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Labor Day 2013: 10 ways to celebrate summer’s end in Colorado

Labor Day carries a lot of weight as the unofficial end of summer, considering the crush of festivals, picnics, concerts and parties that get piled onto the three-day weekend.

But figuring out which events you should attend doesn’t have to feel like work. Here’s our quick-hit guide to doing Labor Day 10 ways with a minimum of fatigue.

1. Get high at Mount Evans

The window of weather that allows motorists to drive 60 miles west to the top of Mount Evans’ 14,264-foot summit is quickly closing, so if you still haven’t experienced the highest paved road in North America, this weekend is your last chance (until next year). On the way, stop at Echo Lake or Summit Lake to hike, fish or marvel at the stunning mountain and alpine tundra ecosystems. $10 per vehicle. 303-567-3000 or fs.usda.gov.

2. Face the music in Aspen/Snowmass

Denver Deal: Labor Day is Ski Sale Season!!

If you and your family are planning to ski this winter – now is the time to be thinking about deals and where you will want to ski.

Jr. Trade in Program

Colorado Ski & Golf (Ski & Sport) locations offer a  uniquely affordable ski rental program was created to insure that children’s equipment is as modestly priced as possible. After the first season’s rental, a complete package for used equipment that includes skis, boots and poles is only $49.99 per year. A mandatory binding check adds $15. Equipment can be exchanged as often as needed during the season to make sure the size and fit remains comfortable—free. The first year kids are registered in Junior Trade In, the cost is $99.99 for used equipment and then each year, a refit into a different set of used equipment is 50 percent off–$49.99. The deal remains in effect for as long as the child continues to rent through the Colorado Ski & Golf program.

School of Shred/5th Grade Passport

There are two different programs that allow the state’s 5th graders to ski/snowboard for FREE! School of Shred is the Vail Resorts program (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone & Arapahoe Basin) that is free for BOTH 5th and 6th graders. You have to show proof of your child being in that grade at any Colorado Ski & Golf Location (and occasionally at special events) then they are allowed to ski 4 times at each resort for free.

5th Grade Passport is the program by Colorado Ski Country which allows 5th Graders (and 6th graders for a nominal $99 annual fee) to ski at areas like Aspen, Steamboat, Crested Butte, Eldora, Winter Park, Copper & Loveland. Applications are mail in process available starting in September.

*There does not seem to be any restrictions about using BOTH programs.

Ski Rex

Skiers and snowboarders will want to hit the line early on Saturday of Labor Day weekend for the big tent sale at the Aurora Colorado Ski & Golf location. Deals on skis, snowboards, clothes, helmets, and accessories will be 30-75% off! Merchandise is overstocked and specially purchased stuff that are last season’s styles and models. New stuff will be at pre-season sale prices.

Christy Sports Powder Daze

Save up to 70% off  apparel and equipment plus get some amazing deals from ski resorts August 23 through Labor Day Weekend at Christy Sports near Park Meadows.

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin’s ski sale specials include fully transferable 4-Packs for $139. In addition, at Christy Sports’ Park Meadows location, the Elevation 4-Pass plus one half-off lift ticket for a friend will be on sale for $119.

Copper Mountain

Copper’s legendary Four Pack ($149) guarantees four days of skiing and riding at Copper Mountain, with no blackout dates during the 2013/2014 season. Plus, no blackout dates.  Adults (18-69): $369;  Teens (13-17): $299; Children (6-12): $209; Seniors (65+): $249; Ages five & under FREE.

Loveland

Skiers and snowboarders visiting Loveland’s booth at the first shows of the season (Ski Rex, Sniagrab, Powder Daze) can take advantage of special offers, including a $10 savings on 4-Pak purchases, great deals on new gear, and special offers only available through Labor Day Weekend. Loveland 4-Paks are unique as they are actual lift tickets that can be used by anyone on any day of the 2013-2014 season. With no restrictions and no blackouts, 4-Paks are only available through November 24, 2013. Also, at the sales, skiers and riders can play Loveland Lotto for their chance to win a Season Pass, lift tickets, lesson packages, $10 Beau Jo’s gift cards, limited edition Loveland head/neck scarfs and more.

Vail Resorts

Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass encompasses 5 mountains in Colorado including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin (the actually have 18 ski areas some in Utah, Lake Tahoe, Michigan and internationally as well). They have several different pass products depending on which mountains you want access to (and how much access ie. Unrestricted/Unlimited). Vail Resorts sells their passes at Colorado Ski & Golf (Ski & Sport) locations locally and REI near Park Meadows (on weekends). The most popular pass is the Epic Local currently at $529 for adults; $409 for teens and $269 for kids.

Winter Park

The 2013/14 Winter Park/Mary Jane season passes feature unrestricted access to Winter Park’s cruisers and groomers as well as the challenging bump and tree skiing at Mary Jane. Current prices for Winter Park season passes are guaranteed through September 3. Adults (ages 18 – 69): $369; Teens (ages 13-17): $299; Children (ages 6-12): $219; Ages five & under: $30

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

Don’t want to miss any of Mile High Mamas’ contests and events? Be sure to sign up for our weekly email newsletter so you can forward these great deals to your friends.

If you’re a twit follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Events: A Taste of Colorado, free festivals and more

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

5th Annual Smokin’ Brew BBQ. On Friday Aug. 30- Sunday Sept. 1, meat-lovers unite at this KCBS-Sanctioned BBQ competition in Parker, Colo. There will also be teams that will be vendors at the Smokin’ Brew offering samples of brisket, pulled pork, chicken and sausage, not to mention music all three days of the event. For the kids there will be bounce houses and some kid friendly food vendors. http://www.ourparkercolorado.com/smokin-brew-bbq-competition-labor-day-weekend/

Copper Mountain. Copper Mountain’s Labor Day tradition, Copper Country, is a free Labor Day festival tradition celebrating the best of the American spirit. Incredible live music, an arts festival, and Copper Kids Arts & Crafts come together to make this Labor Day weekend event ideal for the entire family. This year’s lineup includes Savannah Jack, The Long Players, Michael McDonald, Texaco Country Showdown and headliner Kenny Rogers. More information can be found at CopperCountryFest.com.

Durango Mountain Resort. Durango Mountain Resort is open weekends and Labor Day now through September 29. Visitors can enjoy a bevy of adventure activities including a new ropes obstacle course, new water runners, mountain biking, hiking, scenic chairlift rides, an alpine slide, climbing wall, bungee trampolines and more. Guests can take advantage of lodging packages starting at $38 per person, per night, and enjoy two nights lodging and Total Adventure Tickets for the entire family, which include Alpine Slide rides, miniature golf and other activities like the bungee trampoline, the new ropes obstacle course, climbing wall, the new Water Runners, and more.  www.DurangoMountainResort.com

The Zoppé Family Circus welcomes guests into the intimate 500 seat tent for a one-ring circus that honors the best history of the Old-World Italian tradition. Starring Nino the clown, the circus is propelled by a central story (as opposed to individual acts) that feature acrobatic feats, equestrian showmanship, canine capers, clowning and plenty of audience participation. Tickets are $20 for VIP chair seating or $15 for general admission, and children under 2 are free. There will be one performance Labor Day weekend on Friday, three performances on Saturday and Sunday and one performance on Sunday providing guests ample opportunities to see the show during their Labor Day weekend at Winter Park. For more information, visit WinterParkResort.com/events-and-activities.
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
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.
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-powwow
Festival 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
Kids Running America. Registration continues through Sept. 16: Registration is open for the KRA Fall Marathon Running Program, an incremental running program designed for kids to run 26.2 miles over a 10- to 12-week time frame, finishing their final mile at Washington Park on Oct. 27. The registration fee is $30 and includes the program, a mileage-tracking system, virtual running map, training incentives, entry into the Final Mile Event, race-day goodie bag, finisher’s medal, T-shirt and certificate of completion. Individuals and teams may register.
 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 
Hike & Seek. National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America’s largest conservation organization, is pleased to announce the fourth annual Hike & Seek event on Sept. 28 9 a.m.-noon at South Platte Park, in Littleton. Hike & Seek is a family outing that inspires a child’s sense of adventure by combining a nature hike and scavenger hunt. The event brings families together for a few hours in the great outdoors for some fresh fall air and fun and provides an opportunity to rediscover nature. People are encouraged to sign up at www.hikeandseek.org early to buy tickets and then show up ready to spend some family time in nature.
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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: Wild Homes
Thursday, September 5
10:15 or 11:15 AM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Wild homes can be anywhere. Discover which animals live in the dirt, dead trees, nests, and hives. Create a collage and search for these wild homes outside.
Kids ages 3-5 with an adult.

Preschool Nature Nuts: Wild Homes
Saturday, September 7
10:15 or 11:15 AM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Wild homes can be anywhere. Discover which animals live in the dirt, dead trees, nests, and hives. Create a collage and search for these wild homes outside.
Kids ages 3-5 with an adult.

Fall Wildflowers
Sunday, September 8
9:00 – 11:00 AM South Valley Park
Walk with a Native Plant Master and discover the importance of our native plants to wildlife and humans.
Ages 13-adult.

They Eat What?! Hike & Family Picnic
Saturday, September 14
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM Flying J Ranch Park
You won’t believe what some creatures consider food. Join this interactive, savory look at wildlife feeding habits before we dive into our own picnic lunches.
All ages.

Fall Stories
Sunday, September 15
2:00 – 3:30 PM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Take a short walk to discover what is interesting in the pine woods on that day, then come inside for a story about nature and place.
Ages 6-adult.

Toddler Nature Nuts: Wild Homes
Thursday, September 19
10:15 or 11:15 AM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Wild homes can be anywhere. Discover which animals live in the dirt, dead trees, nests, and hives. Create a collage and search for these wild homes outside.
Kids 2-years old with an adult.

Harvest Moon Rise
Friday, September 20
7:00 – 8:30 PM Deer Creek Canyon Park
Enjoy an evening hike to a ridge top as we watch the Harvest Moon rise over the plains. Learn about phases, features and traditional Harvest Moon tales.
Ages 6-adult.

Jr. Naturalists: Fabulous Fliers
Saturday, September 21
1:00 – 2:30 PM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Ever want to soar like an eagle or be as graceful as a dragonfly? Join us and learn how birds, bats and insects make it look so easy.
Kids ages 6-10 w/ adult.

Aspens: The Greatest Survivors
Sunday, September 22
1:00 – 3:00 PM Meyer Ranch Park
Our beautiful Rocky Mountain Aspens with thin trunks and dainty leaves are no weaklings. In the fall, you are charmed by their color. Now learn why they may be the mightiest tree in nature.
Ages 6-adult.

40th Anniversary Exhibit   
March 19 to November 17 (Hiwan Homestead Museum)
Come celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Jefferson County Historical Society and Jefferson County Open Space, which was voted into existence in 1972 and began receiving funds in 1973. Displays will center on important points in history, interesting facts about the development of Open Space and a variety of memorabilia.
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Ongoing Fun for the Whole Family

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park May – October

The nation’s ONLY downtown theme and water park 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

 

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.