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Glenwood Springs’ Adventure Park On Top of a Mountain (and Win a Family Four-pack of Tickets!)

CONTEST CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO WINNER MARY-FRANCES MAIN AND THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ENTERED!

Take the world’s largest outdoor mineral hot springs pool, add an adventure park built on top of a mountain, sprinkle in the Roaring Fork Valley’s crimson rocks and emerald forests and what do you have?

Glenwood Springs’ matchless Shangri-La.

Conveniently located off I-70 between Vail and Aspen, my family has driven through Glenwood Springs multiple times and often marveled at the tram that appeared to go nowhere. Turns out, the Iron Mountain Tramway soars 4,300 feet up Iron Mountain to a big ol’ somewhere: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

The 135-acre park features guided tours of Glenwood Caverns and Historic Fairy Caves, an alpine coaster, 4-dimensional theater, a laser tag arena, a climbing wall, gemstone sluice box mining, bungee trampolines, a simulated Conestoga wagon ride and more. New this year: The Giant Canyon Swing that launches riders over Glenwood Canyon, 1,300 feet above the Colorado River.

A few of my family’s favorite activities included:

Laser Tag

It was raining when we arrived at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park so we introduced our delighted cowboys to an indoor pursuit: laser tag. This new-fangled shoot-out in an old West setting uses the latest in wireless laser tag technology. With every death announcement, “Nice shot,” our vests would vibrate and my children came one step closer to unleashing their pent-up parental aggressions. For my husband and me, it was all about payback for our many sleepless nights.

Family laser tag is a win-win situation for everyone.

4-dimensional ride theater

I can’t say I’ve seen many movies in 3-D so I was unsure of what to expect at Colorado’s only 4-dimensional ride theater. We were

Picture Day Sticker Shock

Back when I was in Elementary School, Picture Day came once a year. It was the one day a year when it really mattered that your hair was combed, and your clothes were clean and straight, and that you didn’t fall down on the playground at recess.

(Here is my 1979-80 Kindergarten Photo, both the class group photo and the single shot of little JoAnn as a Kindergartner.)

Unlike my own daughter, I hated wearing dresses to school, but I had to on Picture Day. My mom made me do it. If I was good, sat still, and smiled like a good little girl, I got to keep the little fine-tooth comb with the Photography Studio’s name imprinted on it.

Something tells me everyone got to keep the little comb, but it did the trick. The Picture Torture Session was over in a flash (pun totally intended), and then we had to wait an eternity to see if our goofy grins had been captured on film.

Even after all these years, that little black comb with the gold writing is the thing I remember most about Picture Day. It almost made wearing that silly dress worth it.

So, when Claire started at a local preschool that was part of our county school district, I wasn’t too shocked that they do School Photos. I was shocked by the price of the packages, but I just chalked it up to inflation. Plus, I was able to justify the cost in my head, because Picture Day happens only once a year…right?

Wrong.

Operation Santa – Tennyson Center for Children

Tennyson Center for Children (www.childabuse.org), one of the Rocky Mountain region’s leading treatment and education centers for abused, neglected and at-risk youth, has launched its annual Operation Santa campaign, which runs through Jan. 1.

Operation Santa is Tennyson Center’s way of giving the spirit of the holidays to the more than 100 children and 70 families served by the 105 year-old agency. The program solicits corporate and individual support from the Denver community to fulfill wish lists for children’s toys and gifts, as well as much-needed items that are essential to the success and healing of the children who receive treatment at Tennyson Center.

“This program provides the children and families served by our Center with a little magic during the holidays,” said Bob Cooper, CEO of Tennyson Center for Children. “Many of our children have never experienced a real holiday season. Through the generous donations of our supporters, we are able to put smiles on their faces. I remember one little youngster kept asking for a new video game, and the sponsor drove to three different stores to find it after extensive searches online. The look upon the child’s face was priceless on Christmas morning – pure joy. It is the commitment from sponsors like this that make the difference for our children and families.”

In 2008, Operation Santa served 107 children and 69 families. As abuse rates rise due to the strain on families during the economic recession, Tennyson Center expects that number to increase to more than 125 children and 75 families this year. The Center is in need of corporate and individual sponsors to help bring the magic of the holidays to all of them.

There are multiple ways to become involved in Operation Santa, including:

Healthy Kids Thank-A-Thon 2009

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Need a unique way to blog about the holiday? Participate in the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition’s Healthy Kids Thank-A-Thon 2009!

This is a FREE, fun, and easy way to utilize social media and celebrate Thanksgiving by promoting health for kids.

We often don’t think about our health until something is “wrong.” The Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition (CCIC) wants to change that. Inspired by the spirit of the season, CCIC wants you to join us in giving thanks for healthy kids!

CCIC works to protect children’s health by ensuring that kids are vaccinated at the appropriate ages to prevent common childhood diseases. Our mission is the same as yours: Keep kids healthy!

In celebration of Thanksgiving, CCIC will be using social media (YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) to share parent’s gratitude for healthy kids. Parents, grandparents and mommies-to-be are encouraged to submit comments, photos, videos and blog online explaining why they are grateful for a healthy child. For full details on the Thank-A-Thon visit http://www.childrensimmunization.org/thanks.

From these submissions, CCIC will spread gratitude for healthy kids all Thanksgiving weekend long by tweeting submission on Twitter, creating a video for YouTube and updating the Facebook Fan Page.

How to Give Thanks for a Healthy Kid:

  • Ask readers and other parents to join you and CCIC in giving thanks to healthy kids

Deadline for submissions: Monday, Nov 23, 2009

Thank you so much and have a wonderful holiday season!