How old is 49? As the Denver Post pointed out: “In the classic movie ‘The Natural’, and in the not-quite-as-classic ‘The Rookie,’ heroes Roy Hobbs and Jimmy Morris are over-the-hill ballplayers who attempt to have one last hurrah before the game passes them by. Their age: 35. And Crash Davis, whom Kevin Costner's character was based on in ‘Bull Durham’? He was 33.”
But none of those fictional teams were in the Mile High City. Denver is different. With 300 days of sunshine and a location at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Denver encourages a healthy, active, outdoor lifestyle for people of all ages. The city has the thinnest population in the U.S. and wins many polls as America’s fittest city.
Tourists have also discovered there’s more to do in Denver. Here are 10 great active things for boomers to do on a sunny vacation in the Mile High City.
1. Hit a golf ball 10 percent farther. At Denver’s elevation 5,280 feet above sea level, golf balls (footballs and baseballs) travel 10 percent farther than at sea-level.
2. Ride a B-cycle. Denver launched America’s first citywide bike-sharing program in 2010 with 500 Trek bikes available at 52 stations around the city. There are 85-miles of off-street, paved bike trails to explore – many of them start from downtown.
3. Listen to a concert under the stars at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Okay, “listening” is not that active, but climbing to your seat in this spectacular mountain setting, 6,200 feet above sea level, will burn off a few calories.
4. Hike with dinosaurs. Dinosaur Ridge just west of Denver is where the first dinosaur bones were ever discovered. Today, a trail winds by bones that are still partially encased in rock, or by giant dinosaur footprints as big as a basketball.
5. Kayak and raft past skyscrapers. Denver has a manmade kayak chute right in the heart of the city through Confluence Park. People purchasing kayaks in the REI Flagship store next door can “test drive” the kayak in the South Platte River before they buy it.
6. Hoist a beer at one of the city’s 18 brewpubs. Denver brews more beer than any other U.S. city – more than 200 different beers are brewed in the city every day. If that’s not active enough, head to one of the local breweries or tap houses for a leisurely 5K or 10K run through the neighborhoods with a hundred new friends, and some very fit residents of the Mile High City. Afterwards, enjoy a free pasta and salad dinner and microbrew specials. Participating venues include Denver Beer Co. on Tuesday evenings, Highland Tap & Burger on Wednesday evenings, and Irish Snug on Thursday nights.
7. Scuba dive with sharks. The Downtown Aquarium has a program that allows visitors to get up close and personal with the sharks and stingrays by donning a wetsuit and joining them.
8. Drive up the highest paved auto road in the Western Hemisphere – the snaking highway to the summit of 14,260-foot high Mount Evans. If driving is too easy for you, then climb a 14-er (there are 54 Fourteeners in Colorado – peaks that are 14,000-feet high or above). The Expedition Health exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science explains the dramatic things that happen to your body at these extreme high altitudes.
9. Speed down a zipline. Nestled in a Rocky Mountain pine forest, just 30 minutes from downtown Denver, are Colorado's fastest and longest zip lines. At an elevation of over 8,000-feet, adventurers will fly at speeds up to 50 mph, sailing 200-feet high above a forest on zip lines that total more than a mile in length.
10. Eat your way through 25 food trucks at the great weekly food truck roundups held in Civic Center Park, every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer. Offering everything from pizza to South American dishes, gluten-free fare and ice cream, Denver’s four dozen roving food trucks are changing the city’s culinary scene.