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Denver’s best haunted houses, creepy mazes and hair-raising theme parks

Are you in the mood for a good scare? Here are Denver’s most scary haunted houses, hair-raising theme parks and creepy mazes. If you dare, check out these Halloween attractions for lots of terrifying thrills.

13th Floor Haunted House

Scare-lovers can get into the spirit of the season with three new attractions inside this popular haunt. Begin with Frostbite in a Cryogenics lab that is reanimating the dead, then stroll through the abandoned house of a deceased Doll Maker whose collection of Victorian dolls still fill every inch of every room. Finish with Bad Blood where the ancient feud between Vampires and Werewolves rages within the shadows of today’s city streets. This year haunt-goers can check out new Thirteenth Floor Entertainment attractions on-site including Blitz Bowl, an outdoor activity that combines football, bowling, and a dash of corn hole, Class Axe Throwing, and Shriekeasy Bar (21+). Additional add-on options include Mini Escape Rooms and Sensory Overload. 3400 E 52nd Ave, Denver, CO. 13thfloorhauntedhouse.com

Denver haunted house

The Frightmare Compound

Unimaginable horrors await in The Frightmare Compound. As one of the oldest horror houses for the Denver community (founded in 1983), the terror may follow you home. Founder Brad Holder painstakingly crafted the compound for 16 years before falling ill. They say his body is buried deep within the haunted house, making this one of the most authentic. You’ll also find a Monster Museum and Mini Escape Rooms. 10789 Yukon Street, Westminster thefrightmarecompound.comFrightmare Compound

Haunted Field of Screams

Haunted Field of Screams is Colorado’s largest scream park with four terrifying interactive haunts, with two tours, one maze, and a paintball shootout. All children under 13 must be chaperoned by an adult. Riverdale Road is known as the most haunted road in Colorado. With stories of hangings, burnings and roadside accidents, lost souls roam the 11-mile stretch aching for help from those passing by. Witness the walking dead and strange, violent mysteries unravel around you. A hayride will transport you to where a woman in white awaits her revenge on her husband who burned down her house…or anybody else passing by. 10451 McKay Road, Thornton, Colorado. hauntedfieldofscreams.com

Haunted Field of Screams

Reaper’s Hollow at Fright Acres

Fright Acres Outdoor Haunted Attraction featuring Reapers Hollow Cemetery consists of four completely different areas all linked together for one very long trek through different themes and dimensions. There have been many gruesome tales about the undead, witches and ghosts in Reapers Hollow Cemetery! Home of Fright Acres, it’s the largest outdoor haunted attraction venue in Colorado. 11321 Dransfeldt Rd, Parker, CO. frightacres.comFright Acres

Horror Theater Haunted House

This immersive and free haunted house, located just south of Denver, is packed with the lingering souls of its tortured victims. Filled with Hollywood quality sets and props, the house is sure to conjure more than a few screams from anyone who dares enter.
Free Admission, donations are encouraged but not expected. 4504 S. Independence Street, Denver. horrortheaterdenver.com

Horror Theater Haunted House Denver

Fright Fest at Elitch Gardens

Family by day where little ghosts and goblins can enjoy free candy on the Trick-or-Treat Trail and Fright by Night when Fright Fest comes alive and creatures lurk around every thrilling corner. Get terrorized with three haunted attractions- No Vacancy, Big Top Freaks and Séance. These multi-sensory experiences thrust guests into the action as they make their way through dark pathways, explore the site of a nightmarish inn, navigate a carnival graveyard overrun by flesh-hungry clowns, and take part in bone-chilling live performances bringing stories of the undead back to life! All this, plus all your favorite theme park rides. 2000 Elitch Circle, Denver elitchgardens.com/fright-fest

Fright Fest at Elitch Gardens

World’s Scariest Haunted House

Get terrified at one of the highest-rated haunted houses in the Denver metro area. Located at Jared’s Garden and Nursery, this terrifically horrifying haunt will satisfy all your deepest and darkest fantasies and fears. Decades of Scares, Screams,Yells and full-throttle chainsaws have them confident that you will not leave disappointed. 10500 West Bowles Avenue,  Littleton. worldsscariesthauntedhouse.com

World's Scariest Haunted House

Reinke Bros Haunted Mansion 

This year-round costume, props, magic and Halloween superstore is great for those who don’t want to be utterly traumatized. The Haunted Mansion offers a children’s day “Lights on Tour” for kids that aren’t ready for the super scary stuff. The nighttime haunted mansion is a 50+-year-old family tradition with plenty of chills and thrills for the whole family. 5663 S Prince St, Littleton, CO www.reinkebrothers.com

Reinke Brothers, Inc. Haunted Mansion

Returning in 2022

City of the Dead & Asylum Haunted House
Dead Zone Scream Park at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms
 

Other Halloween Fun in Denver

Guide to Halloween: Where Denver kids can trick-or-treat all month long
 
Denver’s best pumpkin patches and corn mazes
 
Colorado’s Best Fall Colors: Best drives, hikes, ghost towns and farms

Increase Your Child’s Confidence – With Music Lessons in Denver!

These days, it seems harder and harder for parents to find ways to increase their children’s confidence.  Kids nowadays tend to come across many more challenges to growing up confident and secure than they find reasons to grow in confidence.

But confidence is one of the most important attributes we parents can help our kids develop.

The successful leaders in our society are people who developed self-assurance, and/or found ways to overcome obstacles and beat their early lack of confidence.

What doesn’t seem to work is the recent trend toward “praise for participation.”  Don’t get me wrong: Praising your kids is always important.  But for the praise to build your child’s confidence, it needs to come on the heels of achievement, not just participation.

More and more parents are learning this valuable lesson, and I think that’s why our enrollment at Littleton School of Music has just-about doubled in the last year-and-a-half (during a time when threats to a kid’s confidence have been, many would say, at an all-time high).

Increasingly, parents are learning that they can give their kids a significant boost in confidence and self-assurance through providing those kids with music lessons.

Music Lessons Aren’t Really (Or Only) About Music

Here’s a quote from my book, Fall In Love With Music:

Music lessons provide a platform for children, teens, and adults to set goals and watch them unfurl in front of their eyes.  The skills learned in a music lesson or during a recital are applicable outside of the realm of just music…. attention span… practice habits… music lessons teach students the value of completing a task once it is started… a valuable skill that helps mold a student into a successful and motivated person later in life.

For these reasons, we’re seeing higher test scores and grades at school, better self-direction, much better-developed problem-solving skills, and in general, higher confidence in the kids whose parents provide them with professional music lessons.

(I’d be happy to send you a free copy of my book, simply for the asking.)

It’s About Achievement

At Littleton School of Music, students learn music and work toward mastering their instrument, whether that’s a keyboard, a trumpet, or simply their singing voice.  But they also learn so much more.

The value of practice, work, and effort… the energy and focus required to improve skill… the exhilaration of accomplishing something they couldn’t accomplish before.  But perhaps more than anything else, our students learn something valuable about themselves.

They learn that, if they put their mind and effort to it, they can achieve great things.

We reinforce these learnings, of course, and one of the best tools we use to bolster our students’ confidence is our “Musical Ladder System.”  Our top-notch instructors test students periodically, and when students progress to higher levels of proficiency, they earn wristbands, certificates, and trophies.

The keyword is earn.  These students are given nothing.  What they take home from our school, they’ve earned.  And they know it.  That’s where true confidence comes from, and how music lessons can help develop it in your kids.

Those trophies and certificates occupy special places on bookcases, mantles, walls, and desks all over Littleton (and beyond).  They sit where no “participation ribbon” would be allowed to sit!

If nothing else, the fact that Littleton School of Music helps a student maximize their chances of being “a successful and motivated person later in life” makes our efforts worthwhile.

We’re going to need confident folks running the world when we’re old!

In partnership with Mile High Mamas. 

 

Fall festival discounts, spooky movie nights, and more Denver fun

I’m really excited to get to go see the Magic of Jack O’Lanterns at Hudson Gardens this week. The thought of over 5,000 carved pumpkins lighting up the ground of the Gardens on a crisp October night makes me so happy! I have a hard enough time carving the old-school triangles for eyes and nose on my own pumpkins – so it really feels a bit like an art show too.

 Jack O’Lantern Visit Hudson Gardens. Ever wonder what 5,000 magical magnificent hand-carved pumpkins look like? (or what it would be like to light all those)? Hudson’s Garden is the place to check out a nautical sea-scape, dinosaurs, dragons or nearly any other theme-carved pumpkin. It is fun for the whole family open October 1-31. Tickets are $14.99/adult; $10,99/child.   

Fall Fun in Denver. Don’t miss our guide to Halloween fun and another guide to Colorado’s top pumpkin patches and corn mazes this fall. Also, where to find Colorado’s Best Fall Colors: Best drives, hikes, ghost towns and farms.

 Mile High Farms Discount. The Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch Fall Festival have a dedicated promo code to offer a $2 discount off tickets for your readers.  If you are interested in offering it to your readers, the promo code is MHMAMAS that can be used for ticket purchases online at milehighfarms.com/tickets. The code is entered at checkout when submitting payment. The festival is from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in October.  

 Orchard Town Center Halloween Movie Nights. Celebrate the season of haunting with family-friendly Halloween movies on Friday nights at the Town Center Drive at The Orchard Town Center. Bring your own chairs and dress warmly for the movies. They start at 6:30 p.m. Jumanji will show on Friday, October 15 and Hocus Pocus on Friday, October 22.

 Trick-or-Treat Family Fun at Mile High Flea Market 2021. Get in the spooky Halloween spirit at the Mile High Flea Market’s Trick-or-Treat family fun event on Saturday, October 16th. Kids and adults are encouraged to dress up in Halloween costumes and to come out for a costume contest that will be judged at 2:00 p.m., face painting, a balloon artist, Halloween games, and family fun activities. Admission is $3 per adult, kids under 12 enter free and include acres of shopping and entertainment. Find more information at www.milehighfleamarket.com or call 303-289-4656

 Elitch Gardens’ Fright Fest. Elitch has very special Family days every Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. where kiddos can show off their costumes in the daily contests and they will find free candy on the Trick or Treat Trail in KiddieLand!

 Amazon. I have been hearing for weeks now that there will be “supply chain issues” and to shop early for Christmas presents. I have also heard that there will be deals early this year. That seems to be true when Amazon is putting on sort of a Black Friday ish sale in October! The best deals will drop at amazon.com/epicdeals. Holiday toys from15-50% off; seasonal fashion up to 50% off.

Target. October 10-12 will be Deal Days and new price matching at Target. The deals can be found on TVs, Beats headphones, video games, vacuums, and kitchen appliances.

Lowes Kids Project. Sign up at Lowes.com to register for a Turkey Topple Kit (it’s free). Then November 13-14, head over to the store to pick up the free kit. IF you forgot to register you can ask at the customer service desk on the 14th to see if they have extras.

Ski Season. Looking for great deals for the upcoming ski season? Get your season passes sooner rather than later! Most of the passes will continue to go up in price through their final sell date – which is usually right around Thanksgiving but you can usually save up to $50 by getting it earlier in the sales cycle. Plus now is the time to get the Vail Resorts the Epic School Kids Pass. This allows kids K-5th grade four days at EACH of their Colorado Resorts (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte). Plus, a beginner ski lesson and rental equipment on that day! Details can be found here or the Colorado Ski Country’s Passport which allows 4th, 5th and 6th graders to get 4 days of skiing at each of the 21 member ski areas for just $59. Details can be found here. 

 Broncos Deals. I cheer for the Broncos as any well-bred Coloradoan does – but it is even better when you can get a deal with it! The day after a win you can get a free donut at King Soopers, the day after any game (regular season) you can get a free 12 oz coffee at Conoco, the day after a game where the Broncos score at least one touchdown you can get a buy one get one free Arby’s Classic Sandwich or a Classic Beef n’ Cheddar.

Free Days. The Clyfford Still Art Museum free day is on Tuesday, October 12; Denver Zoo will have a free day on October 21. You will need to sign up for the free lottery system to receive one of the timed tickets for the zoo. The PACE Center in Parker will celebrate their 10th birthday with the Artival [Arts Festival]. October 24 visit the Denver Art Museum (and the newly-opened Martin Building) for free. *Tickets are necessary for most events – but tickets are free. Register at each site. See our list of Denver free days through the end of the year. 

Gretchen’s October Grabs: The best pumpkin treats, tea, books and more

Do you already have your pumpkins on the front porch? Have your Halloween costume been picked out? Already have eaten half of the candy bag you bought thinking you’d be prepared this year? There is more to October than Halloween – it includes all things fall! As we tumble down into fall for real and even snow, we’re ready to bring on all the coziness.

Celestial Seasonings Tea. I full-on admit that I love tea on a crispy fall evening. My most recent fall find love is Celestial Seasoning’s Vermont Maple Ginger tea! It is the perfect mix between sweet and spice featuring, of course, Ginger and Maple syrup. I like to sweeten mine a bit with an extra dash of maple syrup and a dash of creamer. And…in case you were unaware, Celestial Seasonings is a Colorado company, based in Boulder. So, I’m still supporting local!

Pumpkin Field-Trip at Trader Joe’s. While Amber’s family is the real pumpkin people – I do feel ready for fall when I take a field trip to Trader Joe’s to get all the random pumpkin things. The TJ’s by me has created a whole “pumpkin section” so it was easy to find. I was delighted to find the pumpkin alfredo sauce, the pumpkin butter (which I smeared on my morning bagel), and the pumpkin bisque (which I served with the pumpkin bread). Discovering all the great pumpkin happiness is not only entertainment fun – but fun for my stomach as well!

October TV. I often try to set my mood for the season with tv shows and movies. In the summer I watch as many beach movies as possible – but now, I’m ready to cozy down with my Opopop (I wrote about that popcorn last month) and a blanket for great October TV. Freeform will offer 31 Nights of Halloween, log in to your Disney+ account there is a full section of Halloween movies/series or catch the delightfully cute Ghosts on CBS. When the kids go to bed start watching the series, I Know What You Did Last Summer on Netflix.

Book. Did you love the movie Practical Magic? Did you read the books? Did you know that author Alice Hoffman will release the latest in the series this month, on October 12? In The Book of Magic, The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over 300 years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love. The Book of Magic is the conclusion that celebrates mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, and anyone who has ever been in love.

What are your new finds? What shows, music, things are you loving right now?  

New greenhouse at Denver Public Schools will provide healthier lunches

Are you dismayed by the greasy burgers and pizza at your school’s lunchroom? For years, Denver Public Schools started working with urban gardening nonprofits to turn that image around… at least, at a few schools.

But the program — building gardens on land schools weren’t using — had limited reach. The farms only produced for the schools where they were located; beyond that, they weren’t exactly feeding the district. And the gardens’ lifespan was short. Some schools even built new buildings on the once-empty fields where food flourished.

While many of those original farms have closed, Schmitt Elementary and Bradley International School still run urban gardens on site. And with the new greenhouse, big plans are in the works.

The new greenhouse, which will be ready to be planted by late spring 2022, will first be used to grow cherry and slicing tomatoes to liven up salads. If all goes well, the district will add leafy greens, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries.

CLICK TO KEEP READING

-Kyle Harris, Denverite

Grieving and finding support after my son’s devastating diagnosis

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. As a former Victim Advocate, I knew this cycle well, but I only linked it to death. In death, there’s time. Time doesn’t heal the loss, but it does give the opportunity to ease the pain. So what happens there’s no space from the loss? When the loved one you’ve lost is still sitting right in front of you, living and breathing? Where does that cycle end for me? Does it end for me?

When our son was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at nine months old, our whole world came crashing down. We began mourning the loss of the life we thought we’d have with and for our family. We mourned the loss of his possibility for a “normal” life. It was the death of dreams. I began the cycle.

It would take five years of bouncing around, stuck in the cycle of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and back to denial again before I finally hit my major acceptance; major because there are times of mini-grief. It hits me every now and again. When I let my guard down, I go on with life, when I think I’m at my strongest. It hits me like a sudden breeze, knocking me off my feet, taking the breath from my lungs, the tears wrenched from my heart. Each time he has a seizure, or there’s a new diagnosis (Cerebral Palsy, Epileptic, ADHD, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Developmentally Disabled, ASD Features), or when I watch him with friends, I can start grieving again.

So, now I also accept that among all the tired days and nights of the endlessness of his care, I will grieve.

Guide to Halloween: Where Denver kids can trick-or-treat all month long

Celebrate Halloween in Denver all month long with these fun family-friendly trick-or-treat events all over the city. 

Also, don’t miss Denver’s best pumpkin patches and corn mazes, as well as where to find Colorado’s Best Fall Colors: Best drives, hikes, ghost towns and farms.

Where to Trick-or-Treat in Denver

Saturday, October 16

Trick or Treat at Mile High Flea Market

Time: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Where: Mile High Flea Market, 7007 E 88th Ave, Henderson

Get in the spooky Halloween spirit at the Trick or Treat event at Mile High Flea Market. There will be a costume contest, face painter, balloon artist, Halloween games, and activities. Plus all of the shopping at the flea market. milehighfleamarket.com

Malloween at Orchard Town Center

Time: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Where: Orchard Town Center, 14697 Delaware Street, Westminster

This family-fun event that will take over Town Center Drive and will include a Goodie Bag for attendees, Trick-or-Treat at participating stores (watch for stores with balloons at their entrance), games, face and arm painters, a Halloween costume parade, pet parade and more. 
theorchardtowncenter.com  (featured image)

Coca-Cola Halloween Celebration & Trick or Treat Party

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Where: Colorado National Speedway

All the Super Stock/Pure Stock, Demo Cross fun you have grown to expect…and trick-or-treating is added to all the excitement. coloradospeedway.com

Scare in the Air at Urban Air Denver East

Time: October 16-31

Scare in the Air is back at Urban Air Denver!  Halloween takes over the 37,000-square feet of spooky family fun park packed with 25 attractions and 10 courses.  Enjoy Trick-or-treating in the park on October 21 and 28 with Daily Spooky Scavenger Hunts all day from October 25 – October 31, Jumperboo on October 22 and 29 (Park is reserved from 10 am-Noon just for 5-year-olds and under, parents jump for free). $10.99 per child. Get over 30% off a Platinum admission or Ultimate admission, good through October! www.urbanairdenvereast.com

Saturday, October 23

Treat Street at the Arapahoe County Scaregrounds

Time: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where:  Arapahoe County Fairgrounds Event Center, 25690 E Quincy Ave, Aurora

Enjoy this safe day of trick-or-treating and spooktacular family fun. Wear your favorite costume and play games and activities like pumpkin painting, barrel train rides, a petting farm, live entertainment, Thriller dance performance, costume contest, pumpkin painting, adult beverages, food trucks, and more! Tickets at $5 per person; kids under 2 are free.  arapahoecountyfair.com

Fall Festival + Pumpkin Patch at Southlands

Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 

Where: Southlands Town Square, 6155 S. Main Street, Aurora

Enjoy this free fall festival and pumpkin patch. Take home a complimentary bag of candy starting at 10 a.m. from Guest Services at the Clock Tower. Purchase pumpkins for $3+, explore their craft and food market and join their social media costume contest. shopsouthlands.com

Trick or Treat Street at Castle Pines

Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Where: Castle Pines,  360 Village Square Lane, Suite B, Castle Pines

Calling all little ghosts and goblins! Make your way through the businesses along Castle Pines Parkway and through the Village at Castle Pines. Just look for the pumpkin in front of the business and join in the fun! Stop by the  Family Festival from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for the pet costume contest, kids activities, a fall photo booth, hayrides, a pumpkin patch, food, and drinks. castlepinesco.gov

Spooktacular at Castle Rock

Time: 1-4 p.m.

Where: Philip S. Miller Park, 1375 W. Plum Creek Parkway

Celebrate all things not-so-spooky at Spooktacular. Family-friendly costumes are encouraged, but not required. Activities include games, prizes, food, and of course, candy. This free event is held outdoors, so please dress warmly.

Broncos Trick-or-Treat at Empower Field at Mile High

Time: 10 a.m.

Where: Empower Field at Mile High

An event like no other at Empower Field at Mile High, Broncos Trick or Treat is a fun experience for kids to experience the stadium like never before. Decorated spaces, an opportunity to safely trick-or-treat and plenty of activities to enjoy the Fall season. Costumes are encouraged! Pre-purchased $5 tickets include access to Broncos Trick-or-Treat and Miles Fall Fest. Due to Covid protocol, and restrictions, every person attending Broncos Trick or Treat, regardless of age requires a ticket. Ticketmaster.com.

Tiny Terror Town in Frederick

Time: 4-8 p.m.

Where: Crist Park,  105 Fifth Street, Frederick

Enjoy the 4th annual Halloween event for the Town of Frederick. This family-friendly event will be a safe place for kids and families to trick-or-treat at tiny abodes in Crist Park. Plus, participate in their Big Beast Bazaar pet costume contest for great prizes. frederickco.gov/terror

Safe Street Halloween at Northglenn

Time: 4-7 p.m.

Where: Centennial Park – North of the Northglenn Marketplace, 120th Avenue and Interstate 25

More than 3,500 pounds of candy is handed out at Northglenn’s Safe Street Halloween at Centennial Park, north of the Northglenn Marketplace at 120th Avenue and Interstate 25. Each year about 5,000 children attend and more than 3,500 pounds of candy are handed out.

Sponsored by Northglenn Police Department, more than 3,500 pounds of candy will be handed out. Candy donations will be accepted leading up to the event at the Justice Center, City Hall and Northglenn Recreation Center.

Thursday, October 28

BOOnion Station: Trick-or-Treat Parade at Denver’s Union Station

Time: 5-8 p.m.

Where: 1701 Wynkoop, Denver

Bring your little ghosts and goblins to enjoy a free family-friendly Halloween extravaganza at Denver Union Station! Little ones and adults alike will enjoy a trick-or-treat parade throughout the station as well as activities including balloon art, face painting, live entertainment, spooky tunes, and more. Everyone is encouraged to attend wearing their very best Halloween costume. Prizes will be given for best individual costume and best group/family costume. All children under 12 will be required to wear a mask.  unionstationindenver.com

Friday, October 29

Trick-or-Treat Street at Olde Town Arvada

Time: 5-7 p.m.

Where: 7307 Grandview Ave, Arvada

Bring your little goblins to Olde Town Arvada for this annual free trick-or-treat event that winds through the streets, past Olde Town’s fabulous businesses and restaurants.    oldetownarvada.org/trick-or-treat-street/

Halloween Safe Night at Firestone

Time: 5-8 p.m.

Where: Firestone Regional Sports Complex

Every ghost and goblin will enjoy Halloween in a safe environment with the Firestone Police Department. This event includes a trunk-or-treat line, obstacle courses and inflatables, a trackless train for fun rides, safety handouts, food trucks, and more. firestoneco.gov/138/Halloween-Safe-Night

BOO-rific Bash & Splash

Top 15 places for Denver families to stargaze in Colorado

Did you know Colorado has so many awesome places to stargaze with your family in Colorado? Whether you lie under the heavens of the San Luis Valley, or get a little closer to the stars on the peak of a stately mountain, there is nothing like seeing constellations speckled across a clear Colorado sky. Colorado.com shares these 15 places to stargaze in Colorado. 

DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT

One of the newest addition to the International Dark-Sky Association’s list of Dark Sky Parks for its “exceptional natural darkness,” this gem in the far northwest corner of the state hosts ranger programs and night hikes to get visitors deep into the dark. There are also many prime places to view the night sky with either the naked eye or telescopes and binoculars. Until now, the monument has been most famous for the epic whitewater rafting found on the Dinosaur and Yampa rivers, as well as incredibly preserved dinosaur fossils and Fremont culture rock art. Getting There: Located on the Colorado and Utah border, the monument is a two-hour’s drive north of Grand Junction via State Highway 139.Dinosaur National Monument

GARDEN OF THE GODS ROAD

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is located far enough from city lights for a lucid view of nature’s fireworks. The snow-capped white summit of Pikes Peak seems to glow in the dark, set against a backdrop of silhouetted boulders and some of the galaxy’s most beautiful stars. Take in deep breaths of fresh air, lean back and let the constellations captivate you. And when daylight breaks, take in views that are just as gorgeous as they are at night, as the striking red rock formations seem to pierce the blue sky. Getting There: Located just off I-25 at the Garden of the Gods Exit, 1805 N. 30th St., Colorado Springs. 

GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE

This national park near Alamosa is already otherworldly during the daytime; at night, it’s easy to imagine you’re on another planet. It’s also one of the only wild places in the world where rangers encourage self-guided exploration … in total darkness! To take a gorgeously surreal night-hike without the aid of a flashlight, plan your visit during a full moon. You may be treated to glimpses of the local wildlife, including owl, kangaroo rat, coyote and even bobcat. If you’re more interested in sky than sand, go during a new moon instead; pick up a free star chart and moon calendar at the visitor center. A variety of guided programs are also available during the summer — check the night sky program schedule prior to your visit. Getting There: Located at 11999 Highway 150, Mosca.

HORSETOOTH RESERVOIR

Plenty of rest stops along County Road 38E near Fort Collins have picnic tables overlooking the reservoir below. Since not many cars pass by at night, you’re offered an uninterrupted view of sparkling skies. If you’re in the mood for a bit of a hike with a fabulous ending, head to the top of Horsetooth Rock — a bizarre rock formation that resembles an actual horse’s tooth — for a view of the city on one side and the rugged mountains, Horsetooth Reservoir and the stars on the other. Getting There: Located on County Road 38E past Taft Hill Road.

UFO WATCHTOWER – SAN LUIS VALLEY

At the UFO Watchtower in Hooper, you are in for more than just stargazing. Locals claim the San Luis Valley is a hotspot for alien activity, and dozens of unexplained flying object sightings are rumored to have occurred at this locale since 2007. At the watchtower, there’s little or no light competition obstructing your view — so it’s just you, the stars … and perhaps the occasional extraterrestrial flying by. The watchtower offers information on past “encounters” and theories behind the sightings. Come see for yourself. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones. Getting There: Located at 2502 County Road 61, Hooper. Find 15 fun and quirky roadside attractions in Colorado.

CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA

The rugged landscape of Curecanti, between Gunnison and Montrose, is a necessary beauty for everyone to experience. Come here on a clear night, and you’ll be certain to witness plenty of distant planets, stars and faint stardust — a glowing cloud of stars too far away to be separated by the naked eye. If the water is still, you may even catch a glimpse of the Milky Way in its reflection. Three sprawling reservoirs mark the heart of Curecanti, beginning with Colorado’s largest body of water (Blue Mesa Reservoir), followed by Morrow Point Reservoir at the entrance to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the East Portal. A location as vast and unpopulated as this is a rarity. Getting There: Located at 102 Elk Creek, Gunnison. 

JACKSON LAKE STATE PARK

Jackson Lake State Park near Fort Morgan in northeastern Colorado is one of the most scenic places to watch the Colorado sky. It was named an International Dark Sky Park in 2020, making it the first Colorado State Park to hold the coveted designation. With its large, glassy surface, the lake acts as the perfect mirror for the Milky Way. Known as “the oasis in the plains,” this park has been ranked as one of the top 15 park beaches by Reserve America. The peaceful silence of the evenings, the sandy beaches and the breathtaking view of the stars at Jackson Lake are enough to clear even the most occupied mind. Getting There: Located at 26363 County Road 3, Orchard. Jackson Lake

RED ROCKS PARK & AMPHITHEATRE

Not only is this all-natural amphitheater in Morrison one of the world’s most desired music venues for bands, it’s also a beautiful place to spend an evening stargazing. With its panoramic view of the city of Denver beyond and the solitude of a mountainside setting, Red Rocks is truly a gift of nature. The best time to catch the stars is during one of Red Rocks’ summer concerts or Film on the Rocks. Getting There: Located on West I-70 just past the Morrison Exit 259.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

Q: What’s more breathtaking than a Colorado summer-night sky? A: A summer-night sky in Rocky Mountain National Park, where the stars become a glittering canvas framed by the park’s world-famous topography. Throughout the summer, a dedicated team of rangers (accompanied by volunteer astronomers) leads a variety of special after-dark programs, including Astronomy in the Park and Stories Behind the Moon and Stars. And in July, the park hosts its pinnacle stargazing event, the Rocky Mountain National Park Night Sky Festival: three days of ranger-led daytime activities, educational talks and nighttime viewing. Getting There: Enter through the gateway towns of Grand Lake (west side) or Estes Park (east side).

WESTCLIFFE & SILVER CLIFF

Prefer your constellations with a side of civilization? Located about an hour west of Pueblo, the two towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff recently became the first communities in Colorado to be recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association. Not surprisingly, the area is home to many passionate stargazers; soon after receiving certification, the community constructed the Smokey Jack Observatory, where visitors can absorb the full impact of an unobstructed Milky Way through a fancy-schmancy, computer-guided Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. The local International Dark-Sky Association chapter also hosts a series of Star Parties throughout the summer. Getting There: 115 S Adams Blvd., Westcliffe (Smokey Jack Observatory).

MONUMENT LAKE

Surrounded by some of the most rugged and majestic Rocky Mountains, Trinidad’s Monument Lake offers a great place to look at the stars. Known as southern Colorado’s Jewel of the West, the area’s crisp, mountain air and unparalleled views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains create ideal locations to step away from the clutter and commotion of the city. Getting There: Located west of Trinidad on scenic Highway 12/Highway of Legends west for 35 miles. 

GRAND LAKE 

You’ll have no problem satisfying your nocturnal pursuit of Cassiopeia or the Big Dipper when you situate yourself next to Grand Lake. Aside from the charming atmosphere of the town of Grand Lake, very minimal light stands in the way of ideal stargazing, making any view a good one. During the winter months, ice skate under the stars at Devil’s Thumb Ranch or try night skiing at Ski Granby Ranch. It’s hard to beat the number of stars you’ll see on your lift ride up the mountain. Getting There: Located at 3530 County Road 83, Grand Lake.

CHIMNEY ROCK NATIONAL MONUMENT

By day, Chimney Rock National Monument, located at the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado, is a breathtaking blend of nature and culture. Amid the windswept forest, the archaeological ruins and ancient artifacts of the Chaco culture have remained largely unchanged for 1,000 years. By night, ancestral wisdom and modern telescopic technology meet — with unique Night Sky Archaeoastronomy Programs ideal for visitors of any age. During the two-hour programs, visitors of all ages learn how the Chaco people used the stars for navigation, timekeeping and spiritual guidance. Getting There: 3179 Highway 151, Chimney Rock.

BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK

Bordered by the vast open spaces of western Colorado near Montrose and Gunnison, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has always been a phenomenal place to see the stars. In 2015, the canyon received the International Dark Sky Park designation, officially making it one of the best places in the world to go off-grid for a few hours. The Black Canyon Astronomical Society, in partnership with other local star-gazing groups, conducts nighttime programs throughout the year — using both telescopes and the naked eye — with experienced astronomers and astro-photographers on hand to assist visitors in the darkness. Getting There: Located 7 miles north on Highway 347 from the intersection of Highway 50 east of Montrose (South Rim) or 11 miles southwest of Crawford off Highway 92 on Black Canyon Road (North Rim).

MOLAS LAKE

This San Juan Mountain beauty in Silverton sits along the scenic Million Dollar Highway (a million dollars’ worth being the price of the views), and is the ideal respite for a bit of Milky Way-canopied solitude. By day, you’ve got the sharp pinnacles of the surrounding peaks, the fish-stocked lake (which also mirrors those peaks to breathtaking effect) and access to miles and miles of hiking trails. The Molas Lake Campground has a handy general store and other amenities but is missing one important one for the stargazer’s purpose: electricity. The area is nice and dark to assist with this starstruck adventure.

OTHER STARRY IDEAS

These programs can guide you to the best spots for staring up.

          • The Aspen Science Center teams up with local astronomers for new moon stargazing tours.
          • The town of Crestone has a map of the best sites to view the skies from in their little neck of the woods.
          • Elevated Astronomy Tours in Boulder can point out all the coolest night sights.
          • Lake City Skies often holds stargazing sessions, early-riser star parties and other events.
          • La Veta is home to the Southern Colorado Astronomical Park, home to two domed observatories that welcome your telescopes.
          • Walking Mountain Science Center in Avon offers Stories in the Sky Programs from the Vail Nature Center

-Colorado.com

Great deals on Trick-or Treat fun, heated blanket for your car and more!

Maybe because I grew up in Colorado where fall seems to go by so quickly with just one or two good weekends to go see the leaves – the fall seems to move quickly. I’m already thinking about what kind of costume I will get this year and what candies I should choose (I get them now- eat a bag – and then have to buy another one by the time Halloween rolls around).

Fall Fun in Denver. Don’t miss our guide to Colorado’s top pumpkin patches and corn mazes this fall. Also, where to find Colorado’s Best Fall Colors: Best drives, hikes, ghost towns and farms.

Mile High Farms Discount. The Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch Fall Festival have a dedicated promo code to offer a $2 discount off tickets for your readers.  If you are interested in offering it to your readers, the promo code is MHMAMAS that can be used for ticket purchases online at milehighfarms.com/tickets. The code is entered at checkout when submitting payment. The festival is from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in October.  

Orchard Town Center Halloween Movie Nights. Celebrate the season of haunting with family-friendly Halloween movies on Friday nights at the Town Center Drive at The Orchard Town Center. Bring your own chairs and dress warm for the movies. They start at 6:30 p.m. Friday, October 8: The Goonies; Friday, October 15: Jumanji; and Friday, October 22: Hocus Pocus.

Trick-or-Treat Family Fun at Mile High Flea Market 2021. Get in the spooky Halloween spirit at the Mile High Flea Market’s Trick-or-Treat family fun event on Saturday, October 16th. Kids and adults are encouraged to dress up in Halloween costumes and to come out for a costume contest that will be judged at 2:00 p.m., face painting, a balloon artist, Halloween games, and family fun activities. Admission is $3 per adult, kids under 12 enter free and include acres of shopping and entertainment. Find more information at www.milehighfleamarket.com or call 303-289-4656

Elitch Gardens’ Fright Fest. Elitch has very special Family days every Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. where kiddos can show off their costumes in the daily contests and they will find free candy on the Trick or Treat Trail in KiddieLand!

Heated Travel Blanket for Your Car. Are you always cold, even if you have heated seats? There’s a great deal right now on this Car Cozy 12-volt heated travel blanket that plugs into any 12-volt power outlet. 

Free Klondike Bar or Breyer’s Reese’s Ice Cream Treat. I don’t usually love a deal that takes a lot of “work” uploading and downloading…but what would I do for a Klondike Bar? This buy one get one free offer is really buy two get paid back for one. Buy two participating Klondike or Breyers products from ANY store that gives you an itemized receipt. Then Upload the receipt (either by TEXTing CONFESS to 64827 or following this link). Then choose to get paid bay on PayPal or Venmo.

National Noodle Day. Members of the Noodles Rewards can get 20% off their order on Wednesday, October 6 in celebration of National Noodle Day….plus, members can save 1-% off through the whole month!

Dairy Block Oktoberfest. Enjoy the fresh fall air while shopping, drinking & dining at the Oktoberfest Fall Market curated by American Field held in the Dairy Block Alley this September & October. There will be awesome merchants, entertainment as well as deals on food and drinks. The Oktoberfest Fall Market at Dairy Block will be held from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. Friday & Saturday and noon – 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Jack O’Lantern Visit Hudson Gardens. Ever wonder what 5,000 magical magnificent hand-carrved pumpkins look like? (or what it would be like to light all those)? Hudson’s Garden is the place to check out a nautical sea-scape, dinosaurs, dragons or nearly any other theme-carved pumpkin. It is fun for the whole family open October 1-31. Tickets are $14.99/adult; $10,99/child.  

GoodBuy Gear. I love it when a simple purchase on my side also helps my community. When you purchase GoodBuy Gear’s Diapering Collection during Diaper Need Awareness Week (Sept 27-Oct 3); 10% of the proceeds will be donated to the National Diaper Bank Network or you can help directly by shopping WeeCycle’s Amazon Baby Registry

Ski Season. Looking for great deals for the upcoming ski season? Get your season passes sooner rather than later! Most of the passes will continue to go up in price through their final sell date – which is usually right around Thanksgiving but you can usually save up to $50 by getting it earlier in the sales cycle. Plus now is the time to get the Vail Resorts the Epic School Kids Pass. This allows kids K-5th grade four days at EACH of their Colorado Resorts (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte). Plus, a beginner ski lesson and rental equipment on that day! Details can be found here or the Colorado Ski Country’s Passport which allows 4th, 5th and 6th graders to get 4 days of skiing at each of the 21 member ski areas for just $59. Details can be found here. 

Broncos Deals. I cheer for the Broncos like any well-bred Coloradoan does – but it is even better when you can get a deal with it! The day after a win you can get a free donut at King Soopers, the day after any game (regular season) you can get a free 12 oz coffee at Conoco, the day after a game where the Broncos score at least one touchdown you can get a buy one get one free Arby’s Classic Sandwich or a Classic Beef n’ Cheddar.

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All-inclusive new playground opens at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora

All kids deserve to play and LuBird’s Light Playground makes that possible with its grand opening at the Stanley Marketplace. LuBird’s Playground in Aurora is the first inclusive playground in Denver and Aurora!

The playground features state-of-the-art handicapped accessible swings, spinners and slides, a completely smooth surface, no woodchips or sand, and plenty of ramps to make moving around easy. There is a swing and trampoline for wheelchairs and special colors and sounds for sensory feedback.  Stanley Marketplace features over 50 Colorado businesses, including restaurants, shops and activities for all ages.

There are over 74,000 kids with disabilities in Colorado and most playgrounds do not give these children an opportunity to experience the fun and joy of being outdoors with their peers. LuBird’s Light Foundation strives to create a brighter world for exceptional kids by creating play spaces for all. 

Denver’s Best Playgrounds

Chris Sekirnjak regularly highlights Denver’s best playgrounds and lives in Wheat Ridge with his wife and two children. His two guide books Denver Playgrounds & Parks and Run, Stroll, Hike were published in 2014 and 2016 and have both been adapted to iPhone apps.
 
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.