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Top 10 Summer Adventures for Colorado Families

Let’s get right to it! It’s been a LONG semester, with quite a chaotic start to 2019. There was more than one bomb cyclone, a school shutdown, and a legendary Denver Public School teacher strike; nonetheless, if there’s one thing that will recharge the children is a journey to Colorado’s mountains, historic towns, hot springs, kid adventure courses and more this summer.

Part one includes the top 10 Colorado summer adventures for families and part two will include the most updated information on our top ten favorites. Cheers to summer mamas and well done for surviving a wild and wacky year! Take a deep breath and enjoy our incredible bounty of vacation ideas and journeys.

A Grazing Life, Colorado Springs

agrazinglife.com

I’ll admit, my daughter and I like hanging out with sheep and cows more than most people; however, for those who would rather just view at a glance and enjoy awesome cuisine, A Grazing Life is the summer dinner adventure. This true, farm-to-table experience on the Frost Livestock Company’s ranch in Fountain, near Colorado Springs, has two options. Throughout summer, families can visit on scheduled Saturdays to tour the operations, visit animals, and picnic on the grounds. There is also the farm-to-table dinners with visiting Colorado Springs’ chefs that is more adult-focused with music and spirits, but still suitable for children. We did both, I am in love, and it’s not because founder, Mike Preisler, and I both went to college in Wisconsin together; albeit, years apart. Nope, it’s because the farm, operation, cuisine, and animals are outrageously impressive.

Piney River Ranch, Vail Valley

Pineyriverranch.com

If you love moose and a majestic, throw-back cabin setting, then book Piney River Ranch. It’s unbelievable that a little exit from the  I-70 at Exit 176 in Vail, and a 30-minute drive results in one of the best family-resorts in all of Colorado! YES! Here’s why. The private, forty-acre retreat, is often popular with day hikers as there is a restaurant onsite as well as boat rental facilities. However, the secret is staying the night in the new glamping tents. They are certainly luxurious with lots of amenities included—1-queen, 2-twin beds per tent, linens/pillows provided, wood burning stove (when able to use, fire bans are common), parking for one vehicle per tent, pets welcome and a shared men’s and women’s guest bathhouse with standard flush toilets. The lake and surrounding streams provide ample fly-fishing, hiking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, waterfalls to hike to or simply relax by the fire pit.

Platte River Fort Resort & Event Center, Greeley

platteriverfort.com

Platte River Fort Resort & Event Center opens their new campground and onsite eatery, Hank’s Bar & Grill that will operate Tuesday-Friday 12pm-8pm. This massive property is on 235 acres and includes 1.5 miles of the South Platte River and a herd of around 30 Texas Longhorn Cattle that roam the grounds. The campground features approximately 30 sites dependent on tents and guests. This can include trailer, RV or tent camping. Rates will be around $35 for a trailer or bigger rig, tent camping around $15 a night. This is an easy drive or visit from the Front Range; the Resort & Event Center is a five-minute drive from the University of Northern Colorado or 1.5 miles from downtown Greeley. Platte River also has six yurts by the river, sleeping up to four people and a covered wagon, which sleeps up to four as well.

The Elizabeth Hotel, Fort Collins

theelizabethcolorado.com

The Elizabeth Hotel is one of my top recommendations for Denver mamas who want a quick escape with the tweens! This brand-new, luxury and hipster-based hotel in downtown Fort Collins is by far one of the best things to happen on the Colorado hotel circuit in the past couple years. The hotel has a swanky jazz and music theme and rentable records children can take to the room and play on an old-fashioned record player. There are also musical instruments for rent. A rooftop bar, downstairs restaurant and bar with awesome giant-size games for kiddos and the best market North of Denver! The black and white tiled San Fran-esque market has ice cream, coffee, wine or beer to purchase and take, a full menu, grab and go and much more, it’s worth multiple stops.

Three Rivers Resort, Almont

3riversresort.com

My littlest was 2.5-years old, it was time to get him on the river. After a day of mellow drift fly-fishing with the guides from Three Rivers Resort, we were convinced this was the spot to put the tyke in the raft. We choose a mellow, late summer trip on the Taylor, a leisurely drift down the river with no more than a class II rapid, and the best splashes for cooling off. This resort has been around decades and is great with youngsters. My big kids even like the river jumps at the end, there’s something for everyone. Plus, the Resort is easily accessed if you are coming off Cottonwood Pass from the Front Range or its right between Crested Butte and Gunnison. They have seven different river, lake and water trips, overnight lodging, restaurant onsite and much more.

Lost Forest, Snowmass

aspensnowmass.com/plan-your-stay/lost-forest

From trout hook fishing to a Treeline Tour Challenge Course, the new Lost Forest in Snowmass should not be missed this summer. The new adventure park is located on the mountain near Elk Camp, and is worth seeking out for the entire family. We were thrilled to give Lost Forest a whirl last summer and loved the climbing wall with different routes. There is the Canopy Zip Line, the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, Rugged Ascent Climbing Wall, Aerial Approach Disc Golf, and Timber Territory Paintball. It is truly fun for the whole family whether you prefer to take it slow and participate in disc golf, or are more of an adventurer willing to attempt the Treeline Tour Challenge Course. Snowmass is open daily from June 21 through September 2, and the Lost Forest is accessible from 9 am to 3:30 pm.

River Run, Granby

sunrvresorts.com/river-run

You can’t miss the brand new opening of River Run RV Resort! Just two hours from Denver, along the Colorado River, escape the city and experience a different version of Colorado. There are so many lodging options to choose from furnished rentals to RV sites. This fall there will even be glamping options in covered wagons. The fun doesn’t stop there, the list of amenities offered is just as impressive as the lodging. Everything from kayaking to spa services will make for a great retreat for the whole family, so don’t miss out on this new opportunity this summer!

BEST OF BOULDER

Embassy Suites by Hilton Boulder

embassysuites3.hilton.com

This is the best new family-friendly option in Boulder! Free breakfast, petit rooftop pool, happy hour loaded with vegetables, juice and craft drinks for adults. There is onsite parking, spacious rooms, great interior spaces for lounging or for the wee ones, the fountain and water pond are quite entertaining. Summer rates start at: $299 per night.

CU’s Lego Exhibit

colorado.edu/alumni/heritage-center/exhibitions/hit-bricks

In 2014, a group called the Colorado/Wyoming LEGO Users Group took roughly 1 million LEGO pieces to CU to form an extremely detailed CU campus. It features some of the most popular sites on campus like Old Main (the first building at CU), Fiske Planetarium, the Hill, and even Folsom Field with CU playing their 2015 homecoming game. Both realistic and imaginary reflections of life are presented in this exhibit. There’s a scavenger hunt on paper to find items in the exhibit, and it could take hours. It’s the most impressive Lego build I have ever seen in person and it’s fun to walk the campus in summer with the littles.

Bike To Farm Tour

boulderbiketours.com/tours/farm-bike-tour/

Herschel Goldberg, founder of Boulder Bike Tours, loves getting people excited about not only cycling in Boulder, but the whole aspect of what eating local means. This was by far one of my son’s and I favorite nights of the summer. I was given my first ride on an e-bike and Herschel taught Hank some awesome bike tips and tricks on his rental. We did the Thursday night “Sunset Tour” where you start downtown and ride to a farm a little outside of the city (still in Boulder) with wood-fired pizza featuring veggies that are harvested that day. There’s music playing, children dancing, libations, coffee, etc. It’s the epitome of Boulder!

DENVER

The Maven Hotel at Dairy Block

themavenhotel.com/

The Maven Hotel at Dairy Block is the official partner hotel of the Colorado Rockies and the closest hotel to Denver’s Coors Field. Located one block from the ballpark, The Maven offers stunning views along with the special baseball-themed Diamond Suite, which features a wrap-around porch and a curated collection of baseball art, movies and snacks for the true baseball fan to enjoy. Priced at just $189 per night, The Maven Colorado Rockies Home Run package knocks it out of the park by including an overnight accommodation for two, two Colorado craft beers or sodas, two boxes of Cracker Jacks, $25 Rockies Stadium Gift Card – good for food, beverages & gear inside Coors Field and valet parking. That’s a CRAZY awesome downtown deal.

Curtis Hotel

Thecurtis.com

Urban Unplug is a new package offered by Curtis Hotel offering Digital Detox. This urban getaway includes a Camp Curtis Counselor-approved map of favorite downtown Denver destinations including the Denver Center for Performing Arts, Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park and the cool waters at Confluence Park. Campers can enjoy a $20 “camp stipend” to pay for Denver B-cycle bike rides or kayak rental at Confluence Kayaks to paddle the South Platte River. To help keep you hydrated and sunburn-free at Denver’s Mile High elevation, Camp Curtis will supply you with an Urban Survival Kit featuring sunscreen, bottled water, Chapstick and house made trail mix, root beer and more. And to combat the screen time withdrawal, the hotel will send you off with a Digital Detox Cleanse pack including Sudoku brain games, a fidget spinner and more. Prices start at just $185 per night. Plus, the Curtis is hyper-themed and quirky, including the new Marvel Suite on the “Superhero” floor and the Ghostbusters Suite on the 13th floor, the “Dun, Dun, Dunnnnn” floor.

 

Colorado Activity Guide

2019 Summer Vacation in Colorado: 75+ ideas for families

2019 Denver Summer Activity Guide (150+ ideas!)

Family travel: Top 8 Family Vacations

Guide to Denver’s Splash Parks and Spray Fountains

Best Hikes for Kids in the Denver area

Where to pull of I-70 when you’re stuck in traffic (fun activities and restaurants)

10 Beautiful Places in Colorado You Didn’t Know About

Borrow a Colorado State Parks Pass from Your Library

Yurt Village at Snow Mountain Ranch is Star-lit Fun

Cool Off This Summer at Colorado’s Best Beaches

A Local’s Guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers

Best Denver-area Parks for Beginner Trail Runners (and hikers)

10 of Colorado’s most scenic waterfall hikes

Summer Camp: Preparing kids for the game of life, on and off the court

Bill Hanzlik started his summer camp in 1986 because girls basketball camps were not offered at that time. Bill, having three daughters and being a former NBA player and coach, wanted to provide an opportunity for girls to work on their basketball skills in the summer. That vision grew into a boys camp within a few years and snowballed into a two-week summer basketball camp for players in 2nd – 9th grades.

This camp is Denver’s longest running youth basketball camp and features some of the best and brightest coaches in the sport. There are former high school coaches, current college coaches and current and former college players. It’s a dream come true for the players in attendance. Plus, Bill makes sure he’s there every day and brings tons of prizes with him. Players can win Denver Nuggets tickets, Colorado Rockies tickets, National Western Stock Show tickets, Water World tickets, Molten backpacks, Gold Crown sunglasses, Denver Nuggets gear…and much more! This camp emphasizes fun while learning and includes drills, games and an end-of-camp tournament that always brings out the competitive spirit in the players and coaches.

Looking for a volleyball camp this summer, too? Similar to Bill’s basketball camp, the Gold Crown Volleyball Camp began as an opportunity for youth players in Denver to work on their skills in the summer. This camp boasts current college coaches and players from Metro State University at Denver. Participants will learn how to bump, set and spike while playing games and having fun. There are multiple sessions available to balance competition and maximize everyone’s experience. Players will compete each day for prizes and will have an opportunity to go home with some great gear.

Denver Nuggets/Bill Hanzlik Basketball Camp

WEEK 1: July 8th – 12th

COED 2nd – 4th: 10 am  – 12 pm
BOYS 4th – 6th: 1 pm – 4 pm
BOYS 7th – 9th: 5 pm – 8 pm

WEEK 2: July 15th – 19th

COED 2nd – 4th: 10 am – 12 pm
GIRLS 4th – 6th: 1 pm – 4 pm
GIRLS 7th – 9th: 1 pm – 4 pm

Gold Crown Volleyball Camp

June 24th – 27th

GIRLS 3rd – 6th: 9 am  –  12 pm
GIRLS 7th – 10th: 9 am – 12 pm OR 1 pm – 4 pm

Want to bring a friend or group of friends? Check out our Buddy Pass option to help you save on registration. We also offer camp scholarships on an as needed basis. If you have any questions, you can email camps@goldcrownfoundation.com.

Register at www.GoldCrownFoundation.com. See you at camp!

28 family-friendly events in Denver this week

Awesome events this week include the In the Trenches: A Parenting Musical, Colorado Railroad Museum Turns 60, Taste of Louisville and more. See our event calendar for more information. 

WOW! Free Day at WOW! Children’s Museum 
May 30, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Admission to WOW! Children’s Museum is FREE on May 30 thanks to community partner and sponsor Children’s Hospital Colorado!

JOJO SIWA at Paramount Theatre 
May 30, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Nickelodeon’s™ JoJo Siwa D.R.E.A.M The Tour.

Into the Wild Running Festival at The Wild Animal Sanctuary 
June 1, 7:00 am – 12:00 pm
This is a fun 5K or 10K walk/run for individuals, families or groups of friends that want to spend a Saturday morning across the Sanctuary’s 789 acres of open grassland – as the course weaves between natural habitats filled with rescued animals.

AMA National Championship at Thunder Valley Motocross Park 
June 1, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
15th Annual True Value Thunder Valley National in Lakewood, CO is Round 3 of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Thunder Valley Motocross Park plays host once again to the fastest racers in the world on June 1st, 2019. Be ready for a full day of pro racing beginning at 8:00 am and ending at approximately 5:30 pm.

Denver Heart & Stroke Walk, Broncos Stadium at Mile High 
June 1, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
The American Heart Association (AHA) will host approximately 15,000 people at the annual Denver Heart & Stroke Walk on June 1 at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The event will include a competitive 5K Run, Yoga in the End Zone, a 5K Walk and Survivor Mile, a “Healthy for Good” Expo, and a Puppy Parade.

Hike to End Hunger at D’Evelyn Jr-Sr High School
June 1, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Hunger is an issue we can and must solve to ensure the well-being of all Coloradans. By hiking to end hunger, YOU can support Hunger Free Colorado and its mission to end hunger in our state! Join us on the trail and at D’Evelyn Jr-Sr High School for games, food, giveaways, music and family-friendly activities.

Colorado Railroad Museum Turns 60 at Colorado Railroad Museum 
June 1, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sixty years ago in July of 1959, the Colorado Railroad Museum opened its doors in Golden, Colorado bent on sharing the history of railroads in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West. Using archival materials from the permanent collection, this exhibit celebrates the museum’s work over the last 60 years and invites you to participate in our anniversary year celebrations.

Taste of Louisville at Historic Main Street, Louisville Colorado 
June 1, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
An opportunity to taste the “Quality of Life” in Louisville. Come and enjoy excellent food served by our fine restaurants, craft booths, kids entertainment and informational booths from local merchants. You won’t want to miss the Louis-Palooza which features local bands performing at the Steinbaugh Pavilion.

Denver Chalk Art Festival at Larimer Square 
June 1 – June 2 
The Denver Chalk Art Festival is a free two-day street-painting festival. Perfect for the entire family, hundreds of artists including madonnari chalk artists from around the world, spend hours over the weekend turning the entire, closed-down street in Larimer Square into a museum of beautiful chalk art. The interactive art festival takes place on June 1-2 2019 on Larimer Square in Denver and is one of the summer’s most treasured events.

Free Day at Denver Art Museum 
June 1, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Free day.

Indian Market & Powwow at The Fort 
June 1 – 2 
Tesoro Cultural Center’s 19th annual Indian Market & Powwow is Colorado’s largest authentic art show made to celebrate American Indian culture. Hosted on the grounds of Denver’s iconic restaurant, The Fort, the event is a tribute to the American Indian tribes of the past who shaped the community of Old Ben’s Fort.

5th Annual Block Party at Youth on Record
June 1, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Youth on Record’s Block Party and Community Celebration will bring together close to 1000 community members for a day-long outdoor mini-festival. This free event is a Youth led and Youth designed event.

Spring Tea at Hudson Gardens Inn 
June 1, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Enjoy classic tea fare and live entertainment by Opera Colorado’s Artists in Residence, all for a wonderful cause! Proceeds benefit Opera Colorado’s Education & Community Engagement Programs—serving more than 45,000 students of all ages every year.

AAC Celebration at American Mountaineering Museum 
June 1, 3:00 – 7:00 pm
Kick off the summer! June 1, the community will gather in the home of the American Alpine Club for a family friendly festival celebrating all things climbing. Complete with carnival games, tours of the American Mountaineering Museum, an open air vendor village, food trucks and local beverages—the Excellence in Climbing Celebration has something for everyone! The highlight is inducting inspirational climbing heroes into the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence and a presentation from climber and writer, Kelly Cordes.

Bluegrass Bash at Denver Field House
June 1, 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Is there a better way to celebrate climbing and conservation? We don’t think so. Dance the night away with us and WhiteWater Ramble June 1st in Denver! 100% of ticket proceeds, prize draws, and event memberships benefit the conservation and preservation of the wild places you love to explore.

Colorado Rapids vs. FB Cincinnati at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park 
June 1, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Come see the Colorado Rapids as they square off against FC Cincinnati.

Free Day at Denver Museum of Nature and Science 
June 2, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Free Day!

In the Trenches: A Parenting Musical – Unplugged Rendition at Wibby Brewery 
June 3, 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Join Graham and Kristina Fuller (with special guests) as they present an “Unplugged” rendition of select songs from their hit show In the Trenches: A Parenting Musical. In the Trenches is a heartwarming theatrical composition, that walks audiences through the hilarious, crazy, yet entirely joyful endeavors of parenting.

Free Day at Denver Botanic Gardens 
June 4, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Free day.

Free Day at Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus 
June 4, 4:00 – 8:00 pm
Free Day.

Ongoing General Events

Butterflies at Chatfield Farms
May 25 – September 2
$4, $2 Gardens or Butterfly Pavilion member, free for children 2 and under
This seasonal habitat is home to hundreds of native butterflies such as swallowtails, monarchs, mourning cloaks and painted ladies. The plants in this house are used as a nectar source for butterfly food and designed to create a whimsical atmosphere for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Learn what types of plants you can add to your garden to attract butterflies and other pollinators. Presented with Butterfly Pavilion.

Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America at the Denver Art Museum
May 5 –August 25
Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America presents the concept of playfulness in postwar American design as a catalyst for creativity and innovation. This exhibition explores how employing playfulness allowed designers to bring fresh ideas to the American home, children’s toys and play spaces, and corporate identities.  The cost is included in general admission which is free for kids 18 and under every day.

Harry Potter Marathon at Phipps Imax Theater at DMNS
April 4 – June 8, 2019
Back by popular demand, a Harry Potter marathon in Phipps IMAX Theater! Between April 4 and June 8, all eight “Harry Potter” films and two “Fantastic Beast” films will be screened in chronological order as part of Hollywood Favorites. Relive the magic or see the saga unfold for the first time. Previously released cinematic features are included in their IMAX lineup on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. 

Our Senses: Creating Your Reality at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
April 12 – August 4
When it comes to our senses, hasn’t the number five had enough time in the spotlight? Now other sensory heroes get some overdue attention in Our Senses: Creating Your Reality, a new exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for the whole family where you play with color, patterns, sounds, scents, and textures to discover there’s so much more to human senses than just the famous five. www.dmns.org

Denver Art Museum 
Visit the Denver Art Museum this summer where kids receive FREE general admission every day! There is plenty to do during #SummerofPlay2019 at the DAM including family-friendly artmaking in the galleries and in the Paint Studio (opening June 1). Step into the shining world of the new First Light Family Space (opening June 1) and try hands-on activities inspired by the exhibition The Light Show. Don’t miss this summer’s main exhibition, Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America, opening May 5, where children are invited to play in the Free Play Zone at the end of the exhibition where they can try on bold masks and bring them to life in a colorful theater, climb on a wavy playscape by sculptor Isamu Noguchi and creatively combine the pieces of the Tyng Toy.

Images from the Tracks at the Colorado Railroad Museum
January 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020
One of the foremost photographers to photograph the great American West, William Henry Jackson’s images had an immense influence on the public’s perception of the American West. A portion of those images were captured here in Colorado as Jackson traveled throughout the west by rail. This exhibit not only showcases the Museum’s collection of Jackson photographs but provides visitors with the opportunity to visit the rail car he traveled and lived in – the Denver & Rio Grande Western business car – the Rico.

Got Style? Railroads & Design at the Colorado Railroad Museum
Feb 16 – Jun 10, 2019
Often leading the pack as far as what was “stylish.” railroads have echoed the fashion of their day. From rail cars to benches, dining plates to lamps passengers expected and often got the best. This small exhibit explores the how materials, production technologies and aesthetic trends all affected how the railroads we traveled on looked.

Marine Biologist for a Day at the Downtown Aquarium
Jan 1- Dec 31, 2019
See if you have what it takes to become a Marine Biologist! Spend a day behind the scenes where all the scientific action happens. Experience close encounters with exotic species from the deep sea to shallow reef and everywhere in between. You’ll even get to dissect a squid! Program includes guided tour, biologist dive show, squid dissection, animal feedings and much more! T-shirts & lunch included.

Run away with the circus with this summer camp!

Your child will have a magical summer learning how to walk the tightrope, soar on the trapeze or silks, practice their new acrobatic skills on the trampoline, climb the Chinese pole, throw a pie in a clown’s face, and even juggle the clown noses! All the while getting to know their new best friends.

 MOTH Contemporary Circus Center is located in the RiNo Arts District in downtown Denver. MOTH is a collaborative environment where children of all ages can develop circus skills in a safe and supportive environment. MOTH or Movement Of The Heart, is a home that helps foster creativity and welcomes everyone through our doors. 

MOTH CCC adheres to a strict set of safety procedures to ensure campers stay healthy and follow proper progressions to avoid injury.

At MOTH we have the same philosophy for our summer campers as our adults in our professional training program.

LEARN: “THE JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP.” LAO TZU

Learning is the place to begin with any performing arts program. Whether you are an inspired beginner or seasoned professional, learning is the first step toward your development as an athlete, artist, and human being.

TRAIN: “WE ARE WHAT WE REPEATEDLY DO. EXCELLENCE, THEN, IS NOT AN ACT BUT A HABIT.” ARISTOTLE

Training is the next step in your development as a circus performer. This is the time to take what you have learned, work hard, have fun, and become part of a community. Having the discipline to train on a daily or weekly basis will enable you to become your best and get the most from our Denver circus school programs.

CREATE: “IMAGINATION IS THE BEGINNING OF CREATION. YOU IMAGINE WHAT YOU DESIRE, YOU WILL WHAT YOU IMAGINE AND AT LAST YOU CREATE WHAT YOU WILL.” GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

Creation is the time to rely on your inspiration and intuition. By training hard you will have the confidence to focus your skills and technique, and turn your attention to creating something that reflects your individuality. Expression is an essential component of becoming an artist, and an important element to your comprehensive circus training.

PERFORM: “ONLY FROM THE HEART, CAN WE TOUCH THE SKY.” RUMI

Performance is your ultimate expression of self. It is the culmination of everything you have accomplished, and is truly a movement of the heart! Through your circus and acrobatic performances, you will see all of your hard work, studies, training, and creativity come to full fruition, and you’ll never want to stop.

Our campers truly run away with the circus. MOTH will become their home both athletically and artistically; the circus has something for everyone.

Our fun-filled camps conclude with face-painting and our campers perform on the last day of camp in their very own big show!

The circus has come to town!

Each session is tailored made to your child’s age and skill level.

CIRCUS CAMP – ages 6-9 – June 3rd – June 14th

CIRCUS CAMP – ages 9-13 – June 17th – June 28th

TRY ME MINI CIRCUS – ages 4-6 – July 1st – 3rd

ADAPTIVE CIRCUS – ADAMS CAMP COLLABORATION – July 8th – July 12th

ALL LEVELS PERFORMANCE CAMP – July 15th – July 26th

Go to contemporarycircuscenter.com for additional information. 

Deals: Water World, Golf in Keystone and More

Welcome to Summer! Don’t miss our Denver Summer 2019 Activity Guide with 150+ indoor and outdoor activities. 

 Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Kids Camp. Once again Kids Camp at Alamo Drafthouse is where to go this summer. Choose your own ticket price of $1, $3, or $5. Enjoy a GREAT movie and 100% of the sales goes to a non profit!

 Larimer Chalk Festival. Do you remember getting out your sidewalk chalk and having a fun time on the driveway? This is that 1000X over. The 17th Annual Denver Chalk Art Festival on Larimer Square is June 1 and 2 and it’s…FREE.  When my kids were little we would swing by Dollar Tree and get some of our own chalk – since we were so inspired to create our own. 

Orvis Free Fly Fishing Classes. Have you always wanted to learn to fly fish? Want to learn for FREE? Orvis stores are having fly fishing 101 classes for free. Sign up here: https://www.orvis.com/flyfishing101

 Planet Fitness. Teens 15-18 years old can work out for free this summer at Planet Fitness, with the Teen Summer Challenge.  A parent must go with the teen to sign up. But the teen summer membership is free.

 Zoe’s Kitchen. At Zoe’s Kitchen, get a kids meal for just $1 when you buy an adult entrée through June 16. Mention that you saw the email!

 Taco Bell. Anyone else taking advantage of the Colorado Rockies – Taco Bell promotions? When the Rockies score 7 or more runs in a game (win or lose) you can swing by Taco Bell the next day between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to get four tacos for $2. (We end up eating at Taco Bell about once a week so far).

 Water World. Nothing says summer to me more than Water World (I used to live right by there and all my friends were lifeguards there as a summer job). One of the world’s largest water parks often also comes with a large price tag (especially when you are bringing lots of kids). But luckily there are a few ways to get admission less expensively. Kids under 40” are free every day; Consider a splash pass (season pass); King Soopers has a family 4-pack including admission,  pizza and drinks; Bring a marked Mountain Dew can for $10 off); or pick up a coupon at Subway.

 Golf in Keystone.  Keystone’s Family Golf Package includes discount on lodging, golf rates and also includes green fees, practice facility access and free golf on day of arrival with a two-night stay. Other perks include free rental clubs for children and free rentals for adults after 1 p.m. Plus this year, get unlimited same day golf play with every paid round of golf. Reserve a tee time for the first round and then book additional free rounds upon completion on any day of play. For additional information on the Family Golf Package, visit GolfKeystone.com.

Turning pain into purpose: One local Denver woman’s journey to motherhood through infertility

It seems we all know someone who has struggled with infertility, and maybe that someone is you.  I’m one of those 1 in 8 who struggled to get pregnant. I wanted to take a minute and share a bit of our story and hope that it may help contribute to the dialogue that once was considered taboo.  

My husband and I were on the “older” side when we got married.  I was in my later 30’s and my husband was early-mid 40’s.  We were eager to start a family. About a year into our marriage we decided to pursue testing to help us figure out what may be hindering our ability to get pregnant.  We approached it as a team and learned we had some male factor issues in addition to polyps in my uterus that were recommended be surgically removed. We were told IVF was really the best chance for us getting pregnant – Off we went on the adventure of a lifetime.

Of course no one really prepares you for the “new normal” you’ll experience with daily injections, blood work, and regular ultrasounds in preparing for your first egg retrieval.  We had a good number of fertilized eggs, which resulted in 4 embryos. Sadly though just days into the New Year in 2016 we received the devastating news that none of our 4 embryos were viable.  What this means is that they either had extra or missing chromosomes that would likely end in miscarriage.  We were utterly heartbroken, but we rose up and proceeded to try again. After some changes to my protocol we underwent another egg retrieval and were able to get 3 embryos– The true test is if they’re viable with matching chromosomes. Women ask me if I recommend the PGS genetic testing and I definitely do. You reduce your chances of experiencing a miscarriage if you know ahead of time that your embryos are viable. I’ll never forget the call with our results that day- we got ONE viable embryo. My husband and I shared tears over the phone and felt pure gratitude for our little embaby.

At this point our one embryo was frozen and we chose to move forward with the recommendation to remove the polyps. A successful surgery happened, but after 3 months of healing the Dr. noticed some scar tissue in my uterus and felt it had to be surgically removed to enhance our chances of a successful embryo implantation. No one tells you about all of the waiting but you experience A LOT of it.  On our second wedding anniversary in July of 2016, I underwent surgery to remove the scar tissue. It wasn’t quite the anniversary celebration I had envisioned, but it was these trying times that were a true testament of our love and actually brought us closer. During these months of healing we also learned our fertility doctor would be leaving the practice and we would be getting a new Dr. to oversee our case.

We moved forward with a scheduled embryo transfer date only to learn that things would be halted once again. A small bit of blood in my uterus was identified from one of my ultrasounds and alerted my doctor to have me stop all medications, take a pause and wait another month before starting up again.  Our resilience to keep moving forward was tested with each setback, and we wondered how much more we could take. During a consultation with our new doctor he advised doing another ultrasound and identified up to five fibroids in my uterus (one was apparently even the size of an orange). Believe me when I tell you that your setbacks are there to help guide you closer to your ultimate destination. In October of 2016 I had surgery to remove the fibroids by an outside specialist. Everything went as planned, and after 3 months we were able to have a date scheduled for our first embryo transfer.

Fast forward to January of 2017.  We experienced nothing short of a miracle watching our one embryo be transferred into me. Literally the size of a dot and one of the most beautiful images I had ever seen. It was an experience like no other. When I think back to that day, I’m still in awe of it all. Surrender and Let Go – these are mottos I lived by.  One of the best pieces of advice from my acupuncturist was, “Stay off of Google.” It really does only cause more worry and more stress. I understood the importance of getting in a positive state of alignment, and did everything I could do to mentally, physically and spiritually prepare myself to give us the best chances of implantation. 

After the two-week wait, I got “the call” from my nurse saying the words we always wanted to hear– “You’re pregnant!!”  It’s a feeling like no other and words we wanted to hear for so long; Complete tears of joy and sense of relief knowing that our little fighter had buried himself / herself in my womb.  Of course we weren’t out of the clear yet.  Many going through this journey celebrate each step along the way. More shots continued but this time a much larger needle, which had to be injected into my buttocks. I’ll spare you the details, but I will tell you having been an athlete much of my life was a huge asset in the mental toughness game in giving myself these shots.  

There’s definitely a special mindset that I feel is especially helpful going through this process. Being aware of your energy and open to all the supports around you is extremely powerful.  My professional background as an Occupational Therapist provided  a foundation for understanding how all of the pieces fit together – – the physical, spiritual, emotional, psychosocial; It’s all relevant and important to consider when going through this process.  At 37 weeks my husband and I met that little “dot” that hung on and fought to be here just as we had fought to meet her. Delivered via C-section, I was informed my uterus could no longer carry another child.  With all the surgeries it had been through enough.  It wasn’t until the delivery did my OB know I also had placenta increta which resulted in a lot of bleeding happening. Two blood transfusions and a few more complications later, we still believe that everything we went through was worth it.

Just having birthed a baby I was flooded with new inspiration and creativity in the months that followed.  Call me crazy but somehow I decided THAT was a good time to start a business with a then 6 month old. It was a calling I had to pursue.  From setting up a website and launching a blog, to starting a coaching business focused on the area of mindset, I believe this process does not have to be as painful as many women experience it to be.  My aim is to show others going through IVF and infertility that there is a way you can get through it all without losing yourself; You can actually experience “joy in the journey.”

I hope that in sharing our story it helps remove some of the stigma around infertility and gives others permission to be open in sharing theirs. There’s so much power when we as women come together, open up and share what’s heavy on our hearts.  Never would I have thought that going through infertility was one of the best things that happened to me, but truly it was. I’ve chosen to turn my once was “pain” into my new purpose supporting other women in having a better experience on their path to motherhood.

For those currently experiencing infertility or know of others who are going through it, there is an upcoming walk called the  “CO Walk of Hope” happening in Englewood on June 29th from 9-12 in the morning.  This annual walk benefits RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association. It’s an opportunity to join your sisters and their partners who so desperately want to become parents. It’s also an opportunity to connect with others in the community and lend your support. You may register for free at www.resolve.org/cowalk.  Sponsorship opportunities are available.  We hope to see you there!                                                                        

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Lisa is an IVF Mentor with a specialty in mindset around navigating through the emotional rollercoaster of IVF.  She is available for personal coaching support. You can contact her at 4lisawhite@gmail.com or learn more at www.ivfmanifestingamiracle.com.

Colorado changed its laws around sex ed. Here’s what you need to know.

Colorado law will soon require students who receive sexual education to learn about consent in school.

 But the road to passing that bill was bumpy. The final legislation was heavily amended and passed in the last two days of the legislative session. The bill is still awaiting the governor’s signature.

So, the burning questions: 

So, what is changing?

What changed with regards to LGBTQ students?

Will kindergarten students be learning about sexual education?

What about charter schools?

Can parents opt out?

In response to parent questions, Chalkbeat prepared an explainer of how sexual education works in Colorado’s public schools, and what exactly was changed through this year’s bill.

 

12 Colorado Summer Travel Deals to Book Now

Memorial Day weekend welcomes the start of the summer vacation season, and Colorado is the perfect escape with unparalleled hiking, camping, whitewater and biking, events and festivals, and a rich cultural heritage. What’s more, several destinations and lodging properties across the state are rolling out deals to make summer travel both fun and affordable. For more summer vacation inspiration, visit COLORADO.com.

The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa 2 for 1 Summer Getaway, Avon – Book a one-bedroom condo and you will automatically be upgraded to a spacious two-bedroom condo. Rates start at $259 per night. Located in the heart of the Vail Valley, the award-winning Westin Riverfront features a stunning outdoor pool with three infinity hot tubs and three renowned restaurants. The Westin Riverfront offers hiking, biking, fly fishing, golf and rafting in the spring, summer and fall. Also, the Westin wants to help make planning your next kids birthday party fun & easy with the new Birthday Slumber Party Package for groups of up to 10 children. This overnight getaway features accommodations in a 2-bedroom condominium with festive decorations and a variety of entertaining activities, from a Make Your Own Pizza Food Cooking Class, make-your-own sundae bar or birthday cake, s’mores kits, kids yoga or a dodgeball game. The crew can wake up to fresh pancakes the next morning and everyone loves to splash in The Westin Riverfront’s heated outdoor pool and three infinity hot tubs. Prices start at $599. (Featured image: Trista and Ryan Sutter’s sleepover).
 
20 Percent Summer Discount at 14ers Ranch, Westcliffe – Enjoy the ultimate glamping experience at 14ers Ranch, where personal service, incredible views, and an ideal location await. Book a three-night stay with 14ers Ranch between Sunday and Thursday, Memorial Day through September 30, and save 20 percent off your entire stay. These accommodations offer the best in glamping, lodge rentals and horse corrals with incredible views from the base of the Sangre De Cristo mountains. 
 
Travel Sustainably and Save 48 Percent on Lodging, Breckenridge – It’s a common thread among locals, “I came for a winter and stayed for the summer.” Visiting Breckenridge in June not only results in deep lodging deals (in comparison to winter average daily rate), but your stay contributes to a more balanced, year-round economy in this iconic mountain town. 
 
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa Complete Ranch Experience Package, Tabernash  Known for its breathtaking setting and an ambiance that helps guests de-tech and reinvigorate, Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa is taking the guest experience one step further with a new, inclusive Complete Ranch Experience package. The package is designed to allow guests to more easily immerse themselves in 6,000 acres of privately owned wilderness indulgences by offering one set price for luxury accommodations, dining and a daily range of authentic Ranch adventures and recreational activities.
 
Far View Lodge Advance Purchase Rate, Mesa Verde National Park – Mesa Verde National Park is perched high in Southwest Colorado where the air is thin, the history is rich, and the views are spectacular. Plan ahead of time and save up to 15 percent off when you stay at the Far View Lodge, the only lodging inside Mesa Verde National Park.
 
Gateway Canyons Canyon Credits, Gateway – Comfortably secluded among the red sandstone walls of Unaweep Canyon, Gateway Canyons luxury resort features a functioning dude ranch, a classic car museum, an all-season adventure center and more. Create your own adventure with up to a $200 daily adventure credit. Explore the outdoors by horseback, UTV or a Jeep, or learn something new on a guided excursion. 

G&M Cabins and OHV Adventure, Lake City – Stunning views, high alpine lakes, and rich historical treasures await in Lake City this summer. Book a one-night stay at G&M Cabins that includes one full day OHV rental for $200 (a 24 percent savings on the OHV rental). Walk from your cabin to your OHV and ride straight from town to the famous Alpine Loop.

The JW Marriott Denver Choose Your Own Family Adventure, Cherry Creek  Located in the heart of Cherry Creek North, enjoy a family-friendly getaway to Denver’s JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek. Package offers a 25 percent discount and includes overnight accommodations, valet parking and two tickets to the Denver Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature & Science or Denver Botanic Gardens. Prices start at $249 per night.
 
Passport to Leadville History, Leadville –The Passport to Leadville History lets visitors see eight museums for one low price. This combination ticket is good for one visit to each of the town’s eight museums all summer long. The Museum Passport also offers 10 percent off scenic trips on the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad and Twin Lakes Interlaken Boat Tours as well as 10 percent discounts on stays Sunday through Wednesday nights at the historic Delaware Hotel.
 
The Oxford Hotel Colorado Rockies Pregame Package, Denver  Denver’s most historic hotel, The Oxford Hotel is welcoming baseball fans with the new Pregame Package that offers a 20 percent discount and includes overnight accommodations, an Oxford tote bag, game day snacks, complimentary parking and more. Prices start at $200 per night.
 
The Ritz-Carlton Edge of Wild Package, Bachelor Gulch – Let an escape to the Rockies bring you on the edge of wild. Stay three nights and receive a $200 resort credit that may be used towards your unique adventure. You’ll also have the option of a guided mountain hike with our resident naturalist, a spa experience, mountainside dining and more. Starting at $199. Valid June 15 through September 28. 
 
River Run RV Resort’s Mountains Make Memories Special, Granby – The new River Run RV Resort, part of the exclusive Signature Sun RV Resort collection is offering a buy two nights get the third free offer on stays August 1 thru October 20, 2019. The offer is good for stays in furnished rental cabins and at RV sties. Located just two hours from Denver in Granby, Colorado, River Run provides guests with elevated resort amenities no matter how they choose to travel. Reservations must be made prior to June 30, 2019. 
 

Gretchen’s Great Grabs: Grapefruit lotion, pancake in a cup

Mother’s Day is over and summer is almost here. I joke about being “solar powered” meaning I am a happier person when the sun is shining. In celebrating Mother’s Day AND in anticipation of summer – here are a few of my top grabs this month to treat myself.

Fresh Hesperides Grapefruit Lotion. I went to a networking event for work last week (I work in hospitality/hotels). Let me go back for a bit. When I was younger and we arrived at a hotel that had the little travel bottle of shampoo, conditioner and lotion we really thought we were at a fancy hotel. My sister and I would fight over who would get it (why we couldn’t share or even go ask the front desk for more, I’m not sure). So, I still equate these with luxury. But every once in a while the product is so awesome, I’ll actually want to go buy more.  This lotion is so fresh smelling, so moisturizing, so spring time. I went and got more. $23.00 for a 300 ml bottle.

Chuze Fitness. I’ve belonged to gyms before. When I first got out of college it was Bally’s. Later, I worked at 24 Hour Fitness. I’ve not been to a gym in a couple years. I could feel it. On the months before my *yikes* 30th High School Reunion, I decided it was time again. I had heard of Chuze Fitness from a friend. So I decided to go. I am in love with the Team Training classes (they are a cross between classes and personal training). $49.00/month with team training.

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott. This book of essays is all about life. I can so relate to but have never been able to put into words myself. Some of her observations literally made me laugh out loud because I SO AGREE! Plus, it’s a quick and easy read. Hardcover $15.60 on Amazon (I picked it up for FREE at my library. Yay Douglas County Libraries!)

Pancake in a cup. For some reason, certain parts of the year, I am on the go a lot more than others. Spring seems to be go time for me. While Mother’s Day may have been a leisurly breakfast, I don’t usually have time for that. I’m recently loving Kodiak Cakes.  They are so simple and easy – the mix comes in a cup, add water, stir, microwave for a minute and you’re out the door with a 100% wheat grain healthy breakfast (I sometimes use the box mix and just measure out how much mix/water and put in my own coffee mug). Available at most grocery stores for $2.25.   

Hedgren Backpack. I thought the days of my carrying a backpack were long since over, when I finished college. But, I do find that when I travel I like to have a backpack. The freedom of both hands. I also like to carry my work laptop home or on business travel with me. The old Jansport, while functional is not all that pretty. I recently got a Hedgren Pack at their warehouse sale. It is a black nylon pack with gold hardware (zippers and buttons etc). The pack retails for around $150 but I got it for $20. While I love a deal – it so pretty and the perfect size even I might pay full price for this beauty!  Their luggage may be my next buy.

Will Disney’s Aladdin Steal Your Heart?

Summer break is here for Colorado kids! Thankfully, before the first “I’m bored!” is uttered, a hotly anticipated family film experience hits theaters today. Disney’s latest live-action offering, Aladdin, is a color-splashed musical retelling of the classic animated film from 1992. It’s hard to believe nearly 30 years have passed since we met Aladdin, Princess Jasmine, Abu, Jafar, and especially Genie. How does 2019’s Guy Ritchie-directed version compare?

Aladdin opens with a sweeping shot of boats on a sea. One is large and grandly decked out. The other is small and humble. Two children aboard the smaller boat wish it was more like the large ship. Their father decides now is the perfect time to tell a story. Just like the original, this mysterious narrator launches into “Arabian Nights” setting the place and time for the unfolding story of everyone’s favorite street rat, Aladdin (Mena Massoud).

Aladdin is perfectly cast. He is charming, quick with a smile and a wink, but also utterly sympathetic. Massoud captures how Aladdin swings between preening and cringing, sometimes seconds apart. He was a joy to watch in every scene as he dodges palace guards, wrangles the mischievous kleptomaniac Abu, and clumsily woos Jasmine (Naomi Scott). She is strong, ambitious, and spunky, with a lot more depth of character than in the 1992 animated film.

Aladdin is a half hour longer than the original, so there is ample time to flesh out characters, including their backstories and motivations. Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), who was the typical sneering Disney villain, is given a history, which he relates to Aladdin. Jafar’s motivations and thirst for power stem from a very similar origin, yet the two men show how choices can set each of us on very different paths. One can be an evil power-mad vizier. The other? A diamond in the rough.

Everyone’s biggest question about the film centers around Genie. The outsized true star of Aladdin, then and now, is Genie. To compare Robin William’s Genie to Will Smith’s Genie is difficult to do. Genie’s big curly shoes are not easy to fill. In fact, when images of Smith’s blue-skinned Genie were first released by Disney, people were skeptical and even angry over the audacity of it all. To match William’s memorable take on the supernatural lamp-based being, Smith would have to deliver an extraordinary performance and make it solely his own. I argue he does. While 1992’s Genie was basically Robin Williams channeling himself, the new Genie is Will Smith as you think of Will Smith. He brings his brand of humor, warmth, skeptical smirk, and energy to the role. And, thankfully, he is rarely blue. You can like both actors and their takes on Genie.

The visuals in Aladdin were gorgeously done. Vibrant colors and over-the-top production make most of the musical numbers pop. The “Prince Ali” of Ababwa song was pure delight to watch. Best parade into a city to woo a princess, ever. “Friend Like Me” is packed with updated twists for the times and “A Whole New World” features the familiar magic carpet ride and beloved song just as you remember it. One new song, performed by Jasmine, is “Speechless” and it will be interesting to watch if it becomes a big part of pop culture like the other songs.

Aladdin stays faithful to original story elements, especially the beloved highlights. Yet, there are several key plot points that are resoundingly different. Jasmine has more agency and character development, which is a good thing. But Iago is not as fun as he was in the animated story, for example. The Cave of Wonders, which should be amazing with today’s CGI abilities, is a let-down. One brand new character was grating. A particular dance scene featured modern moves that seemed out of place and silly. At times, it felt like it was trying too hard to be funky-fresh, to borrow 1992 terminology.

However, Aladdin 2019 is still a fun, popsicle-colored and summer-soaked time at the movies and I guarantee you will be singing for days and days. But, do your family a favor and rotate the songs a bit.

Disney’s Aladdin opens officially on May 24, 2019. It is rated PG. Run time is 2hr 9m. Directed by Guy Ritchie. Starring Will Smith, Mena Massoud, and Naomi Scott.