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18 family events in Denver this week

Don’t miss the 17th Annual BBQ for the Birds, Cinderella and Living History Day at 4th Infantry Division Museum. See our event calendar for full listings. 

Colfax Marathon at City Park
May 18 – 19, 10:00 am
The best urban tour around! Run the mile high course that takes you on and off Colfax, through parks, neighborhoods, trails and downtown. Enjoy amazing views of the front range, Confluence Park, Broncos Stadium at Mile High’s concourse, and the Cherry Creek trail. The half runs through the Denver Zoo!

17th Annual BBQ for the Birds at Barr Lake State Park Nature Center 
May 18, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Activities will include Guided bird walks, Live birds and bird banding demonstrations,  Educational games and activities, Exhibits and displays, Native plants presentation, Live airing of Bird Talk Radio and Catered lunch. Take a ride on the Eagle Express. Park shuttles will depart at 10 a.m. to take passengers to the eagle viewing areas.

Warm Cookies of the Revolution’s “Own This City: A Live Instruction Manual”–Emergency! at McNichols Civic Center Building
May 18, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
What other kinds of emergencies require a 9-1-1? Climate crisis? Health care? Poverty?
Are there ways to prevent these emergencies so that we don’t need a new kind of 9-1-1?
Well, bring the kids to have some fun with fire trucks and a ghostbuster car and let’s see what we can come up with!

Discovery Lab: May Flowers at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery 
May 18 & 25, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Discovery Labs are hour-long labs designed for families to explore a topic together. Ever wondered how an ecosystem works? In this lab, your family will get to make your own miniature ecosystem in a jar; a plant terrarium! Discover the amazing powers of plants and how they function. Your creations will be unbe-leaf-able!

Hacking Your Health Live Denver at Courtyard by Marriott Denver Stapleton 
May 18, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
National award-winning entrepreneur and health coach Tiffany Hinton of GF Mom Certified is bringing a new style of health event, geared towards families suffering with food allergies and health issues. Taking place at the Courtyard by Marriot Denver Stapleton Area, Hacking Your Health Live allows consumers to not only try new products or offerings, but build personalized relationships. Hacking Your Health Live creates an immersive environment for health enthusiasts and wellness advocates to learn, experience and connect with not just brands and practitioners but with others just like them.

Hollywood Favorite: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I at Phipps Imax Theater at DMNS 
May 16 – 18 
Without the guidance and protection of their professors, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) begin a mission to destroy the Horcruxes, the sources of Voldemort’s immortality. Though they must rely on one another more than ever, dark forces threaten to tear them apart. Voldemort’s Death Eaters have seized control of the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, and they are searching for Harry — even as he and his friends prepare for the ultimate showdown.

Cinderella at Gordon Gamm Theater, Dairy ARTS Center 
May 17 – 19 
Boulder Ballet presents the magical ballet Cinderella, based on the classic story of the mistreated stepdaughter who is forbidden to attend the Royal Ball. When her world is transformed by her fairy godmother, Cinderella eventually becomes the princess she was meant to be.

Living History Day at 4th Infantry Division Museum
May 18, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Head to the 4th Infantry Division Museum to honor the military past and present while touring through a variety of historical exhibits. The event will also feature historical re-enactors from the four major periods of the Division’s history.

Ongoing General Events

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

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

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

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

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

Once Upon a Playground at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
January 29 – May 26, 2019
In Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s special traveling exhibition, Once Upon a Playground, take an interactive journey from the past to the present… and beyond. Share in the nostalgia for playgrounds form decades past with dozens of historic images while you celebrate playgrounds of Fort Collins present and future. We invite you to touch, to see, to smell, to listen, to climb, to build – and to experience this interactive exhibition that is sure to enliven all of your senses.

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

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

Kids Kabaret Performances at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Feb 20, 2019 – May 24, 2019
Our ‘Kids Kabaret’ shows are designed for children ages 3-12. We take pride in offering live theater for young children; understanding that they will wiggle and move around. Several children are incorporated into the show at each performance.

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

The Kidconscious Project – Helping Kids Build Strong Leadership and Citizenship Skills from the Inside Out

Kids today are extremely busy with school and extracurricular activities, where they hone specific skills for whatever they’re doing. However, schools aren’t necessarily teaching kids important social skills such as empathy, compassion, and community service. Sarah Kozlowski, founder of The Kidconscious Project, believes it’s just as important to have a high EQ as it is to have a high IQ, to succeed in today’s world.

“As parents, we are often laser-focused on building specific skills in our kids to help them succeed in life, but at times EQ is forgotten in the quest for IQ. I believe success in life can be achieved by helping children from an early age become self-aware, know how to be responsible for their own safety, attain practical, life-long skills, become smart digital citizens, be in tune with their mental well-being,” said Kozlowski. “The Kidconscious Project provides experiences to give children and their families a way to develop kids’ sense of self and how they connect to the community and the world at large.”

She added that as kids are increasingly engaged on social media platforms and behind the screen, families have become more insular because the world at times seems pretty scary. This has resulted in a significant number of children who suffer from anxiety and depression. Kids can feel alone, bullied, and parents are stretched to their limits, reducing the time spent with their children away from these outside pressures. Media can provoke and spread hurtful messages that can harm young children and adolescents.

“Parents are often over-protecting their kids at the expense of letting children experience how to be a citizen of the world, and interact with each other effectively,” added Kozlowski.

The Kidconscious Project

After having her first child, Sarah co-founded More Than Milk, a non-profit that created ways for moms to volunteer along with their babies without needing to pay for a sitter. It thrived for many years in Denver, and as her kids grew older, she realized she needed to change the model. Her children were old enough to give input and learn a lot about the process of building critical life skills, and her desire was to build a family experience through life skills learning and social outreach. Last year, Sarah founded The Kidconscious Project, which aims to develop softer skills like EQ, empathy, compassion and citizenship through life skills learning and service outreach opportunities for children ages 6-12 and their families.

“Service is a big piece of what I strive to offer, but it’s not enough on its own,” said Kozlowski. “I wanted to open a bigger conversation that is deeper and more engaged, and gives kids the inner tools they will need to make service and outreach a more meaningful part of their adult lives.” 

How It Works

Sarah decided that diving deep into a particular topic of interest over a three-month period would help achieve her goals. This spring, The Kidconscious Project offered events and projects focused on nutrition and building healthy bodies.

This summer, The Kidconscious Project is focused on activities that foster mental wellness. With so many troubling cases of depression in children, parents can equip themselves to see what really needs attention in building consciousness and a positive mindset. Meanwhile, kids can participate in a range of mental wellness-centric events and camps.

“I’m excited about the conversations that we’re sparking with families and kids participating in our programming.  Kids are learning core skills that have actual application in their lives, now and ongoing, and they are getting a bigger picture of our local community and world in the process,” said Sarah. “Ultimately, I hope to create a more conscious-minded community of families that will have impact in each of their spheres of influence.”

Upcoming Programs

To learn more about program offerings at The Kidconscious Project, visit www.kidconsciousproject.com where you’ll find the full calendar of summer opportunities including:

Sparking a Centered Consciousness in Kids, June 22 3:30-5pm

Friendships and Leadership, 3 classes for incoming 2nd-4th graders, June 20, July 18, August 15 from 3:30-5pm

Arts and Minds Summer Camp, Wednesdays from 1:30-3:30pm, July 17, 24, 31, August 7

Contest: Win tickets to Andrea Bocelli at the Pepsi Center!

As one of the most recognizable voices in the industry, Andrea Bocelli has been thrilling audiences for over 20 years, counting nearly 90 million records sold worldwide. Following a record-breaking year with the release of his number one album, “Si,” Andrea Bocelli announced four special U.S. concert dates.

The June 2019 tour will bring Bocelli back to the Sacramento and Denver areas for the first time in over five years, and marks the first time Andrea has played back-to-back performances on the west coast. His annual summer run will close at Pepsi Center in Denver on June 21st.

Each performance will feature a unique repertoire from Bocelli’s landmark release “Si,” his first ever chart-topping album on the Billboard 200 chart.  The world-renowned tenor will also treat audiences to his beloved traditional selection of arias, love songs and crossover hits. The Colorado Symphony will be joining Andrea at his Denver date and longtime conductor, Eugene Kohn, will accompany Andrea for each stop on the tour.

Tickets to see Andrea Bocelli at Pepsi Center range from $82-$368 and can be purchased at http://bit.ly/19Bocelli.

CONTEST

Mile High Mamas is giving away a family four-pack of tickets to see Andrea Bocelli. You may enter as many as five times below. 

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Denver Children’s Museum (finally) announces Adventure Forest opening date!

The wait is (almost) over! The Denver Children’s Museum at Marsico Campus finally announced the grand opening of their highly-anticipated Adventure Forest on June 3rd. 

Adventure Forest is a 500-foot-long outdoor aerial course with a fully immersive art installation where your kids will love to climb, scramble, soar and swing through this magical journey… Get ready to explore a world within a world!

The museum has been tight-lipped about previews but here is a rendering of what you’ll find:

Adventure Forest Rules & Recommendations     
    • Climbers must be 5 years old or 44”, and be able to climb independently.
    • Children must be accompanied by an adult inside the Adventure Forest “zone.”
    • Adults are responsible for their children at all times.
    • Children may not be worn or carried. 
    • Helmets must be worn at all times.
    • Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are highly recommended. 
    • Comfortable clothing and sunscreen recommended. 
    • Leave loose items, bags and backpacks behind.

Pssst, looking for an excuse to become a member? You’ll be privy to sneak peek events, happening May 18 – 28.

25 family fun events for Mother’s Day weekend

It’s Mother’s Day weekend in Denver with the Colorado Chocolate Festival, a Mother’s Day Garden Bazaar, Moms & Mimosas at Outlets at Castle Rock and more. See our event calendar for full listings. 

Free Day at Denver Firefighters Museum
May 9, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Free admission to Denver Firefighters Museum!

Mother’s Day Garden Bazaar at The Westwood Food Cooperative 
May 10 – 12 
Mother’s Day is often considered the official kick off for the planting season here in Colorado, and Re:Vision is putting a new twist on that tradition. The Mother’s Day Garden Bazaar will be an opportunity to not only purchase plants and get ready for the season, but also a great way for families to spend quality time together.

Colorado Chocolate Festival at Denver Mart Drive In 
May 10 – May 11 
Sample and buy the finest chocolates in Colorado. Tastings * samples * speakers * cooking demos * wine-tastings * fun contests * food & drink * Mother’s Day gifts * VIPs * Chocolatier Championships * gifts * games * kids’ activities * fun for all!

Queridas Madres Shopping Event at Hijos del Sol 
May 10  – 11 
Hijos del Sol retail store offers a unique assortment of art-infused products including jewelry, home goods, books, clothing, and other delightfully creative gifts. Each piece is masterfully crafted and embedded with history passed down for generations. Every mark, chisel, thread, and stamp ignites an appreciation from their hands to yours. Help us keep culture thriving by supporting artisan communities throughout Latin America.

Longmont Symphony Pops Concert: The LSO IN Space at Vance Brand Civic Auditorium 
May 11, 7:30 – 9:30 am
Join us for a celebration of 60+ years of spaceflight in our auditorium named after local astronaut Vance Brand. This family-friendly program features film music from Star Wars, Star Trek, E.T., Apollo 13, Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra (from 2001: A Space Odyssey), plus selections from Holst’s The Planets, Voyage (a work commemorating the 60th anniversary of NASA), and more!

22nd Annual Airlife Memorial 5K/10K Run at Hudson Gardens & Events Center 
May 11, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
This family-friendly day includes both a USATF certified qualifying 5K and 10K run/walk and a free kids fun run. After the run/walk, enjoy a one-of-a-kind display of emergency response vehicles, including an AirLife helicopter. Other activities include a volleyball tournament, expo and kids fun and games with a bouncy house, trampoline and giant slide.

Free Day at Longmont Museum 
May 11, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Horseshoe Market at Broncos Stadium Parking Lot G, west side of the stadium
May 11 – 12 
Horseshoe Market, Denver’s Best Flea Market, is moving to Broncos Stadium for their Spring Market on Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12th! This market will be bigger and better than ever. Over 200 vendors–makers, artists, more vintage and antiques than ever before, food trucks, and FREE creative workshops geared towards home inspiration and home decor.

Moms & Mimosas at Outlets at Castle Rock
May 11, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Make this Mother’s Day memorable when you visit Outlets at Castle Rock on Saturday, May 11th! The center is hosting a special shopping day, including a heavily discounted “paint & sip” session by Painting with a Twist. Your $15 per person ticket includes the canvas, painting materials and instruction from Painting with a Twist, a complimentary mimosa for those over 21 (additional beverages available for purchase to benefit charity), goodie bags, snacks, a complimentary massage, special coupons, giveaways and more!

Museum Takeover: Fabulous Flowers at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery 
May 11, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

With blossoms in the air and trees blooming everywhere, FCMoD is celebrating flowers! Come learn about spring blooms, and experience the wonders of the plant life cycle. With fun, interactive stations all throughout the museum, you can explore the world of flowers first-hand and learn how they are important for our planet!

Museum Takeover: The Ocean @ Fort Collins Museum of Discovery 
May 11, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Ships ahoy! In celebration of National Ocean Month, sail on over to FCMoD! With fun, interactive stations throughout the museum, you can explore the ocean and discover the many creatures that call it home. Learn about why the ocean is so important (even here in landlocked Colorado!), and what you can do to help keep it healthy. 

Sensory-friendly Performance at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex 
May 11, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Your Colorado Symphony now presents a relaxed, sensory-friendly performance to ensure everyone has access to live, affordable entertainment. Join musicians of the Colorado Symphony for a fun interactive relaxed concert. Hear string instruments playing music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Aaron Copland, John Williams, Johann Pachelbel, and more. Move and dance to the music and get a chance to try conducting. Plus, after the concert, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the musicians and try playing some instruments yourself. 

Low-sensory Morning at Downtown Aquarium 
May 12, 8:30 am – 9:45 am
For our guests that prefer a calmer and more sensory-friendly environment join us for a special morning. We will open early at 8:30 am, turn up the lights and turn down the ambient sounds in the exhibits. Stay as long as you would like.

2019 Mother’s Day Brunch Experience at Ritz-Carlton, Denver, Hotel Plaza Level 
May 12, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Join us in downtown Denver on our re-imagined Plaza Level for our annual Mother’s Day Brunch experience! This fabulous event will showcase an elaborate brunch buffet presentation, mimosa bar and Ritz Kids buffet. Surprises are in store for both children and adults. Families will receive a family portrait to take home, while children can craft a Mother’s Day card and choose a special keepsake for mom. Face painting and a balloon artist will also be available for kids of all ages to enjoy.

Mother’s Day Family Show at Comedy Works South at The Landmark 
May 12, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Celebrate Mother’s Day with national touring headliner Pat McGann performing an ALL AGES family show. Pat McGann is a stand-up comedian and television host. Pat created and hosted the Emmy nominated television show The Chicago Stand Up Project. Pat has also been heard on the nationally syndicated The Bob & Tom Show, as well as seen on AXS-TV’s Gotham Comedy Live. Looking to dine before the show? Visit LucyRestaurant.com

Ongoing General Events

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

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

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

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

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

Once Upon a Playground at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
January 29 – May 26, 2019
In Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s special traveling exhibition, Once Upon a Playground, take an interactive journey from the past to the present… and beyond. Share in the nostalgia for playgrounds form decades past with dozens of historic images while you celebrate playgrounds of Fort Collins present and future. We invite you to touch, to see, to smell, to listen, to climb, to build – and to experience this interactive exhibition that is sure to enliven all of your senses.

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

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

Kids Kabaret Performances at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Feb 20, 2019 – May 24, 2019
Our ‘Kids Kabaret’ shows are designed for children ages 3-12. We take pride in offering live theater for young children; understanding that they will wiggle and move around. Several children are incorporated into the show at each performance.

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

Congenital Heart Disease: A Denver mom shares her son’s story

Each time someone laces up their shoes or forms a team to participate in the Denver Heart & Stroke Walk, they are instrumental in making innovative breakthroughs. Every donation helps create new technologies like groundbreaking pediatric heart and stroke research that saves babies’ lives or the kind of research that helped create artificial heart valve, cholesterol drugs, stents, and the mechanical heart pump which helps extend the life of patients. Participants of this year’s American Heart Association’s Denver Heart & Stroke Walk on June 1 at Broncos Stadium will see their dollars at work when they meet cardiovascular disease survivors and their families…families like Lisa and Kaden.

====

I was like any other mom.  I was 17 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child and my pregnancy was pretty typical for me with lots of morning sickness.  We were at our second trimester ultrasound and things seemed to be just fine, until the doctor kept looking at one particular spot.  After several minutes, she told us she needed to run some of the data by another doctor.  Days later, she called us with the news no parent wants to hear: there was something wrong with our unborn baby’s heart.

Kaden had a genetic disorder called DiGeorge Syndrome which had caused a rare congenital heart defect called truncus arteriosus. In plain terms, in means that his pulmonary artery and his aorta never split during development, leaving a “trunk.” This meant that his body was not being supplied with the necessary oxygen it needed. Further tests showed his aortic valve was severely malformed and regurgitating blood into his left ventricle. This was putting a tremendous amount of stress on his heart and he was already in late-stage heart failure. When we asked what the next steps were, the medical team said they were unsure. Kaden would definitely need multiple open heart surgeries to repair the damage and make his heart function as it should, but would he survive until then? Working on a heart the size of a walnut is extremely risky and the severity of his defect was extreme. Plus, I was already at risk for preterm labor and if he was born too small, surgery might not be possible until he got bigger. By then, it may be too late. The doctors told us to prepare to lose him.

Tuesday afternoon, November 5, 2013, Kaden was born. He was 6 weeks premature, but at 5.6 pounds, was on the bigger side, which gave us hope. We were fortunate enough to be one of the first to give birth at Children’s Hospital that day and once he arrived, he was immediately taken to the CICU. The hours that followed were full of testing and they did affirm that his initial diagnosis was correct. Surgery was scheduled for the following Monday. The surgeon walked us through the procedure with us again and reiterated the risks—stressing how he was unsure of the outcome. Kaden was just too far in heart failure and would most likely be too weak to survive the surgery. However, he didn’t have a shot without it, so our decision was made for us.

The days leading up to his surgery were excruciating. Kaden had to be intubated a couple days after he was born, and I could no longer hold him. All I could do is sit by his tiny bed, hold his hand and stroke his hair as I sang to him. I tried to memorize every little detail about him—from his gray eyes, to the way he sucked on his intubation tube like a pacifier. I wanted to know him if I was going to lose him.

November 11th, we said goodbye to Kaden as they wheeled him down to the OR. Our entire family was in the room with us. As we said goodbye, the nurse sat him up. He reached out his little hand and looked directly into my eyes. Heart-wrenching is not a strong enough term to describe the feeling. The surgery took 9 hours; a group of our family and friends sat in a circle in the waiting room, praying and crying. For me, I just wanted the opportunity to have him have a story. I wanted his life to mean something. Even if it was only for a few short days.

The surgeon came in afterwards and said he was able to do most of the repair. The blood had been rerouted so that oxygen was flowing the correct way and the hole in the center of his heart was repaired. However, he was unable to repair the valve. Because he was so small, there were no valve replacements small enough to fit into his tiny heart and his heart was still struggling. Only time would tell. He needed to get bigger in order to receive a valve replacement that would help him survive.

Kaden showed us he lived up to the meaning of his name: young warrior. He fought with everything he had. He survived a dangerous sepsis infection and a life-threatening botched hernia repair. We were able to bring him home days before Christmas with the understanding that he was not out of the woods yet. Our job was to keep him healthy and get him to GROW!

The next 6 months were the most stressful and dark of my life. I was fighting with oxygen tanks, feeding tubes, pumps, doctors visits, therapists, medications, hospital stays, etc. Not to mention my other two children were 7 and 3 at the time and needed their mother, too. The guilt, the pressure was sometimes too much to bear. I was recording every single ounce of food I put into Kaden’s body. He wasn’t a baby and I wasn’t a mom—he was my patient and I was a nurse. Happy moments were few and far between. It caused tension in my marriage. We struggled to hold together the pieces of our family we had left. Meanwhile, Kaden was barely hanging on. He was constantly sweating. Everything he did took the effort of a marathon runner. He wasn’t able to breastfeed, so I was pumping round the clock to ensure he got the best nutrition possible. His breathing was so fast. His skin was grayish and spotty. Finally, at 6 months, his body quit and he went into massive heart failure. The doctors told us he needed his heart valve replacement. However, his heart still wasn’t quite big enough. We were devastated.

As they pumped his little body with medications to help him hang on, his surgeon read about a procedure where the aorta is carved out in order to get a valve to fit. It was a VERY high-risk surgery: there would be high amounts of blood loss and it would require him to be on bypass for much longer, but it was his only shot. We told him to go for it.

May 8th, 2014, Kaden went through a 13 hour-long open-heart surgery. It was grueling—one of the hardest our heart surgeon has ever done in his multiple years. When it was over, his surgeon came in. For the first time, we saw him smile. He told us, “I think we got a perfect fit!” Kaden had a mechanical valve that would keep his heart going, hopefully, for 10 years. After a month in the hospital for recovery, we came home with new hope.

Over the next few months, we saw our little boy change. He had more energy. His skin was a glowing peachy pink. He began to show his little personality. Slowly, we got rid of the oxygen tanks and the list of medications slimed down. At his first birthday, he took a bite of his birthday cake. By Thanksgiving, he ate some of everything off the table. We stopped using the feeding tube a few months later.

Today, he is 5 years old. He still has developmental delays and sees OT, PT, and speech on a weekly basis. However, he looks like any of his preschool classmates. He is a clown and will go to any length to make you smile. He loves snuggles and playtime. He is a good eater (sometimes too good!) He swims and dances and loves Mickey Mouse more than anything. He is healthy and thriving. He is proud of the multiple scars on his chest that tell his story of survival. When you ask him about it, he’ll tell you, “I had a sick heart.” But it is just one thing of many that has made him the strong little boy you see.

Go to  www.denverheartwalk.org to learn more about the Denver Heart  & Stroke Walk on June 1. 

Outdoor Pop-up ‘The Bed Cinema’ is coming to Denver

When was the last time you went to Denver’s drive-in theaters, The Denver Mart Drive-In and The 88 Drive-In Theatre?  The drive-in is a fun novelty for families but sitting in your car can get cramped. 

We all love movies in bed. Now here’s another reason to stay in bed with the world’s most comfortable outdoor cinema entitled The Bed Cinema which is coming to cities across the U.S. this summer. Starting in August 2019, the outdoor cinema will screen a number of blockbusters from the comfort of 150 double beds with pillows, blankets and an LED-lit bedside table at your side to hold your goodies while you watch a film. 

The experience is traveling across the U.S., hitting cities such as Los Angeles, Venice Beach and of course – Denver. Prices of tickets and locations are yet to be announced. You can sign up for and on the list for pre-release tickets here.

33 family-friendly events in Denver this week

We have Earth Day! We have Easter egg hunts! We have a Bumblebee Jamboree and so much more. See our calendar for full listings. 

Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field
Apr 18 – 21 
Enjoy exciting major league baseball and come out to this series between the Colorado Rockies and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Free Day at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
Apr 19, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
The goal of Museum Free Days is to provide access to the FAC’s general admission offerings to the widest possible audiences in the Pikes Peak region. Museum Free Days, as a part of the FAC’s other free and reduced-fee programs (such as scholarship programs at Bemis, and special military discounts through the Blue Star Theatres and Blue Star Museums programs), make an important impact in our community.

Evergreen Easter Egg Hunt at Buchanan Park Recreation Center 
Apr 19, 5:30 pm – 6:15 pm
Come and enjoy this family event.Wear swim suit and bring goggles if needed, also bring a basket/plastic bag to collect eggs found in the pool. Staff will put eggs in pool before start of each age group.

Wild Dreams Overnight at Downtown Aquarium
Apr 19, 6:00 – 11:45 pm
Bring your sleeping bag and snooze amongst the sharks and rays! Have an exciting night at the Downtown Aquarium to explore the exhibits, learn about the animals and their habitats, make a craft, play games and much more. T-shirts & breakfast included.

10 Year Celebration at Woodward Copper 
Apr 19 – 20 
A celebration of 10 years of Woodward Copper with live music, spray paint artist exhibits, nostalgia displays, time capsule ceremony and fun camp activities at the Barn.

Easter Bunny Breakfast at Outlets at Castle Rock 
Apr 20, 8:30 – 10:00 am

Join us on Saturday, April 20th in the food court for a special Flippin’ Flapjacks breakfast with the Easter Bunny. Families can enjoy fun activities, like face painting, and kids will receive a special pair of Easter Bunny ears, too. Pictures are complimentary, just remember to bring your own camera!

Free Entrance Day at National Parks 
Apr 20, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Saturday, April 20 – Free Entrance Day in the National Parks.

Free Family Spring Stewardship Day at Johnson Habitat Park 
Apr 20, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Bring your family to Johnson Habitat Park and take part in a park project. Each Family Stewardship Day starts with an hour-long volunteer project, followed by games and crafts with our South Platte River Environmental Education (SPREE) staff! SPREE= South Platte River Environmental Education.

Earth Day Celebration at Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus 
Apr 20, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Celebrate Earth Day with Healthy Planet Hero Stations all about our big, beautiful planet. Activities included with Museum admission, members are free!

Easter Candy Hunt at Mile High Flea Market 
Apr 20, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Join us for the 2019 Easter Candy Hunt at Mile High Flea Market! Come see the Easter bunny, hunt for candy, enter the adult and kids prize raffles, and enjoy the live radio remote! We have quite the Easter party planned, so bring out the family and celebrate with us on SATURDAY, April 20th! Make sure you stop by the check-in table before 10 am to get your raffle ticket!

Easter Candy Hunt, Mile High Flea Market
Apr 20, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Join us for the 2019 Easter Candy Hunt at Mile High Flea Market! Come see the Easter bunny, hunt for candy, enter the adult and kids prize raffles, and enjoy the live radio remote! We have quite the Easter party planned, so bring out the family and celebrate with us on SATURDAY, April 20th! Make sure you stop by the check-in table before 10 am to get your raffle ticket!

Opening Weekend at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park 
Apr 20 – 21 
Today. We Play. The first artist-driven dark ride the world has ever seen! Meow Wolf’s Kaleidoscape – Take the Ride 2019.

Party for our Planet at Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus 
Apr 20, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Celebrate our big, beautiful planet with Earth-themed StoryTimes, meet & greets with creatures from Nature’s Educators, music with energiLAB (powered by you!), tastings in The Teaching Kitchen, special crafts and more.

Bumblebee Jamboree at Denver Botanic Gardens 
Apr 20, 10:30 – 11:30 am
This unique musical experience is perfect for children ages 0-12 and their parents. Children are invited to dress as a favorite pollinator such as a bee, butterfly or bird and dance and sing along with the musical guests. Each family-friendly indoor concert features original and traditional songs by a different musical performer.

Easter Bunny Visits at Orchard Town Center 
Apr 20, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
The Easter Bunny will be at The Orchard for two days of free visits and photos. Visitors can bring a camera or phone and take their own photos with the bunny in a spring setting on The Orchard entertainment stage. Every child will receive bunny ears and an activity book and families will receive a bag full of goodies, coupons and The Orchard Shopping & Dining Discount Book.

University of Denver Men’s Lacrosse at University of Denver/Ritchie Center-Magness Arena 
Apr 20, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
DU vs. PROVIDENCE.

The World’s Largest Easter Egg Hunt at Copper Mountain Resort 
Apr 21, 9:00 – 10:00 am
Hop on over to Copper for 65,000 eggs spread over 2,500 acres! There will be different hunts for all ages – from a 3 and under hunt in Center Village, to an adults on-mountain hunt. and giveaways.

Easter Brunch at Beau’s Kitchen & Tavern
Apr 21, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Join us for Easter Brunch on April 21, 2019. We offer a robust menu, sure to delight every palate.

ELWAY’S Downtown Easter Brunch Buffet at ELWAY’S Downtown 
Apr 21, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Gather family and loved ones and join us at ELWAY’S Downtown for our annual Easter Brunch Buffet! This fabulous presentation is complete with any array breads and cereals, fresh salads and fruit, cheese and charcuterie, chilled seafood, lamb, chicken, carving stations of prime rib and ham, an egg station with omelets prepared to order, and a tantalizing dessert bar with eight sweet options to enjoy.

Wild Earth Day at The Wild Animal Sanctuary 
Apr 22, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Join us for an event that is designed to not only help “Mother Earth”, but also the animals and humans that inhabit this wonderful planet! A general celebration with free entry for each person that brings a live potted tree to plant – includes great food and amazing animals that will add lots of fun to the mix, so plan to celebrate your “Wild Earth Day” with us and more than 500 of the wildest friends you could ever have.

Earth Day Denver at Webb Building Atrium
Apr 22, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Find out how you can make a difference! Meet with Denver departments that have resources to help you green you business and neighborhoods, and meet teams that are taking action in Denver. FREE and Open to the Public.

Stand Against Racism Week at Boulder, Colorado 
Apr 22 – 29
During Stand Against Racism Week, the YWCA will unite our community in a bold demonstration that delivers a clear message: we are on a mission to eliminate racism. Events are planned in nearly every state across the country including engagement in public policy and advocacy, community education, and public proclamations

Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals at Coors Field 
Apr 22– 24 
Enjoy exciting major league baseball and come out to this series between the Colorado Rockies and the Washington Nationals.

Petite Musique: The Three Bears at Hampton Hall
Apr 23, 10:00 am – 11:30 am
This specially designed program introduces the instruments of the orchestra to very young children in venues throughout the metro area. our 16-piece orchestra and narrator perform an interactive program which incorporates storytelling, singing, and movement with music. This year’s program, The Three Bears will delight young children, teachers, and parents.

Pandas Home at Lone Tree Arts Center 
Apr 23 – 25, 10:00 pm
Venture into the culture and history of distant China by following footprints left by a panda. Through the use of dance, sound, interactive projected images, and play, the performers and children alike will encounter bamboo forests, monsters, fireworks, and kites as they explore the five elements of Wu Xing—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.

Ongoing General Events

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

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

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

Once Upon a Playground at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
January 29 – May 26, 2019
In Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s special traveling exhibition, Once Upon a Playground, take an interactive journey from the past to the present… and beyond. Share in the nostalgia for playgrounds form decades past with dozens of historic images while you celebrate playgrounds of Fort Collins present and future. We invite you to touch, to see, to smell, to listen, to climb, to build – and to experience this interactive exhibition that is sure to enliven all of your senses.

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

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

Kids Kabaret Performances at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Feb 20, 2019 – May 24, 2019
Our ‘Kids Kabaret’ shows are designed for children ages 3-12. We take pride in offering live theater for young children; understanding that they will wiggle and move around. Several children are incorporated into the show at each performance.

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

“Sesame Street” to mark 50 years with Denver taping and free family festival

The coolest gang around is coming to Denver! Join Elmo, Cookie Monster and all their friends as they visit Denver this summer to celebrate 50th season of “Sesame Street.” 

Oh, and your dreams of sharing the stage with the biggest, baddest (Big) Bird around may come true: they’re bringing a camera crew.

To mark five decades since the premiere of the children’s-educational staple that got its start in public television (and now for HBO), “Sesame Street” will hold a free festival on July 20 at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton. Producers will also record a new segment in Denver for the upcoming season, according to a press statement from Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization that produces the show.

That segment will appear on the 50th season of “Sesame Street,” which premieres in November on HBO, and will feature some of Denver’s favorite landmarks and organizations that showcase what locals love about their community. They will also celebrate with live performances and kid-friendly activities at the free festival.

The event is in the preliminary planing stages and additional details about this FREE family family will arrive in the spring. But you may RSVP now for the event at bit.ly/2IyeepH. Note: Attendees will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, and there’s no need to bring tickets to the event.

Photo: Sesame Street Workshop

Stand Against Racism Week Teaches Important Life Lessons for Kids

YWCA Boulder County – the only YWCA on the Front Range – has announced Stand Against Racism Week (April 22-29, 2019). 

During Stand Against Racism Week, the YWCA will unite our community in a bold demonstration that delivers a clear message: we are on a mission to eliminate racism. 

Events are planned in nearly every state across the country including engagement in public policy and advocacy, community education, and public proclamations. Here in Boulder County the YWCA will holding the following events:

  • Tuesday, April 23: free film screening of the documentary, 13th, by Director Ava DuVernay, who also directed Selma, followed by a community discussion facilitated by Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty and Deputy Director of Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Juston L. Cooper, M.P.A. The screening and discussion will be from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the Nomad Theater located at 1410 Quince Avenue in Boulder. Please RSVP by calling the YWCA at: (303) 443-0419.
  • Tuesday, April 23: Reading to End Racism for students at Alicia Sanchez International School in Lafayette, Colorado.
  • Thursday, April 25: YWCA Boulder County Community Open House from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the YWCA’s offices located at 2222 14th Street in Boulder. Please join us to learn about the YWCA’s mission to eliminate racism, share perspectives and goals for community members and agencies, and help develop strong next steps in creating a more welcoming and equitable community. Those interested in being part of the discussion should contact Debbie Pope at dpope@ywcaboulder.org.
  • Saturday, April 27: Fourth Annual THRIVE Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Front Range Community College Boulder County Campus located at 2190 Miller Drive in Longmont, Colorado. The THRIVE bilingual conference is aimed at helping Boulder County residents needing to build assets such as homes, businesses, post-secondary education, health insurance, and social justice. Participants will learn about resources that are available to them and will leave the conference with clear next steps. This conference is free of charge and lunch is provided. Children activities are included to make it easier for working parents to attend. Please RSVP to 2019ThriveConf.Eventbrite.com
  • Monday, April 29: Reading to End Racism for students at Birch Elementary School in Broomfield, Colorado.

Participants in YWCA’s Stand Against Racism range from schoolchildren to elected officials, from owners of small businesses to church leaders, and many others. For more details, to register your own event or look up a participating site, visit www.StandAgainstRacism.org. For more information on local events, please contact the YWCA Boulder County at (303) 443-0419.