Monday, July 27, 2009

Road Trip: Denver, Colorado

Next on our route was Ft. Collins, Colorado to see my husbands family. As usual we took some day trips down to Denver to do stuff with the kids. Naturally one of my favorite stops was Denver Fabrics. I got quite a few nice fabrics. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures. I was too busy fondling fabric to remember pictures.

We took the kids to a few fun places. Most of which we had been to before but had so much fun we made sure we did them again.

Overlooking Denver from the foothills

1. Denver Children's Museum

We visit this museum every time we are in Denver. When our kids were younger they LOVED the downstairs young child exhibit. This area was so much fun. There was a tree with all the things need to play house. There was costumes, a boat that rocked, and many other things I cannot remember. My kids were very disappointed that they were all over the age limit of 4 (I think) for this area. There was still plenty for them to do. There is a nice fire truck exhibit where my boys dressed up like firemen and pretended to fight fires.

We spent most of our time upstairs. I tried to get my kids into the art area but they weren't interested. They wanted to go to the invention area. This area has a bunch of cubbies with an assortment of tools. The children take recycled materials and can fashion them into anything they want. They do have some idea sheets to give ideas but the children are free to do whatever they want. My children started to make some things but were really just interested in sawing wood.
The next area my children loved (and remembered from the last time they were there 3 years ago) was the grocery store/diner. They loved shopping for groceries with their little carts, buying them from each other at the cash register and putting them back. They also really enjoyed taking orders and making food for mom and dad.

They spent some time at the small basketball court shooting baskets. Their other favorite area was an animal habitat playscape. They put on different animal costumes and then ran around up hills, through burrows, under trees, in and out of nests. This area was all about learning about different woodland animals' habitats, food and predators. They had a blast!

2. The Butterfly Pavillion

My husband and I had been to the Butterfly Pavillion years ago before we had children. We remembered that it was quite fun so we decided to take the kids. It was judged great by 2 out of 3 children. We didn't know that our oldest son would be terrified of the butterflies.

The first stop is a really neat room that has all kinds of different bugs. There was so many to explore that we do not get a chance to see. Seeing all the different ways that bugs camoflage themselves was fascinating.

The next room had some ocean creatures. The kids loved touching some starfish.

After the ocean room you can go into the butterfly pavillion. I LOVED this part. It is so fantastic! It is a beautiful pavillion full of trees, plants, flowers and of course butterflies. Butterflies from all over the world, in so many different beautiful colors fly everywhere. My daughter tried very hard to get one to land on her. This was so much fun!

The last room at the butterfly pavillion is a fun area for kids to climb, and play and learn more about different bugs. They also have hundreds of real (but dead) bugs and butterflies behind glass so you can get a close up look.

3. Hammond's Candies (featured on HGTV "How's It Made")

We toured this candy company a couple of years ago and wanted to go back again with my husbands family and when my children were a little older and could enjoy it a bit more. This is a fun step back in time. They make old fashioned candy with old fashioned methods on old fasioned machines. They make ribbon candy on a little contraption that is over 100 years old. This picture shows how they aerate the candy before it is shaped into candy canes and lollipops. This is a fast tour but it is fun to watch (and it's something free).

Of course the trip isn't complete without a stop in the candy store. :)

4. Red Rocks Park and Ampitheater

We decided to go to see Red Rocks as we were driving by on the highway. We were headed to Denver Fabrics so we decided to go after (couldn't take away any precious shopping time since they were going to close soon). I didn't really know what to expect. It was fascinating. The rock formations were beautiful. There are some hiking trails through the area but we unfortunately didn't have time to hike them. We drove up to the ampitheater but couldn't actually go in and see it because they were getting ready for a punk rock concert. We walked down a path from the top around the side to the bottom of the ampitheater where we could see in a bit. It was quite an amazing sight! In the picture you can kind of see the rows of stairs. These are the seats that look down onto the stage. The stage is backed by a huge rock as well as the sides. The rock formations make a natural ampitheater. It was really fun to see. I think going to a concert there would be awesome. Oh, here is a cool picture of part of the road up to the ampitheater.

I didn't really intend for these posts to become a long travel guide. Well, I hope this helps someone out there with a little trip planning. There are so many other fun things to do in Denver. These were just the ones we hit on this trip. Next time we are going to plan ahead to go on a tour of the Denver Mint. I think that would be really fun.

Hopefully my next post will involve some crafting.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

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