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Family Travel: 8 Ways Colorado Springs and Royal Gorge Rock

For a mid-summer treat, my husband, tween son, teen daughter and I recently loaded up the family car and made the very doable trip to Colorado Springs for a long weekend. Thus began a super fun, highly memorable, and delightfully low-key trip.

I’m sharing our itinerary with you in case you, too, want to take a day-trip, a weekend trip, or a long-weekend trip with your family. Pick any day’s activities (they’re grouped strategically), or switch out your own ideas from an extensive list at VisitCOS.com.

1. You can’t go wrong using the fabulous Cheyenne Mountain Resort as your base. Cheyenne Mountain Resort has families figured out, judging by how many parents and kids of all ages we saw during our stay, some even with the family dog! There’s a little something for everyone: golf, tennis, swimming (5 pools and a lake, complete with watercraft), a state-of-the-art fitness center, a brand new full-service spa, and even a KIDZ camp so that grownups can, well, do grownup things.

family travel colorado springs

One Awesome Day in Colorado Springs

2. Make a stop (even before checking into the hotel) in the quaint and vibrant mountain town of Manitou Springs. Though we could have spent the whole weekend there (and we will one day), we took the time only to eat at BooDad’s Louisiana Cafe and to indulge in what has become our Mother-Daughter tradition. We stopped in the charming La Henna Boheme for funky shopping and quick henna tattoos.

Tip: Drink from one or more of the town’s mineral springs fountains.

family travel manitou springs
3. Face down your fears (in a fun way) at Cave of the Winds. We booked a Discovery Tour through the caves and learned about different formations. At one point and for just a few moments, we experienced a phenomenon called Total Cave Darkness. The closest equivalent for lack of light, said our guide, would be at the bottom of the ocean.

Afterwards, the two brave ones among us (Daddy and Daughter) rode the Terror-Dactyl attraction while Mom and Son watched from firm ground. See Jenna Bush Hager and Natalie Morales of The Today Show demonstrate here (“Mommmmmmyyyyy!!”)

cave of the winds terror dactyl

Tip: Check out discounts and deals before you go.

4. Dance with wolves at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. Well maybe not  DANCE but definitely get fairly up close and personal.

With a little bit of planning it’s easy to get to the day’s last stop just prior to feeding time at 6pm (it’s not far from Cave of the Winds). Meet the resident canids — foxes, coyotes, and wolves — and observe them when they are most active. Learn about the connection between age-old fairy tales and the current dire situation for these majestic animals, as well as the ecosystems that rely on wolves as predators to maintain nature’s balance. We were awed by their powerful jaws, able to gobble hunks of meat — bones and all — within minutes. A special treat is witnessing the group howl.

colorado wolf sanctuary

Tip: If you’re lucky enough to be in Colorado Springs on the Saturday near a full moon, check out this special tour.

Head back to Cheyenne Mountain Resort for a night swim or your preferred way to wind down. So ends one fantastic family day in Colorado Springs.

Another Awesome Day in Colorado Springs

5. Schedule in time to find your bliss from the numerous amenities at Cheyenne Mountain Resort. Whether your thing is tennis golf, swimming, kayaking or aqua-biking, go work it, play it! If it’s a yoga, Pilates or Zumba class, take it!. If your thing is chillaxing, like it was for my daughter and me, visit Alluvia Spa, right on premises. We opted for a mani (her) / pedi (me).

cheyenne mountain resort alluvia spa

6. Take in the stunning scenery surrounding the Royal Gorge Bridge. Atop the gorge carved by the Arkansas River stands the highest suspension bridge in North America. You can walk or drive across the gorge and as you do, you’ll see the John F Kennedy range in the distance (named for his apparent likeness, as if he were lying down), the gorge bed nearly 1000 feet below, and its little-bitty train tracks (this will factor in later). Newly reopened, the park and bridge have been revived since the fire that devastated it in 2013 — better than ever. 

 royal gorge for families
The impressive bridge and vistas are only one part of the adventure. There are also rides from gentle to death-defying. On the gentle end are the miniature train, as well as a gondola that takes you across the gorge (both included in general admission). In the middle is a zipline across the gorge, which I am surprised to say I had the gumption for. There’s no steep drop, and the rider doesn’t have to apply a hand brake. The zipline was exhilarating and I highly recommend it for middle-brave people.

On the insanely brave end is the skycoaster: “Imagine a free-fall sweeping you 50 mph to hang momentarily over 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River.”

Power to ya.

Tip: If you get an early enough start, take a short detour along SkyLine Drive between Cañon City and the Royal Gorge.

7. Have a gourmet meal on the Dinner Train on the Royal Gorge Route.  If you get here prior to 6 pm boarding (it’s advised to arrange for tickets ahead of time), you’ll enjoy a 3 hour tour that takes you 11 miles into and back from the gorge, all while dining on a delicious 3-course meal. The dining cars (including the higher-priced Vista Dome cars) offer fascinating views from inside geological formations, beside a river, and alongside the mining and prison history of the local area (your server tells you about all of it). There are scenic stops — including 1000 feet under the bridge you were on earlier in the day — and you can leave your dining car for an open-air car to get a glimpse up.

family travel on royal gorge train

How many times in recent memory has your family spent 3 hours together, uninterrupted by friends, the phone, a TV, tablet or smart phone (no service here)? The four of us laughed and luxuriated in each others’ presence in a way that happens not often enough. Wonderful memories were made on the Dinner Train aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad.

Tip: On Saturday evenings through Halloween, kids under 12 ride the dinner train free.

Head back to Cheyenne Mountain Resort for a good night’s sleep. So ends another fantastic family day in Colorado Springs.

Yet Another Awesome Day in Colorado Springs

Take the early part of the morning to eat and enjoy the amenities at Cheyenne Mountain Resort, or do your own hiking or biking or relaxing.

Then by mid-morning (for weather purposes)…

8. Wind your way up Pikes Peak Highway to the 14,115 summit of Pikes Peak.  

It’s 19 miles of switchbacks and awe-inspiring views, which will take at least an hour to get there. When you do, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. We didn’t get started early enough and were met with the predictable early afternoon clouds/fog. But still, the scenery was jaw-droppingly beautiful on the way up and down.

pikes peak family travel

Images of bighorn sheep courtesy fellow traveler Joe Borrello.

Above tree line you’re looking down on other mountain ranges. You might see bighorn sheep, like this mama and baby. Katherine Lee Bates was so struck by the view in 1893 that she wrote the words to what would become the song America the Beautiful (“purple mountain majesties”), and there is a monument to mark this.

Even during the heart of summer, it was chilly at the top, so bring jackets and maybe rain gear.

Coming down we stopped at the spots we’d missed on the way up. There are beautiful flora and fauna, a special treat for enthusiasts and photographers.

Tip: Make sure you have at least a half-tank of gas for the drive up and decent brakes for the way down. May be a difficult trek for kiddos with motion sickness.

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Yes, this post says 8 ways Colorado Springs Rocks for Families, but I’m adding a 9th and 10th. Even though we didn’t manage to work it in, you might be able to (we had been there before).

9. Further revel in nature’s wonder at Garden of the Gods. Entrance to this park, which is a registered National Natural Landmark, is free. Families can enjoy the park on foot, by Jeep or Segway, and even via rock climbing.

garden of the gods for family travel

Image courtesy VisitCOS.com.

10. Bask in the majesty of Seven Falls, a magnificent series of waterfalls located in a 1,250-foot-wall box canyon, and then explore everything else the new Seven Falls has to offer. The falls have been closed since the Colorado Springs floods and will reopen August 16, 2015. An optional Broadmoor Soaring Adventure will be available at a later time.

So ends yet another fantastic family day in Colorado Springs.

More Colorado Springs!

A few things we missed…this time!

  • The Manitou Incline: the remains of a former narrow gauge funicular railway, now a popular hiking trail with a 2,000 feet elevation gain in just 1 mile.
  • Ghost Town Museum: a fun and historic look back at an old west-type town that dotted this region during the late1800’s and early 1900’s
  • Echo Canyon River Expeditions : build your own unforgettable rafting adventure through the Royal Gorge; for all comfort levels
  • The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey: wine tours and tastings on the grounds of the historic Holy Cross Abbey (Benedictine)

I’ve offered only the tip of the Colorado Springs iceberg. Other activities my family is begging for will definitely necessitate more 1, 2, or 3-day trips. 

Tip to self: Don’t forget your VisitCOS.com magazine — coupons abound!

For more family itineraries, visit Colorado Springs Family Vacation Trip Ideas.

Has your family been to Colorado Springs? What did you find fantastic?

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Lori Holden's book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open AdoptionLori Holden blogs from metro-Denver at LavenderLuz.com. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole (written with her daughter’s birth mom), is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful gift for the adoptive families in your life.

Lori is also available to deliver her open adoption workshop to adoption agencies and support groups.

Disclosure: some experiences were provided by Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Cave of the Winds, Colorado Springs CVB, Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, Royal Gorge Route, and Pikes Peak Highway for purposes of writing this article.

Family Travel: 11 Colorado Scenic Roadtrips

Spending a long amount of time in the car for a road trip can sometimes be uneventful, but not a road trip through Colorado. The state is home to 25 Scenic and Historic Byways (11 of which are also America’s Byways) celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2014 along with other roads and passes that offer amazing views. Summer through fall is the perfect time of year to travel the byways, roads and passes of Colorado.

Following is a sampling of Colorado’s scenic drives with the best views and activities provided courtesy of the Colorado Tourism Office. 

 Cache la Poudre – North Park Scenic & Historic Byway (Fort Collins). This drive, which means “the powder’s hiding place” in French, is 101 miles (three hours) following the Poudre River up to Cameron Pass. The route was once used by settlers connecting the northern plains of Colorado to the Green River settlement in Utah. Now, the route is a place to drive and see raging river rapids ideal for rafting, Colorado’s state mammal, the bighorn sheep, and amazing views around the bowl-shaped basin of North Park at the top of Cameron Pass. Don’t forget your binoculars, as North Park is a bustling habitat for wildlife.
 
Frontier Pathways National Scenic & Historic Byway (Pueblo). After beginning this drive in Pueblo, pass along the high plains to see buttes and flatlands before hitting the south side of a local favorite, Lake Pueblo State Park, a 4,646-acre lake. Another 25 miles down the road is the town of Wetmore, which separates the Great Plains from the edge of the Rockies. At Highway 96 and Highway 165, the byway splits west and south. The western route hits the San Isabel National Forest and sister towns Silver Cliff and Westcliffe. The southern route leads to the modern-day structure Bishop Castle and Colorado City, which is a great place to eat some local cuisine. Keep an eye out on this 103-mile (three and a half hour) drive for gray fox, mule deer, elk and pronghorn.  
 
Gold Belt Tour National Scenic & Historic Byway (Cañon City). The Gold Belt Tour is 131 miles (five to six hours) of rolling mountain parklands to deep rocky canyons. The drive was once the “Roads to Riches” historic route, connecting Cripple Creek to Victor Mining District and was also the world’s largest gold rush to Florence, Cañon City and Florissant. The drive climbs from 5,500 to 9,500 feet in elevation and visits Phantom Canyon Road, a road with green spotted canyons and eerie ghost towns. A great place for a rest stop towards the beginning of this trip is at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument to see fossils dating back 34 million years.
 
Highway 160 over Wolf Creek Pass (Pagosa Springs). For a shorter scenic drive, Highway 160 over Wolf Creek Pass will not disappoint. The highway stretches 41 miles (about one hour) between South Fork and Pagosa Springs. Views from the highway include portions of Weminuche Wilderness within the San Juan National Forest, the Continental Divide Trail and the 100-foot Treasure Falls. The hike to Treasure Falls is one for the whole family and a great way to get out and about.
 
A wildlower basin along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway near Idaho Springs, CO

A wildlower basin along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway near Idaho Springs, CO

Mount Evans Scenic & Historic Byway (Idaho Springs). This Scenic Byway is also the highest paved road in North America at 14,130 feet above sea level. Along the 49-mile (two hour) road, alpine lakes, granite walls, mountain goats and bighorn sheep can all be seen. On the way up, views of glacier-cut valleys and many sharp, rocky peaks can’t be beat. On the way back down, stop in Idaho Springs at the Indian Hot Springs resort to relax and enjoy the hot springs.

 
Peak-to-Peak Scenic & Historic Byway (Estes Park). Established in 1918, Peak-to-Peak is Colorado’s oldest Scenic Byway. From Estes Park to Black Hawk, this 55-mile (two hour) drive passes through Rocky Mountain National Park (celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2015), Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest and Eldora Mountain Resort ski area, all of which make for a beautiful drive full of mountain and high-country lake scenery. Take a detour through the ghost towns of Hesse and Apex, and walk around for a rest stop, or stop west of Eldora for an easy hike to Arapaho Glacier.
 
Pikes Peak Highway (Colorado Springs). In 1915, Pikes Peak Highway was built and allowed locals and visitors to reach the summit of Pikes Peak. Today, the 19-mile drive (about two hours) is filled with lakes, mountains and wildlife along the climb from 7,400 feet to 14,115 feet. There are also many activities to choose from on the way up, such as hiking, biking and boating. Once at the top, try a world-famous donut at the Pikes Peak Summit House — it is the only donut made at an altitude above 14,000 feet.
 
Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway (Leadville). Colorado’s two tallest peaks, Mount Elbert and Mount Massive, can been seen from this scenic drive. For 115 miles (four to five hours), pass the beginning of the Arkansas River, the town of Twin Lakes in San Isabel National Forest and Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the United States. Get off the beaten path for a bit and bike Shrine Pass, which is the perfect place for viewing wildflowers, or go trout fishing in Missouri Lake. This Byway also includes Independence Pass.
 
Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byway (Lake City). The Silver Thread Scenic Byway passes through two of Colorado’s historic districts, Lake City and Creede. Each has many sights worth seeing. Lake City has one of the largest collections of preserved buildings from the 1870s, and Creede has the Creede Repertory Theater, which USA Today called “one of the best places to see the lights way off Broadway.” Also along this 120-mile (two to four hour) route, see the 800-year-old Lake San Cristobal, and don’t forget to wander off a bit on Forest Road 510 to see stunning views of North Clear Creek Falls.
 
Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road (Estes Park). Take a drive through Rocky Mountain National Park on the 48-mile (two to three hour) Trail Ridge Road. Starting in Estes Park, hop on the highest continuous auto road in the country to see elk, glacier-carved valleys and amazing peak summits. The Continental Divide can also be seen from this route. Due to its high altitude and heavy snowfall, the route is only open from late May to late October. Don’t forget to stop by The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, which inspired Stephen King’s novel “The Shining.” Also, head to Grand Lake, which is the largest natural lake in the state of Colorado.

 
West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway (Gunnison). The West Elk Loop Scenic Byway is one of Colorado’s longer drives, but worth every minute. This 205-mile (eight to 10 hour) drive passes through three beautiful mountain towns — Marble, Gunnison and Crested Butte, each of which has something truly unique. See where the marble for the Lincoln Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C., came from in the old mining town of Marble. Gunnison offers a culture mixing the ranching community and a university, while Crested Butte offers amazing views of wildflowers, as is designated the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado.” Also along the drive, pass by Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. 
 
For more information, visit http://www.colorado.com/articles/quick-guide-colorados-scenic-historic-byways.

Family travel: Five ways to explore Colorado with kids

In Colorado, age is indeed a state of mind, and for families looking for adventure, the options seem almost endless.

From the finest forest rambles nature has to offer to man-made amusements with a high squeal factor, there’s something for everyone.

Here are five ways to explore, get some fresh air and exercise, and most important, have fun and make memories with your family in some of the state’s best summer getaway spots.

-Kyle Wagner


Experience family-friendly high country fun in …

1. Estes Park, RMNP

2. Glenwood Springs

3. Snowmass

4. Steamboat Springs

5. Vail

Top 10 Family Vacation Ideas for Spring Break in Colorado 2014

Since my kids started school, education takes precedence over travel for most of the year. That’s why Spring Break is gold—what can beat an entire, unencumbered week to just play? We have taken full advantage  over the years and travels have included a Disney Cruise and visiting family while we skied Park City Mountain Resort in Utah.

This will be our first Spring Break in Colorado and we aren’t complaining. Already my kids have a full roster of Denver adventures and a glorious few days in Steamboat Springs. With world-class destinations at our fingertips, why look anywhere else?

Aspen

Late-season in Aspen means great deals, free concerts, action and a whole lot of fun! The 14th annual Bud Light Spring Jam March 14-23 will bring two weekends of competitions, downtown concerts and parties to Aspen/Snowmass. Festivities include the annual KickAspen Big Air, where skiers and snowboarders compete under the lights at the base of Aspen. A Terrain Park Boot Camp offers both adults and kids instruction on how to slide a box or hit a rail in a mini-park on Snowmass. Another great options is The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), which is a non-profit environmental science education organization that offers fantastic programs for children and adults. Also, get your kids ages 7-12 on the slopes for free when you purchase a 3-day lift ticket.  Book by March 24, 2014 (for April): Valid March 8 – April 20, 2014.

Good Times Adventures in Breckenridge

Good Times Adventures in Breckenridge

Breckenridge

Only a 1.5-hour drive from Denver, Breckenridge’s authentic mining town has everything: a world-class ski resort, the Blue River (a tributary of the raging Colorado River), an idyllic Main Street and plenty of activities for Spring Break. If you’re lucky, the 1-acre Ice Castles will still be open (weather-dependent) or try your hand at dog sledding or snowmobiling with Good Times Adventures. For hands-on science play, check out the Family Science Nights at the Mountain Top Children’s Museum on March 11, 22 and April 19. Every Sunday in March, Breckenridge Art Supply hosts a Kids arts and crafts hour at 11 a.m. or try the Third Thursdays pARTy at Ready Paint Fire Breck where families can paint keepsakes together and the studio fees are waived. Be sure to explore on the Foxy Loxy family ski and snowshoe trail and then warm up in the new day lodge at the Breckenridge Nordic Center. P.S. Free s’mores for kids!

 Colorado Springs

If you’re looking for a quickie getaway, this is it. Just 70 miles south of Denver, Colorado Springs feels like a world away. Feed the giraffes at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo or kids will love their Spring Break Camps: the Zoolympics (ages 5-7) and Junior Veterinarian program (ages 8-10).

Wind Walker Ropes Challenge

Wind Walker Challenge Course

Tour the Cave of the Winds‘ 500 million-year old world underground or if you want a real thrill, test your mettle on their Wind Walker Challenge Course, a three-story obstacle course balanced on the rim of a 600-foot drop into beautiful Williams Canyon.  Connect with deity as you hike through the Garden of the Gods and if the weather is nice, be sure to dine on the gorgeous back patio of the Trading Post’s Balanced Rock Cafe.  The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum offers their free 30 minute “Windows into History Tour” each Saturday including March 22 and 29. If you really want to spoil yourself stay at The Broadmoor, which offers plenty of activities such as Play’s six bowling lanes, billiards, and board games, and the spa and tennis complex’s enclosed swimming pool, as well as an array of outdoor adventures including horseback riding, hiking, fly fishing, and more. Their Spring Break Package includes complimentary dining for kids 10 and under, discount tickets to the zoo, 15 percent discount off PLAY and a 30 percent discount on published suite rates.

Skating West Lake

Skating at Copper’s West Lake

Copper Mountain Resort

Not only is Mile High Mamas teaming up with popchips to send you to Copper for Spring Break (enter our ticket giveaway here), this mountain resort is just 75 miles west of Denver. With over 150 trails across 2,465 acres, we fell in love with Copper Mountain’s varied terrain but you don’t need to be a skier/rider to have fun over Spring Break. Woodward at Copper’s 19,400-square foot indoor playground offers intro and drop-in sessions or you can sign up for their Winter Camp on March 22-23 where you’ll spend half the day in The Woodward Barn on trampolines and in foam pits before taking it to the snow in Woodward’s terrain parks. If you prefer to be more grounded (on ice) skate on Copper’s West Lake in the heart of the Village Copper (free; skate rentals are $10) or get a rush on the Alpine Rush Zipline that soars 30 feet above West Lake. The Tubing Hill’s four banked turns and magic-carpet in East Village is the best kind of fun and if you have littles under 36” tall, they’ll love Critterland’s interactive snow-play area located adjacent to the Tubing Hill.

 Crested Butte

I’ve long touted Crested Butte as my favorite resort town in Colorado and their Spring Break does not disappoint. Beginning March 14 through closing day (April 6), kids 12 and under stay and ski free when staying at designated lodging properties. From Camp CB (the resort’s kids’ ski and ride school) to the Adventure Park that includes the Coke Zero Gravity BagJump, to a rock-climbing wall, miniature golf and bungee trampolines, there is plenty of fun. On Saturday, March 22, the fifth annual Ski Town Break Down is a spring celebration with live music and a festival village in the base area. If you want to dump errr drop the kids off, they’ll love Kid’s Night Out while Mom and Dad take on the town.

Kidtopia at Keystone

Kidtopia at Keystone

Keystone

Since Keystone introduced their signature programming Kidtopia, kids rule at this Colorado resort. Offered all season long, this kid party on the slopes continues through Spring Break. Kids will love careening down slides, shimmying through tunnels and wandering through mazes in the Snowfort on top of Dercum Peak. Who wouldn’t love  cookie hour at Dercum Square Ice Rink or the Kidtopia Scavenger Hunt and parade every Saturday at 4 p.m. For indoor fun, the new Kidtopia Headquarters houses a coloring corner, patrol play area and a Ready, Paint, Fire studio for kids and adults to paint pottery. Other exciting new Kidtopia activations include ‘In Search of Bigfoot Night Adventure Walk’ that entails a teacher taking families on a night walk through the trees to learn about the area, animals and of course bigfoot.  If you want a break from all the Kidtopia, skate or play hockey on Keystone Lake, truly one of Colorado’s best. Stay two nights at a Keystone lodging property and kids 12 and under ski and ride free.

 Royal Gorge Region

The Royal Gorge Region is an amalgam of family-friendly attractions, eateries and outdoor adventures near Cañon City, Colorado. Interest has been high to see the extent of the damage caused by the Royal Gorge Fire last June and spectators will get their first glimpse at the rebuilding process just in time for Spring Break beginning March 15. The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park will offer guided tours on park vehicles through construction zones on the weekends. Climb aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad for a spectacularly journey through Royal Gorge. If you’re into heights, visit the Royal Gorge Bridge, which is America’s highest suspension bridge. If you have a T-Rex lover, they’ll love walking with the dinosaurs at the Garden Park Fossil Area, dubbed one of the greatest dinosaur graveyards in the world. Be sure to see the replica dinosaurs at the Dinosaur Depot Displaying and literally follow their tracks at the Skyline Drive Trackway Site. If you want to do an extreme tour, take a guided jeep adventure to see dinosaur fossils, historic mining towns to witness (but hopefully not experience) the amazing steep drop-off of the glorious Royal Gorge.

steamboatSteamboat Springs

My family has been to Steamboat Springs numerous times during the summer and fall but we will be hitting their slopes for the first time over Spring Break. It wasn’t a tough decision to make. This western town is a winter playgorund that goes far beyond skiing and riding–from snowshoeing to sleigh ride dinners, hot springs, snow bike lessons, cross-country skiing at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, tubing at Howelsen Hill, horseback rides, snowmobling and shopping. On March 17 at 7:30 p.m., the Torchlight Parade & Fireworks is a spectacular on-snow parade down the mountain lit only by torches.In conjunction with the torchlight parades, a fireworks display will illuminate the sky providing a perfect ending to the evening.  The Coca-Cola Adventure Zone Slingshot Bungee Jump Trampoline at the base of the ski area in Gondola Square is a high-flying adventure. Kids Ski Free with stays of 5 nights or more (maximum 2 kids), valid through April 12.

Sunlight Mountain Resort and Glenwood Hot Springs

How does a Spring Break of skiing, soaking and playing at an adventure park on top of a mountain sound to you?  Glenwood Springs boasts the world’s largest hot springs pool, trails for snowshoeing or hiking, a vaudeville show, shopping, award-winning restaurants and affordable lodging options. Starting on March 7, the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be open daily and features a gondola ride, tours of Glenwood Caverns and Historic Fairy Caves, dining, and attractions including an alpine coaster, 4-dimensional theater, laser tag, giant swing, a climbing wall, gemstone sluice box mining, simulated Conestoga wagon experience, roller coasters and a Ferris wheel ride. Sunlight Mountain Resort offers downhill skiing and riding, trails for Nordic and snowshoeing, and snowmobile tours. Their Swim Stay package starts as low as $99 and includes a lift ticket to ski or ride at Sunlight Mountain Resort, unlimited all-day admission to Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and conveniently located lodging in Glenwood Springs. Best of all, kids 12 and under ski free with a paying adult.  www.sunlightmtn.com.

sleighrideYMCA of the Rockies

Both of YMCA of the Rockies’ Colorado locations are hopping for Spring Break and make for a fantastic family vacation. Snow Mountain Ranch near Granby, Colo. has many fun winter activities including their popular dogsledding run (the most affordable in Colorado), snowshoeing, sleigh rides, Nordic skiing or play indoors at their pool, indoor archery range or climbing wall. Estes Park borders Rocky Mountain National Park and activities include evening hours at the Lula Dorsey Museum with fun family activities, a Spring Break Luau with contests and prizes, the Craft & Design Center’s “Golden Egg Special” on Fridays or learn about birds of prey in their Outdoor Ed Talk Series “The Secret Lives of Owls.” At the Estes Park Center, guest can get 3 nights for the price of 2.

 

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In case you missed it: Spring Break in Denver 2014–Over 50 Activities to Choose From.