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A (Funny) Family Guide to Hiking With Toddlers: 12 Things You need

One of the things I love most about outdoor actives and small children is that it generally wears them out. Oh, and it makes memories and stuff.

Before we had kids, my husband and I were out every weekend on a different adventure. We had the luxury of just hopping in our car and going. We didn’t need to take naps into consideration because we’d nap after our destination hike, or wine tasting.

Boy, has that changed.

These days hiking is still fun but, it’s more of a three-ring circus kind of fun. Where people cry, and someone almost always falls and gets a face full of dirt. Like anything else with parenting, hiking with toddlers takes some trial runs to finesse it a little.

Here’s a few tips on what you’ll need:

12 Days of Toddler Christmas

As Christmas rounds the corner, I find myself officially on the other side of the Christmas magic. That doesn’t mean Christmas has no magic left. It simply means that after the Christmas magic dust has settled to the floor, I have to clean it up. With a broom. Because my three-year old shows the same amount of fear towards the vacuum as I would, if I opened my pantry and found an actual shark inside.

The side of Christmas I’m talking about  is the day-to-day side: Hey, hey! It’s Christmas! Also, it’s Tuesday! Did you pay the utility bill?

I don’t know who wrote the Christmas carol: “Twelve Days of Christmas.” But, I’d be willing to bet both the giver and recipient were adults. Not just because a verse from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star doesn’t make a cameo, but because the gifts are actual gifts. Weird gifts, but gifts nonetheless. If the writer had been singing about gift giving from toddlers, then it’s easy to understand how day-to-day life ties into an adult’s Christmas.

Your 2013 Holiday Movie Preview

‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the movie-house …

Well, you get the picture. Starting Wednesday, movie theaters will be stuffed. And with a very few exceptions, turkeys don’t seem to be on the menu. Far from it.

Here are some of the goods film studios — big and indie — are serving up this holiday season.

Black Nativity Writer-director Kasi Lemmons updates Harlem poet Langston Hughes’ 1961 Christmas musical with more than a little help from Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett. Jacob Latimore plays manchild Langston Cobbs, sent by his mother to her estranged parents’ home over the holiday. Nov. 27

Philomena Judi Dench enters the Oscar fray with this moving portrait of a birth mother searching for the son taken from her by the nuns in an Irish “convent” in the 1950s. Actor Steve Coogan co-wrote the screenplay based on BBC reporter Martin Sixsmith’s 2009 book. Coogan portrays Sixsmith, who accompanies Philomena on her fraught and remarkable sojourn. Nov. 27

Frozen Hans Christian Anderson’s fable “The Snow Queen” provides the departure point for Disney’s wintry adventure that follows Anna, mountain man Kristof and Sven the reindeer as they track down Anna’s sister, Elsa, who has put the kingdom of Arendelle in a deep freeze. Nov. 27

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug Think of this sequel as fan-fiction on the grandest of scales. J.R.R. Tolkien’s modest novel continues to get expanded by director-co-writer Peter Jackson and his loyal cohort. Dec. 13

Saving Mr. Banks Tom Hanks portrays the master of persuasion in this story about Walt Disney’s attempts to convince author P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to allow her beloved book “Mary Poppins” to become a beloved film. Dec. 20
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues By the time Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy makes his way to the big screen in this long-time-coming sequel, he may have worn out his welcome thanks to his incessant hawking for Dodge. But the film’s makers are counting on fans of Burgundy and his cohorts’ brilliant stupidity to make the comedy “kind of a big deal.” Dec. 20The Great Beauty Director Paolo Sorrentino was awarded the

Read more: Holiday movie preview: Serving up hefty movie fare, hold the turkeys – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_24565779/holiday-movie-preview-serving-up-hefty-movie-fare#ixzz2lNXFljZN

Family Volunteer Opportunities: Rake Up Colorado, Serve Up Thanksgiving or Adopt a Safeway Store!

Volunteers of America is looking for families to help rake limited-income seniors’ yards in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties. Take advantage of this group and family-friendly opportunity to help limited-income seniors with this important fall chore. YOU can make a difference!

When:  Saturday, November 2nd, 9:0 0.am. – 3:00 p.m. (times are flexible)

Where: Limited-income seniors’ yards in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties

Who:    You and your family…children of all ages are welcome!

What:   Volunteers will be assigned to rake leaves at seniors’ yards throughout their service area. Together, the goal is to serve 250 seniors through this one day of service.

Sign-Up:  To sign-up to volunteer, please call Robin Sikora at 303-297-0408.

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Thanksgiving Social and Bingo Event

You can help brighten up the holidays and bring joy to low-income seniors this Thanksgiving by joining VOA for November’s Family Volunteer Project!  Families can  participate in a Thanksgiving Social and Bingo Event at Westminster Commons. Westminster Commons is an affordable housing apartment complex for seniors age 62 years and over. It is an independent living facility and is categorized under Subsidized Housing through HUD.

When:     Saturday, November 23, 2013, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Where:   Westminster Commons, 3180 W. 76th Ave, Westminster, CO 80030
Who:       You and your family…children of all ages are welcome!
What:      Hosting an appetizer  bar, making holiday cards and playing Bingo with low-income seniors at Westminster Commons.  Each family can bring their favorite appetizer to share.
RSVP:     Please sign up each member of your family through Volunteer Spot as well as an appetizer  to bring to the social. *Space is limited for this event. Sign-up is on a first come, first serve basis.

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Adopt a Safeway Store

Partner with Volunteers of America and Safeway this holiday season by adopting a Safeway store during the End Hunger Food Drive. Families will sign up for two-week shifts to collect donated food from their adopted store and drop off  items collected at Volunteers of America, City Harvest Food Bank.

Where:   Safeway Stores all over the Denver Metro area

When:   First shift starts November 13, 2013. Last shift ends December 25, 2013

Who:       You and your family…children of all ages are welcome!

What:      Collecting donated food several times a week from local Safeway store and bringing items to City Harvest Food Bank.

RSVP:     Please sign up  your family for a two week shift at your closest Safeway store listed through Volunteer Spot. Once you have signed up you will be contacted with additional information via email.

Additional Opportunities: Volunteers (over the age of 14) are also needed to help sort and box donated food on Saturdays throughout the drive.  If you would like to help, please contact Andrew Wilson at (303) 297-0408

 

 

Events: Old-fashioned Corn Roast Festival, Cirque and More

Old-fashioned Corn Roast Festival. On Aug 23rd, the event will kick off with the annual Corn Shucking Contest, lots of food, fun and entertainment with the New Sensation, 80’s Band. Saturday the 24th starts with the Annual Corn Roast Parade, Corn Eating Contest, Loveland’s Got Talent, Kid Zone activities, with lots more food, fun and entertainment and bands playing all throughout the day in downtown Loveland at 152 East 5th Street.  http://www.denver.org

Be sure to see Peter and the Starcatcher Aug. 15 through Sept. 1 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. A grownup’s prequel to the beloved story of Peter Pan, Broadway’s most mayhem-filled evening of madcap fun launches its national tour in Denver. With enormous talent, ingenious stagecraft and the limitless possibilities of imagination, experience the story of a nameless boy who becomes Peter Pan.

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.
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
Taste of Colorado. A Labor Day tradition in Denver, Taste of Colorado not only has more than 50 of Colorado’s favorite food establishments and 280 Marketplace booths but loads of family-friend events. Featured acts, including Wayne and Wingnut’s “Red Hot Chili Puppets” Comedy Ventriloquist, Bekah Smith’s One-Woman Circus Adventure, and Mr. Kneeel’s Hip Hop for Families, are set to appear on the Comfort Dental KidzStage. Children and adults can stay busy for hours with carnival rides, games, educational exhibits, and more.  The KidZone presented by MIX 100 is a family-friendly area offering play equipment and table tennis. There will also be a great variety of free, hands-on craft activities for children of all ages, presented by 101.9 WAY-FM. KidZone hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fri., Aug. 30; and 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sat., Aug. 31 through Mon., Sept. 2. The four-day, free admission, food, music, and entertainment festival will take place in Downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park. www.atasteofcolorado.com
Denver’s Annual Rocky Mountain PBS KIDS Fun Fest. On Sept. 7, Rocky Mountain PBS is hosting a fantastic FREE party for families. Ideal for kids preschool age through sixth grade, the event will host PBS characters such as Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Word Girl and Sid the Science Kid. Entertainment from the stage includes performances by outstanding local talent guaranteed to get everyone moving. Healthy refreshments will be offered and kids will enjoy moving around to different activity areas featuring Discovery Street, PBS Healthy Kids Go, PBS Science KIDS, PBS KIDS Create and PBS ABCs & 123s KIDS. The event will be held at Rocky Mountain PBS, 1089 Bannock Street, Denver from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. http://www.rmpbs.org/funfest
Free Library Concert. On Saturday, September 7, the Denver Public Library is hosting a free concert with award-winning children’s musician Jim Gill. Suitable for families with kids ages birth – three, the interactive show will feature energetic rhythms on Jim’s banjo while everyone claps, sings, dances and even sneezes along to the silly and inspiring musical games that he creates.  The concert will take place at the Denver Central Library, B2 Conference Center, 10 W. 14th Ave Parkway (at Broadway), 2 p.m. FREE, no RSVP required. http://denverlibrary.org/jim-gills-family-room-tour
Denver Art Museum Friendship Powwow. On Sept. 7, experience powwow dance and pageantry, participate in a community mural project, enter to win prize drawings, browse vendor booths, and enjoy your first (or 101st) piece of fry bread at the Denver Art Museum.
http://www.denverartmuseum.org/calendar/23rd-annual-denver-art-museum-friendship-powwowFestival Italiano. On Sept. 7-8, the annual Festival Italiano Food & Wine Festival at Belmar Center is a fun-filled celebration of all things Italian. The event will feature over 70 of the finest Italian food, wine and artisan vendors from the area who will sell ceramics, gelato, sausage, baked goods, pasta, flowers, herbs, sculpture, antique maps, produce, pizza and much more. www.belmarcolorado.com/sub/event/festival_italiano/index.html 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  ====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.

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. mychildsmuseum.org.

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.

 

A Taste of Colorado: Win a $50 gift certificate!

Take a bite out of Labor Day by hitting the 30th annual A Taste of Colorado Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2013 at Civic Center Park.

More than 50 of Colorado’s favorite food establishments will be selling a wide variety of small portions to full meals, ensuring that there will be something for every palate. There will be plenty of music, magic, clowns, and puppets on the Comfort Dental KidzStage, and the KidZone features play equipment and hands-on craft activities. Kids and adults also can enjoy carnival rides and games Saturday through Monday.

In the Festival of Mountain and Plain area, families can learn about the state’s pioneer past, nature, and the environment. Featured artisans will demonstrate Navajo weaving and culture, spinning, rug braiding, lace crocheting, felting, and quilting, along with the popular blacksmith demonstration. At the Raptor Education Foundation (REF) exhibit, children can learn about birds, their environment, and their interactions with humans.

Events: Cultimate Festival, Heroes Against Hunger and More!

Heroes Against Hunger Summer Block Party. Help fight child hunger On Saturday, August 17th from noon-5 p.m. at the University of Denver Campus Green. Admission is FREE and kids can enjoy carnival games, a bounce castle, and great food, which will cost less than $4. Currently, one in five kids in Colorado struggles with hunger. Chefs Daniel Asher of Linger, Brandon Foster of Vesta Dipping Grill, Jeff Osaka of Twelve, Matt Selby of Corner House and Tyler Wiard of Elway’s will join Cummings to create and serve their favorite dishes. Local farmers, Denver Urban Gardens, MM Local, Source Local Foods, and Whole Foods will set up a farmers market to show off local produce. Community organizations like Cooking Matters Colorado, Produce for Pantries, and Slow Food will give cooking demonstrations. http://www.heroesblockparty.com/

Cultivate Festival. On Saturday, Aug. 17, the Cultivate Festival will return to Denver’s City Park, bringing together food, farmers, chefs (local and nationally renowned), brewers, wine makers, artisans and musicians to get people thinking and talking about food and food-related issues. The festival is FREE and brought to Coloradans by locally-grown Chipotle Mexican Grill. The event will feature a Kids Zone, filled with fun, educational activities to help families learn about where their food comes from and why it’s important. Free activities and events include         Plant the Seed: Get kids gardening by decorating biodegradable pots and planting seeds to start their very own salsa garden at home,        Applegate Art Yard, and the Kitchen Community: See how a Learning Garden helps to connect your kids to nutritious food by creating an outdoor classroom and experiential play space with edible vegetables.

Be one of the first to see Peter and the Starcatcher Aug. 15 through Sept. 1 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. A grownup’s prequel to the beloved story of Peter Pan, Broadway’s most mayhem-filled evening of madcap fun launches its national tour in Denver. With enormous talent, ingenious stagecraft and the limitless possibilities of imagination, experience the story of a nameless boy who becomes Peter Pan.

Central City Wild Bunch. Now through Aug. 17, bring back a bit of the Wild West with old fashion shoot-outs which feature comedy and different stories each hour. Talk to the cowboys about what life would have been like in Central City during Colorado’s Gold Rush. Affiliated with Gilpin Historical Society and Central City. Shows start at High Noon and are on the hour until 4:00 PM and are held on Main Street in Central City. http://www.denver.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.
Air Force Football’s Kid’s Day. The Air Force football team will host its annual Kid’s Day on Saturday, Aug. 17, beginning at 10 a.m. in Falcon Stadium. The day begins with a live practice at 10 a.m. followed by the performance from the Air Force cheerleaders/dance team. The autograph/photo session begins approximately at 11:45 a.m. and goes until 1 p.m. Fans can sign up for Kid Force and will have an opportunity to wear and be photographed in an Air Force uniform and helmet between 10 a.m. and the start of the autograph session. In addition to the on-field activities, the Air Force athletic department will also be offering an exclusive, one day only pre-sale of Notre Dame game tickets for those in attendance at Kid’s Day. www.goairforcefalcons.com
2013 Denver Pet Expo. On Aug. 17, check out 165 + pet-friendly exhibitors, live demos, low-cost vaccinations, a special appearance by Shorty Rossi (and his pit bull, Hercules), star of ‘Pit Boss’ on Animal Planet, giveaways, discounts on your favorite pet products, contests, retailers and much more for the whole family! Plus a mega-adoption event with 300+ pets available at this Denver Merchandise Mart event. http://www.denvermart.com/
Old-Fashioned Corn Roast Festival. On Aug 23rd will kick off the event with the annual Corn Shucking Contest, lots of food, fun and entertainment with the New Sensation, 80’s Band. Saturday the 24th starts with the Annual Corn Roast Parade, Corn Eating Contest, Loveland’s Got Talent, Kid Zone activities, with lots more food, fund and entertainment and bands playing all throughout the day in downtown Loveland at 152 East 5th Street.  http://www.denver.orgThrough 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

Taste of Colorado. A Labor Day tradition in Denver, Taste of Colorado not only has more than 50 of Colorado’s favorite food establishments and 280 Marketplace booths but loads of family-friend events. Featured acts, including Wayne and Wingnut’s “Red Hot Chili Puppets” Comedy Ventriloquist, Bekah Smith’s One-Woman Circus Adventure, and Mr. Kneeel’s Hip Hop for Families, are set to appear on the Comfort Dental KidzStage. Children and adults can stay busy for hours with carnival rides, games, educational exhibits, and more.  The KidZone presented by MIX 100 is a family-friendly area offering play equipment and table tennis. There will also be a great variety of free, hands-on craft activities for children of all ages, presented by 101.9 WAY-FM. KidZone hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fri., Aug. 30; and 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sat., Aug. 31 through Mon., Sept. 2. The four-day, free admission, food, music, and entertainment festival will take place in Downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park. www.atasteofcolorado.com

Denver’s Annual Rocky Mountain PBS KIDS Fun Fest. On Sept. 7, Rocky Mountain PBS is hosting a fantastic FREE party for families. Ideal for kids preschool age through sixth grade, the event will host PBS characters such as Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Word Girl and Sid the Science Kid. Entertainment from the stage includes performances by outstanding local talent guaranteed to get everyone moving. Healthy refreshments will be offered and kids will enjoy moving around to different activity areas featuring Discovery Street, PBS Healthy Kids Go, PBS Science KIDS, PBS KIDS Create and PBS ABCs & 123s KIDS. The event will be held at Rocky Mountain PBS, 1089 Bannock Street, Denver from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. http://www.rmpbs.org/funfest

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: Beaver Tales

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. mychildsmuseum.org.

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.

Events: Jefferson County Fair, Back-to-School Fest and More

Jefferson County Fair. August 9-11, the Jefferson County Fair includes carnival rides and attractions, Mutton Bustin’, the Jefferson County Rodeo, Draft Horse Show, Evening of Horses, stage entertainment, Stick Horse Rodeo and more. Admission is free at the Jefferson Count Fairgrounds 15200 West 6th Avenue, Golden, Friday 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Be sure to check the website for specific event times. http://www.jeffcofairinc.org/
Denver County Fair. This annual event Aug. 9-11 celebrates the creativity and personality of Denver, with events, exhibitors, blue ribbon competitions and more. This year they have 14 interlocking indoor pavilions, each with its own exhibitors, vendors, stage demonstrations, entertainment and open competitions. The super-popular Kids Pavilion will expand to include the 4-H Pavilion, and also look for their bigger indoor playground area – wwth more bounce houses and inflatables. Be sure to go to denvercountyfair.org for pricing and hours.
Pepsi Back-to-School Fest. Aquafina, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and the City of Denver want to help your kid(s) be ready to go back to school!  Join the KS107.5 street team at the Denver Coliseum on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 9 a.m. to noon for the third annual Back to School. In the first two years of this event, over 20,000 children received school supplies in a fun environment. www.redrocksonline.com
Arvada’s 2nd Saturday Street Festival. Summer evenings in Olde Town Arvada will again come to life at the 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. www.oldetownarvada.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.

Heroes Against Hunger Summer Block Party. Help fight child hunger On Saturday, August 17th from noon-5 p.m. at the University of Denver Campus Green. Admission is FREE and kids can enjoy carnival games, a bounce castle, and great food, which will cost less than $4. Currently, one in five kids in Colorado struggles with hunger. Chefs Daniel Asher of Linger, Brandon Foster of Vesta Dipping Grill, Jeff Osaka of Twelve, Matt Selby of Corner House and Tyler Wiard of Elway’s will join Cummings to create and serve their favorite dishes. Local farmers, Denver Urban Gardens, MM Local, Source Local Foods, and Whole Foods will set up a farmers market to show off local produce. Community organizations like Cooking Matters Colorado, Produce for Pantries, and Slow Food will give cooking demonstrations. http://www.heroesblockparty.com/

Cultivate Festival. On Saturday, Aug. 17, the Cultivate Festival will return to Denver’s City Park, bringing together food, farmers, chefs (local and nationally renowned), brewers, wine makers, artisans and musicians to get people thinking and talking about food and food-related issues. The festival is FREE and brought to Coloradans by locally-grown Chipotle Mexican Grill. The event will feature a Kids Zone, filled with fun, educational activities to help families learn about where their food comes from and why it’s important. Free activities and events include         Plant the Seed: Get kids gardening by decorating biodegradable pots and planting seeds to start their very own salsa garden at home,        Applegate Art Yard, and the Kitchen Community: See how a Learning Garden helps to connect your kids to nutritious food by creating an outdoor classroom and experiential play space with edible vegetables.

Air Force Football’s Kid’s Day. The Air Force football team will host its annual Kid’s Day on Saturday, Aug. 17, beginning at 10 a.m. in Falcon Stadium. The day begins with a live practice at 10 a.m. followed by the performance from the Air Force cheerleaders/dance team. The autograph/photo session begins approximately at 11:45 a.m. and goes until 1 p.m. Fans can sign up for Kid Force and will have an opportunity to wear and be photographed in an Air Force uniform and helmet between 10 a.m. and the start of the autograph session. In addition to the on-field activities, the Air Force athletic department will also be offering an exclusive, one day only pre-sale of Notre Dame game tickets for those in attendance at Kid’s Day. www.goairforcefalcons.com

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. wowchildrensmuseum.org.

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

Taste of Colorado. A Labor Day tradition in Denver, Taste of Colorado not only has more than 50 of Colorado’s favorite food establishments and 280 Marketplace booths but loads of family-friend events. Featured acts, including Wayne and Wingnut’s “Red Hot Chili Puppets” Comedy Ventriloquist, Bekah Smith’s One-Woman Circus Adventure, and Mr. Kneeel’s Hip Hop for Families, are set to appear on the Comfort Dental KidzStage. Children and adults can stay busy for hours with carnival rides, games, educational exhibits, and more. The four-day, free admission, food, music, and entertainment Festival will take place Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30  through Sept. 2, in Downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park. www.atasteofcolorado.com

The KidZone presented by MIX 100 is a family-friendly area offering play equipment and table tennis. There will also be a great variety of free, hands-on craft activities for children of all ages, presented by 101.9 WAY-FM. KidZone hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fri., Aug. 30; and 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sat., Aug. 31 through Mon., Sept. 2.

Denver’s Annual Rocky Mountain PBS KIDS Fun Fest. On Sept. 7, Rocky Mountain PBS is hosting a fantastic FREE party for families. Ideal for kids preschool age through sixth grade, the event will host PBS characters such as Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Word Girl and Sid the Science Kid. Entertainment from the stage includes performances by outstanding local talent guaranteed to get everyone moving. Healthy refreshments will be offered and kids will enjoy moving around to different activity areas featuring Discovery Street, PBS Healthy Kids Go, PBS Science KIDS, PBS KIDS Create and PBS ABCs & 123s KIDS. The event will be held at Rocky Mountain PBS, 1089 Bannock Street, Denver from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. http://www.rmpbs.org/funfest

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.

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 dinoridge.org 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.
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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/2013/07/30/events-9/#sthash.1IMLN7LG.dpuf

It’s summer: Time for crawdad fishing in Denver’s neighborhood streams and ponds

August looms and kids all over are itching for fishing, or anything else to while away the last days of summer.  ! — those of the shallows that lurk in every slow-moving body of water in town, await their nemeses. One can almost picture them flourishing their pincers in a ‘Bring it on!’ moment.

The recommended equipment for crawdad-fishin’ is rather tricky and expensive.  Here is your shopping list, Mom:

1) a stick.

2) a string.

3) a paperclip.

4) a hot dog.

Seriously, the beauty of crawdad-fishin’ is its simplicity:

Events: History Colorado Center’s FREE celebration, kids learn to golf and more

History Colorado Center. Celebrate Colorado’s 137th birthday on Aug. 1 at the History Colorado Center with free admission to exhibits, including live performances, make-and-take crafts, library “pop in” sessions, $1 hot dogs and more. See special temporary exhibits like Gold!, All Aboard Colorado, and The American Soldier. Visit their website for complete Aug. 1 – Colorado Day information and schedule. Colorado Day celebration includes FREE admission to History Colorado Center and statewide History Colorado museums; starting Aug. 2, children 12 and under receive FREE admission to the History Colorado Center through Sept. 30! Offer includes two children per each paid accompanying adult; adults must register in History Colorado’s free History Buff program to redeem offer. For complete offer terms, visit HistoryColoradoCenter.org

Kids for Charity Ronald McDonald House Golf Event.  On Friday, August 2, join Ronald McDonald for a fun-filled day of Kids helping Kids! Besides learning to play golf, kids will learn the value of giving back. The day is open to all kids ages 6-16. No golf experience is required, but each child must be accompanied by one grown-up caddy. The day begins with a clinic designed JUST FOR KIDS! After that, the par-3 course will be open for anyone who wants to play. 8:30 a.m.: Registration; 9 a.m.: Breakfast and Program 9:30 a.m.: Kid-Friendly Instructional Clinic; 10:30 a.m.; Shotgun start on the par-3. Common Ground Golf Course, 10300 E. Golfers Way, Aurora, Colo. Players are strongly encouraged to bring their own clubs. If that’s not possible, please contact Jonna Busack at 303-832-6641 to arrange to borrow a set. ronaldhouse.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.

Free Days:

Friday, August 2 – Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield

Friday, August 2 – Four Mile Historic Park

Friday, August 2 – Museo de las Americas

Friday, August 2 – Arts Street Movie

Saturday, August 3 – Denver Art Museum

Saturday, August 3 – Denver Firefighter’s Museum

Sunday, August 4 – Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys

Monday, August 5 – Colorado State Parks (Celebrating Colorado Day)

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.  visitgolden.com.

Family fun in Pagosa Springs. The Archuleta County Fair takes place Friday-Aug. 4 in Pagosa Springs. This family-friendly weekend includes a craft show, kids activities, a tractor show, a beer garden, a rodeo and more. archuletacountyfair.com

Leadville Boom Days and burro race. Leadville’s Boom Days and International Pack Burro Race takes place Friday-Aug. 4. The weekend celebrates the area’s mining heritage with mining competitions, a craft fair, an auto show, a parade, kids activities, live entertainment and a 21-mile pack burro race. visitleadvilleco.com

Crestone Music fest. The Crestone Music Festival is Friday-Aug. 4 at the Crestone Challenger Golf Course, with two live music stages, food and drink vendors, contests and family acitivities. crest-fest.org

Arts and crafts in Beaver Creek. The 26th annual Beaver Creek Art Festival takes place Saturday-Aug. 4. Hundreds of artists and crafters will showcase sculptures, paintings, jewelry, photography, ceramics and more. artfestival.com – Compiled by Francie Swidler

Jefferson County Fair. August 9-11, the Jefferson County Fair includes carnival rides and attractions, Mutton Bustin’, the Jefferson County Rodeo, Draft Horse Show, Evening of Horses, stage entertainment, Stick Horse Rodeo and more. Admission is free at the Jefferson Count Fairgrounds 15200 West 6th Avenue, Golden, Friday 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Be sure to check the website for specific event times. http://www.jeffcofairinc.org/

Heroes Against Hunger Summer Block Party. Help fight child hunger On Saturday, August 17th from noon-5 p.m. at the University of Denver Campus Green. Admission is FREE and kids can enjoy carnival games, a bounce castle, and great food, which will cost less than $4. Currently, one in five kids in Colorado struggles with hunger. Chefs Daniel Asher of Linger, Brandon Foster of Vesta Dipping Grill, Jeff Osaka of Twelve, Matt Selby of Corner House and Tyler Wiard of Elway’s will join Cummings to create and serve their favorite dishes. Local farmers, Denver Urban Gardens, MM Local, Source Local Foods, and Whole Foods will set up a farmers market to show off local produce. Community organizations like Cooking Matters Colorado, Produce for Pantries, and Slow Food will give cooking demonstrations. http://www.heroesblockparty.com/

Cultivate Festival. On Saturday, Aug. 17, the Cultivate Festival will return to Denver’s City Park, bringing together food, farmers, chefs (local and nationally renowned), brewers, wine makers, artisans and musicians to get people thinking and talking about food and food-related issues. The festival is FREE and brought to Coloradans by locally-grown Chipotle Mexican Grill. The event will feature a Kids Zone, filled with fun, educational activities to help families learn about where their food comes from and why it’s important. Free activities and events include         Plant the Seed: Get kids gardening by decorating biodegradable pots and planting seeds to start their very own salsa garden at home,        Applegate Art Yard, and the Kitchen Community: See how a Learning Garden helps to connect your kids to nutritious food by creating an outdoor classroom and experiential play space with edible vegetables.

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. wowchildrensmuseum.org.

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.

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. www.oldetownarvada.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

Denver’s Annual Rocky Mountain PBS KIDS Fun Fest. On Sept. 7, Rocky Mountain PBS is hosting a fantastic FREE party for families. Ideal for kids preschool age through sixth grade, the event will host PBS characters such as Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Word Girl and Sid the Science Kid. Entertainment from the stage includes performances by outstanding local talent guaranteed to get everyone moving. Healthy refreshments will be offered and kids will enjoy moving around to different activity areas featuring Discovery Street, PBS Healthy Kids Go, PBS Science KIDS, PBS KIDS Create and PBS ABCs & 123s KIDS. The event will be held at Rocky Mountain PBS, 1089 Bannock Street, Denver from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. http://www.rmpbs.org/funfest

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.

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 dinoridge.org 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.
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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/2013/07/21/dragon-boat-festival-denver-events-family/#sthash.R8iSCjO5.dpuf