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KidzToPros: Denver STEM, arts and summer sports camps for Pre-K to grade 12

KidzToPros offers a range of popular STEM, arts and sports summer camps for kids from Pre-K to grade 12. Some of a child’s favorite experiences come from participating in summer camps. At KidzToPros camps, kids can explore a variety of topics in a fun and engaging environment. Strong partnerships with Colorado schools allow KidzToPros to bring the highest quality programming directly to your community.

In-person camps are back! 

Summer is almost here. Kids are ready to get outdoors, explore, and have some fun. 

That’s what summer camps are all about!

Camps are where kids play and make new friends. Recharge their batteries. Explore new interests and learn skills that will last a lifetime.

This summer, KidzToPros delivers popular, educational and super fun camps to families in Colorado. For example, their “Best Value Combos” combine two-in-one camps for the following age groups:

Combo Camps for Kids Ages 4-6 and 6-8

Makerspace + Play It All! Sports where kids design/build creative projects AND learn a variety of sports. Each camp session features a different Makerspace theme.  Check out Games & Toys, Electronic Gadgets and Vehicles & Structures. 

Campers will:

  • Use Makerspace and age-appropriate materials, tools, and building techniques.
  • Learn more about how things work, how they are made, and where good ideas come from. 
  • Exercise and learn the basics of various sports like basketball and soccer during Play It All! Sports time.

Wonder Robotics + Play It All! Sports where kids turn code into real action, then spend afternoons playing fun sports and activities. Campers will:

  • Learn the basics of coding and programming your Dash robot.
  • Mix STEM, creative thinking, problem-solving and teamwork. 
  • Learn the basics of popular sports, including basketball and soccer, in Play It All! Sports.

Camps for Kids Ages 7-11

Some of the most popular camps this summer revolve around outdoor activities, creative expression or gaining some new tech & STEM skills.

Tennis camps are where kids improve coordination, concentration, focus, and independence. Campers will:

  • Learn racquet control and footwork drills for the forehands, backhands, approaches, volleys, and serves.
  • Develop spatial awareness, timing, control, and great form.
  • Stay mentally and physically engaged.​

Art Skills develop and deepen drawing skills in anime, architecture, and cartooning. Campers will: 

  • Develop new art techniques each day and continue to build on their drawing abilities. 
  • Learn various 2D and 3D forms of buildings and structures, as well as perspective drawing, like in architecture.
  • Complete camp with a beautiful art portfolio!

Minecraft Coding & Game Design: Adventure Maps is where your kids will create an awesome parkour course, an adventure mission, or mysterious maze while exploring the basics of building, triggering, and more. Campers will:

  • Design adventures and games to share with friends.
  • Use command blocks, red stones, and more.
  • Create Adventure Maps, missions, or games. 

Camps for Kids Ages 10-14

Improv Comedy gets the creativity and improvisation skills flowing with fun, kid-friendly workshops. 

In IMPROV COMEDY: CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT CAMP kids will:

  • Cooperate with scene partners.
  • Build a story. 
  • Focus on character development. 

In IMPROV COMEDY: SCENE WORK CAMP kids will:

  • Learn that teamwork is the nature of scene work. 
  • Cooperate to tell stories together in shared universes with invisible “props.” 
  • Keep moving and tell their own stories. 

Camps for Kids Ages 14-18

Java Game Design helps kids learn STEM skills, express their creativity and create video games to play with others. Campers will:

  • Learn Java, the most widely used programming language in the world.
  • Learn academic skills, including object-oriented programming concepts and skills in Greenfoot. 
  • Understand classes & objects, data types, conditional statements and iteration. 

Click here to see all our camps in Colorado. Starting June 7, 2021 in Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs.

See you soon!

Free skiing for Colorado kids: Register now for Epic SchoolKids 2021-22 season

For the past four years, my family has purchased Epic Passes for the entire family, which is even that much more affordable when you pair them with EpicSchool Kids, a free program for Kindergarten through 5th graders that provides four days of skiing and riding at each of the state’s top-ranked resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Crested Butte.  

That’s right. Four TOTALLY free days on each of Colorado’s resorts…20 free days of skiing for kids. Not only can they develop a life-long passion for the sport but they can bond with Mom and Dad while they’re at it (buy your Epic Passes here). Pro tip: Many of my friends register their kids for Epic SchoolKids and if they want to ski more than the four times, the adult Epic Passes include discounted buddy passes. Overall, they save money during the season.

There are some holiday blackout dates but trust us, you don’t want to ski those days anyway because it gets busy, busy, busy. 

How to Register

NEW:

If this is your first time registering your child/s for Epic SchoolKids, you will need to visit a Front Range Epic Mountain Gear location to register in-person. Your child/s must be present at the time of registration and you will need to provide visual verification of your child’s school-age during your visit. Acceptable documents include school report card, school I.D., school transcript, passport, or a birth certificate.  You can make an appointment by visiting the Epic Mountain Gear website here and select the “NEW Epic SchoolKids Registration” option. 
 
RENEW:

If your child/s has had an Epic SchoolKids Pass in prior years, you can send an email to [email protected] and provide the following information in the email:
– parent name
– parent date of birth
– email address
– phone number
– physical address
– child/s name
– child/s date of birth.

Once you have emailed your information to [email protected], you will need to make an appointment to visit a Front Range Epic Mountain Gear store to provide visual verification of your child’s school age. Please wait to schedule your appointment until you receive a confirmation email receipt indicating your child’s Epic SchoolKids pass has been processed. You can make an appointment by visiting the Epic Mountain Gear website here and select the “Epic SchoolKids Renewal – document verification” option. 

First-Timer Lesson

Oh, and it gets even better!

Epic SchoolKids offers one free first-timer lesson and rental package for any participating child who has never skied or snowboarded. Book your child’s lesson now to secure your preferred day!

The lesson must be booked in advance. Please call to book your lesson before arriving at the resort. The free first-timer lesson and rental package must be redeemed as a package and is limited to one total per child (not one per participating resort). Lesson is subject to availability and is only offered select weeks throughout the season. 

Deals on Gear

There are so many options for affordable gear. Shop the ski sales at area ski shops in the fall. Another great option is to visit your local Epic Mountain Gear* and ask about the Junior Trade Program. When you get your child’s gear through the Junior Trade Program, you own it for as long as it fits. Once they’ve outgrown it, you can trade it in and save big on a new size.

With all of these great options, Vail Resorts is more committed than ever to help your kids develop a life-long passion for skiing! 

Pay $49 now for epically cheap Vail Resorts Epic Passes in 2021-22

It is arguably the best ski deal in Colorado for adults AND kids…and it runs out on Memorial Day. 

$49 is all

May 31, 2021 will be the last day you can lock in your Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass purchase with a $49 down payment, with the remaining balance not due until September. And, through Memorial Day, the purchase of an Epic Pass will come with the bonus of 10 “Buddy tickets,” good for significantly discounted lift tickets for family and friends.

And after the crapshoot COVID year, Vail Resorts is making it even more enticing than ever: Epic Pass prices are 20% lower than last year. Purchase an Epic 4-day pass for $323, an Epic Local Pass for $583 or an Epic Pass for $783. 

Epic SchoolKids

After you snag your adult/teen passes, be sure to register for the Epic Schoolkids Colorado Pack, a free program for Kindergarten through 5th graders that provides four days of skiing and riding at each of the state’s top-ranked resorts. Go to epicpass.com/info/epic-schoolkids/colorado for more information. 

Epic Pass Discounts

On top of all that, travelers with the Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, Epic Day Pass and more can enjoy discounts through the Epic Mountain Rewards program that was introduced in 2020. This simple but rewarding program provides the following discounts at Vail Resorts’ 34 North American owned and operated resorts:

  • 20% off food and nonalcoholic beverages (up to $150 per day)
  • 20% off group ski and ride lessons
  • 20% off the Epic Mountain Express private or shared shuttles from Denver International Airport (DEN) and Eagle County-Vail Regional Airport (EGE) Regional Airport
  • 20% off gear rentals
  • 20% select on-mountain activities

Additionally, all 2021–2022 Epic Pass products will come with included Epic Coverage, which provides refunds for personal events like job loss, injury or illness, as well as for certain resort closures, including closures due to COVID-19.

Vail Resorts mountains in Colorado include Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte. Telluride is an Epic Pass partner.

Alterra Mountain Co. resorts in Colorado include Steamboat and Winter Park. Ikon Pass partners include Aspen Snowmass, Copper Mountain, Eldora and Arapahoe Basin.

How to make friends as a mom (even when you’re an introvert)

Full disclosure: I am an extrovert. Making and keeping friends has never been an issue for me…until I became a mom and all of sudden, there was a whole new rulebook. And after spending a year in quarantine, many of us have forgotten how to socialize, let alone make new friends. This Denver mom nails many of our awkward social interactions.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Taylor Wolfe | Writer (@thedailytay)

When I moved to Denver 19 years ago as an unmarried woman, most of the women my age had kids. When I finally started reproducing, my peers the same age had kids entering middle and high school.  And now, I’ve moved to a new place where all the moms with kids my same age are a decade younger than I.

I’ve been like a fish out of water for most of motherhood. But if I’ve learned anything, fish can find new water sources if you’re willing to actively seek them. 

If you want to make and keep meaningful friendships, this post is for you but warning: it takes some work, as all good things do. 

How do I make friends as a mom?

Love yourself first. Great friendships start with working on you first and your ability to give and receive love. “Remove the ‘I want you to like me’ sticker from your forehead, and place it on the mirror where it belongs.'” -Susan Jeffers

Put yourself out there. The painful truth is life doesn’t just happen to those who wait. Seems like a no-brainer but I’ve learned how to develop a thick skin when developing friendships because it takes time, patience and course corrections to find your people. 

Many people won’t reciprocate. Repeat that 100x when you repeatedly invite people and they never return the favor. I’ve had to figure out if they just aren’t the “inviting types” or if there are other factors at play. Even now, I have a great group of friends with whom I hike and bike, and I’ve never been invited inside their home. It’s nothing personal. Mostly. Meet them where they’re at…and stay if it still works for you.

Not everyone will like you. I know, it’s hard to imagine but you’re not everyone’s favorite flavor. And that’s OK. 

Some people will love you. Need to drop off the grid for a while because you’re feeling overwhelmed or depressed? Find friends who love you during your highs and your lows.

Don’t settle. That mantra holds true for marriage (and is the reason I didn’t marry until I was almost 31) and it’s the same for friendships. Desperate for connection, I joined a local moms group chapter that met at a local church and the group just didn’t work for me. Confession: After one mom talked my ear off how she married her dad’s best friend (and several other uncomfortable encounters), I snuck out the basement back door and never went back. 

Give it some time. OK, I realize this is counter-intuitive to what I just said but don’t give up on something just because it’s hard in the beginning. It’s supposed to be hard. I joined another mom group that was pretty mediocre the first time we met…but there were no red flags to cease-and-desist so I kept going. I stayed with that group for many years and some of those women remain my dearest mom friends to this day. 

Part ways with the mean girls. In middle school, I desperately wanted to be part of the popular group of girls and one day, I was miraculously granted access. Except they were mean and incredibly boring; all they did was primp and gossip. I, fortunately, wised up sooner than later but I had a similar encounter shortly after I moved to Denver and had my firstborn.  I thought I had found my tribe…until I learned a few of them were saying really rude things about me. I was incredibly mad and hurt…and, while forgiveness is important, so is creating boundaries so I moved on within the week. Important note: I didn’t make the group decide whose side they were on…I just quietly left and maintained a few close friendships from that group while finding new people who had my back.

Find people with common interests. Do you love hiking? Art? Movies? Reading? Church? Eating out?  Losing weight after all the eating out? Take a class. Join an already established group. There are so many in-person or online meetup groups of people just like you who want to make a connection. When my kids were little, I had a lot of playdates with fellow moms with whom had I nothing in common. It was a nice temporary fix but my real friendships have come from those with whom I share common interests and values. I have a friend who loves food so she started a foodie group where women of all ages and stages make a dish from a recipe blogger every month and we meet together to share. Didn’t have time to make that dish? Come eat anyway!

Don’t make it always about you. Sure, we all have needs but when my daughter complains about friend drama and what she’s not getting out of her friendships, my husband always asks her what she is bringing to the table. Is she bringing support, light, positivity and is she a friend who knows how to give back? She is a junior and is finally figuring out how to build lasting friendships. It’s never too late.

RSVP, yes or no. Maybe you’re more of an ‘attender’ than a ‘planner’ which is just fine. But when you are invited to something, did you know répondez s’il vous plaît (RSVP ) means please respond? As in a “yes” or a “no.”   There are so many factors at play–busy-ness, depression, social anxiety, I get it and I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. But after I repeatedly invite with no response, I move on; for those who take the time to say “not this time, maybe next time,” they’re always on my list. Respond privately even if it’s a group text or Facebook invite; someone is putting themselves out there so validate them with some kind of response.  Oh, and I’d rather have someone say “no” than RSVP “yes” and not bother to show up. 

Friendships have seasons. Do you have a mom in the throes of diapers and naps who seems to avoid you? Maybe she’s just completely overwhelmed and sleep-deprived. Many moms are just trying to keep their crap together (and in the diaper). I love this quote from Amy Barnes: “I’d like to get together but I can’t. My kid is living their #bestlife and I’m their ride.” 

Friendships evolve. Move on. I try not to burn bridges but some friendships run their course and that is OK. 

Build your tribe. Don’t feel like you have any real friends? When I moved to Denver, I didn’t know anyone and after a year, my friend Lisa invited my husband and me to join a dinner group with a few other couples. None of us knew each other but we had kids of similar ages.  Today, they are still some of my dearest friends and I’m so grateful my friend Lisa was vulnerable and reached out…and in…to make new friends.  

Belong to yourself. Do you see pictures of friends on social media and start to feel lonely because you don’t belong? Remind yourself you don’t belong to anyone or any place; you only belong to yourself. Don’t let Instagram’s FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) get you down. Some of us are homebodies, some of us like to socialize. Some people only need one close friend; for others, they need a village. Honor who you are and your needs.

If you build it, they will come.  My kids have struggled to find lasting friend groups but when we FINALLY finished our basement and had an area for their entertainment (without Mom hovering nearby), their friends started hanging out. It doesn’t have to be a massive project like a basement; it could be a new video game or the best brownies on the block. I was slow to make friends as well but as I identified friends with common interests, we started a GroupMe and now we frequently have several moms hiking or biking with us every week. 

And finally (and most importantly), remember that Circles suck. Don’t try to form an exclusive social circle. Form a large horseshoe where anyone can enter.

Deals: Memorial Day weekend events, free USA flag & more!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Yes, my neighbors are once again planning a bbq and we will resume the Friday night movies on the driveway.  Don’t miss 75 family-friendly Memorial Day weekend events in Denver!  Also, we just release our Colorado Family Vacation Guide for Summer 2021. 

Mile High Flea Market. Admission is free on the last Friday of each month this summer May 28, June 25, July 30 and August 27. Enjoy farmer’s markets, stalls, shops, food and drinks as well as music. This might be a fun way for you and the family to enjoy a fun kickoff of a weekend!

Secure Vail Resorts Passes Now. It is arguably the best ski deal in Colorado for adults AND kids…and it runs out on Memorial Day. May 31, 2021, will be the last day you can lock in your Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass purchase with a $49 down payment, with the remaining balance not due until September at 20% off. And, through Memorial Day, the purchase of an Epic Pass will come with the bonus of 10 “Buddy tickets,” good for significantly discounted lift tickets for family and friends.

Free USA Flag. Ace Hardware is giving away One Million Flags. On Saturday, May 29 pop by your local Ace Hardware to get your free 8” x 12” flag (to the first 240 customers at each location).

 Free Wendy’s Burger. In celebration of National Hamburger Day on Friday, May 28, you can get a free Dave’s Single or Junior Bacon Cheeseburger with any purchase using the Wendy’s app.

 Dairy Block Hosting FREE Fit + Rock again. One last chance this month to shake your booty with the Barre Code (combines barre work and isometric movements with an awesome high-energy playlist) on Wednesday, May 26th at 5:30 p.m. at the Dairy Block. It is free but you will need to register in advance. To register, please visit https://dairyblock.com/events

Taco Bell Rockies Promotion. About once a week, my family and I head over to a Taco Bell to take advantage of the tacos promotion. Whenever the Rockies score seven or more runs (win or lose), the next day between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. you can get 4 tacos for just $2. You can also multiply that (get 8 tacos for $4).

Free Fishing Weekend. Now is a great time to try fishing in Colorado! 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 resident and nonresident anglers of all ages to participate in its annual Free Fishing Weekend on June 5 to 6. The free fishing weekend is a great way to get outside with family and friends and take advantage of Colorado’s extensive opportunities to fish for a myriad of cold and warm water fish species. Also don’t miss 25 great fishing ponds in Denver

Harkins Theatres. For just $5, see some of the best Blockbusters of the past. They have great movies left – as these specials go through June 25. For the line-up and to get tickets and showtimes visit Harkins.com.

 YMCA Summer. Two favorite locations, YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park and Snow Mountain Ranch announced their chock-full list of activities and events including archery, horseback riding, keepsakes crafting, miniature golf, tennis, fly fishing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, guided hikes (through Rocky Mountain National Park), an on-site dog park and more depending on which location your family chooses. They even have on-site summer day camps for kids aged 3 to 17. YMCA offers different types of accommodations – certainly one to fit your family!

Denver Free Days. Free Days are back at several of our great museums thanks to SCFD funding and corporate sponsorships. Check out what Denver free days are happening this week. 

Family travel: Enjoy home on the range in this unexplored corner of Colorado

Do you long for home on the range?

Sure, Coloradoans love their mountains but families itching to get back on the road this summer can experience northeast Colorado’s wide-open spaces, outdoor adventures and unique events. Visitors can set their own speed with heart-pumping activities like speedway races or watersports, have fun at the disc golf capital of Colorado, giddy-up at a tractor pull or a buckling battle or take it easy by bird watching at a natural area or shopping on one of the region’s charming main streets. And, visitors and locals can gather safely once again at the many quintessential summertime events.

Want more family vacation ideas in Colorado? Scroll to the bottom for our comprehensive guide. 

Upcoming Summer Events

Visitors can experience a variety of unique community events this summer in northeastern Colorado including music festivals, farmers markets, rodeos, Independence Day celebrations and more.

  • Memorial Day Weekend Motocross, Brush, May 29-31, 2021:  This annual Memorial Day Race Weekend takes place at Sweney Cycle Park, a premier motocross track. This popular event opens its gates on Saturday night, with practice on Sunday and racing on Monday. 

  • High Plains Outdoor Tractor and Truck Pull, Sterling, June 20, 2021 – Experience the roar of engines at the High Plains Outdoor Tractor and Truck Pull at the Logan County Fairgrounds in Sterling. Tractor pulling is known as “the world’s heaviest motorsport,” where the goal is to determine the strongest machine and the best driver. This perfect outdoor grandstand event for fans is held every year on Father’s Day Weekend.

  • Bobstock Music Festival, Fort Morgan, July 9 – 10, 2021: Bobstock’s goal? Make “big city” entertainment accessible to anyone that likes awesome music! This free, two-day event is held outdoors at Fort Morgan’s City Park and features live music, food trucks, a beer garden, kids’ games and rides, and 16 different music acts on three stages. 

  • Logan County Fair and Rodeo, Sterling, July 29 – Aug. 8, 2021: The Logan County Fair & Rodeo is one of the premier county fairs in Colorado, blending the best in entertainment, great food, fun rides and the excitement of competition. With a particular emphasis on the accomplishments of youth in their various 4-H projects, this highlight of the summer features many events and activities tailored to kids – and kids of all ages! Grandstand events include something for everyone, from the high-action NextEra Energy Professional Bull Riding and two nights of PRCA Rodeo, to some foot-stompin’ country music entertainment on the main stage – this year see Travis Tritt and Braydon Zink (who grew up in tiny Iliff, CO). Plus, there’s the Junior Rodeo, Tractor Pull (featured image) and Demolition Derby to round out the nights and the week is loaded with activities such as carnival, vendors, games and parade.

  • The Building by Design No Credit Bucking Battle, Brush, Aug. 1 – 5, 2021:  The Building by Design No Credit Bucking Battle is a fast-growing, annual bucking bull event and is part of the 2021 Morgan County Fair. Last year, not only were there 100+ of the rankest bucking bulls brought to the Building by Design No Credit Bucking Battle, but the evening bull ride drew a standing-room-only crowd. The fair also offers live music, a cajun boil and beer garden is open on the grounds. 

  • Independence Day Celebrations: Fireworks displays dazzle visitors and locals alike on Colorado’s eastern plains. Sterling hosts its annual fireworks show off the beaten path at Pioneer Park on July 4, 2021. This display is preceded by live music with the first firework launching at dusk. Just 13 miles north, visitors can enjoy a fireworks display at North Sterling State Park the weekend prior to July 4 this year. This annual fireworks show stuns over the 2,880-acre reservoir, situated above the Sterling Boat Club boat dock. Spectators can place a blanket or lawn chair out along the reservoir’s shores or even take a boat out on the water to enjoy the display under the park’s dark skies – far from any city lights. Visitors can experience 20 miles of Fireworks and Freedom along I-76 this summer with multiple celebrations taking place over the holiday weekend. The Brush Rodeo is an Independence Day staple in northeast Colorado and is July 2-4, 2021. Held at the Morgan County Fairgrounds, this family-friendly event is capped off by a fireworks display at dusk. The I-76 Speedway will host races during the day and a fireworks show in the evening, and fireworks can also be seen in the town of Log Lane Village.

  • Weekly Live Music: Thursday Night Live returns to downtown Fort Morgan this summer with weekly concerts, the Main Street Market, CACE Art Walk, and performing art and activities on Main Street and City Park. This series runs from June 3 through Aug. 19 and features homegrown, Colorado talent, including Lauren Frihauf, a recent contestant on NBC’s The Voice, and 3-D chalk artist Chris Carlson. In Sterling, visitors can get their groove on every Friday evening in July to a variety of music, from country to jazz to rockabilly and blues. July Jamz takes place on the lawn of the Historical Logan County Courthouse, plus, the Logan County Arts League (LOCAL) features local musical artists on the last two Saturdays in June at the same place.

  • Sterling Farmers Market: When you’re roaming around some summer weekend, look for a farmer’s market in downtown Sterling, beginning in mid-July. Enjoy the authentic farm-to-table experience with some freshly grown tomatoes, homemade goodies, or still-warm-from-the-field sweet corn to take home. The Sterling Farmers Market is open for business on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. 

Play on at indoor or outdoor sports facilities 

This region of Colorado is a haven for active sports folk of all ages and offers activities including race spectating, shooting, disc golf and more. 

  • Fort Morgan Fieldhouse will host its first-ever open house on Saturday, May 29 with general admission beginning on Sunday, May 30. This brand new sports complex offers visitors 40,000 feet of recreation space. This facility is ADA-friendly and features a splash pad, basketball courts, pickleball, weight rooms and more. The Sterling Recreation Center gives visitors a chance to beat the heat with a large outdoor pool and water park that includes a Multi-Play 5, three slides, beach entry, wading pool and mini water dome. The facility also provides a picnic area, playground, sand volleyball and horseshoes onsite. 

  • The Logan County Shooting Sports Complex provides an opportunity for shooting enthusiasts of multiple disciplines to enjoy their sport. This 300-acre site features trapshooting, archery and rifle/pistol ranges that include 1,000-yard and 600-yard ranges, as well as shorter yardage ranges with numerous seat shooting benches.

  • The I-76 Speedway is a quarter-mile high-banked dirt oval race track located on the west side of Fort Morgan. Summer season racing is held April through October and is fun for the whole family. 

  • In Fort Morgan, the Optimist and Pessimist disc golf courses were home to the 2020 Colorado State Disc Golf Championships and the courses attract disc golfers from all over the U.S. The recently developed Watrous Park features the city of Brush’s first golf course with nine holes and new trees from the Arbor Day Celebration, and is open and free to the public. Plus, its disc golf tourneys are great events for anyone no matter the age or skill level. The Pioneer Park Disc Golf Course in Sterling challenges players with a variety of open and very tight technical wooded holes. 

  • Traditional golfers can find the fairway at the nine-hole course at Petteys Park in Brush or 18-hole course at Fort Morgan’s Quail Dunes Golf Course. Sterling is home to three golf courses and all are open to the public. 

Explore the great outdoors in Northeast Colorado

Northeast Colorado has a long summer season with consistent warm days and mild nights lasting from May through October, creating ample opportunities for campers, boaters, fishers and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. 

  • Boaters, watersports lovers and sun-worshippers can enjoy Jackson Lake State Park, an “oasis on the plains.” With a 2,700 surface acre lake, 260 campsites and seven campgrounds, many recreational opportunities exist including boating, camping, swimming, fishing, hunting, OHV riding (the track is open year-round), and more. Plus, Jackson Lake State Park is an International Dark Sky Park, giving visitors a view of a thousand points of light.

  • North Sterling State Park is another boater’s paradise with a 3,000-acre lake. PJ Marina opens in early May and visitors can rent a pontoon, paddleboat, kayak, canoe fishing boat or even paddleboard to beat the heat on the reservoir. The park’s wide-open spaces support a variety of on-land recreational activities. The park has 141 campgrounds on three sites, and all are pet-friendly. Birdwatchers, pack your binoculars – herons, turkey vultures, pelicans, hawks, falcons, and eagles call the park home this time of year, in addition to a variety of waterfowl. 

  • Visitors can take a stroll at the Overland Trail Recreation Area in Sterling. The multi-use trails are open to walkers, joggers, skaters and bicyclists of all ages and abilities. Dogs are welcome too, and often enjoy a swim in the fishing pond. Or, visitors can walk across the water on the 11-arch Rainbow Bridge that spans the South Platte River in Fort Morgan, the starting point of the Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic Byway. This iconic bridge was rededicated for pedestrians in the 1960s, who also enjoy Riverside Park on its south side. 

  • Birdwatchers can flock to Brush and take the Pawnee Grasslands Birding Tour on a smartphone, and follow the two-hour route to spot Ferruginous Hawks, Lark Buntings, Burrowing Owls, and maybe a majestic Golden Eagle. Bobwhite, quail, pheasants, lark buntings, waterfowl, and wild turkeys also inhabit game preserves in Brush, Weldon Valley, and at the Jean K. Tool State Wildlife Area. 

For more information about summer on Colorado’s northeastern plains, please visit exploresterling.com and morgancountytourism.com. Source: Colorado.com.

Colorado Summer Vacation Guide Additional Resources

Colorado Family Vacation Guide 2021

Denver Summer Activity Guide (200+ ideas)

Crested Butte’s Mountain Paradise for Families

Royal Gorge: The Ultimate Colorado Escape for Denver Families (with the coolest lodge in Colorado)

10 Best Places to Camp in Colorado

Kids Guide to Camping in Colorado’s Mountain Towns

Colorado’s Top Five Lodging Suggestions

25 great fishing ponds in Denver

15 Fun and Quirky Roadside Attractions in Colorado

Winter Park in the Summertime

Best of Summer – Visit Leadville and Twin Lakes 

Top 10 Summer Adventures for Colorado Families

2019 Summer Vacation in Colorado: 75+ ideas for families

Colorado Summer Vacation Guide

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 of Colorado’s most scenic waterfall hikes

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)

 

 

Colorado Jeep Tours: A fun and educational adventure for the whole family

School is out. Summer has begun! Does that mean that the learning has to stop? Absolutely not! Even better, this summer you can learn something while you’re having fun. That is spoken, of course, by a parent, not a kid. But honestly, you AND your kids will love Colorado Jeep Tours. And for those who are homeschooled the tour is a true learning field trip/class. Colorado Jeep Tours is based in Canon City just about an hour west of Colorado Springs and an easy drive from Denver as well.  Canon City may best be known for Royal Gorge (the train is popular) and the prisons but that is certainly not ALL the town is about.

Last summer, Mile High Mamas had a blast in the Royal Gorge region. We climbed the Via Ferrata (a protected climbing route) at Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, white-water rafted with Arkansas River tours and stayed in the coolest cliff-side lodge overlooking the gorge.  This time, we did a deep dive into history and area explorations with Colorado Jeep Tours Adventures. 

Our Colorado Jeep Tours Adventure

As we climbed on the raised bench in the back of the Jeep that was called “Goldie,” we were excited to have the windows open and a spectacular sunny day and the anticipation of tooling around town and trails in such a cool vehicle.

Our tour started with a drive to the end of town and a bit of a history tour. We were introduced to the human pieces of history including the old prison (this was one of the things Colorado needed to become a state) and the cemetery.  We drove a bit further for the geologic history when our guide, Steve pointed out the different rocks, mountains, and talked about dinosaurs/fossils as well as the foliage and trees and how they made a difference in the history of the people that settled in the area.

Steve was so knowledgeable about the area in and around Canon City – he was a true teacher. It didn’t matter if we peppered him with questions – he was ready for them all.

The vistas were awe-inspiring – it’s no wonder that America The Beautiful (the poem) was written in Colorado! Who doesn’t get a little thrill of being “special” as the only car in a certain place (I’ve only felt this one other time as I was on a golf cart at a festival like Taste of Colorado). Colorado Jeep Tours is the only company whose vehicles are allowed to cross the Royal Gorge Bridge – positioned almost 1,000 feet above the canyon, America’s highest bridge. Then we ascended just a bit higher to Freemont Peak to see awesome sweeping canyon views – plus we really got to go over some rocky (and bouncy) terrain.

For the last part of our tour (although you also get Royal Gorge tickets so you could go back there if you wish), we ascended a road built above town by prison labor with really great views and up close (almost touch-it close) dinosaur footprints. At the bottom of the hill, Steve told us a story of the great archway that has a rock from every state (when the arch was built).

From start to finish, we learned so much on our trip, saw great views, and had FUN doing it. Every kid who is studying their Colorado History in fourth grade and every adult will have a great time actually seeing history!

Colorado Jeep Tours Information

Colorado Jeep Tours offers full- and half-day tours. For the half-day tours, you can choose between the Red Canyon or the Royal Gorge tour. Each of these tours is approximately 3 to 3.5 hours either in the morning or afternoon start times. You could also choose to do a full-day Royal Gorge tour which is approximately 7 hours and includes lunch and is a combination of both the Royal Gorge and the Red Canyon tours.

If you can’t get there until fall, plan to do the Gold Belt Tour going through the mining towns of Victor and Cripple  Creek and driving thru railroad tunnels.  They can host groups or accommodate individuals (including handicapped seating). Prices range from $89/child and $109/adult to $189/child and  $229/adult depending on which tour you choose. To book your trip – visit ColoradoJeepTours.com.

Thanks for hosting, Colorado Jeep Tours! 

Track chairs give disabled Coloradoans access to the outdoors (plus, don’t miss Adaptive Recreation Weekend)

Staunton State Park strives to give access to all Coloradoans in the outdoors and they are now accepting reservations for disabled Coloradans who’d like to “hike” the trails in one of Staunton State Park’s two-track chairs.
 
“Being able to offer the therapeutic benefits of the outdoors to all of our visitors is truly rewarding,” said Zach Taylor, park manager for Staunton. “We now have four track chairs and one grit freedom chair.”

Trips will start Friday, June 4 and run through the end of October. Individual trips are run on weekends and group trips for organizations are run on weekdays, Monday-Thursday. If an organization is interested in running a group trip they can email [email protected] to set that up.
 
Reservations for individual track chair “hikes” can be made online. Track chair users will be given a brief questionnaire to ensure their individual needs can successfully be met. A Staunton volunteer will accompany all excursions and a suggested checklist will be provided at the time of the reservation.
 
The Friends of Staunton-provided track chairs will provide access to all disabled individuals wishing to partake. Currently there are three trails designated for the track chairs, two of which will be open immediately. They are approximately 2-5 miles long and will take 2-5 hours:

  • Davis Ponds Trail (2.1-mile loop) – open immediately
  • Mason Creek (2.5 miles round-trip) – open immediately
  • Staunton Ranch Trail (5 miles round-trip) – access to this trail is not currently open

 Adaptive Recreation Weekend

This year the park will have its first Adaptive Recreation Weekend, June 12-13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is to showcase all that Colorado has to offer for adaptive recreation and will feature fishing, track chair trips, archery and more. To learn more about Adaptive Recreation Weekend, please call the park office at 303-816-0912.

Staunton State Park is the legacy of Frances H. Staunton. As her beneficiaries, present and future generations are entrusted with this land to enjoy, protect and treasure as she did.

Mornings, Meltdowns, and Mindfulness: Parenting through stressful struggles

This week, I joined my 5-year-old daughter for the social-emotional learning component of her virtual school day. She and my son are enrolled in our local public elementary school, which is fully virtual through at least January. The school has set aside 10 to 20 minutes a day for focused social-emotional learning, including practicing mindfulness skills, learning how to identify and express feelings, and spending time connecting to each other. This kind of skill-building feels especially important to do in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, when children may be even more emotionally vulnerable than they were last year at this time.

The teacher posted the instructions to the Zoom room and I was ready: “We’re going to breathe!” My daughter’s response? “I HATE THIS! I’m not doing this. It’s boring.”

I brought my enthusiasm: “I’m breathing! [Exaggerated breath in, big breath out, like blowing out a candle]” She shouted: “I HATE THIS!”

I was no longer breathing. I was frustrated, embarrassed, afraid, anxious, and angry. (I can be pretty good at identifying my feelings, it turns out!) How did I express those feelings? I’ll leave it to your imagination.

I was also not connecting with my daughter. As much as I wanted her to pay attention to the lesson, I wasn’t paying attention myself, to her. She was showing me, in every way possible, that she was uncomfortable and unhappy. 

I know I’m not alone, and I know she’s not alone. This school year is hard, no matter if it’s in-person, hybrid, or fully remote. It’s not what any of us expected or are truly equipped for. 

Parents: What can w:e do to try to make things better? I promise this won’t be a list of additional to-do’s, but a way of approaching this incredibly challenging situation with, perhaps, a different perspective.

Keep Reading: Parenting through stressful struggles with online schooling.

-Elana Premack Sandler, LCSW, MPH, Psychology Today

Great fishing ponds for kids in Denver and beyond

Do you want a chance to get outdoors and enjoy nature? Fishing is a rite of passage for kids and we’re here to share 25 great places to go fishing in Denver.  There are literally hundreds of small ponds, gravel pits and golf-course lakes throughout Colorado’s Front Range that hold fish.

Despite their abundance, however, it’s important to do some scouting to determine which waters offer both public access and good fishing. To improve your chances of success, Colorado Parks and Wildlife stocks many of these neighborhood waters with a variety of warm-water fish. CPW also stocks some locations with catchable-size rainbow trout when water temperatures are cooler in early spring and late fall.

Before you go: Make sure you sign up for a fishing license. Need gear? The Tailored Tackle Fishing Kit includes a 147-piece gear tackle box including fishing hooks, bobbers, starter fishing equipment and more for an affordable price. Free fishing weekend is June 5 and 6, 2021. Find out more and tips for learning to fish. 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy. 

Where Can I Go Fishing in Denver? 

The Colorado Fishing Atlas and CPW’s stocking reports are great resources to help you plan your suburban fishing trip. Google Maps/Earth is also an excellent resource that provides aerial views to help you locate waters in your area. In addition to using these online tools to find your own favorite fishing hole, here are a few locations to get you started this summer:

1) Cottonwood Park Lake (Nathrop)
2) Johnson Reservoir (Littleton)
3) Lowell Ponds in Lowell State Wildlife Area – the easternmost pond and the westernmost pond. (Denver)
4) Grandview Ponds (Thornton)
5) Bear Creek Ponds at Bear Creek Lake Park (Lakewood)
6) Blue Heron Lake (Lakewood)
7) Cherry Knolls Pond (Littleton)
8) Ketring Lake (Littleton)
9) Thornton Recreation Center Lake (Thornton)
10) Sprat-Platte Reservoir (Thornton)
11) Clear Creek looking east from Washington Street Bridge (Golden)
12) Cherry Creek Reservoir (Aurora)
13) Chatfield Reservoir at the rendezvous point (Littleton)
14) Bear Creek Lake State Park (Lakewood) 
15) Sloan’s Lake (Denver)
16) Westminster City Park Pond (Westminster)
17) South Platte Park (Littleton)
18) Stanley Lake (Arvada)
19) St. Vrain State Park (Longmont)
20) Walden Ponds WIldlife Habitat (Boulder)
21) Boulder Creek (Boulder)
22) Gross Reservoir (Boulder)
23) Ken Mitchell Park (Brighton)
24) City Park (Denver)
25) Waterton Canyon (Littleton)

Where Can I Go Fishing in Colorado? 

With 8,000 miles of rivers and more than 2,000 lakes, COlorado fishing is some of the most abundant you’ll find anywhere.

Also, don’t miss 101 Places and Ways to Take a Kid Fishing in Colorado