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Disney World Reopening: 10 Things That Will be Different

Following the recent reopening of Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney recently shared that Disney magic is coming back with a phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort theme parks planned to begin on July 11. 

According to Jim MacPhee, Senior Vice President of Operations, cast members will work with guests to make the experience as real, and as magical, as possible. They hope everyone will do their part to bring the magic of Disney World back into this new environment.

Here are 10 ways Disney magic will look a lot different:

1. Face coverings will be required. All guests over the age of 3 2. There will be no parades or fireworks. Disney’s famous parades and fireworks shows draw tightly packed crowds, so the company has decided to cancel them for the time being in order to maintain social distancing protocols. 

2. There will be no parades or fireworks. Disney’s famous parades and fireworks shows draw tightly packed crowds, so the company has decided to cancel them for the time being in order to maintain social distancing protocols. 

3. Temperature checks will be mandatory upon entrance. Guests and staff will be asked to check their temperature at home before heading to the park to make sure it is at a normal level. Their temperature will be checked again before they enter the park, and guests will not be allowed inside if they do not meet the health requirements.

4. Food purchases will be contactless and preferably cash-free. Restaurants and food locations at the park will be organized to ensure food is delivered to guests with the least contact with staff possible through the use of pick-up zones. Cash will still be accepted for payment throughout the park, but MacPhee indicated that “magic” wristbands — digital bracelets which guests can tap to pay for items — will be available to every guest to promote a cashless environment. Plexiglass barriers will also be in place to promote social distancing in food and retail locations.

5. Meet-and-greets will be canceled. Characters will still be out and about throughout the park, but guests will no longer be able to interact with them — unless it’s from a safe social distance. That means no selfies, no hugs and no makeover experiences in Cinderella’s Castle.

6. A “social distance squad” will be out engaging with guests. Disney is training a group of highly energetic cast members who will educate and encourage guests to stay the recommended six feet apart. The tactic is already in practice at Disney Springs, their shopping and dining destination in Orlando, which began a phased reopening May 20, and where MacPhee says the squad has “been a hit.” Signs that read “help us protect the magic” will also be placed throughout the parks.

7. Capacity will be reduced around the park. The number of guests allowed in the park will be significantly lower during this first phase of the reopening, MacPhee announced. They will also be reducing capacity on attractions, on methods of transportation and in restaurants and retail stores.

8. A new reservation system will be in place. According to MacPhee, Disney will be “Managing attendance demand through a new theme park reservation system,” and guests will now have to plan and reserve their tickets in advance. 

“At this time, we are temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations so we can focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations (Disney Vacation Club members can still make new reservations),” the company shared in a press release. “Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold.” They’ll be reaching out to those guests with additional information.

9. Interactive play areas will not reopen. Social distancing is near-impossible in these sensory-focused playground areas meant for young visitors, so they will be closed for the time being to ensure no children are at risk. 

10. Water effects will be limited or eliminated. According to MacPhee, water effects tend to draw tightly packed crowds, so most water areas will remain closed for the foreseeable future. Scientists can’t yet say with certainty how the coronavirus may spread through water. 

Universal Orlando Resort presented a reopening proposal to the task force last Thursday, and SeaWorld Orlando also shared their plan on Wednesday. Universal will open June 5 and SeaWorld plans to open June 11.

What happens when kids can’t go to school but parents have to go to work?

The American economy is built on the idea that children go to school and parents can go out and work. That’s just not the case right now. It certainly hasn’t panned out that way for Laura McLean of Montrose.

“I’m currently in a master’s program for library science and landed a position at the Montrose Regional Library as an adult services librarian,” she said.

The new position doubled her salary, a vast improvement for a single mom in a situation she described as “working poor.” Her previous jobs were at the grocery or the local school district. She had tried to make a career jump like this for a long time, and now that it’s here there’s a big downside.

Whereas her work schedule used to align with her daughters’ schedules, now she has to be in the office every other week, even during the pandemic. 

McLean is one of the many parents trying to balance work and child care like never before. All of the school and after-care programs her daughters are normally enrolled in have been closed for the foreseeable future. 

 

 

 

By Rachel Estabrook, Photo: Hart Van Denburg, Colorado Public Radio

Child Care in Colorado

We all want our kids to shine and moms with young kids have been given the ultimate resource: Colorado Shines, a program from the State of Colorado which rates and monitors the quality of child care programs. This includes ensuring environments are safe for children and that programs adhere to all current health and safety regulations.  Visit ColoradoShines.com search to begin searching for a program, call 1.877.338.CARE (2273) or text ‘child care referral’ to 898-211 to speak to a child care referral specialist. 

Let’s Walk! A Place to Honor and a Place to Play

The Big Dry Creek Trail has taken us from Standley Lake’s scenic shores to eye-popping underpass art. We walked buzzy Butterfly Pavilion-skirting trails and feasted on more cool murals, all in the name of exploratory walking. The next sliver of the trail features an opportunity to honor. With Memorial Day in the rearview mirror and Independence Day on the horizon, consider visiting Westminster’s Armed Forces Tribute Garden as part of your family outside time. 

Six branches of the armed forces are honored in this contemplative space just off the Big Dry Creek Trail. Normally, there is a large fountain flowing. Striking statuary rests on top, depicting the bond between soldiers as they mourn their lost. Flags flap in the wind. It is a place to quietly honor those who have served. 

After paying your respects, continue on the trail to the north, toward the Westin Hotel. You’ll see a large silver fish spinning in the sun, reflecting the ecosystem of the creek and ponds in the area. Here, the trail forks. If you go to the left, you will find yourselves at the Promenade Terrace. This also features water, which is currently turned off until further notice. Even without water, the terrace is picturesque, with steps and rocks blending into the hillside. Plenty of trees provide ample shade on hot days. The Promenade Terrace has that lovely hidden feeling that makes you forget you are in a city. 

Onward! This particular walk finally kicks into high gear once you return to the trail. You have a few options. Return to the fish, or merge onto a trail at the top of the terrace. Either way, journey east toward Westminster’s massive City Park. It boasts over 200 acres of fields, 18-hole disc golf, a playground, pond, more trails, an amazing sledding hill (bookmark in your brain for this winter!) and more. The Trail snakes along the northern edge, taking you toward Sheridan Blvd. 

Once the City Park Recreation Center is open to the public, it could be a fun day to walk The Big Dry Creek Trail with swimsuits and towels in your backpacks. On top of the hill and up about 4000 stairs, visit the indoor swimming pool and terrace, either to cool down or warm-up. 

This walk wraps up at Sheridan Blvd. At this time, there is no mural art on this underpass, mostly because of the rocky nature of the surroundings. This is where we turned around and headed back to the Armed Forces Garden and our car. The distance of the walk isn’t long — about 2 miles, but it is long on meaning, variety, and opportunity to have spontaneous fun on the wide lawns of the massive field. 

Parking: Christopher Fields Baseball/Softball fields have plenty of parking near the Armed Forces Memorial Garden. Access off 104th Avenue. The Garden is easily spotted from the street. 

Nearby: Restaurants, shopping, a movie theater, Butterfly Pavilion (check for status on opening)

Ultimate Colorado Family Vacation Guide: 100+ Activities (COVID-approved)

In part two of five of the Best of Summer 2020, we have listed town information for Boulder, Grand Lake, Twin Lakes, Colorado Springs, Leadville and Loveland along with numerous outfitter updates. There are over 100+ vacation ideas below including rafting, golf, swim, fish, kayak, hike, SUP, train excursions and more. Also included are the most remote and wide-open places in the State.

Next time, we’ll update you on mountain resorts including Vail, Glenwood Springs, Estes Park, Steamboat Springs, Silverthorne, Aspen, Snowmass and more. And in case you missed it, check-out Family Travel: Colorado’s Top Five Lodging Suggestions for Summer 2020.

 Stay healthy and safe – Julie

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BOULDER

Hiking Mamas, and their strollers, packs, gear & dogs, who are headed to Chautauqua can ride a free shuttle this summer.  Hiking is such a good way to connect with other Mamas. On Saturdays and Sundays, park your car downtown for free in a city lot, or at a free lot on the CU campus, and ride for free.  We’re so excited to be able to offer this service – especially this year!  The Park-to-Park shuttle runs from 8-8 on Saturdays & Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day (plus Memorial Day, Fourth of July & Labor Day).   It runs every 15 minutes.  If you’d rather not use the shuttle, paid parking ($2.50/hour) is available in designated areas in and around Chautauqua.

To keep you safe, the busses will be larger (27 passenger) but only 10 people will be allowed on.  The bathrooms up at Chautauqua are still open but the Ranger Cottage, the cute house that serves as the info/welcome center is closed.  There are also more porta-potties this year up there. www.BoulderColoradoUSA.com/shuttle

COLORADO SPRINGS

Flying W Ranch Rides Again! Grab your hat, boots and spurs and mosey on over to Flying W Ranch, opening on June 26 after an 8-year closure. The grounds are reinvented and re-imagined. The BBQ dinner will be spectacular and the Flying W Wranglers will serenade you with favorite cowboy campfire harmonies, complete with yodeling. https://www.flyingw.com/

Get in the Spirit of the Springs at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. While the exact date is yet to be announced, summer in the Springs means a trip to the region’s newest museum that tells the story and honors decades of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes. In one of the world’s most accessible museums, your journey will take you from the Olympic Torch display, to summer and winter games galleries and then on to how athletes train – you can even see how you stack up! Your personalized credentials will give you a unique experience, different than any other guest in the museum. Finish your experience with an impressive collection of Olympic and Paralympic medals and a simulated Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremonies. https://usopm.org/

ROCKY MOUNTAIN OUTDOOR CENTER, BUENA VISTA

Give your kids the gift of outdoor adventure while also staying safe. Buena Vista, Colorado-based RMOC (Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center) is a leader in outdoor recreation, offering trips and classes in everything from rafting and mountain biking to kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. This summer, RMOC is paying extra attention to its already expansive roster of private offerings by marketing them heavily to the Colorado traveler. 

In addition to this, RMOC is offering private rafting trips at an exceptional rate. Private rafting trips are defined by fewer people on boats and a private van for transportation as opposed to a large bus filled with people with whom you are not currently isolating. For more information visit RMOC.com.

CANON CITY / ROYAL GORGE

I noted these cabins the past three years, and I can’t wait to get back this summer  . . AGAIN!  I have to say Canon City found luxury when Andy Neinas and his family expanded  www.raftecho.com and opened nine single and double Colorado contemporary cabins in May 2017, complete with down comforters, flat screen TVs, kitchen, spacious bathroom with rain shower, dual-glass sided fireplaces for transparency inside and out, and lots of thought in design, angles and blends. These are stunning, and I was blessed to christen one of the cabins named after the local rapids on the Arkansas River. Echo Canyon resort also installed eight luxury glamping tents that sleep up to two to four guest depending on size, and share access to a new shower house and wash area. Bring lawn games and your own food, and book a rafting trip across the street or explore the Royal Gorge area just minutes up the road. PS—my favorite rock store in the nation is located next to the cabins, The Gold Mine Rock Shop. (royalgorgecabins.com)

More than 100 miles of Colorado’s best whitewater can be found from Granite to Cañon City, Colo., all within the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA), managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management. With an elevation drop of 4,650 feet along its 152 miles, the AHRA is located within Lake, Chaffee, Fremont and Pueblo counties in south-central Colorado, and runs through some of the state’s most stunning natural features, including Browns Canyon National Monument, Bighorn Sheep Canyon, and The Royal Gorge – also known as the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas. The Arkansas River is also home to The Numbers, widely considered the best Class IV run in the state. For more information about Arkansas River Outfitters Association and the 2020 whitewater rafting season, visit www.arkansasriveroutfitters.org.

The Royal Gorge Region, just two hours south of Denver, is an outdoor paradise with fun and attractions for all ages. Aside from its sheer number of incredible trail systems, the Royal Gorge Region is home to many attractions ideal for family travel. Ride through the wonders of the Royal Gorge Region in an open-air Jeep with Colorado Jeep Tours, which has new safety measures in place to ensure you stay well, or take charge of your own vehicle with an ATV tour.

If that’s a little too much adrenaline for you and your family, take a more relaxing ride on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, a spectacular rail journey along the floor of the Royal Gorge and along the Arkansas River. Spend the day experiencing the wonder of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, where jaw-dropping views, extreme adrenaline rides, and fun for the whole family await. Having welcomed over 30 million guests during its 90 years, the park has perfected the art of entertaining by providing excitement for visitors of every age.

Do your kids love dinosaurs?. Not only was it the first location in Colorado to have large-scale bone discovered in Garden Park, igniting the historic bone wars, it is also home to the Royal Gorge Dino Experience, a combination dinosaur museum, animatronic dino park, and ropes course. 

Learn more about Colorado’s Royal Gorge Region.

GRAND LAKE & GRAND COUNTY

What makes it special: Colorado’s largest natural lake also competes for Colorado’s prettiest. With the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park serving as a backdrop — and regular moose sightings in the shallows — Grand Lake is a wonderful place to set sail on a summer’s afternoon. As an added bonus, the charming town of Grand Lake resides on its northern shore and provides ample dining, shopping and local character. Best way to enjoy it: Embrace the solitude of Grand Lake from a sailboat or a lake kayak. At dusk, the peaks that adorn the eastern horizon often catch the sunsets golden rays, creating a beautiful spectacle.

Generally, April through September are the best times to have a whitewater adventure. However, the weather and level of snow-melt greatly impact which rivers you should raft and kayak during the season. Typical best times to visit Grand County Rivers follows, but be sure to check your current river conditions days before you head out.  Blue River— from the east side of the Gore Range to Kremmling waters are best explored during June. Colorado River— can be enjoyed throughout the season, May through September. The upper Colorado is known for calmer waters, while the lower offers faster-moving rapids. Clear Creek— is also open to rafting the whole season, May through September. The upper portion is best for more advanced rafters, while the lower is less demanding.

SHADOW MOUNTAIN LAKE

What makes it special: Often overlooked by its neighbors to the north and south — Grand Lake and Lake Granby — Shadow Mountain Lake is a beautiful hidden gem with easy access off of Highway 34 as well as from Grand Lake. Since Shadow Mountain Lake is connected to Grand Lake, you can enjoy both bodies of water from the same boat.

Best way to enjoy it: Start your day early in the morning with a spin around the lake’s uninhabited western shore. You can also camp on the lake shore at Green Ridge Campground near the dam.

LAKE GRANBY

What makes it special: At 7,000 acres, Lake Granby is one of Colorado’s largest bodies of water. Its numerous coves and marinas make it a justly popular place for sailers, boaters and jet-skiers. For fisherman, the lake’s appeal lies in what lurks in the deep — lake trout. Known as one of the best “mackinaw” fisheries in the country, the reservoir also harbors a healthy population of kokanee salmon. Best way to enjoy it: While Lake Granby offers a wide array of camping and home rental options nearby, it is best enjoyed with a pontoon boat. Rent one from one of the lake’s marinas, and enjoy the company of friends on this scenic lake.

WILLIAMS FORK RESERVOIR

What makes it special: Located well off the beaten path, Williams Fork Reservoir appeals to those looking for some peace and quiet, and a lot of hungry fish. Deep in the reservoirs waters lurk several trophy-sized northern pike. Best way to enjoy it: Due to its exposure and location between several distant mountain ranges, Williams Fork Reservoir gets a lot of wind — much to the delight of windsurfers. Because of the chilly snowmelt-fed waters, a wetsuit is not just recommended; its virtually required.

WOLFORD MOUNTAIN RESERVOIR

What makes it special: Located in the northern section of Middle Park just beyond Kremmling on Highway 40, Wolford Mountain Reservoir offers a stark beauty that is unique to Colorado. Windswept mountain plains and sage-dotted land surround its shores. Out on the water, boaters can enjoy fishing for rainbow and brown trout, as well as kokanee salmon. Best way to enjoy it: With its beautiful location and gorgeous views of the nearby Gore Range, Wolford Mountain Reservoir offers sublime camping.

GOLF IN GRAND COUNTY

Pole Creek Golf Club, located 12 miles north of Winter Park offers tree-lined, links-style holes with breathtaking views of the Continental Divide.  At 8,600 feet above sea level, it’s one of the highest 27-hole courses in North America.  Golf Digest rated this 10,709-yard, Par 108 course “Best New Golf Course in America” in 1985 and “Number One Place to Play in Colorado” in 1998.  (www.polecreekgolf.com or 800-511-5076)

At Grand Lake Golf Course adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, you may be sharing the tee with some of the native elk, deer, fox and red-tail hawk that roam this tight, tree-lined course.  Each hole of this 6,650 yards–Par 72 course offers a view of Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest natural lake, and the surrounding snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide.  (http://grandlakegolf.com  or 970-627-8008).

Tucked between the sparkling waters of the Fraser River and the mountain splendor for which the Rocky Mountains are famous, Golf at Granby Ranch offers golfers of every level and interest an exceptional experience.  The front nine of this 7,200 yards–Par 72 course serves as a warm-up to the back nine, where golfers will encounter several memorable holes incorporating lakes, wetlands, elevated tees, and large, deep bunkers.  (www.granbyranch.com or 888-283-7458)

Located south of Granby, Grand Elk Ranch & Club is the newest golf course addition to Grand County.  The 18-hole, 7,200 yards–Par 71 course opened in late 2002 and is Colorado’s first Heathland-style golf course.  The course sits at an elevation of 7,935 feet, and offers views of federally protected wetlands that are habitat to hundreds of birds.  (www.grandelk.com or 970-887-9122)

GREAT HIGH PRAIRE

For the first time, there is a website devoted to showcasing The Great High Prairie in southeastern Colorado. Be one of the first travelers to dive into this amazing resource and discover everything there is to see and do in and around Lamar, ColoradoTheGreatHighPrairie.com features outdoor recreational opportunities, historic attractions, points of interest, and more. 

Take a trip to The Great High Prairie with your kids and discover a laid back and historically rich side of Colorado you haven’t seen before. Play in local parks, hike nearby canyons, or hang out at John Martin Reservoir. It’s all here and more in The Great High Prairie. What you won’t see? Big crowds and high prices!

LOVELAND

ALL ABOARD THE TRAIN: Take a tour of North Lake Park on the Buckhorn Northern Railroad, a miniature, authentic replica of an actual steam train. For only 75 cents per ride, bring the family and spend a day riding and playing at the park. Choo choo choo your trip every summer then head to Lake Loveland Swim Beach nearby. 

FUN AT THE FOUNDRY: As a small art community, Loveland is home to two working bronze foundries that make sculptures seen around the world. Bring the family and see the lost wax process for yourself with an art foundry tour Tuesdays and Thursdays. You might even see some familiar characters. Book your tour during a bronze pour and try to spot some of our favorite toys. 

PICNIC IN THE PARK: Amazing parks are found across Loveland. Kick the soccer ball at Loveland Sports Park, skate at Mehaffey Park or just enjoy playground and picnic time at any parks including Dwayne Webster Veterans Park. Bring your picnic near the Big Thompson River at Fairgrounds Park for a scenic view then splash in the water at Fairgrounds Park. 

SPY SCULPTURE: Join the Loveland Museum’s Explorers Club and go on an I Spy Scavenger Hunt at Benson Sculpture Garden. Download from lovelandmuseumgallery.org/explorers-club, complete and share your creations on social media#lovelandmuseumkids. Don’t miss the new Animal Safari adventures available and find the sheep.

SPLISH SPLASH: No beach bums here – just fun in the pool and on the lake. Float down the lazy river at the Chilson Recreation Center,  hit the waterslide at Winona Pool, feed the geese at North Lake Park or swim at Boyd or Carter Lake. 

SAY ‘HAY’ AT SYLVAN DALE: Join a wagon sing-along or hayride. Go horseback riding or have fun on a horse lead around ride. End the day with s’mores and Cowboy Campfire songs – all when you stay for a western adventure. Don’t miss sunsets from Eagles Ridge or the campfire area. 

TRAVEL TO NEW WORLDS: Explore Zimbabwe and get some fresh area and playtime outdoors. Chapungu Sculpture Park is a 26-acre natural area with 82 sculptures and open space to enjoy as a family. Kids love climbing the hill near the stage. Find it in The Children section of the park. 

Loveland Water Resources

From lakes to rivers – Loveland is a water wonderland with activities for the entire family. Here are five ways to make the most out of Loveland’s beautiful weather and water from April – October. 

Boyd Lake: 

A water-sports haven for northern Colorado, the family-oriented 1,700-acre lake and park has fishing, boating, jet skiing, kayaking, paddleboarding and a swim beach. The lake lies at the eastern-most edge with views of the Rocky Mountains and offers 148 campsites. Rentals available at the marina. 

Carter Lake: 

This beautiful 1,100-acre reservoir is surrounded by 1,000 acres of public lands. It’s a great place for fishing, sailing, water skiing, camping, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving, and rock climbing. Rentals available at the marina.

River’s Edge Natural Area: 

The 163-acre natural area located near downtown is a great fishing spot with five ponds and numerous fishing access points. Plan a great family fishing day with Rocky Mountain views.

Lake Loveland: 

Free swimming happens on Lake Loveland Swim Beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day (depending on staffing and water levels). Access it near North Lake Park. Stop by the South Shore (right off U.S. 34) for a nice easy walk and shoreline fishing.

Big Thompson River:

The Thompson River flows from Rocky Mountain National Park to Loveland. The river is a known fishing spot to catch trout. Catch and release fishing is found in the canyon, or head to a spot closer to town. Local tip: Head to Fairgrounds Park.

SOUTHEAST COLORADO

  • Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site – Currently the park’s parking lot, restrooms and hiking trails are open to the public.  Access into the reconstructed fur trading post will begin on Friday, May 22 with some restrictions. No guided tours are available at this time. The site is open from 9 am to 4 pm daily.  nps.gov/beol
  • Boggsville Historic Site – The 39-acre National Register Historic District is currently open to visitors Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm.  bentcountyheritage.org/boggsville
  • Comanche National Grassland – Parking areas, trails and trailheads are open.  Dispersed camping (in areas with no facilities) is allowed, along with hiking.  Developed sites, including restrooms, remain closed.  Fire restrictions are in place (no open fires allowed). Reopening of developed facilities will begin on May 31.  Guided Picketwire Canyon auto tours for May and June have been canceled. Fall tours (Sept. and Oct.) are still planned to take place.  fs.usda.gov/psicc
  • John Martin Reservoir State Park – Fishing and boating are available. The campground is now open by reservation only.  Make reservations at cpwshop.com. As camping becomes available, playgrounds, picnic areas, showers, swim beaches, group areas, and yurts and cabins at Colorado’s state parks remain closed until further notice.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife visitor centers, service centers and offices are also continuing to restrict access to the public. Restrictions and closures remain subject to change. www.cpw.state.co.us
  • Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site – The site of the 1864 Massacre is open to the public Thursday through Monday from 9 am to 4 pm.  The park is closed Tuesday and Wednesday.  Based on national and local guidance for the Covid-19 outbreak, the Sand Creek Visitor Center and Park Store are closed. All trails and Monument Hill are open during regular park hours. nps.gov/sand
  • State Wildlife Areas – Two Buttes, Queens and other state wildlife areas in the region are open for boating, fishing, camping, and other recreational activities as regulations allow. Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds anglers, hunters, and all other outdoor recreationists that it is your responsibility to research and understand the specific guidance, ordinances and restrictions in place for any planned local recreation – know before you go. cpw.state.co.us
  • Lodging and commercial camping is available throughout southeast Colorado area and many restaurants offer take-out, delivery, or drive-through service.  It is best to call ahead for reservations to make sure rooms or campsites are available.  Under the Colorado Safer-at-Home orders, area museums remain closed at this time. Please consult and follow local guidelines regarding Covid-19 during your visit.

 SPANISH PEAKS COUNTRY

Spanish Peaks Country is gorgeous with lush landscapes and geological features unlike anywhere in Colorado. Kids love Walsenburg Wild Waters, a local water park that lacks large crowds and high-priced entry fees. Nearby Lathrop State Park—Colorado’s first state park—offers swimming, boating, and trails for hiking. Head into La Veta and explore an art enclave filled with galleries. Drive a little further south and you’re in Cuchara, a relatively unknown mountain getaway that’s gaining popularity thanks to Cuchara Mountain Park, an abandoned ski resort that’s now a haven for non-motorized outdoor recreation. Throughout your stay, entertain the kids with the Highway of Legends Audio Tour, which tells the history and geological significance of the places you pass. Learn more about Spanish Peaks Country.

WET MOUNTAIN VALLEY

The Wet Mountain Valley in south-central Colorado is famous for its stellar stargazing opportunities. Its two towns—Westcliffe and Silver Cliff—were the state’s first International Dark-Sky Association Designated Community, and right downtown in Bluff Park is the Smokey Jack Observatory, which is open to the public. Teach your kiddos about the stars and have them see the sky as it was before light pollution became the norm. Once a month, local non-profit Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley, hosts public star parties, where experts are on hand to teach about the evening’s special night sky occurrence. Want an extra special experience? Take an Amish hayride at night to see the stars and feel as though you’ve traveled through time. 

The Wet Mountain Valley is also special because dozens of conservation easements have preserved its large ranches, making it feel as though you have stepped into Colorado 100 years ago. Get to know the ranch life more intimately with a horseback ride. Multiple horseback riding outfitters line the valley and have instituted safety measures to ensure you stay well. 

LEADVILLE & TWIN LAKES

Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad: Adventure, relaxation and sightseeing cannot be topped when riding in the Rocky Mountains on board the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad. This 2 and 1⁄2 hour adventure through the untamed wilderness of the San Isabel National Forest offers breath-taking panoramas of Fremont Pass and the two tallest peaks in Colorado, Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert. Family and friends of all ages have a chance to engage in learning about the history of Leadville and railroads, ghost stories, and tales of the wild.

The Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad (“Leadville Train”) will open to the public on June 1, Capacity will be limited to 17 people per car, allowing for approximately 125 people on board at any time (compared to 350 people pre-COVID). The limited capacity will help enforce social distancing between patrons and employees. The Leadville Train’s entire COVID-19 Plan for the railroad that serves as a complete guide for COVID-19 operational practices is available upon request. This plan has been accepted by Lake County’s Health Department.

National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) just announced the reopening of the Matchless Mine and Baby Doe’s Cabin for tours of surface structures starting May 23, 2020. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this site was purchased in 1879 by Silver King H.A.W. Tabor. The Matchless Mine was one of the richest silver mines of the era, with production rates surpassing the Comstock Lode of Nevada. With the extraordinary wealth they accumulated, Tabor and his mistress-turned-wife, Elizabeth “Baby Doe” Tabor, lived in high style. Tours led by experienced and enthusiastic guides visit Baby Doe’s cabin, the powder magazine, the hoist house, and the headframe.

Top of the Rockies Zipline

Top of the Rockies Zip Line is the only zip line in the world to fly over a train and Colorado’s only true backcountry zip line. You’ll jump from an elevation of 11,200′. Imagine the view! The Big Nugget Zip is a thrill, as you fly three across on triple cables. For the grand finale, land on the sky tower, 100′ above the ground. You’ll see a spectacular panorama of Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, the two tallest peaks in Colorado. Visit  LeadvilleTwinLakes.com for more information on the area.

Other Great Resources:

Ultimate Colorado Family Vacation Guide: 100+ Activities (COVID-approved)

2020 Denver Summer Activity Guide: 150+ Ideas

Family Travel: Best Activities in Colorado’s Mountain towns this summer!

Colorado’s Hottest Family Vacation Trends: Bikerafting, Tiny Homes and More

Denver’s best new playgrounds for 2019

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

 

 

 

 

Get ready for Free Fishing Weekend, coming up June 6-7

The fish are starting to bite at waters all around the state. To give everyone an opportunity to get out and get some hits, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is inviting residents and nonresident anglers of all ages to participate in its annual Free Fishing Weekend on June 6 to 7. The free fishing weekend is a great w​ay to get outside with family and friends and take adva​​ntag​e of Colorado’s extensive opportunities to fish for a myriad of cold and warm water fish species​​.​

Tips & Hotspots

There are many resources that Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers to help those interested in fishing throughout the state:

  • ​Fishing Report– This report offers a weekly fishing report from lakes all around Colorado
  • Fishing Atlas– This is an interactive map that shows the many waters people can fish in Colorado
  • 101 Places to Take a Kid Fishing​– this webpage has an interactive map showing all of the possible places to take a kid fishing 
  • Stocking Report– The stocking report shows lakes, ponds, and rivers that have been stocked with catchable (9 to 12 inch) trout in Colorado.​
 

​​​​​​Follow the rules and have fun!​​Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds the public that although a license or Habitat Stamp is not required on Free Fishing Weekend, but all other rules and regulations will apply. Anglers should consult the ​Colorado Fishing Brochure​​​​​ for specific regulations and restrictions. 

Children’s Day Camps To Open In June, But Overnight Camps Still On Hold

Summer day camps in Colorado are allowed to start June 1, 2020.

Gov. Jared Polis announced guidelines on Monday that give the greenlight to day camps, but residential camps must wait. The decision on whether overnight camps can open in July and August will come in a few weeks.

The guidelines require day camps to maintain physical distancing and maximum group sizes of 25 children outdoors and 10 children per room indoors. Employees must wear masks where possible, and campers must wear masks during transportation to and from the camp.

“Colorado kids will be able to enjoy day camps and youth sports camps this summer in as safe a manner as possible,” Polis said in a statement. “The risk, though less, is still very real, and it’s up to families to make the best decisions that work for them. We also appreciate the critical role that day camps, along with daycare, which has already been operating in as safe a manner as reasonably possible, play in supporting working parents.” -NPR

 

 

 

Summer Camp Guide

So, where does that leave Mile High Mamas’ summer camp guide? Stay tuned to our summer camp landing page because we will be regularly making updates about how Denver’s summer camps are adapting to the changes. 

Family Travel: Colorado’s Top Five Lodging Suggestions for Summer 2020

This could be the longest EVER summer for Mile High Mamas and shall never be forgotten, nor should it. Please stay safe, healthy and adventurous Mamas.

We checked with the Colorado Tourism Board on May 21, 2020. This is the most up-to-date information we can provide to families about our favorite destinations throughout the State. Today we’re featuring our top five hotels/resorts to book this summer. Tomorrow look for updated information on towns and destinations. And then we’ll feature our favorite outdoor summer activities and more updates about Colorado summer.

Here’s to one, crazy, long summer.

-Julie!

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Message from the Colorado Tourism Board

“As Colorado continues to take positive steps toward reactivating our economy, the health and safety of both residents and visitors remain our highest priority. We encourage locals and travelers alike to embrace our new interpretation of responsible tourism — showing care not only for our destinations but for the people who call Colorado home–by adopting our new Care for Coloradans principles.”

Our Top Five Lodging Suggestions for Summer 2020

Aspen Meadows, Aspen

https://www.aspenmeadows.com/

Aspen Meadows plans to open their doors on June 1. Summer rates starting at $179. But if you’re a Colorado resident, book their Local’s package for up to 40 percent off with rates from $107/night. There is a new 24/hour cancellation policy for room-only rates. It’s a Bauhaus / art lover’s dream, built by visionary Herbert Bayer in the 1950s. And this kind of lodging lends itself well to traveling during Covid – 19. There are no interior hallways or elevators. There are also lots of clean lines and little clutter in the room (fewer surfaces to worry about). Plus, the rooms have ample room for in-room dining if you’re not comfortable dining in a restaurant just yet. Self-parking and free parking are included in the resort fee. The pool is scheduled to be open for social distance swims, barring updates from the Governor regarding hotel pools. Families can grab some food and picnic on the 40-acre hotel campus, or enjoy a self-guided art tour of all the amazing sculptural work on campus/learn something while getting fresh air.

P.S.  TIP!  The hotel is usually booked solid with Aspen Institute programming and events (all canceled this year), so it’s a nice time for leisure travelers to check out the property in the summer. 

River Run Resort, Granby

https://www.sunrvresorts.com/river-run/

New this year to River Run: Kayaking and standup paddleboarding at their on-site lake, construction is completed, and four types of glamping will be introduced including Airstream trailers, Conestoga wagons, yurts and adventure tents. The resort will offer drive-thru check-in for all lodging and enhanced safety and cleaning measures.

Opening: Per Grand County regulations, River Run is set to reopen to on May 22.

Continuing: They continue to offer oversized full-hook-up RV sites and three styles of pet-friendly vacation rentals. The resort’s amenities include pool, hot tubs, two restaurants, dog park, golf cart rentals, mini-bowing, putting green, bocce ball, lawn games, arcade, playground, jump pad, fitness center, yoga lawn and more. River Run continues to offer easy access to Rocky Mountain National Park, three nearby lakes, and lots of hiking, biking and boating on public land all less than 20 minutes away. The Colorado River runs through the property for guest’s enjoyment.

The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon

www.westinriverfront.com

The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa is welcoming guests back this summer to a refreshed lobby experience, including new modern furniture & décor and expanded dining and cocktail menus from The Lookout Lobby Bar. Summer packages include a Family Camp Experience complete with s’mores kits, games and plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh mountain air – including hiking, biking, horseback riding, golf and fly fishing.

In response to COVID-19, The Westin Riverfront has implemented a wide variety of safety and social distancing procedures, including an ongoing schedule of outdoor group exercise classes for this summer, including Vinyasa yoga, Flow & Restore yoga, HIIT, Interval Weight Training and Total Body Conditioning. Led by the professional trainers from the Athletic Club at The Westin, the classes will take place on the resort’s 4,000 square foot Wedding Lawn, which will give practitioners plenty of room to spread out while also enjoying the sounds of the Eagle River running below and the resort’s stunning views of Beaver Creek Mountain. 

Starting at $289 per night, The Westin Riverfront is also offering its 2 for 1 deal this summer, which is an upgrade to a spacious two-bedroom suite at one-bedroom pricing. The Westin Riverfront’s 2 for 1 offer is available until Dec. 17, 2020. 

YMCA of the Rockies and Snow Mountain Ranch reopen May 22!

YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch look forward to reopening their wide-open spaces, mountain views and fresh air with guests on May 22.

The popular family vacation destination has reorganized and reprioritized how they operate their facilities, services, and programs to provide a safe, affordable getaway for guests this summer. Popular activities that will be open to guests include:

  • Miniature golf and disc golf
  • Tennis
  • Outdoor volleyball
  • Hiking and biking trails
  • Horseback riding
  • Fly fishing
  • Dog park
  • Roller skating
  • New to-go kits from the craft center

Estes Park Center will also launch a new activity – Axe Throwing – where families can learn how to throw a two-pound hatchet at a target and get it to stick while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors in the cool shade of towering Ponderosa Pines. 

Curbside check-ins will be provided for guest arrivals and self-check-outs will be conducted via email, and although the dining halls and restaurants will be closed to seating and in-person dining, a variety of options will be available to guests such as grocery delivery to cabins, take out family pick-up meal options, and to-go items from on-site dining facilities and local restaurants. 

All activities will be operated in a safe and healthy manner in alignment with public health ordinances from county and state officials. For more information about YMCA of the Rockies’ practices and procedures, please visit https://blog.ymcarockies.org/covid-19-preparations/.

Reservations are available online or by calling 888-613-9622. To support healthcare professionals and first responders, YMCA of the Rockies is offering a Rest + Renew​ package featuring 50% discount on current lodging fees for healthcare workers and emergency first responders up to four nights valid June 1 – November 30, 2020. 

The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs

https://www.broadmoor.com/special-packages/

The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs will reopen its doors on June 28, ushering in a new age of socially distant travel at the 102-year-old resort. 

Social distancing is not difficult when a resort features 5,000 acres of land, a private lake, river, gorge with seven waterfalls, an entire mountain top, two championship golf courses, five tennis courts and three pickleball courts, as well as a zip line, hiking and biking trails, and activities such as fly fishing, tomahawk throwing, and falconry. There is also plenty of outdoor dining.

In addition to the tremendous acreage/space in which to spread out, there are also a range of cloistered accommodation options such as villas and brownstones at the resort proper, as well as individual luxury cabins in the clouds, a luxury ranch in the Colorado wilderness, and a private fly fishing retreat – all part of the wilderness property offerings. It is possible for guests to rent out entire accommodations, cabins, and camps for an entire month.

“The initial response to our reopening has been positive, humbling, and optimistic,” said Jack Damioli, President and CEO of The Broadmoor. “People who have done their civic duty to self-quarantine are now ready for the great escape, as long as it’s in touch and following the guidelines of the CDC, State of Colorado, and pure common sense.”

While initial offerings may be somewhat limited as the resort awakens and families, friends, and vacationers step back out into summer (please check the website for updates, information and news), initially The Broadmoor will offer two packages for families and friends as well as golfers anxious to hit the greens.

The Welcome Back Family Package includes:

  • Classic accommodations (upgrade options available)
  • Kids Eat Free
  • Kids Play Twilight Golf Free
  • 15% discount on Zip Line Soaring Adventures
  • Discount on the adult ticket price at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
  • Suites available at 25% off of published rates
  • Select dates through August 31st 
  • Rates begin at $350 per night

The Welcome Back Golf Package features:

  • Classic accommodations (upgrade options available)
  • Unlimited Golf including cart (weather permitting)
  • Personal locker, club storage and range balls
  • Suites available at 25% off of published rates
  • Select dates through October 31st
  • Rates starting at $595/night.

Stay tuned all week for more updates on planning your family’s summer vacation in Colorado. 

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In case you missed it:

2020 Denver Summer Activity Guide (150+ activities)

Denver’s best new playgrounds for 2019

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

 

 

 

 

Let’s Walk! An Adventure for Busy Bees Near the Butterfly Pavilion

That buzz in the air might have something to do with the end of school and the approach of hot summer days. Or, maybe you are nearing Westminster’s popular Butterfly Pavilion? That buzz could be actual bees flying out of their building situated right on The Big Dry Creek Trail. This week’s stretch of trail skips over some of the more residential portions, landing in the parking lot just south of the Pavilion’s building. Signage will let you know you are in the right place.

The Big Dry Creek Exploration Trail is a handy sliver where you can get fresh air, exercise, and learn a little about local ecosystems. This trail within the trail system is dotted with informational signs about the animals, plants, and other ecological features of the area. At publishing time, the Butterfly Pavilion is closed to visitors, but it would be a lovely place to visit if you walk the trail when it is open again. 

This offshoot of the Big Dry Creek Trail is connected by a sidewalk that runs along the western edge of the property to the north. Then, you can take the sidewalk east along Church Ranch Blvd. until you get to the trail that will take you down to a mural-covered underpass featuring fishy friends waiting for your photo op. (We saved the northbound portion of the trail for another day.)

Head south, away from the fish. The trail swings to the east, making a letter “C” as it curves back to the west. Prairie dogs are everywhere, yipping and yapping at your every move. We saw a blue heron and hawks during our walk, too. The Butterfly Pavilion will be on your right. There is little shade on this walk, so make sure you have your hats, sunscreen, and water bottles. Keep walking through this prairie environment. You’ll go under Westminster Blvd, which is marked by a huge field of rocks lining the sides. Just beyond that is another example of Westminster’s Mural Program along the trail. 

Take the tunnel under Highway 36. On both ends, enjoy the incredible mural artwork done by local artists. This is a perfect spot for photos and stopping for a little break before you backtrack on the trail to the parking lot. You can opt to take the sidewalk along Westminster Blvd. as well, making a circle.

While this particular Big Dry Creek Trail walk isn’t terribly long, there is a lot to see and do. Once the Butterfly Pavilion is open again, you could make a day out of it with indoor and outdoor adventure. 

In case you missed them:

Let’s Walk! The Big Dry Creek Trail’s Whimsical Murals are Picture-Perfect

Let’s Walk! One Family Gives the Scoop on Embarking on The Big Dry Creek Trail

Denver’s best events for Memorial Day Weekend 2020

Ready to celebrate? When Memorial Day weekend (May 22–25, 2020) rolls around in Denver, we go big. Check-out these awesome events from Visit Denver that are open for your enjoyment. Be sure to also see our 2020 Denver Summer Activity Guide for more ideas. 

MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

SHIKI DREAMS

WHEN: May 14–July 5, 2020
WHERE: 2219 E. 21st Ave.

In this 1,200-square-foot pop-up installation, you’ll follow Shiki, a spiritual yeti guide and leader of the Spirits of the Forest. The immersive experience explores the dreams of this wise spirit in a multi-sensory experience of stunning creativity. 

NIGHT LIGHTS DENVER

WHEN: May 9–Dec. 31, 2020 
WHERE
Daniels & Fisher Tower
Night Lights Denver features rotating content designed by local artists and the community and projected on the Arapahoe Street side of the Daniels & Fisher Tower every Thursday through Saturday evening.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

DENVER’S CITY PARKS

No matter where you find yourself in The Mile High City, you’re likely only a few steps away from a lush and relaxing green space. Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to explore Denver’s more than 5,000 acres of traditional parks and parkways, as well as an additional 14,000 acres of spectacular mountain parks in neighboring counties that are maintained by the City and County of Denver.

DENVER STREET ART

Denver street artists have been busy brightening (and enlightening) the urban landscape for decades by making canvases of the city’s alleyways, building exteriors, warehouses, garage doors and storefronts. Grab your camera and take a stroll past some of the city’s favorite murals. 

VIRTUAL FUN

ROCKY MOUNTAIN VIRTUAL MUSIC FESTIVAL

This is an all-virtual music festival designed to support Colorado musicians and music lovers during this difficult time. The Rocky Mountain Virtual Music Festival features artists playing live shows from rooms of 10 people or fewer every Friday!

ZOO TO YOU: VIRTUAL SAFARI BY DENVER ZOO

Denver Zoo may be closed, but the dedicated animal care staff is still providing vital care for the nearly 3,000 animal residents. Stay informed, entertained and engaged with daily videos, wildlife-themed activity ideas and much more!

DENVER MUSEUM OF NATURE & SCIENCE: [email protected]

Avoid boredom at home with the team from Denver Museum of Nature & Science! Raid your pantry and closets for everyday items you can use to explore science, math and engineering and create fun art projects.

WINGS OVER THE ROCKIES AIR & SPACE MUSEUM’S “BEHIND THE WINGS” VIDEO SERIES

Go “behind the wings” of some of history’s most iconic aerospace treasures, housed at Denver’s Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. Peek into the cockpits of rare warbirds, fly over the Centennial State in a state-of-the-art Skyhawk and climb into the cockpit of the legendary B-52 Bomber.

COMEDIANS DOING STUFF IN DENVER VIDEO SERIES

Get ready for some serious laughs when comedians from The Mile High City get paired with other things Denverites love: beer, street art, world-class cuisine, music and adventure!

VIDEOS OF RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE’S POPULAR CONCERTS

There may not be a Red Rocks show this weekend, but you can relive concerts from years past online, including John Mayer, String Cheese Incident, The Avett Brothers and many more. 

LEVITT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM: FREE STREAMING CONCERTS FROM LEVITT PAVILION

Enjoy live music from Levitt Pavilion every weekday evening. 

KIRKLAND MUSEUM OF FINE & DECORATIVE ART’S 360-DEGREE TOUR

The way Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorate Art displays its three collections “salon style” gives it a noticeably different atmosphere than most other museums. Take a virtual tour of the layout and get a peek at favorite pieces and exhibits. 

20 delicious recipes for Memorial Day weekend

It has been a rough couple of months and do you know what we all need? Good food. And lots of it. 

I don’t know about you but Memorial Day weekend marks the official first day of summer for me and that means firing up the grill and bringing out my summer-lovin’ cookbooks. Here are 20 fantastic recipes your whole family will love.

 
   Jalapeno Bacon Burger {Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts}

Jalapeno Bacon Burger – Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

 

Sweet Maple Barbecue Chicken Kebobs {A Dash of Sanity}

Sweet Maple Barbecue Chicken Kebobs – A Dash of Sanity   Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad with Artichokes Tomatoes and Peas {Domestic Superhero}

 

Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad with Artichokes, Tomatoes, and Peas – Domestic Superhero 

  Berry Swirl Cheesecake {Wine & Glue}

Berry Swirl Cheesecake – Wine & Glue 

 
  Blackened Chicken & Quinoa Salad {Fake Ginger}

Blackened Chicken & Quinoa Salad – Fake Ginger

  Creamy Pea Salad {Love Bakes Good Cakes}

Creamy Pea Salad – Love Bakes Good Cakes

  Spicy Southwestern Turkey Burgers {Self Proclaimed Turkey Burgers}
 

Spicy Southwestern Turkey Burgers – Self Proclaimed Foodie

    Memorial Day Firework Cupcakes {Culinary Ginger}

Memorial Day Firework Cupcakes – Culinary Ginger  

  Ranch BLT Pasta Salad {Let's Dish}

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad – Let’s Dish

 Double Berry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt {Kleinworth & Co} 

Double Berry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt – Kleinworth & Co.

  Broccoli Salad {Belly Full}

Broccoli Salad – Belly Full  

  Broccoli Bacon Pasta Salad {Mandy's Recipe Box}

Broccoli Bacon Pasta Salad – Mandy’s Recipe Box 

  Patriotic Monster Cookies {That Skinny Chick Can Bake} 

Patriotic Monster Cookies – That Skinny Chick Can Bake

   
  Lemon Cheesecake Trifles {The Recipe Rebel} 
     Classic Italian Pasta Salad {Wishes and Dishes}

Classic Italian Pasta Salad – Wishes and Dishes

    Spicy Grilled Chicken Drumsticks {Lemons for Lulu}

Spicy Grilled Chicken Drumsticks – Lemons for Lulu  

Potato Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs and Maple Mustard Dressing {Cooking and Beer}

Potato Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs and Maple Mustard Dressing – Cooking and Beer

    Basic Macaroni Salad {365 Day of Baking and More}

Happy Memorial Day!