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Postcards to Denver from a 10-Year-Old and His Mom

From western New York:

“The farm has ten chickens and two bunny rabbits. My chicken’s name is Geraldine. The rabbits are Sam and Matilda. I miss our dog. She would have so much fun here, but we were worried she would eat the chickens.”

“I forgot what it feels like to stay in bed long enough to listen to the birds, watch the sun move across the room and let my muscles stretch awake one at a time.”

From Snowmass, Colorado:

“Mom and Dad made us go on a hike. Why does anybody like hiking? You go up and up and up, and they keep saying it’s beautiful, which… who cares?! Then mom counts her mosquito bites. It would be more fun if we could bring the dog.”

From Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado:

Labor Day 2013: 10 ways to celebrate summer’s end in Colorado

Labor Day carries a lot of weight as the unofficial end of summer, considering the crush of festivals, picnics, concerts and parties that get piled onto the three-day weekend.

But figuring out which events you should attend doesn’t have to feel like work. Here’s our quick-hit guide to doing Labor Day 10 ways with a minimum of fatigue.

1. Get high at Mount Evans

The window of weather that allows motorists to drive 60 miles west to the top of Mount Evans’ 14,264-foot summit is quickly closing, so if you still haven’t experienced the highest paved road in North America, this weekend is your last chance (until next year). On the way, stop at Echo Lake or Summit Lake to hike, fish or marvel at the stunning mountain and alpine tundra ecosystems. $10 per vehicle. 303-567-3000 or fs.usda.gov.

2. Face the music in Aspen/Snowmass

Denver Deal: Labor Day is Ski Sale Season!!

If you and your family are planning to ski this winter – now is the time to be thinking about deals and where you will want to ski.

Jr. Trade in Program

Colorado Ski & Golf (Ski & Sport) locations offer a  uniquely affordable ski rental program was created to insure that children’s equipment is as modestly priced as possible. After the first season’s rental, a complete package for used equipment that includes skis, boots and poles is only $49.99 per year. A mandatory binding check adds $15. Equipment can be exchanged as often as needed during the season to make sure the size and fit remains comfortable—free. The first year kids are registered in Junior Trade In, the cost is $99.99 for used equipment and then each year, a refit into a different set of used equipment is 50 percent off–$49.99. The deal remains in effect for as long as the child continues to rent through the Colorado Ski & Golf program.

School of Shred/5th Grade Passport

There are two different programs that allow the state’s 5th graders to ski/snowboard for FREE! School of Shred is the Vail Resorts program (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone & Arapahoe Basin) that is free for BOTH 5th and 6th graders. You have to show proof of your child being in that grade at any Colorado Ski & Golf Location (and occasionally at special events) then they are allowed to ski 4 times at each resort for free.

5th Grade Passport is the program by Colorado Ski Country which allows 5th Graders (and 6th graders for a nominal $99 annual fee) to ski at areas like Aspen, Steamboat, Crested Butte, Eldora, Winter Park, Copper & Loveland. Applications are mail in process available starting in September.

*There does not seem to be any restrictions about using BOTH programs.

Ski Rex

Skiers and snowboarders will want to hit the line early on Saturday of Labor Day weekend for the big tent sale at the Aurora Colorado Ski & Golf location. Deals on skis, snowboards, clothes, helmets, and accessories will be 30-75% off! Merchandise is overstocked and specially purchased stuff that are last season’s styles and models. New stuff will be at pre-season sale prices.

Christy Sports Powder Daze

Save up to 70% off  apparel and equipment plus get some amazing deals from ski resorts August 23 through Labor Day Weekend at Christy Sports near Park Meadows.

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin’s ski sale specials include fully transferable 4-Packs for $139. In addition, at Christy Sports’ Park Meadows location, the Elevation 4-Pass plus one half-off lift ticket for a friend will be on sale for $119.

Copper Mountain

Copper’s legendary Four Pack ($149) guarantees four days of skiing and riding at Copper Mountain, with no blackout dates during the 2013/2014 season. Plus, no blackout dates.  Adults (18-69): $369;  Teens (13-17): $299; Children (6-12): $209; Seniors (65+): $249; Ages five & under FREE.

Loveland

Skiers and snowboarders visiting Loveland’s booth at the first shows of the season (Ski Rex, Sniagrab, Powder Daze) can take advantage of special offers, including a $10 savings on 4-Pak purchases, great deals on new gear, and special offers only available through Labor Day Weekend. Loveland 4-Paks are unique as they are actual lift tickets that can be used by anyone on any day of the 2013-2014 season. With no restrictions and no blackouts, 4-Paks are only available through November 24, 2013. Also, at the sales, skiers and riders can play Loveland Lotto for their chance to win a Season Pass, lift tickets, lesson packages, $10 Beau Jo’s gift cards, limited edition Loveland head/neck scarfs and more.

Vail Resorts

Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass encompasses 5 mountains in Colorado including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin (the actually have 18 ski areas some in Utah, Lake Tahoe, Michigan and internationally as well). They have several different pass products depending on which mountains you want access to (and how much access ie. Unrestricted/Unlimited). Vail Resorts sells their passes at Colorado Ski & Golf (Ski & Sport) locations locally and REI near Park Meadows (on weekends). The most popular pass is the Epic Local currently at $529 for adults; $409 for teens and $269 for kids.

Winter Park

The 2013/14 Winter Park/Mary Jane season passes feature unrestricted access to Winter Park’s cruisers and groomers as well as the challenging bump and tree skiing at Mary Jane. Current prices for Winter Park season passes are guaranteed through September 3. Adults (ages 18 – 69): $369; Teens (ages 13-17): $299; Children (ages 6-12): $219; Ages five & under: $30

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

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If you’re a twit follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Curating for the curious: Big fun at Colorado’s small museums

Colorado may boast 300-plus days of sunshine a year — even TV weathercasters know that — but there are also fine reasons to stay indoors, especially when it comes to the state’s myriad museums.

We’re not talking about the big cultural draws such as the Denver Museum of Nature & Science or the Denver Art Museum. Both are fine institutions, but really, do either of them offer a gander at a Cold War-era B-1 Lancer bomber or the goosebump-inducing noose used on the last prisoner hanged in Colorado?

Nope.

This is where a variety of small museums take center stage.

Ranging from the unique to the downright offbeat, here’s a roundup of off-the-beaten-path slices of history that are worth a visit.

Summer Adventures in the Boulder Area

Mountainous, Organic, Natural, Hip, Green, Fresh Air, Outdoorsy, how would you describe your neighbors to the North? As a mom of three, let me take you through some of the family friendly activities that you must know about. Some things that are just so fabulous you will have to get in your car and find yourself driving this way. Of course, if you prefer to bike, that would be fine too.

What do ponies, humongous hay bales, a crazy zip line, sand in crevasses of your body that you didn’t know you had and one extremely large turkey have in common?Sunflower Farms, of course. Located just south of Longmont, no summer is complete without a trip to this old fashioned farm. There truly is something for everyone to enjoy. My animal lover can’t get enough of feeding the goats. She’s been handing over fistfuls of corn since she learned to walk. My fearless boy swings from the zip line until his hands turn red from holding on so tightly. The littlest one experiments with sand and swings from the biggest baby swing ever. The kids can also enjoy the pond, huge tree house, hay bale maze and more. Check their website because their hours change with the season, but it is well worth adding to your summer agenda.

Become One with Nature – There are so many options for hiking, biking and hanging out in nature, how can you decide? You can’t really. With it being summer, I can’t help but mention

Camping With Toddlers -The Ultimate Camping Experience

Camping. Where the daily grind is no more and the stresses of life are obsolete. Where the days linger on and the night waits for dusk to silently drift away.

The air is fresh where you camp. The world is still and the surrounding silence is soothing.

You stand outside and take in as much of the scenery as you can. You breathe deep breaths of fresh air, close your eyes and smile.

This is life.

Then someone cries.

These Colorado swimming pools make summer vacation a cool destination

“Which way to the pool?”

For families with children, certainly for mine, it’s the most pressing question at check-in.

Pools can make or break your summer vacation. Despite all the adventuresome, enlightening and awe-inspiring events on your schedule, a water feature can turn out to be the highlight of a trip. Sometimes the right pool can even be your destination.

The draw of sparkling-blue, chlorinated water is why we haven’t taken our 6- and 8-year-old girls out of the country yet. (Well, that and we don’t have a few extra grand lying around.)

If we took them on a European tour now, I imagine they’d be asking, “Why doesn’t the 18th-century castle we’re staying in have a pool?”

Family-friendly Colorado: Top places to take the kids around the state

When I moved to the Colorado Rockies from New York City 19 years ago, I couldn’t get enough of the new-to-me outdoor lifestyle here. I bought a bunch of secondhand Patagonia clothing, rode my first mountain bike and visited my first national park.

Six years later, when I became a mom, I had no intention of ending outdoor explorations of my adopted state. Sure enough, my daughter camped for the first time when she was 2 months old, in a tent in the woods near Leadville. My sturdy son climbed the log ladders to reach Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park when he was just a toddler.

I want my kids to grow up appreciating all of the treasures in their backyard — from our high-mountain peaks to our powerful whitewater rivers to our cowboy heritage. Not one to eschew man-made thrills, I love that they like riding the roller coasters at our state’s amusement parks even more than I do.

Here are just a few family-friendly Colorado experiences I’ve enjoyed with my children — now 11 and 13 — over the years. With less than two months of summer left before the school year begins, I’m hoping that this list will inspire you to get out and explore with your kiddos somewhere in our great state in the coming weeks.

Come Hail or High Water: Our Family’s Shortest (and worst) Camping Trip

I have tried to instill a love of nature in my kids–just last week we went hiking four times, my daughter recently returned from YMCA of the Rockies’ traditional overnight Camp Chief Ouray and at the end of July they’re both enrolled in Avid4Adventure’s Survival Skills Camp. We are an outdoor-loving family!

But my favorite childhood memories are of camping and that is one area in which we’ve fallen short with my own family.  There is nothing like the sense of community at campgrounds, playing with new BFFs, eating tin foil dinners and s’mores, exploring and exploring some more, and telling stories around the campfire.

Here’s a recap of our camping trips since having kids.

Trip 1: Hadley had just turned 1 and was a horrible sleeper so she wailed all night long two nights in a row. Our campsite at Golden Gate Canyon State Park was on a slope. Hadley had just learned to walk so was falling over every few feet and when she wasn’t face-planting, she was trying to crawl into the fire pit. Our three-day weekend was cut a day short.

Waterton Lakes National Park, Bear's Hump hike

Waterton Lakes National Park, Bear’s Hump hike

Trip 2: We took a few years off from camping to get pregnant and have our son Bode. When he was 2, we joined our good friends at Eleven Mile State Park. Never been? Keep it that way.

Events: Colorado Renaissance Festival, Indepence Day and More!

Colorado Renaissance Festival. June 15-August 4, 2013 (weekends only), flash back to the 16th Century and journey through a medieval city. Enjoy full-armor jousting, tasty turkey legs, music and a marketplace featuring more than 200 artisans. The Colorado Renaissance Festival goes from 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., tickets are $8-18.95. 650 W. Perry Park Ave.,Larkspur, CO 80118. http://coloradorenaissance.com/

Looking for ideas for the 4th of July? Don’t miss Fourth of July shows, events in Colorado and cancellations as well as these 10 ways to celebrate as well as the following:

Independence Eve Celebration in Civic Center Park. July 3, Civic Center Park (Broadway and Colfax), Denver, 8 p.m. The fourth annual Independence Eve Celebration will feature a free patriotic concert by The Colorado Symphony, an innovative light show on the Denver City and County Building and a stunning fireworks finale. Lawn seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis; blankets or low-rise concert/beach chairs are encouraged. Attendees are welcome to bring their own picnics; concessions will also be present on-site. Civic Center is easily accessible by light rail, bus, bicycle or the 16th Street FREE MallRide and use of public transportation is encouraged. Parking is available at nearby surface lots and parking garages as well. www.civiccenterconservancy.org

The Rockies, The Rapids, The Outlaws — and FIREWORKS! At Coors Field, catch The Colorado Rockies taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers during a three-game homestand, July 2-4. There will be a spectacular fireworks show following the July 3 and 4 games. Denver’s hometown heroes the Colorado Rapids are taking on the New York Red Bulls at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on July 4 – stick around for the fireworks display after the game. There’s another match on Sunday, July 7 against the D.C. United. Over at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on July 4, Denver’s professional lacrosse team the Outlaws are battling it out with the New York Lizards. After the game, enjoy fireworks within the bowl at Sports Authority Field — pyrotechnics paired with visuals on a 220-foot wide, hi-definition screen.

Golden’s First Friday Street Fair on July 5. Year round, Golden’s downtown merchants offer extended hours and special deals and events on the first Friday of each month, but during the months of June through October (June 7, July 5, August 2, Sept. 6 and Oct. 4), First Fridays include a lively Street Fair from 5-8 p.m. on Washington Avenue.  There will be entertainment, music, specialty foods from Golden restaurants, and more.  A Golden favorite, free horse-drawn carriage rides, are available. Pick up your ride on 12th Street between Washington and Arapahoe.  visitgolden.com

Cherry Creek Arts Festival. The annual festival July 5-7 is a world-class and award-winning celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts and enjoys an annual attendance of over 350,000 visitors. Special exhibits, art and culinary demonstrations, and interactive family activities on “Artivity Avenue” complement the free festival experience.   Hours: 10 a.m-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. CherryArts.org

Cirque du Soleil. After its last visit over three years ago with KOOZA, Cirque du Soleil returns to Denver July 18-Aug. 25 with its signature blue-and-yellow Big Top! The company’s latest big top production, Amaluna will be at the Pepsi Center Grounds. Amaluna is a fusion of the words ama, which refers to “mother” in many languages, and luna, which means “moon,” a symbol of femininity that evokes both the mother-daughter relationship and the idea of goddess and protector of the planet. Amaluna is also the name of the mysterious island where the story unfolds. For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit cirquedusoleil.com.

Through Aug. 21. Beat the heat and give your brain a boost: “Just Add Water” is back at the Children’s Museum of Denver. The outdoor exhibit is all about H2O and the many ways it moves and travels: splashing, sprinkling, shooting and swirling. It’s a hands-on experience, so prepare the kids to get a little wet along the way — and it couldn’t hurt to have a towel handy. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday (open until 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Children’s Museum of Denver, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive; 303-433-7444. $9 for guests ages 2-59, $7 for seniors and 1-year-olds. mychildsmuseum.org.

The Heritage Square Music Hall Children’s Theatre presents “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Emperor Mullinium is the original “Fashionista” and thinks more of his clothes than his own people!  Is that any way for an Emperor to behave?  We think not!  It’s up to the audience to help him get his priorities straight.  “The Emperor’s New Clothes” runs through August 31, 2013 with performances every Saturday at 1:30 PM. Tickets: $8 for children and adults, $7 for seniors (62 and up). Special rates for groups of ten or more children apply. Weekday performances are available, but vary, so call for information. For reservations, call 303-279-7800. Heritage Square Music Hall Children’s Theatre is located at 18301 W. Colfax D-103, Golden, CO 80401. More information at www.hsmusichall.com

Oz with Orchestra. On Friday, July 5 7:30 p.m. at the Chautauqua Auditorium, Boulder the Colorado Music Festival presents one of the most beloved films of all time, The Wizard of Oz, in this magical new production. Hearing Judy Garland’s original 1939 studio recordings backed by lush, live orchestration will transport children and adults alike. Come dressed as your favorite Wizard of Oz character and you might just win the costume contest! Tickets $12-$48.

Arvada’s 2nd Saturday Street Festival. Summer evenings in Olde Town Arvada will again come to life at the upcoming 2nd Saturday Street Festivals, presented by Historic Olde Town Arvada.  The music of top-notch local favorites Chris Daniels and the Kings, The Wendy Woo Band, and The Indulgers will echo down Grandview Avenue on July 13, and August 10 from 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m. The best way to enjoy live music in a charming historic shopping district is with a plate of tasty street food and an ice cold beer (be sure to try some ice cream and candy from Scrumptious, authentic Belgian fries from Manneken Frites,  or any number of dining choices such as Udi’s Pizza Cafe Bar, Archive Room, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop or  live music and eats at the D Note).  Visitors will find plenty of food choices, beer and wine, and shopping options from vendor booths lining the street.  A wide array of kids’ activities will create a fun, safe, and welcoming environment for guests of all ages. www.oldetownarvada.org

Colorado Irish Festival. July 12-July 14.Experience the largest Irish celebration in the Rocky Mountains with traditional Irish music performances and dancing, Irish drama and storytelling, crafts, games and food and drinks at Clement Park. Friday: 5-10 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 7306 West Bowles Avenue, Littleton. http://www.coloradoirishfestival.org

Colorado Black Arts Festival. July 12-14, celebrate the 27th annual Colorado Black Art Festival showcasing the rich and creative talents of local, regional, and national African Americans in art and culture at City Park. The three-day event will feature three stages filled with jazz, blues, reggae, gospel, traditional African drum and dance. This is a FREE family friendly event with programming and activities for the entire family. The Saturday morning Boogaloo Celebration Parade is a crowd favorite as it is a colorful and exciting street celebration. City Park, 17th Ave. & Colorado Blvd., Denver. http://www.colbaf.org/

Buffalo Bill Days, July 26-28, Friday, 5:00 – 10:00 p.m.;   Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Thousands of people fill the streets of Golden every summer for this popular three-day celebration. The original event dates back to the 1950’s when the Buffalo Bill Saddle Club gave trail rides to Buffalo Bill’s grave at the top of Lookout Mountain.  One year the local Chamber of Commerce decided to expand the trail ride into a full-scale event to promote the city. That summer, a large contingent of trail riders rode up the mountain. But when they rode back down, they circled through the town, and a crowd of people lined the streets to greet them.  Thus, the first Buffalo Bill Days parade was born. Over the years, this has become the biggest annual event in Golden with the addition of a Cody’s Wild West event, a car show, the ever popular Muttin Bustin’ competition, a golf tournament, live entertainment, free kiddie train rides, a duck race and other children’s activities, an arts and crafts fair, and more.  You’ll find most of the events at these locations:  downtown Golden, Parfet Park, and various historical museums and parks around town.  For a complete schedule of events, visit www.buffalobilldays.com.

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. July 27-28, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF) is a free family-friendly festival highlighting Colorado’s rich Asian Pacific American heritage at Sloan’s Lake Park in northwest Denver. A window to the Pan Asian world, this diverse festival is the only one of its kind in the United States. It showcases an array of traditional and contemporary performing arts, cultural customs, cuisine and a marketplace of unique and hard-to-find arts, crafts and vendors, in addition to two days of action packed dragon boat racing. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sloan’s Lake Park, 4500 West 17th Avenue, Denver. http://www.cdbf.org/

Change Your Altitude at Hike MS Copper Mountain. On July 27, the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter, National Multiple Sclerosis (MS)  Society’s annual fundraising hike features spectacular views along three routes varying from two to 10 miles, which are supported by route marshals, rest stops and medical support.  Special lodging rates available through Copper Mountain reservations center at 1-866-837-2996, mention “Hike MS.” Time:  7:30 a.m., on-site registration opens; 8 a.m. – hike starts at 105 Wheeler Circle, Copper Mountain. FEE:  $30, includes continental breakfast, lunch and custom T-shirt, and minimum fundraising of $50. www.hikeMScolorado.org

Nick Cave: Soundsuits at the Denver Art Museum. Through September 22, renowned contemporary artist Nick Cave will debut a new body of work at the Denver Art Museum in the summer of 2013. The exhibition features a combination of multimedia elements and performances along with a selection of figurative sculptures the artist dubbed “Soundsuits.”
More Info: www.denverartmuseum.org 

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Nature Programs

Also, don’t miss this event from Jeffco parks. LMNC programs are FREE and registration is required unless otherwise noted. Register online or by calling 720-497-7600. Looking for a program for your class, scout troop, or other group? Visit their website or call to learn about group programs.

Lair o’ the Bear Campfire: Oh Deer!6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 3 (Lair o’ the Bear Park)

Deer and elk are two of the most common large mammals seen out in the parks. Discover how these antlered animals are adapted for survival through stories, songs and other fun campfire activities. (All ages.)

 Summer Triangle

9-10:30 p.m. Friday, July 5 (Pine Valley Ranch Park)

Join astronomy team members for a tour of the 1937 William Baehr Observatory and an engaging look at the constellations and deep space objects. Weather permitting, peer through historic and modern telescopes. (Ages 10+.)

 Preschool Nature Nuts: Summer Sun (3-5 year-olds)

10:15 or 11:15 a.m. Saturday, July 6 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)

Summertime sunshine! Learn about Earth’s nearest star and find out why the sun is so important. (Ages 3-5, with an adult.) A Toddler Nature Nuts program will be offered on the same topic for 2-year-olds on Thursday, July 18 at 10:15 or 11:15 a.m. at Lookout Mountain Nature Center.

 Dig it! Archaeology for Kids

Tuesday, July 9 (Hiwan Homestead)
Join us as we delve into the past and learn how archaeologists uncover its secrets. Practice excavation skills and use real archaeology techniques and tools to discover what archaeologists really do. Make a fossil craft to take home.

Preschool Nature Nuts: Summer Sun (3-5 year-olds)

10:15 or 11:15 a.m. Thursday, July 11 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)

Summertime sunshine! Learn about Earth’s nearest star and find out why the sun is so important. (Kids ages 3-5 with an adult.) A Toddler Nature Nuts program will be offered on the same topic for 2-year-olds on Thursday, July 18 at 10:15 or 11:15 a.m. at Lookout Mountain Nature Center.

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Friday, July 12 (Mount Falcon Park – East)

Why are some plants poisonous? Learn to identify dangerous species. Important treatment methods will also be discussed. (Ages 6-10, with an adult.)

Suminagashi! Japanese Paper Crafts

Thursday, July 12 (Hiwan Homestead)
Suminagashi is the ancient Japanese art of paper marbling. Learn the history and techniques of this beautiful art. Make your own unique marbled paper to cover a favorite book or diary, and learn more about traditional Japanese crafts.

 Midsummer Wildflowers

9-11 a.m. Saturday, July 13 (Meyer Ranch Park)

Walk with a Native Plant Master and discover the importance of our native plants to wildlife and humans. (Ages 10+.)

 Jr. Naturalists: Hands Off – Indentifying Dangerous Plants

10 a.m. – 12p.m. Sunday, July 14 (Mount Falcon Park – East)

Why are some plants poisonous? Learn to identify dangerous plants. Important treatment methods will also be discussed. (Ages 6-10, with an adult.)

 40th Anniversary Exhibit   
March 19 to November 17 (Hiwan Homestead Museum)
Come celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Jefferson County Historical Society and Jefferson County Open Space, which was voted into existence in 1972 and began receiving funds in 1973. Displays will center on important points in history, interesting facts about the development of Open Space and a variety of memorabilia.

40th Anniversary Exhibit   
March 19 to November 17 (Hiwan Homestead Museum)
Come celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Jefferson County Historical Society and Jefferson County Open Space, which was voted into existence in 1972 and began receiving funds in 1973. Displays will center on important points in history, interesting facts about the development of Open Space and a variety of memorabilia.
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Ongoing Fun for the Whole Family

Everything from roller coasters to rhinos.

Daily. After a popular run in 2012, the Children’s Museum of Denver relaunches its “3, 2, 1 … Blast Off!” exhibit. Created in conjunction with United Launch Alliance, “Blast Off!” teaches kids about the basics of rocket science by letting them build and launch their own rockets. The new version of “Blast Off!” includes two giant-size models of real-life rockets, plus a vaulted ceiling for vertical rocket launches — the previous space allowed only for horizontal flights. Museum members are invited to arrive at 9 a.m. Saturday for a special members-only hour before the museum opens. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Children’s Museum of Denver, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive; 303-433-7444. $9 for guests ages 2 to 59; $7 for 1-year-olds and seniors age 60 and older. mychildsmuseum.org.

NEW! Flight of the Butterflies 3D at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. A scientific adventure. A compelling detective story. A stunning sight to see. Flight of the Butterflies 3D is all this and more. Dr. Fred Urquhart spent nearly 40 years working to discover the monarch butterflies’ secret hideaway and solve the mystery of their unique migration path. In this dazzling 3D film, you will experience the inspiring story of this scientist’s passion and see up close the lifecycle of these beautiful creatures. Get a butterfly’s-view of the world as you fly over North America and into the isolated mountaintops in Mexico where you will encounter hundreds of millions of fluttering monarchs. www.dmns.org

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park

May – October

The nation’s ONLY downtown theme and water park opens for the season on May 4. With more than 45 thrilling rides, plus a splash-filled, 10-acre Water Park, musical stages, stunt shows, arcades and the StarToon Studios (a kiddie area with pint-sized fun), there’s something at Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park for just about everyone. New additions this year include a new family-friendly rollercoaster Blazin’ Buckaroo and seven new shows including the must-see Cirque Conjure in the Trocadero Theater, a sophisticated combination of illusions, music, dance and comedy parents and kids will enjoy.   elitchgardens.com

Spun: Adventures in Textiles
Through September 22, Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum (DAM) takes a wide-ranging look at textiles from pre-Columbian weavings to modern fiber art, Navajo blankets to an examination of clothing in art and photography.
More Info: www.denverartmuseum.org

Catalyst: Colorado Sculpture
Through January 12, 2014, Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens celebrates the achievements and vision of Colorado sculptors in this astonishing outdoor group exhibition. Twelve artists view the garden spaces differently, altering the landscape with amazing 3-D work.
More Info: www.botanicgardens.org

Denver B-cycle

Through November

Explore the city on two wheels! Denver B-cycle is an automated bike sharing system designed for short trips around The Mile High City. It’s easy and fun. You can check out one of more than 500 bikes from any one of 50-plus stations (conveniently located near major attractions and neighborhoods) and return it to any other station. denver.bcycle.com

Colorado Rockies

April 5-September 25

Major league baseball returns to downtown Denver’s Coors Field on April 5, as the Rockies square off against the San Diego Padres. The fun continues all spring and summer long. For an affordable option, buy tickets in the Rockpile, where seats are just $4 for adults and $1 for kids under 12. coloradorockies.com

Toyota Elephant Passage

Year-round

Say hello to Denver’s new, five-ton locals. At 10 acres, this landmark $50 million exhibit at Denver Zoo is North America’s largest bull elephant habitat. You’ll see majestic Asian elephants cooling off in a shallow stream, Malaysian tapirs care for their young, acrobatic gibbons swinging overhead from tree to tree, fishing cats diving for their next meal and the piercing stare of a black leopard, all from the center of an Asian village. denverzoo.org

GPS Adventures at the Wildlife Museum. The Wildlife Experience recently opened its newest exhibit, which sets you on a course for hidden treasure… all you need is a GPS unit and a sense of adventure. This life-sized maze exhibition introduces visitors to cutting-edge Global Positioning Systems (GPS) through Geocaching – a family friendly treasure hunting game.  More than four million people around the world are on the hunt for over a million hidden treasures.  In addition to hidden booty, these geocachers are finding the real treasure: reconnecting with family, community and nature in a meaningful way.

– See more at: http://www.milehighmamas.com/blog/2013/06/23/events-just-add-water-young-peoples-concerts-and-more/#sthash.mUyLK0wX.dpuf