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Events: Giant Pumpkin Festival, Hike & Seek and More!

Hike & Seek. National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America’s largest conservation organization, is pleased to announce the fourth annual Hike & Seek event on Sept. 28 9 a.m.-noon at South Platte Park, in Littleton. Hike & Seek is a family outing that inspires a child’s sense of adventure by combining a nature hike and scavenger hunt. The event brings families together for a few hours in the great outdoors for some fresh fall air and fun and provides an opportunity to rediscover nature. People are encouraged to sign up at www.hikeandseek.org early to buy tickets and then show up ready to spend some family time in nature.
Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off and Festival. Don’t miss this great family event Saturday Sept 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Jared’s Nursery, Gift & Garden. See giant pumpkins and other giant and/or mutant vegetables and help raise money for St Jude’s. Visit Jared’s Galleria of Ghouls, a straw maze, check out the obstacle course, participate or watch the doggie costume contest, and many other free activities. For a small fee there is a bouncy castle, face painting and a petting zoo. A variety of food vendors will offer great items to dazzle your senses. 10500 W Bowles Ave  Littleton.  http://www.jaredsgarden.com/
Fall Festival at Castlewood Canyon State Park. On Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., surround yourself with beautiful autumn colors and celebrate the changing season at Castlewood Canyon State Park during the park’s Fall Festival. Learn of the “good old days” from historic character storytellers at the Lucas Homestead, enjoy Native American drumming and dancing amidst the breathtaking setting of Pikes Peak, and even test your hand at gold panning in Cherry Creek. Friends of Castlewood Canyon State Park will be grilling hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch and the Franktown Fire Protection District will display their trucks and other equipment bringing fun and entertainment for the whole family. www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/castlewoodcanyon/
Astronomy Day. Sunday, September 29, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science will partner with the Denver Astronomical Society for a day
of astronomical activities.  Space scientists, space educator, and space explorers will give presentations in Space Odyssey. Weather permitting, solar telescopes will allow for safe viewing of the Sun. Check dmns.org for more details.

Aurora and Denver street-opening block party. East Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood will strengthen its connections with Aurora on Sept. 29 when Iola Street between East 25th Avenue and East 26th Avenue officially opens to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and other Denver/Aurora city officials will join neighbors arriving by bike, car and sidewalk for free food (while it lasts), art displays, games, face painting and a Radio Disney-sponsored block party. Noon-3 p.m.  stapletondenver.com. Free.

Theater-Hikes’ “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Watching dramatic scenes between bursts of hiking may seem like a uniquely Colorado idea, but the Theater-Hikes model was actually imported from Chicago in 2009. This season’s production, which features professional actors, costumes and props, is an adaptation of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” at Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Cherokee Ranch & Castle in Sedalia and Denver Botanic Gardens’ grounds in Denver and at Chatfield. The shows run Sept. 21 to Oct. 27 at various times and days, so call 720-663-9491 or check co.theatre-hikes.org for details. $15-$30.

Corn Maze at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. Starting Sept. 13, the Gardens’ annual eight-acre corn maze is one of the most attended in the country and features a new design every year. A classic labyrinth of winding pathways is designed to mimic the Colorado state flag. Admission also includes access to the spider web, a mini-maze for children 12 and under and much more. Sept. 13 to Oct. 27: Fridays, 4-9 p.m.; Saturdays, noon to 9 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 6 p.m. $12; $10 Adult Member, Senior, Military; $8 Child ages 3-12; $6 Child Member; Free for children 2 and younger. http://www.botanicgardens.org/our-gardens/chatfield

Day Out With Thomas. Thomas the Tank Engine™ is at the Colorado Railroad Museum  Sept. 14-29 (weekends) for the Go Go Thomas Tour 2013 with all of his fans. Ride behind a 15-ton replica of Thomas the Tank Engine, star of the popular Thomas & Friends, around the Colorado Railroad Museum’s grounds and meet Sir Topham Hatt. Kids under two are free; go here for hours and ticket pricing.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents Built To Amaze!, an extraordinarily engineered circus experience custom-built for family fun where Children Of All Ages® construct The Greatest Show On Earth®. The visionary blueprints have been assembled with a contemporary toolbox of unparalleled imagination that will be unleashed from shipping crates right before the audience’s eyes for the all-new circus spectacular Built To Amaze! coming to the Denver Coliseum (October 3-6) and the Pepsi Center (October 9-13).

Four Mile History Park’s Pumpkin Harvest Festival. On Oct. 5 and 6 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., don’t miss this FREE county fair area where you can rummage through their costume bank and take an ‘old-timey’ photo in front of the Four Mile House, enter a pie eating contest or win something yummy in an old-fashioned cake walk.  Find the perfect pumpkin in the patch, create your very own scarecrow, listen and dance to old time music, play historic games or make a historic craft. There will be plenty of food available including homemade caramel apples and other goodies. Be sure to visit the mountain men and Native American encampment, take a horse-drawn ride and tour Four Mile House, Denver’s oldest standing structure, as the Booth family prepares for the harvest.  Admission is free but there is a charge for pumpkins and some activities. http://www.fourmilepark.org

Lakewood’s Fall Festival Cider Days. Lakewood’s signature family event Oct. 5 and 6 celebrates Lakewood’s agricultural heritage in the picture perfect setting of Belmar Park.  Cheer at the tractor pull, take a mule-drawn wagon ride, press your apples into cider, make the most of being a kid on the barrel train, climbing wall and inflatable amusements, explore the various buildings that make up the 20th Century Museum, enjoy the great entertainment and check out the exhibits and craft demonstrations.  Don’t forget to reap the bounty of the fall harvest by saving room for some tasty treats! Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5 and Sunday, Oct. 6 at Lakewood Heritage Center, 801 S. Yarrow St. (Wadsworth Boulevard and Ohio Avenue).  Admission is $7 adults, $4 children ages 3 to 12.
Arvada Scarecrow Festival. On Saturday, October 12, Olde Town Arvada will be transformed with scarecrows of all shapes and sizes. This free event will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and include activities for all ages and interests. Wander through Olde Town and cast your vote for your favorite Scarecrow while visiting over 40 community booths. There will be a giant pumpkin weigh-off, pumpkin seed contest, pumpkin pie eating, potato sack, three-legged races, kid’s fun zone and more. www.arvadafestivals.com
Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s MythBusters. The Discovery Channel’s Emmy-nominated series comes to life to uncover truths behind popular myths by mixing scientific method with gleeful curiosity and old-fashioned ingenuity in MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition, which opens at the Denver Museum of Science & Nature on Friday, October 11.  The exhibition creates hands-on, interactive experiences for guests of all ages by combining popular scientific facts with innovative, family-friendly displays. On the TV show MythBusters, co-hosts Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Grant Imahara take scientific investigation to exciting new levels by proving or exploding myths using their highly experimental approach and extensive backgrounds in special effects. Tickets for the general public go on sale Thursday, October 3, at www.dmns.org/mythbusters. General visitors pay $22 adult, $16 junior/student (ages 3–18 or with a student ID), and $18 senior (age 65+). Ticket includes admission to both the exhibition and the Museum. Timed tickets will be required and advance reservations are strongly encouraged; the Museum anticipates that popular times will sell out.

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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.

Preschool Nature Nuts: Seeds on the Move
Thursday, October 3
10:15 or 11:15 AM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
A seed has everything it needs to travel and become a new plant. Look at seeds up close and discover how they move from one place to another and what they need to sprout to life.
3-5 year-olds with an adult.

Front Range Field Trip: A Journey Through Time
Saturday, October 5
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Matthews/Winters Park
Have you ever wondered what Colorado looked like millions of years ago? Come on a whirlwind field trip of the Golden area where we will explore the stories the rocks tell of our state’s geologic past, including sand dunes, smelly bogs, great seaways and volcanic eruptions.
Ages 13-adult.

Preschool Nature Nuts: Seeds on the Move
Saturday, October 5
10:15 or 11:15 AM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
A seed has everything it needs to travel and become a new plant. Look at seeds up close and discover how they move from one place to another and what they need to sprout to life.
3-5 year-olds with an adult.

Stargazers 101
Saturday, October 5
7:00 – 8:30 PM Pine Valley Ranch Park
Beginning stargazers are invited to join astronomy team members for an introduction to the night sky. Learn about stars, planets, night sky navigation and more. Weather permitting, view through historic and modern telescopes.
Ages 10-adult.

Fabulous Fall Colors
Sunday, October 6
9:00 – 11:00 AM Meyer Ranch Park
Walk with a Native Plant Master and discover the importance of our native plants to wildlife and humans as we all get ready for the seasonal change.
Ages 13-adult.

Junior Naturalists: Changing Seasons
Saturday, October 12
1:00 – 2:30 PM Reynolds Park
With winter around the corner, come and learn how plants and animals all get ready for the long snowy months ahead.
Kids ages 6-10 w/ adult.

Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
Sunday, October 13
1:00 – 3:00 PM Clear Creek Canyon Park – Meeting location TBD
That four word headline in a Kansas newspaper helped start one of America’s craziest gold rushes. Learn why the discovery of less than two pounds of gold helped create the State of Colorado and the city of Denver. Attendees will also gold pan. Finders keepers.
Ages 10-adult.

Toddler Nature Nuts: Seeds on the Move
Thursday, October 17
10:15 or 11:15 AM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
A seed has everything it needs to travel and become a new plant. Look at seeds up close and discover how they move from one place to another and what they need to sprout to life.
2 year-olds with an adult.

Halloween Tales and Trails
Saturday, October 19
1:00 – 4:00 & 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Lookout Mountain Nature Center

This all-ages, family-friendly, non-scary Halloween festival will feature guided hikes, crafts, games, storytellers, special exhibits, and live animals from Nature’s Educators. Registration is required for guided hikes, but drop-in participation is welcome for all other activities. Visit our website or call 720-497-7600 for registration and information.

 Fall Stories
Sunday, October 20
2:00 PM Lair o’ the Bear Park
Take a short walk to discover what is interesting in the pine woods on that day, then come inside for a story about nature and place.
Ages 6-adult.

Trail Marker Trees: Lecture and Meet the Author
Thursday, October 24
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Before street signs and road maps, Native American travelers needed a navigational system to help them find their way. They created unique “road signs” by shaping young saplings into specific designs, now called Trail Marker Trees. These trees were part of an extensive navigational system in our country long before European settlers arrived. Author and artist Dennis Downes has spent nearly thirty years researching these historical landmarks by locating, documenting, photographing, sketching, and doing what he can to help protect these endangered trail marker trees. Come join us for an exciting evening of learning more about these fascinating trees, how they were shaped, their significance, and where you can find them today. (Find out more about Dennis Downes’ book, Native American Trail Marker Trees: Marking Paths Through The Wilderness at trailmarkertree.com. Copies of his book will be available at the time of the presentation. Cash or check only please.)
Ages 10-adult.

The Skull Tells It All!
Sunday, October 27
1:30 PM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
It’s the time of skeletons and ghosts! Come for a short hike and examine a multitude of animal skulls. See how these skulls help us discover how these animals are uniquely developed to survive in nature.
All ages.

Bats: Strange and Wonderful
Sunday, October 27
4:00 PM Lair o’ the Bear Park
Did you know that a bat’s funky face helps it survive, or that a bat can eat up to 1,000 insects an hour? Stop by to explore the strange and wonderful world of bats.
All ages.

Autumn Sky Tour
Friday, November 1
7:00 PM Pine Valley Ranch Open Space Park
View through historic & modern telescopes while astronomy team members discuss the spectacular objects to be found in Autumn skies.
Ages 10 – adult.

Jeffco Open Space Nature Journal Club Field Trip: Sketching Landscapes
Saturday, November 2
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Mt. Falcon Park West
Want to deepen your love of the natural world, notice nature’s tiniest details and spend time surrounded by the beauty of the outdoors? Then start keeping a sketchbook nature journal! Join us for a free journaling field trip in a different Open Space park each month and make this activity a habit. A short demonstration on a drawing or painting topic will be followed by ample time to write and draw. Previous attendance at one of our basic nature journaling classes (which are offered several times a year) is helpful but not necessary. Please bring your own sketchbook, a pencil and any other art supplies you would like to use. We will also have some art materials to share. Also, bring a bowl, spoon and portable potluck item for a shared trailside lunch. Instruction will be geared for adults, but children are welcome to attend 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.
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Ongoing Fun for the Whole Family

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park May – October

The nation’s ONLY downtown theme and water park will stay open weekends through the end of October. Elitch’s Fright Fest is family by day, fright by night!  Celebrate Halloween in Denver with two ALL-NEW haunted houses, live shows, and kids’ treats at Elitch Gardens. And don’t miss the SEANCE, a haunted experience with chillingly unexpected results. Elitch Gardens Fright Fest will be open Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays, October 5th – 27th, 2013 . With more than 45 thrilling rides, 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. elitchgardens.com

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