DENVER WINTER DAY TRIPS
The Denver area positively sparkles during winter – and there are plenty of fun activities for you and your family to enjoy!
Red Rocks & Golden
The concert season at Red Rocks Amphitheatre may be over, but you can still enjoy this natural wonder year-round. The Red Rocks Visitor Center’s winter hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m., seven days a week. Check out the Red Rocks Performers Hall of Fame, featuring photos and memorabilia from more than 40 years of incredible concerts. Learn about the massive rock formations in the Geologic Niche and explore the Trading Post Loop Hiking Trail, a 1.4-mile adventure through spectacular rock formations, valleys and a natural meadow. Find out more at www.redrocksonline.com. After you’ve enjoyed Red Rocks, spend some time in nearby Golden’s Old West-themed downtown, with a charming selection of shops, restaurants and attractions. For more information, log on to http://ci.golden.co.us. .
Denver Botanic Gardens
Things are still blooming at the Denver Botanic Gardens! From November through March, escape the cold and enjoy an hour in a tropical paradise with a tour through the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at the Gardens’ York Street location. From banyan tree roots to cloud forest orchids, you’ll discover one of the most compelling tropical plant displays in the country. Over at the Chatfield location, you and your family will find nature trails, a wildlife observation area, display gardens, educational exhibits, a historical farm, a 19th-century one-room schoolhouse, working beehives and picnic areas. Check out the new Deer Creek Discovery children’s area, which includes a whimsical tree house. Find out more about the Denver Botanic Gardens at www.botanicgardens.org.
The Mile High City boasts more than 4,000 acres of traditional parks and parkways, which include 2,500 urban natural acres. In the winter, they take on a wondrous glow, offering opportunities for cross-country skiing, sledding and snowshoeing. Stroll through City Park during this season and take in gorgeous views of the skyline, framed by the Rocky Mountains. Cheesman Park positively glitters in winter, with large snowy expanses stretching out in front of you. Snowball fight, anyone? Get more info on Denver parks at www.denvergov.org.
Central City and Blackhawk
Head for the hills and check out all the fun Central City and Blackhawk have to offer. Located 34 miles (55km) west of Denver, the two towns offer more than 30 casinos with blackjack tables, craps, roulette, poker games and more than 10,000 slot machines. In 2009, gambling stakes were raised to $100, to the delight of high rollers. The two cities are also known for having some of the best-preserved Victorian architecture in the West. Other attractions include the Teller House Hotel, where President Grant once stayed and the Central City Opera House, which still features an outstanding summer season of opera after more than 100 years. There are mine tours, mining museums and several places offering instruction in the fine art of in-stream gold panning where a half billion dollars of the coveted, shiny metal was once found.
Rocky Mountain National Park
The legendary Rocky Mountain National Park, located just an hour from the Mile High City, offers spectacular snowshoeing and cross country skiing options that will take you to some of the most scenic and serene spots in all of Colorado. Rent cross country skis and/or snowshoes in Denver and take the short drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park – you won’t regret it. Check with rangers at visitor centers for info on the right trail for you. Log on to www.nps.gov/Romo for maps and more information.
A great way to warm up a brisk winter day in Denver is to head indoors at one of the Mile High City’s many museums. The Denver Art Museum (DAM) is guaranteed to fascinate and entertain with its diverse collection, including an unparalleled gallery full of Western art. Adjacent to the DAM, discover the newly opened Clyfford Still Museum, devoted to the work of one of the 20th century's greatest painters. The cutting-edge of modern creativity is on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art | Denver, located in Lower Downtown (LoDo). Get in touch with the natural world at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS), a fully interactive educational playground for both young and old. Your young ones will love the Children’s Museum of Denver with its fun, hands-on activities and events.
Find out about great winter savings in Denver at www.MileHighHolidays.com.