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Events: Backyard Campout, Chocolate Festival, Wild West Day and More!

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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.

Make Music Denver. Who’s playing? The word is out and Make Music Denver on June 21 is a fun event whether you are participating or just listening. Over 90 bands and performers performed last year and they expect even more this year. Remember that even if you do not pre-register you can still come down and pick a spot on the 16th Street Mall to play. Bring Your Musical Instrument to Work Day Be a Part of the Masses at the Mass Appeal Instrument Gatherings. 511 16th Street Mall, Denver.

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.

Winter Park Chocolate Festival. On  June 22, the Winter Park Chocolate Festival will include chocolate samples and fine chocolates for sale from a wide variety of regional vendors. Special guests and a full-day’s event schedule including live music and entertainment round out the fun. Admission is free to the public. Guests may purchase Taste Tickets to get multiple samples.

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. 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.

Wild West Day. On June 22, the Colorado Railroad Museum presents the story of Colorado’s railroads and it is one of perseverance, daring and ingenuity—it is the story of settling and taming the Wild West. Steam locomotives were revolutionary machines in their time and ushered in the last dusty days of the horse and wagon. The Wild West Day event provides a family-friendly opportunity to experience firsthand the Old West, complete with period re-enactors bringing the 1880s railroad experience to life. Children $5 (Under 2 Free), Adults $15, Seniors $10, Family $30.

Cherry Blossom Festival. On June 22-23, Japanese culture and heritage are showcased in this annual event, now in its 41st year. Dance, taiko drums, and martial arts are featured on the outdoor stage, while inside the Denver Buddhist Temple are food sales, exhibits, and demos. Obon folk dance takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday. Free admission with extra for food. Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple, 1947 Lawrence Street

Theatre-Hikes Colorado.  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.

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

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.

Festival of Felines. On June 29, this free event for kids of all ages celebrates the Cat Care Society shelter, community outreach programs and the 2013 Tails of the Painted Cats. Enjoy all the felines, plus food, face painting and feline origami fun. This is an official Summer Tour stop for all the 2013 Painted Cats at the Cat Care Society Shelter.  11 a.m.-2 p.m. Cat Care Society, 5787 W. 6th Avenue, Lakewood.

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.

Golden’s First Friday Street Fair on July 5. 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.


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.

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 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.

Cirque du Soleil. After its last visit over three years ago with KOOZA, Cirque du Soleil returns to Denver on July 18 with its signature blue-and-yellow Big Top! The company’s latest big top production, Amaluna will be at the Pepsi Center Grounds. Amaluna is a fusion of the words ama, which refers to “mother” in many languages, and luna, which means “moon,” a symbol of femininity that evokes both the mother-daughter relationship and the idea of goddess and protector of the planet. Amaluna is also the name of the mysterious island where the story unfolds. For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit

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


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.

NASA GRAIL Mission to the Moon – Encore Presentation!

7 p.m. Wednesday, June 19 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)

Learn how twin spacecraft “Ebb” and “Flow” used orbital dynamics to unlock the Moon’s interior secrets and map its gravity in unprecedented detail. Join NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador and Lockheed Martin Propulsion Engineer Adam Pender for this special encore presentation about the GRAIL mission, including the engineering challenges and scientific findings. (Ages 10+.)


8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Thursday, June 20 (Lair o’ the Bear Park)

Drop by the park kiosk any time between 8 AM and Noon to chat with naturalists to learn about these important foothills residents. Learn how to stay safe on the trails, why snakes are needed in our parks, and snake survival adaptations. (All ages.)

 Lair o’ the Bear Campfire: Shhh! Did You Smell That?

6:30 p.m. Friday, June 21 (Lair o’ the Bear Park)

What is your keenest sense? Join this family-friendly program and test your senses. We’ll feature some of the sharpest wildlife adapdations in the West. Be prepared to engage. (All ages.)

True West Barrel Race

June 21-23 (Fairgrounds)

Camp Jr. Ranger: Backpack & Camping Adventure

1 p.m. Saturday, June 22 (Sawmill Campground at White Ranch Park)

Pack your sleeping bag and tent for an overnight camping adventure with Open Space rangers and naturalists. Enjoy engaging activities, an evening program, and more. This event requires a one-mile moderate hike with your gear to the campground. (All ages.) Please Note: Registration closes on June 15 for this event.

Jr. Naturalists: Predators Alive

1 p.m. Sunday, June 23 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)

They come in all shapes, sizes & colors. They live in trees, under rocks, in the sky and in the forest. Hike and discover the clever ways that successful predators thrive and stay alive in the wilds. (Ages 6-10, with an adult.)

Copper Cowboys Gymkhana

9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday, June 23 (Fairgrounds)

Mt. Evans Summit Stargazing

8:30 p.m. Friday, June 28 [Rain date: June 29] (Mt. Evans)

Join staff from the USFS, Jeffco Open Space and the City of Lakewood for a special high-altitude outdoor astronomy event on Mount Evans. Through engaging activities, learn about our cosmic connections while peering through telescopes and navigating the night sky. Registration is required. Weather permitting. (All ages.)

 Lair o’ the Bear Campfire: Oh Deer!

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 3 (Lair o’ the Bear Park)

Deer and elk are two of the most common large mammals seen out in the parks. Discover how these antlered animals are adapted for survival through stories, songs and other fun campfire activities. (All ages.)

 Summer Triangle

9-10:30 p.m. Friday, July 5 (Pine Valley Ranch Park)

Join astronomy team members for a tour of the 1937 William Baehr Observatory and an engaging look at the constellations and deep space objects. Weather permitting, peer through historic and modern telescopes. (Ages 10+.)

 Preschool Nature Nuts: Summer Sun (3-5 year-olds)

10:15 or 11:15 a.m. Saturday, July 6 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)

Summertime sunshine! Learn about Earth’s nearest star and find out why the sun is so important. (Ages 3-5, with an adult.) A Toddler Nature Nuts program will be offered on the same topic for 2-year-olds on Thursday, July 18 at 10:15 or 11:15 a.m. at Lookout Mountain Nature Center.

 Dig it! Archaeology for Kids

Tuesday, July 9 (Hiwan Homestead)
Join us as we delve into the past and learn how archaeologists uncover its secrets. Practice excavation skills and use real archaeology techniques and tools to discover what archaeologists really do. Make a fossil craft to take home.

Preschool Nature Nuts: Summer Sun (3-5 year-olds)

10:15 or 11:15 a.m. Thursday, July 11 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)

Summertime sunshine! Learn about Earth’s nearest star and find out why the sun is so important. (Kids ages 3-5 with an adult.) A Toddler Nature Nuts program will be offered on the same topic for 2-year-olds on Thursday, July 18 at 10:15 or 11:15 a.m. at Lookout Mountain Nature Center.

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Friday, July 12 (Mount Falcon Park – East)

Why are some plants poisonous? Learn to identify dangerous species. Important treatment methods will also be discussed. (Ages 6-10, with an adult.)

Suminagashi! Japanese Paper Crafts

Thursday, July 12 (Hiwan Homestead)
Suminagashi is the ancient Japanese art of paper marbling. Learn the history and techniques of this beautiful art. Make your own unique marbled paper to cover a favorite book or diary, and learn more about traditional Japanese crafts.

 Midsummer Wildflowers

9-11 a.m. Saturday, July 13 (Meyer Ranch Park)

Walk with a Native Plant Master and discover the importance of our native plants to wildlife and humans. (Ages 10+.)

 Jr. Naturalists: Hands Off – Indentifying Dangerous Plants

10 a.m. – 12p.m. Sunday, July 14 (Mount Falcon Park – East)

Why are some plants poisonous? Learn to identify dangerous plants. Important treatment methods will also be discussed. (Ages 6-10, with an adult.)

 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.


 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.

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.

NEW! Flight of the Butterflies 3D at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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