvada will again come to life at the upcoming 2nd Saturday Street Festivals, presented by Historic Olde Town Arvada.  The music of top-notch local favorites Chris Daniels and the Kings, The Wendy Woo Band, and The Indulgers will echo down Grandview Avenue on June 8, July 13, and August 10 from 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m. The best way to enjoy live music in a charming historic shopping district is with a plate of tasty street food and an ice cold beer (be sure to try some ice cream and candy from Scrumptious, authentic Belgian fries from Manneken Frites,  or any number of dining choices such as Udi’s Pizza Cafe Bar, Archive Room, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop or  live music and eats at the D Note).  Visitors will find plenty of food choices, beer and wine, and shopping options from vendor booths lining the street.  A wide array of kids’ activities will create a fun, safe, and welcoming environment for guests of all ages. www.oldetownarvada.orgh

Cherry Creek Arts Festival. The annual festival July 5-7 is a world-class and award-winning celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts and enjoys an annual attendance of over 350,000 visitors. Special exhibits, art and culinary demonstrations, and interactive family activities on “Artivity Avenue” complement the free festival experience.   Hours: 10 a.m-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. CherryArts.org

Public Works Theatre Company is setting up shop in Lafayette, offering professional theatrical productions and educational programs for family audiences with its first show and kids’ clown camp in July.  Public Works’ first production, “Wanda & The Wave,” will open in Boulder on June 21-23 at The Wesley Chapel, and show in Lafayette on July 13-14 at The Mary Miller Theater. This whimsical tale about appreciating the world around us will be told through puppetry and is adapted by Blanchard from the children’s book The Old Woman and The Wave by Shelley Jackson. http://www.publicworkstheatre.com

Free Parenting Seminar: Being a Voice for Your Child with Special Healthcare Needs. Do you want more information on how you can be a voice for your child at school, in the doctor’s office, or in a patient room? On Tuesday, June 13 from 6-8 p.m., make sure you know what to ask your physician and when it is time to ask for a second opinion. Children’s Hospital Colorado Main Campus, Mt. Harvard, 2nd Floor Conference and Education Center. Admission to the seminar is free, but space is limited! Please reserve your spot today. Questions? Call 720.777.4630.

June Family Night at the Denver Botanic Gardens. On Friday, June 21st from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., celebrate Summer Solstice, the start of summer on the longest day of the year. People will discover the science of the solstice, explore the power of the sun, and investigate the life cycle of sunflowers. “The Playmakers” will join us for a special interactive performance of the popular story “Where the Wild Things Are.” Pre-registration is encouraged, but drop-ins are welcome. Cost is $20 member, $25 non-member for family of four; $3 member, $4 non-member for each additional person. Children two and under free. www.botanicgardens.org

Great American Backyard Campout. On June 22, 2013, thousands of people across the nation will gather in their backyards, neighborhoods, communities and parks to take part in a one-night free event that is sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation. The event encourages an experience for all generations to connect with nature. Go here to register for free, find a campsite and learn more about the program. www.nwf.org/great-american-backyard-campout.

Young People’s Concerts “The Animated Orchestra.” On Saturday, June 29 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. at the Chautauqua Auditorium. The Animated Orchestra is a narrated work about a cartoon score being performed at a symphony concert for ages four and up. The hero of the cartoon is a ferret – an animal known for its insatiable curiosity and playfulness – that inadvertently sneaks into an instrument repair shop late one night while its owner, a sleepy older gentleman, dozes. There’s more to the adventure as things progress beyond the shop! Following each concert, join us on the lawn for a Music Fair where kids can meet real live ferrets, costumed characters, try the instrument petting zoo, enjoy face painting, balloon tying, a scavenger hunt, snacks and more. $8, $7 for groups of 10 or more. www.comusic.org

Oz with Orchestra. On Friday, July 5 7:30 p.m. at the Chautauqua Auditorium, Boulder the Colorado Music Festival presents one of the most beloved films of all time, The Wizard of Oz, in this magical new production. Hearing Judy Garland’s original 1939 studio recordings backed by lush, live orchestration will transport children and adults alike. Come dressed as your favorite Wizard of Oz character and you might just win the costume contest! Tickets $12-$48.

Buffalo Bill Days, July 26-28, Friday, 5:00 – 10:00 p.m.;   Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Thousands of people fill the streets of Golden every summer for this popular three-day celebration. The original event dates back to the 1950’s when the Buffalo Bill Saddle Club gave trail rides to Buffalo Bill’s grave at the top of Lookout Mountain.  One year the local Chamber of Commerce decided to expand the trail ride into a full-scale event to promote the city. That summer, a large contingent of trail riders rode up the mountain. But when they rode back down, they circled through the town, and a crowd of people lined the streets to greet them.  Thus, the first Buffalo Bill Days parade was born. Over the years, this has become the biggest annual event in Golden with the addition of a Cody’s Wild West event, a car show, the ever popular Muttin Bustin’ competition, a golf tournament, live entertainment, free kiddie train rides, a duck race and other children’s activities, an arts and crafts fair, and more.  You’ll find most of the events at these locations:  downtown Golden, Parfet Park, and various historical museums and parks around town.  For a complete schedule of events, visit www.buffalobilldays.com.

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Nature Programs

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.

 Saturn & Stars 9-10:30 p.m. Friday, June 7 (Pine Valley Ranch Park). Stunning Saturn is quite a sight to see, along with other sparkling gems in the night sky.  Join astronomy team members for an engaging, interactive look at the night sky. Weather permitting. (Ages 10+.)

Hildebrand Ranch Special Access Hike. 8-10 a.m. Saturday, June 8 (Meeting location TBD). A portion of Hildebrand Ranch property is designated as sensitive and closed to public access to ensure minimal habitat disturbance. Join this unique opportunity and enjoy the special wildlife area with Jefferson County Open Space Natural Resource Specialists. (Ages 13+.)

National Get Outdoors Day. 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8 (Denver – City Park). Visit Nature Center Naturalists at one of the stops at this Denver event. Find out about different organizations and agencies that can help your family connect to the outdoors. Enjoy fun activities for kids, including outdoor skills, map and compass games, geology and much more. Visit ngod.getoutdoorscolorado.org for details. (All ages.)

Wildflower Festival. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, June 9 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center). Celebrate the incredible diversity and importance of native wildflowers through fun activities for the whole family. Explore stations on wildflowers, pollinators and water conservation. Learn to identify invasive weeds, listen to a plant story, enjoy a wildflower hike, and browse the native plants available for sale. Kids can make crafts and watch a puppet show.
Plant stories at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Puppet shows at 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.
Wildflower hikes at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
All other activities ongoing. Admission is FREE and registration is not required. (All ages.)

 40th Anniversary Exhibit   
March 19 to November 17 (Hiwan Homestead Museum)
Come celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Jefferson County Historical Society and Jefferson County Open Space, which was voted into existence in 1972 and began receiving funds in 1973. Displays will center on important points in history, interesting facts about the development of Open Space and a variety of memorabilia.
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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. New additions this year include a new family-friendly rollercoaster Blazin’ Buckaroo and seven new shows including the must-see Cirque Conjure in the Trocadero Theater, a sophisticated combination of illusions, music, dance and comedy parents and kids will enjoy.   elitchgardens.com

Denver B-cycle

Through November

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

Colorado Rockies

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

Year-round

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.

How to Have a Safe and Fun Family Summer

Summer vacation often means fun-filled activities for children — and, unfortunately, some hazards as well. With a few simple measures, you can help protect your children from unintentional injury and keep them smiling all summer long with these tips from Children’s Hospital Colorado

How can we stay safe at parks and playgrounds?
Each year, more than 200,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for playground-related injuries, most of them related to falls. Falls from any height can result in a concussion , which happens when a blow causes a jarring impact to the brain. With or without a loss of consciousness, a concussion can cause changes in behavior or alertness.

Win a Father’s Day Getaway to Embassy Suites Downtown & History Colorado Center

It’s Father’s Day and the typical thought process enters your mind . . what am I going to have the kids get him for Father’s Day? Well, maybe we here at Mile High Mamas can solve that problem thanks to our lovely friends at the Embassy Suites Downtown and History Colorado. Enter here to win a fantastic package for dad! Here’s what they’ve got for mamas to win for the family for Father’s Day.

The Embassy Suites Denver Downtown Convention Center, named one of the “Top 25 U.S. Hotels” for 2013 by TripAdvisor is welcoming kids of all ages with the new Denver Family Getaway offer. This package is valued at $239 and includes one-night accommodations in a spacious suite with a separate bedroom with two queen beds, a pizza party dinner, including two 10 inch pizzas with toppings, a chicken quesadilla and four sodas, four tickets to History Colorado, full complimentary cooked to order breakfast and complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the nightly Manager’s Reception and valet parking.

Mile High Mamas loves the about History Colorado Center so this package is a double bonus with the four free tickets. The museum is within walking distance from the Embassy Suites! Heck, park the car for the night and don’t take it out until you leave. The Embassy Suites Denver Downtown’s fantastic central location offers easy access to all of Denver’s top attractions, and tickets to other family-friendly activities—including sporting events at the Pepsi Center and Coors Field, Elitch Gardens, the Children’s Museum of Denver, the Denver Aquarium and more.

Contest

Mile High Mamas is giving away Embassy Suites Denver Downtown’s Family Getaway package, valued at $239. Try your luck to win dad a great surprise by entering here to win! Contest deadline is June 6, 2013.

Water World opens this weekend as other Denver metro area fun centers and amusement parks ready their rides

Roll out the beach blankets: Water World opens on Saturday for the summer season.

The massive aquatic amusement park boasts nearly 50 splashy rides, from a family-friendly lazy river to high-speed thrillers for the big kids. Upcoming events at the park include the Belly Flop Splashdown on June 27, a contest for steel-nerved, college-aged daredevils with some sweet prizes — scholarships, concert tickets and laptop computers.

The park, at 8801 Pecos St. in Federal Heights, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily starting Saturday, weather permitting. Tickets are $34.99 for kids 40-47 inches in height; $39.99 for people 48 inches tall and above; $8.99 for seniors age 60 and older. Discounted tickets are available after 1:45 p.m.; residents of Westminster and the Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District also receive discounts. 303-427-7873; waterworldcolorado.com.

A few other summer favorites and their opening dates:

Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park: Now open daily at 2000 Elitch Circle. 303-595-4386; elitchgardens.com.

Pirates Cove Family Aquatic Center: Opens Saturday at 1225 W. Belleview Ave., Englewood. 303-762-2683; piratescovecolorado.com.

Lakeside Amusement Park: Now open Fridays through Sundays; daily hours begin June 7 at 4601 Sheridan Blvd. 303-477-1621; lakesideamusementpark.com.

Heritage Square Amusement Park: Open daily starting Saturday at 18301 W. Colfax Ave., Golden. 303-727-8437; heritageamusementpark.com. Kathleen St. John