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First Look: Great Wolf Lodge Roars into Colorado Springs

I watched as my daughter Hadley brazenly stepped into the Wolf Tail launch pad at Great Wolf Lodge. This was a slide unlike any I’d ever witnessed. She followed the staffer’s instructions to cross her arms and legs and wait for the countdown. Then just like a magician’s trap door, the bottom DROPPED out and she free-fell 20 feet before being catapulted around a 360-degree high-speed loop.

My son Bode was almost purple with worry and we made a pact. “Don’t worry, Bode. I’ll only go if you go.” Surely, there was safety in numbers when my cautious son was involved? 

Despite the certain death that awaited us on the Wolf Tail, my family was having a fabulous time at the grand opening of Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs’ expansive indoor water park, fun-filled attractions and family-focused entertainment.  This was our first visit to the popular resort, its 14th location in North America, and certainly the most scenic overlooking Pikes Peak and the Air Force Academy. 

Indoor Water Park

The centerpiece of the resort is the 50,000-square-foot indoor water park, featuring water slides and attractions intended for children and grownups of all ages. Signature water rides and attractions include the thrilling five-story funnel slide, Howlin’ Tornado (and my favorite attraction); Slap Tail Pond wave pool with gentle, kid-friendly surges and Fort Mackenzie – a multi-level interactive tree house with a massive tipping water bucket.

Howlin' Tornado

Howlin’ Tornado

Admission to the indoor water park is free and exclusive to resort guests to minimize overcrowding, with the exception of being open to the public for birthday parties. 

The (Additional) Fun

Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs has dozens of weatherproof, year-round activities and entertainment offerings for an additional cost. The Great Wolf Adventure Park houses several attractions, including a rock climbing wall and the Howlers Peak Ropes Course, where our entire family had a blast on this multi-level climbing challenge. bridgeTry your hand at discovering keepsake gemstones at Oliver’s Mining Co. (hint: everyone’s a winner), avoiding sand traps and a ball-eating fishbowl at Howl in One Mini Golf, bowling a strike at Ten Paw Alley (their half-length lanes are perfect for little bowlers) or exploring a variety of games at the Northern Lights Arcade, the only attraction that is open 24 hours a day–the Las Vegas of arcades. 

kidscoopThe fun doesn’t stop there! Additional activities at the resort include MagiQuest, the brand’s exclusive live-action adventure game where players follow clues and use interactive magic wands to discover relics needed to defeat a fierce dragon, and Scooops Kid Spa, the perfect place for ice cream-themed manicures and pedicures (where else can you get pampered while sitting on a banana split chaise wearing a tiara?)

Great Wolf Lodge feels like the Disneyland of Colorado but without the mouse and a whole lot of forest friends. Wiley the Wolf is the star of the show, along with fellow woli Violet, Oliver and Rachel (the raccoons), Brinley Bear, Sammy the Squirrel and the Beaver Brothers, Tooth and Nail. There are plenty of opportunities to interact with these woodland creatures including a Creation Station where you can watch the plush toy of your choice come to life (think: Build-a-Bear) by picking out their outfit and even going on your very own scavenger hunt. 

WIley and Violet

WIley and Violet

Free daily children’s activities can also be found in the Grand Lobby including Yoga Tails, The Forest Friends Show and the charming evening Story Time by the fireplace – a Great Wolf Lodge family tradition.

It’s difficult to designate an ideal age for Great Wolf Lodge. My kids, ages 10 and 12, were numbered among the teens who loved the Water Park, arcade and adventure park. Younger kids were enraptured in the magic of the wolves, the free daily programming and the zero-depth Cub Paw Pool. There were several parent sightings at The Outpost (adjacent to the water park) for the very best in craft beers, signature cocktails and refreshing lemonade.  

The Food

My food expectations for Great Wolf Lodge: Greasy kid-friendly burgers and fries. Reality: Care and consideration is taken with every meal. The resort provides an allergen-friendly zone by removing all peanuts and tree nuts out of their menus and also offering several gluten-free options.  Even the on-site Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop only carries nut-free options. barnyard

The Loose Moose Family Kitchen restaurant offers delicious breakfast and dinner buffets (my favorites included brisket with marmalade, curried cauliflower, and Jambalaya) and the Hungry as a Wolf eatery is known for its handcrafted pizza and pasta.

The Barnwood is a lunch and dinner spot that offers farm-to-fork freshness with dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients such as mushrooms from Fort Collins-based Hazel Dell Organic Mushrooms. We sat down for a lunch with Great Wolf Resorts’ Executive Chef Chris Hammond for a gourmet sampling of their Chile-coffee rubbed lamb, potato puree, roasted squash and chile-dusted popcorn. The restaurants are open to the public and I predict Barnwood will become a local favorite.

New to Great Wolf Lodge is the Great Wolf Candy Company, where you can make your trip a little bit sweeter by choosing from a wide assortment of packaged candies and chocolates. Don’t miss the mango-flavored gummy bears and take a glance upward at the gummy-bear chandelier that is (sadly) inedible. 

The Lodging & Deals

The 311 spacious guest suites found at Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs are a great respite for families looking to relax after a full day of water park play.wolfdensuite Families can choose from several suite styles, including the kid-focused Wolf Den and KidCabin suites that will leave pups howling for bedtime, complete with bunk beds and Great Wolf Kids character theming. Larger suites offer second bedrooms and bathrooms for multi-generational families traveling together. All suites come equipped with an in-room refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker.

The resort’s busiest times are weekends and school breaks but there are several deals during low season and mid-week. In celebration of their grand opening, save up to 30 percent when you stay two or more nights (now through March 31, 2017). Be sure to visit for regular discounts. 

Tips and Tricks

  • The Great Wolf Lodge’s wristband is all-powerful. Not only does it grant you access to the water park, select activities and allows you to charge items back to your room but it also doubles as a room key. And for someone who is constantly misplacing (OK, losing) theirs, this was a major perk.


  • Floors 3-5 of the resort can get busy with people seeking the enchanted realm of Vellara while playing MagiQuest. If you like quiet time during the day for a napping baby, do not request these levels. Don’t worry; the wands are deactivated in the evening and early-morning hours.
  • Avoid the elevators during check-in, check-out and when the water park closes. With only three elevators, a long wait is inevitable. 
  • A two-night stay is optimal at Great Wolf Lodge but if you’re short on time or money, you can check-in for a one-night stay at 1 p.m. (though your room won’t be available until later that afternoon) and enjoy all the attractions for the rest of the day. Even though check-out is at 11 a.m., you may enjoy the resort’s attractions until 9 p.m. the following day.
  • Great Wolf Lodge offers month-long seasonal events. Spring-a-Palooza in March has spring-themed activities, scavenger hunts, and bubble dance parties. Howl-O-Ween in October has family-friendly Halloween celebrations including trick-or-treat trail, a daily costume parade, and a Monster Bash Dance Party. Snowland in December boasts daily snow showers in the Grand Lobby, a life-sized gingerbread house, Santa Claus appearances and North Pole University. 

To Go Or Not to Go?

There is no question whether or not you should go to Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs because it’s family fun for all ages.

The question remained whether or not I should go down the bottom- and stomach-dropping Wolf Tail slide. I thought Bode and I had a Pansy Pact until I returned back to the water park following a property tour and learned he had betrayed me and had gone down the slide not once, but twice.

“Mom, you promised you would go if I did,” he reminded me. I relented.

mountainedgeI stepped into the launch pad that was suspiciously shaped like a coffin. Heartbeat audio matched my own pounding heart as I listened to the staffer’s instructions before the countdown began. 3-2-1.

The bottom gave out, I was suspended in mid-air for only a second before racing through my watery grave. Ten seconds later, I was at the bottom, sputtering yet exultant I had done it. 

In typical Amber fashion, I had an exponentially worse time on Mountain Express Raceway whereupon I somehow overshot the race mat during the four-story drop and was like a rock getting repeatedly skipped. On my face. 

You win some, you lose some but guaranteed, everyone emerges with a big smile on their face at Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs

In partnership with Mile High Mamas. All opinions are our own. 

Deals: Colorado Garden & Home Show, Free Days

I learned a lot about Hong Kong while I was there – one of the coolest things I learned is that for the Chinese New Year it is tradition not to clean your home for the entire celebration (keep in mind a family of four lives in a TINY space about 400 sq feet!) None the less, since I was there, my kids were happy when I announced they would not have to do these types of chores for two whole weeks!

Colorado Garden & Home Show at the Colorado Convention Center. Discover the Rocky Mountain region’s oldest, largest and most prestigious garden and home show – Saturday, February 4 through Sunday, February 12 – where you can find inspiration from the latest ideas and trends in landscaping, gardening and home improvement from more than 650 exhibitors. Children 12 and under are free; adult admission is $12, senior admission is $10.   Here are a few ways to save: If you go Monday-Thursday (Feb 6-9), admission is 2-for-1. Buy discounted tickets at TicketsWest outlets in King Soopers or bring a nonperishable food item at the show for $2 off admission. (Discount not valid on Monday – Thursday.) 

Free Days. The beginning of each month is a treasure trove of free days. Here are some freebies for this week:

Feb. 2–Denver Zoo

Feb. 4–Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Feb. 7–Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms and Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus (4-8 p.m.)

Risas Dental. In celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, Risas Dental and Braces will offer free exams and x-rays for all children ages 18 and under between Feb. 1 – Feb. 28. Parents can make an appointment for the free exam and x-rays at any of Risas’ Denver-area bilingual offices, by calling 720-536-0401 or they can book online at Denver-Area Locations: Wheat Ridge – 3815 N. Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033; Federal Heights – 8383 Pecos St., Denver, CO 80221; Denver South – 2731 W. Evans Ave., Denver, CO 80219; Aurora South – 3575 S. Chambers Rd., Aurora, CO 80014; Aurora North – 11479 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, CO 80010 (Opening Feb. 2017).
Lego Batman Movie. Always be yourself…unless you can be Batman. You and your family are invited to the special advance screening of THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE on Saturday, 2/4. Please to download your complimentary passes. (Passes admit up to 4, while limited supplies last. Passes do not guarantee admission as theater is overbooked. ARRIVE EARLY!) #LEGOBatmanMovie in theaters 2/10.
ARC Thrift Store sale.  Grab a cardigan, a fair isle, a crew neck, or a cable knit, sweater at Arc Thrift Stores’ .99 Cent Sweater Sale, you can’t miss! Friday, February 3 (9a-9p) and Saturday, February 4 (8a-9p).
Valentines Gift. I buy myself valentine’s gifts. Do you? Here’s a great idea of something that continues to give! Join FabFitFun and get their box quarterly! MileHighMamas readers get $10 off their first box making it just $39.99! (It has over $200 worth of stuff in it so it is a pretty great deal). Use Code: COZY when you purchase.

Free Crafts. Lakeshore Learning Stores offers a variety of educational products from furniture and art materials to puzzles and hands-on learning kits. The store is now offering free crafting activities for kids ages 3 and older every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Their schedule:  January 28 – Craft a snowman. February 4 – Make Out-of-Sight goggles. February 11 – Create a Circle of Love wreath. February 18 – Craft a Soaring Superhero puppet. February 25 – Assemble a Pup in a Cup! craft. The store is located at 8680 A Park Meadows Drive., Littleton.

Arapahoe Library presents Bachelor Sean. I am a sucker for The Bachelor (on ABC) – maybe because I hope that I can find my own bachelor at some point. But I am also a sucker for my library, which is always one of my favorite escapes. Arapahoe Library has brought in some fun authors in the past (I met Andrew McCarthy that way). They are doing it again with Bachelor Sean Lowe as a new author. The event is free (but you need to register) or you can purchase a ticket for just $30 to meet and greet. It  takes place February 10 at the Embassy Suites DTC. 

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!
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If you’re on Twitter follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Single Mom Truths (and Challenges)

As much as I feel privileged to have time alone with my daughter after a long day of work and school, I dread walking through the door to an empty home.

As much as I am proud that I can financially and practically care for her on my own, I am often just as resentful that I have to sacrifice being with her to make it possible.

As much as I feel giddiness and purpose in seeing her dimpled-smile, I feel emptiness experiencing it alone.

As much as I am proud that she is adaptive, I feel guilty that she is

A big brother’s dream (and every younger sibling’s worse nightmare)

I laughed until I cried when I watched this video. As the tormented middle child of a torturous older brother, all I could do was laugh. And then check myself in for therapy. This is for all my fellow younger siblings out there. 

Tips and Pricing for Denver Restaurant Week 2017

The 13th annual Denver Restaurant Week will take place from Feb. 24 – March 5, 2017. More than 250 of Denver’s top restaurants offer multi-course dinners for tasty prices. Visit Denver has these tips:

  1. Browse the menus. All participants are listed and restaurants are added to the list as they sign up, so be sure to keep going back for the latest info.
  2. Make reservations. Tables fill up fast during Denver Restaurant Week, so make your plans soon. Be flexible and try some earlier or later seatings, too. And be sure to cancel any reservations you don’t use!
  3. Dine early and often! With hundreds of Denver’s best restaurants participating, there’s never a better time to try a new spot or head back to your favorites.
  4. Splurge! Lots of restaurants offer affordable wines, add-ons and special desserts. At $30 per person for dinner, you can afford to order some extras.
  5. Pay it forward. That fabulous meal you just had is also a great deal. Be sure to tip your server generously!


Select restaurants can now offer a $25 multi-course meal option, which is the cheapest offering in the event’s history. Tiered pricing is also available for $35 and $45, giving consumers more choices. 

A scavenger hunt with a math twist

Does your little learner love scavenger hunts, but seems tired of the same ‘ol search? Give the standard scavenger hunt a special math twist by adding numbers into the mix. Have your preschooler practice his counting and work on recognizing numbers by sight before setting up a challenge for you or the next child.

What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Index cards
  • Markers
  • Removable Tape

What You Do:

  1. Before you invite your children to play, create a set of numbers for them to hunt. Draw one large balloon-style number on each sheet of paper. Make it colorful and fun with polka dots, stripes or whatever other designs you want.
  2. Do this for the numbers 1-10.
  3. Now make the scavenger hunt cards. On the front of the first index card, draw one large dot.  Then, on the back of the card, write a 1. Repeat using two dots for 2 and so on until you have made ten cards.
  4. Explain to your child that he gets to hunt for the numbers one through ten.
  5. Hand your child a card, dot side up. Ask him how many dots it has. What number should they be looking for?
  6. Now the hunt is on! When your child finds a number, such as the number 2, have him check the back of the card. Did he find the right number? If so, he gets to move on to the next step. If not, encourage him to try again.
  7. Once the correct number has been found, he needs to take down the found number. If he has found the number 2, he needs to find two of something (two windows, 2 chairs, 2 photos) and hang the number up once he has identified the items.

Alter this game for a child who’s having troubles learning her numbers. Is she is confusing 2 and 5? On day one, have her locate the number two several times, each time finding pairs of objects around the room. On day two, have her find 5 several times. On day three, have her find both 2 and 5. is a savvy group of parents, teachers, and rock stars working towards a brighter future. Providing reading, writing, and math learning resources to more than 11 million members (with 10,000 new ones every day), more than 50% of whom are teachers, brings education to children in over 20 countries on six continents.

8 fun things to do in Denver this weekend

Denver has some fun Chinese New Year celebrations, Sesame Street’s Kindness Tour, free ice skating and more. For additional details, see our event calendar.

Chinese Lantern Decorating Contest at the Outlets at Castle Rock
Jan 28 
On Saturday, January 28th, join Outlets at Castle Rock where kids 12 and under can sign up to participate in their Chinese New Year Lantern Decorating Contest.  The top 3 winners will be awarded prizes from Outlets at Castle Rock.

Sesame Street’s Kindness Tour at FlatIron Crossing
Jan 28 
HBO and Sesame Workshop—in partnership with Rocky Mountain PBS —present the Sesame Street: K is for Kindness Tour, a free, multi-city experiential tour timed to and inspired by the new, 47th season of Sesame Street.

Free Ice Skating at Skyline Park at Southwest Rink at Skyline Park 
Jan 28 at 11:00 am
Come join other parents and kids skating at the downtown Denver Southwest Rink for clean air, where you can learn more about Colorado Moms Know Best, find out what you can do to make a difference in your kids’ future and meet other moms concerned about clean air for our kids. RSVP here:

Michael Carbonaro Live! at Paramount Theatre
Jan 26, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Ever wondered what it feels like to be on the other side of Michael Carbonaro as he works his magic to make people believe the unbelievable? This is your chance to find out! From his hit television series “The Carbonaro Effect” on truTV, magician Michael Carbonaro brings his signature blend of bizarre antics, audience interaction, hilarious video clips, and mind-blowing magic live on stage.

Ski and Snowshoe Weekend and Break the Ice Weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch
Jan 27 – Jan 29 
Join Camp Chief Ouray for a fun filled weekend with cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and sledding. Price includes lodging, food, and activities (including equipment rental) at Camp Chief Ouray. Campers will stay in a CCO lodge with heat and indoor restrooms.
Break the Ice Weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch 
Jan 28 – Jan 29 
The Break the Ice Weekends, taking place January 28-29, February 4-5, and February 18-19 will feature free guided ski & snowshoe hikes plus activities including:

Chinese New Year Celebration, Taste of China and Cultural Fair at the Recreation Center at Southridge 
Jan 28, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Highlands Ranch Cultural Affairs Association and the SCFD is partnering with Great Wall Chinese Academy to present a cultural program to celebrate Chinese New Year and the year of the Fire Rooster. The program features exciting Chinese dragon and lion dances, beautiful Chinese folk dances, amazing Chinese martial art – Kung Fu, and well-prepared choral and instrumental performances. 

The Music Train Family Concert Series-Reggae and World Dance at The Oriental Theater
Jan 29, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Can’t get to the tropics this Winter? No worries, this concert series will bring the warmth to you! An all age, family friendly Reggae and World Dance concert with IRIE STILL and delicious eats and refreshing libations (for both adults and kids. 

Colorado Chautauqua: Stay at this National Historic Treasure in our Backyard

As a newly minted Coloradoan 12 years ago, I explored the Front Range in the most memorable way possible: I joined a hiking club for moms. Before age 1, my daughter Hadley had logged more hours on the trail than her father who has lived here most of his life.

I’ll never forget the first time we met our group at the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark, just 1.5 miles from downtown Boulder. With the Flatirons as a dramatic backdrop, 48 miles of open space trails, a charming Dining Hall and the acoustically-renowned Chautauqua Auditorium, I marveled, “What is this place?”

811 Grandview Cottage in winter

811 Grandview Cottage in winter

This place is the best staycation you can take near the Denver Metro area. 

Our Stay

Whenever we need a quick getaway to recharge, the Colorado Chautauqua is our place. I was initially wooed by Colorado Chautauqua’s natural beauty but was positively floored to learn the Missions House Lodge, Columbine Lodge and 58 cottages are available for nightly year-round rental. Cottages are available in studio, 1, 2 or 3 bedroom configurations each with fully equipped kitchens and screened-in front porches. 

Our stay during the holidays was full of My Favorite Things. Hiking up Bluebell Road.  Exploring Chautauqua Park, Boulder’s largest city park. Careening down the icy slide at the playground and playing hide-and-go-seek in the adjacent kid-sized forest. Indulging at the Dining Hall by the cozy fireplaces indulging in cornbread with apple butter, shiitake mushroom risotto and gourmet burgers with fresh tomato preserves and horseradish ranch. Nestling up in our cozy cottage at the end of the day, feeling worlds away from the hustle-and-bustle of city life.

Dining Hall

Dining Hall

As much as I love winter at the Colorado Chautauqua, the warm weather months rule as we play tennis, basketball, hike to Royal Arch, slackline on the lawn, dine on the wrap-around deck at the Dining Hall,  get trail maps and hiking tips at on-property Chautauqua Ranger Cottage and tour their cute nature museum, and take in concerts at the Chautauqua Auditorium. The Chautauqua General Store (open May through September) offers a delicious selection of coffee drinks, homemade ice cream, snacks and candies, perfect for a summer’s day.

The Fascinating History

I’ve been to many top-notch resorts but what sets the Colorado Chautaqua apart is its history. Founded in 1898, the Colorado Chautauqua is considered the western representation of a cultural movement that swept the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and continues to exemplify its original ideals — lifelong learning, voluntary simplicity and love of nature, music, oration and the arts.history It is one of only a few remaining chautauquas in the U.S and is the only site west of the Mississippi that has been in continuous operation since its founding and with its original structures intact and used for their original purposes.

Originally visitors slept in canvas tents with wooden floors. Today, no two cottages or lodges are alike with antiques, claw-foot tubs, fireplaces. And the amenity I love the most (or the lack there): All accommodations are telephone and phone-free to allow your family to relax, unplug and reconnect in the most memorable of settings. P.S. Wi-Fi is available for anyone going through withdrawals. 

Chautauqua in a New Light

One cold morning, I literally had to drag myself out of cozy cottage to hike the Enchanted Mesa -> Mesa Trail -> Bluebell Road loop. This network of favorite trails raised my children. I first discovered it with my mom hiking group when Hadley was 3 months old, I almost passed out trying to climb it when I was pregnant with Bode, I’ve struggled up steep pitches pushing them in their double stroller through snow and I’ve loved seeing them reach summits on their own.sunrise

But that day was the first time I witnessed the sunrise there, making me believe I’d never really SEEN Chautauqua until then.


No matter what kind-of memories you wish to create, the Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark has all the makings for a magical getaway. Plan your Chautauqua vacation today, call 303.952.1611. In partnership with Mile High Mamas.

Got Fish? FDA’s New Recommendations for Expecting Moms

Do you wonder how much fish is safe to eat during your pregnancy?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued final advice regarding fish consumption. This advice is geared toward helping women who are pregnant or may become pregnant – as well as breastfeeding mothers and parents of young children – make informed choices when it comes to fish that are healthy and safe to eat. (This advice refers to fish and shellfish collectively as “fish.”)

To help these consumers more easily understand the types of fish to select, the agencies have created an easy-to-use reference chart that sorts 62 types of fish into three categories:

  • “Best choices” (eat two to three servings a week)
  • “Good choices” (eat one serving a week)
  • “Fish to avoid”

Fish in the “best choices” category make up nearly 90 percent of fish eaten in the United States.

An FDA analysis of fish consumption data found that 50 percent of pregnant women surveyed ate fewer than 2 ounces a week, far less than the amount recommended. Because the nutritional benefits of eating fish are important for growth and development during pregnancy and early childhood, the agencies are advising and promoting a minimum level of fish consumption for these groups. The advice recommends 2-3 servings of lower-mercury fish per week, or 8 to 12 ounces. However, all fish contain at least traces of mercury, which can be harmful to the brain and nervous system if a person is exposed to too much of it over time. The maximum level of consumption recommended in the final advice is consistent with the previous recommended level of 12 ounces per week. The new advice is consistent with the 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

For adults, a typical serving is 4 ounces of fish, measured before cooking. Serving sizes for children should be smaller and adjusted for their age and total calorie needs. It is recommended that children eat fish once or twice a week, selected from a variety of fish types.

“Fish are an important source of protein and other nutrients for young children and women who are or may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. This advice clearly shows the great diversity of fish in the U.S. market that they can consume safely,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Stephen Ostroff, M.D. “This new, clear and concrete advice is an excellent tool for making safe and healthy choices when buying fish.” Choices lower in mercury include some of the most commonly eaten fish, such as shrimp, pollock, salmon, canned light tuna, tilapia, catfish and cod.

When updating the advice, the agencies took a cautious and highly protective approach to allow consumers to enjoy the benefits of fish while avoiding those with higher levels of mercury, which is especially important during pregnancy and early childhood. The average mercury content of each type of fish was calculated based on FDA data and information from other sources. The updated advice cautions parents of young children and certain women to avoid seven types of fish that typically have higher mercury levels: tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico; shark; swordfish; orange roughy; bigeye tuna; marlin; and king mackerel.

The EPA, a federal agency, works to protect all Americans from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work. The agency focuses on all parts of society, from individuals to businesses and local governments. It develops regulations concerning natural resources, energy, transportation, agriculture, and industry and supports the various facets of environmental research and protection.

Amazing Kids’ Non-skiing Activities at Colorado Ski Resorts

Sure, the slopes are a big part of what makes Colorado’s 25 ski resorts so popular, but there are plenty of other ways for kiddos to enjoy their time in the mountains. Here are some favorite non-skiing activities that are guaranteed to keep everyone occupied on your next winter family vacation.

Kid-Approved Programming

As the powder day winds down, a fun-filled itinerary is just getting started. Free afternoon activities each day are a hallmark of the Very Important Kids program at Snowmass, whether it’s a magic show or sing-a-long and s’mores. Look to Kids Happy Hour in Telluride for a pint-size version of après ski that serves up indoor craft projects.

Arts and Crafts at Snowmass

Arts and Crafts at Snowmass

For parents that want a night out sans-children (it’s ok to admit it), know that you’re leaving them in good hands — and that they’ll probably be too busy to even notice you’re gone. The Beaver Creek Loves Teens Too program, designed for ages 13–17, is a three-hour evening extravaganza that, depending on the day, could involve snowshoeing and pizza or a trick class at the Anti-Gravity Center in nearby Edwards. Aptly named Kids Night Out at Durango’s Purgatory occurs on select dates throughout the season, with the promise of games, arts and crafts, movies and, of course, dinner.


Winter Playgrounds

Little ones love to burn off steam outside, so what better venue to do just that than one meant especially for them? Critterland — located at Copper Mountain — is an interactive play place intended for the discerning 6-and-under crowd. Make friends with snow characters, crawl though the play structure’s tunnel, have a go on the Ducktopus Tubing Carousel and hang out in the Critter Crooked House.

Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain

In addition to Kidtopia’s packed daily festival schedule in Keystone, the Kidtopia Snow Fort on top of Dercum Mountain is a sight to behold, complete with slides and mazes all constructed from a giant pile of snow. Another playground-like setting is Burton Riglet Park at Purgatory, where kids ages 3–6 can learn to snowboard. During happy hours at this terrain park throughout the season, youngsters take advantage of an hour with an instructor for just $15 — which includes a grown-up beverage for mom or dad.

Glide & Slide

If you have a future Olympic figure skater in the family, let them practice spins and jumps on the ice rinklocated in the center of Beaver Creek Village. Weekly events like American Jukebox Skate Night on Sundays provide endless entertainment for kids and kids at heart (though you’ll have to explain to them what a jukebox is); or cozy up to one of the surrounding fire pits and warm up with a mug of hot chocolate. Take to the frozen 5-acre lake that anchors Keystone’s Lakeside Village for a pick-up hockey game, or glide along with Frosty on Saturday afternoons.

There’s more than one way to zoom down a snowy mountain, including a grin-inducing ride on an inflated rubber tube. Purgatory’s Snow Coaster Tubing Hill has three lanes that are lit at night, meaning you can slip and slide into the evening. Once you make it down the banked curves and jumps of Copper Mountain’s tubing hill, a magic-carpet lift will whisk you back up to do it again! Plus, double tubes are available to rent — perfect for a parent/child pair. The newest spot for tubular amusement in Colorado is Coca-Cola Tubing at Winter Park. After the kids get their fill, thaw out at the Hill House warming hut to snack on fresh-baked cookies.

Chilly Thrills

If skiing and snow tubing just aren’t enough to satisfy your young daredevils, send them in the direction of special attractions, like Crested Butte’s Adventure Park. The gravity-defying bungee trampolines send riders soaring up to 30 feet in the air, or try out the 28-foot climbing wall. Meanwhile, February through April, the Coca-Cola Adventure Zone in Steamboat has its own version of a trampoline bungee jump, slingshot-style.

Adventure Ridge

Adventure Ridge

And don’t miss the excitement of a football-stadium-size snow park in Vail. Adventure Ridge aims to excite with ski bikes, tubing and a kids’ mini-snowmobile track called the Blizzard Speedway.

Educational Endeavors

Being up in the mountains is a perfect opportunity for your child to learn more about their surroundings. EcoXploration in Telluride allows those in the 5–12 age bracket to connect with the environment through a full day of programs — geocaching, winter wilderness survival, and trekking and tracking. Your son or daughter may return striving to become the next Bear Grylls, or at the very least have a deeper appreciation for the great outdoors. In Vail, hop on the Eagle Bahn gondola to access the Nature Discovery Center, with its assortment of exhibits on natural history and local wildlife inside a yurt. On Wednesdays you might catch fire-prevention mascot Smokey Bear skiing around (as bears do); or sign up for a free snowshoe tour (age 10 and up) that touches on winter ecology and how animals adapt in cold climes.

Quality Time With the Fam

Bring everyone back together with activities that cater to families. Ullr Nights is a Snowmass winter wonderland party in honor of the Norse god of snow. On Fridays, take the gondola up the mountain to Elk Camp for live music, a bonfire, snow slide, vast buffet of culinary creations and other merriment. Another chance for bonding happens at Beaver Creek’s Family Funfest Carnival on Saturdays. The free event guarantees a good time with prizes awarded for games of skill, caricature drawings and more. Let your brood roll out of bed and head straight to Pajama Family Brunch at Keystone’s Bighorn Bistro. The Sunday occasion calls for a fun-size breakfast buffet for the littles, and a mimosa or bloody mary for parental units. Afterward, pay a visit to Ready Paint Fire, an art studio with paint-your-own pottery and canvases.

Want More?

Read up on more off-the-slopes fun across the state, get the scoop on ski and snowboard lessons, and discover fun summertime activities for families at Colorado ski resorts.