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Events: Arapahoe County Fair, Buffalo Bill Days, Dragon Boat, Cirque du Soleil and more

Arapahoe County Fair. On July 24-28, the Arapahoe County Fair  includes all the fixins for a classic county fair including rides, a carnival, animals, a rodeo, Kid Corral, open classes, Demolition Derby and more. Hours vary by day, cost is $5; children 12 and under are free and parking is $5. Carnival and midway games are extra.  Location: Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, 25690 E. Quincy Ave. Aurora.
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
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
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. Park Art Fest. On July 27 and 28,  check-out the inaugural Cheesman Park Art Fest. This outdoor summer art festival will offer shoppers and art enthusiasts an unsurpassed, family-friendly experience that showcases a variety of mediums in a wide range of prices. Festival attendees can browse the vibrant works of glass artists, painters, photographers, jewelers, and potters from all over the country while enjoying acoustic street performances, fare from local food trucks, and artist demonstrations. Cheesman Park, Franklin Street and Eighth Street, Denver.
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.

The YMCA of Boulder Valley will host the Fourth Annual Strong Kids Triathlon at its Lafayette center on July 27 at 9 a.m. The event, a Boulder County family favorite, was developed to be an introduction to the sport of triathlon for kids 2 to 15. Participants will race in heats organized by age group. Depending on the age group, the race requirements will include a lap or laps in the pool, a lap or laps on a tricycle or bike, and a lap or laps running around the Y’s turf field. Registration is $20 for YMCA of Boulder Valley members and $30 for non-members. Participating children will receive a medal and T-shirt. The event is capped at 300 participants, so early registration is encouraged. Proceeds will benefit the Y scholarship fund for those who need assistance to pay for Y programs.

Don’t worry about the sunscreen at “Toddler Beach” — the newest exhibit at WOW! Children’s Museum is indoors, water-free and hosting its grand opening Saturday. Aimed at the youngest museumgoers, “Toddler Beach” lets 1- to 5-year-olds play, climb and explore the cute seaside theme. Regular hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. WOW! Children’s Museum, 110 N. Harrison Ave., Lafayette; 303-604-2424. Admission is $8 per child; adults are admitted free.

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.

Golden’s First Friday Street Fair on Aug. 2. 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 (Aug. 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.

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 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.

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

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.”
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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.

Movie in the Grove: Great K & A Train Robbery

8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20 (Hiwan Homestead Museum)

Tom Mix stars in this action-packed silent Westen adventure, filmed in Colorado in 1926 around the Royal Gorge. Famed pianist Hank Troy will accompany the film with live music. Free event.

Mosaic Stepping Stones

Tuesday, July 23 (Hiwan Homestead Museum)

Mosaic Stepping Stones are a great way to spruce up your garden and make a treasured keepsake that will last forever. Make a mosaic stepping stone and decorate it with your own individual style.

 Call ’em Coyotes

8-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 24 (Crown Hill Park)

Coyotes are here to stay!  Learn how these incredible animals adapt, survive and thrive in urban environments. Find out how to stay safe as we stroll trails in search of the the song dog of west. (All ages.)

 Native Plant Master Course 

8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Friday, July 12 (Golden Gate Canyon Park)
Take a Native Plant Master course and discover Colorado wildflowers, trees and shrubs as you explore trails in this natural area. During three outdoor field sessions, you will learn common and scientific names, ecological relationships and human uses of 40-50 plants. You will also develop skills in using family features and a botanical key to identify plants. Course includes special emphasis on natives useful for landscaping and alien invasives that threaten native ecosystems. Cost: $90.

 Jr. Astronomers: Celestial Scavenger Hunt

8:30-10 p.m. Wednesday, July 31 (Deer Creek Canyon Park)

Kids ages 6-10 are invited to a night sky treasure hunt. Join Astronomy Team members for an interactive, engaging look at the night sky with activities, telescopes, games and more. (Ages 6-10, with an adult.)

 Preschool Nature Nuts: Beetle Brigade

10:15 or 11:15 a.m. Thursday, August 1 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)

Most bugs are beetles. So what are beetles? Learn what they are, hear a beetle story, and do a craft about the largest insect group in the world. (Ages 3-5, with an adult.)

GO Club – Earth Stewards

6:30 p.m. Friday, August 2 (Crown Hill Park)

Pack your picnic supper and join a naturalist for an evening of outdoor adventure.  Being an earth steward is easy.  Kids & grown-ups will learn simple ways to connect with the natural world to promote stewardship of our home…EARTH! (All ages.)

Preschool Nature Nuts: Beetle Brigade

10:15 or 11:15 a.m. Saturday, August 3 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)

Most bugs are beetles. So what are beetles? Learn what they are, hear a beetle story, and do a craft about the largest insect group in the world. (Ages 3-5, with an adult.)

Movie in the Grove: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

8:30 p.m. Saturday, August 3 (Hiwan Homestead Museum)

Children of all ages will enjoy this classic 1973 version of the Roald Dahl book, starring Gene Wilder. Free event.

 Jefferson County Fair and Rodeo

Friday through Sunday, August 9-11 (Fairgrounds)

 Star Party at William F. Hayden Park

8:30 p.m. Thursday, August 8 (William F. Hayden Park on Green Mountain)

Astronomy Team members join Bear Creek Lake Park naturalists for a star party on William Frederick Hayden Park. Learn stargazing tips, view through telescopes and much more. Call 303-697-6159 for more information. (Ages 10+.)

 The Magic of Night Flight – Colorado’s Bats

7:15 p.m. Friday, August 9 (Lair o’ the Bear Park)

Come learn about the incredible bats of Colorado and how they enhance our lives. Following a discussion, we’ll take a short hike ending at a place where we’ll, hopefully, see bats at work. (Ages 10+.)

Beginning Fly Fishing

9 a.m. Saturday, August 10 (Pine Valley Ranch Park)

Beginning Fly Fishing is a class designed to introduce the neophyte to the science, art, and sport of fly fishing. It’s a full day of activities, including an afternoon of tutored fishing. Participants over the age of 16 must have a fishing license. (Ages 13+.)

 Dinosaur Ridge Discovery Day: Reptiles and Amphibians

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, August 10 (Dinosaur Ridge)

Nature Center naturalists will be at one of the stops on this walking tour of Dinosaur Ridge. Bring family, friends and plenty of water for the hike and spend the day exploring. Drop by anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visit for more information. (All ages.)

 Summer Wildflowers

9 a.m. Sunday, August 11 (Flying J Ranch Park)

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

 Nature… Stranger than Fiction

2 p.m. Sunday, August 11 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)

Plants and animals found in nature have developed strange and unique ways to adapt to our outdoor environment. Come and discover how nature can truly be stranger than fiction! (All ages.)

 Summer Wildflowers

9 a.m. Sunday, August 11 (Flying J Ranch Park)

Walk with a Native Plant Master and discover the importance of our native plants to wildlife and humans.

(Ages 10+.)

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 14 (Lair o’ the Bear Park)

View beaver activity along the creek then head to the education shelter to learn more about these amazing creatures through campfire activities and stories. Enjoy roasting marshmallows afterward. (All ages.)

 Lair o’ the Bear Campfire: Beaver Tales

7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 15 (Lair o’ the Bear Park)

View beaver activity along the creek then head to the education shelter to learn more about these amazing creatures through campfire activities and stories. Enjoy roasting marshmallows afterward. (All ages.)

 Toddler Nature Nuts: Beetle Brigade

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

Most bugs are beetles. So what are beetles? Learn what they are, hear a beetle story, and do a craft about the largest insect group in the world. (2-year-olds, with an adult.)

 Jr. Naturalists: Animals Underfoot

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Friday, August 16 (Hildebrand Ranch Park)

Unearth some of the amazing stories about the wildlife under our feet. What fast-flying bird of prey nests exclusively underground? Who are the tunnel makers? There is more life under the soil than above it.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.
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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.

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.

Toyota Elephant Passage


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.

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.

Event Round-up: Parade of Lights, Candlelight Walk, Elmo’s Green Thumb & More!

Friday-Saturday. Denver dazzles once again at the 9News Parade of Lights. The holiday favorite takes over downtown for two nights with shimmering, sparkling floats and a spectacular visit from Santa Claus. Marching bands from eight Colorado high schools provide the music, with the Colorado State University marching band leading the way tonight. Arrive early at the parade step-off to see the CSU band perform their daring “Trombone Suicides” routine. 8 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday. Downtown Denver, starting at 14th and Bannock Streets, with long stretches along 15th and 17th Streets. Admission is free. Grandstand seating is $15-$18 in advance at Visit for more details.

Friday. Be a part of the parade at Golden’s 40th annual Candlelight Walk. Anyone can join the procession through downtown Golden, candle in hand, on the way to Clear Creek and the town’s Christmas tree. As the crowds pass each block, holiday lights switch on in the buildings. Santa awaits at the “Chamber Tree” — he’ll throw the lights and start the evening’s celebration. Pet some reindeer, watch a puppet show, and snag some free roasted chestnuts. If Friday is too busy, Golden holds a Christmas parade every Saturday until Christmas at 11 a.m., with fun activities following. Gather at 6 p.m. at 15th and Washington Streets, Golden. Admission is free. Visit for more information.

Saturday-Sunday. Take a magical trip through Big Bird’s garden in “Elmo’s Green Thumb,” an eco-friendly “Sesame Street Live” production. In it, Elmo wants to replant his flower friend, Sunny, in Big Bird’s garden. He’s so excited to see Sunny grow that his pal Abby casts a spell to speed things up — but she says the wrong words and Elmo and his friends shrink to bug size. While they try to get back to normal, they learn about the ecosystem in the garden, from butterflies to beetles. The show moves to Pueblo Dec. 18-19. 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Budweiser Events Center, 5290 Arena Circle, Loveland; 970-619-4100. Tickets are $13-$55, available at or by calling 877-544-TIXX. Learn more at

Sunday. Party down for the “Festival of Lights” at Rose Medical Center’s Community Chanukah Celebration. Held in giant, heated tents, the party features fun for all ages, plus lots of tasty holiday treats. Play carnival games, get a caricature drawn and visit community booths in the activities tent, then step into the entertainment tent for live music, including sets by Steve Brodsky and Friends, The Borscht Brothers and Shalom Feivel and Rocky Mountain Jewgrass. 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Rose Founders Building, 9th Avenue and Dahlia Street. Admission is free. For more information, visit or call 303-320-7096.

Through Jan. 2. Both locations of the Denver Botanic Gardens will be aglow for the holidays, starting tonight. “Blossoms of Light” illuminates the Gardens’ Denver headquarters with light displays twinkling throughout the park. Check out the Henry Moore sculptures, lit up for the occasion, and the seasonal ice sculptures, too. In Littleton, the Botanic Gardens at Chatfield hosts “Trails of Light.” Guests can choose a short, sparkly path to the children’s play area, or a longer route that goes through the barn and silo first. Either way, there are warm drinks and craft activities available, and hayrides on Fridays and Saturdays. 5:30-9:30 p.m. nightly. Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.; 720-865-3500. Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton; 303-973-3705. Admission is $9.50 for adults, $7.50 for students and seniors, $6.50 for kids ages 4 to 12. Gardens members receive a $2 discount on admission. Visit for more information.

Kathleen St. John