Photos and Article by Kristin Kleimann-Duggan
We made it to see the Ice Castles this weekend and it was well worth it! The Ice Castles are located in Dillon, Colorado and are open until the weather becomes too warm. Teams work to grow more than 5,000 icicles each day so they can build the castles by hand.
We bought our tickets in advance (highly recommended, as they sell out quickly, especially on weekends) and chose the 4:00 pm entry time because we were hoping to experience the Ice Castles in both daylight and at night. This was a decent choice as it was still light at 4:00 and then the castles are lit up at night with LED lights. (5:30 is about when it is getting dark now.) Last year, we went at 5:00pm and this was a better time to go to see the castles in both daylight and lit up. (We spent about an hour there.) Dressing for winter was important and waterproof pants and gloves (especially for the kids) are a must if you plan to crawl around in the caves or go on the ice slides. Warm socks and shoes are a must for everyone. My Mother-in-Law would have done better with her cane as the terrain is not flat. Do not bother with a stroller, it won’t make it.
Currently, hours are 4-9pm Monday and Thursday. On Fridays: hours are 4-10pm; Saturdays: 12pm-10pm; and Sundays: 12pm-8pm. The ice castles are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ticket prices vary by the day and whether you purchase standby tickets or not. Adult prices range from $16.99 to $20. 99. Children (4-11) are $11.99-$15.99. Children under 3 are free. Standby tickets are $20-$25 for adults and $15-$20 for children.
Get there soon to see the Ice Castles before the weather warms. If the Ice Castles return next year, I encourage you to see them. It’s winter magic.
Please visit, www.icecastles.com for more information.
Sunday Funday, Rodeo Hoo-ray!
The Stock Show is in town and there's lots to see and do!
This year, parking is free at the National Western lots. We parked at Coors field and took the free shuttle. (Enter parking lot off of Park Ave. and Wazee St.) The free shuttle drops you off outside the South Box Office at the Coliseum.
The Stock Show leaves town next Sunday, January 26 but that day is Guest Appreciation Day. Grounds Admission tickets are $12 for adults, children 3-11 years old are $4, and children 2 and under are FREE.
Here's a link to the Stock Show Schedule of Events:
In addition, Mile High on the Cheap posted an article called "5 Ways to Save on National Western Stock Show Tickets". Here's the link to that:
Head over to Casa Bonita for entertainment and sopapillas and then over to an art gallery for even more Casa Bonita related entertainment. Next Gallery, located on W. Colfax in Lakewood, is hosting its annual art homage to Casa Bonita February 21-March 8, 2020.
"The Casa Bonita exhibition will be juried, and Next Gallery is accepting artists’ submissions through Feb. 3."
Next Gallery is located at 6851 W.Colfax Ave, Unit B in Lakewood, CO 80214. Their hours are: Friday 6-10 pm, and Saturday & Sunday Noon-5 pm.
For more information, click on the article from the Denver Post below...
303Magazine recently published this wonderful article about 100 Things To Do in Colorado in 2019.
"Sure, it’s nice to have our incredible state highlighted by national publications like USA Today (who just named Winter Park the best ski town in North America) or Vogue (who wrote about the Denver restaurant, bar and street art scene) — but when it comes down to it, we don’t need non-Coloradans telling us why our state is simply the best. From the mountains to the plains, from north to the south and everywhere in between, Colorado has an adventure at every mile marker. Whether you want to travel for art or the outdoors, see the sights in Denver or spend a few nights in a picturesque setting, there is never a dull moment — especially when you have a list of 100 things to do in Colorado in 2019. Some of these are special to the year — as in, you won’t see them in 2020 — and some are the tried-and-true Centennial State bucket list items. Whether you’ve lived here your whole life or just arrived, check off all these activities and thank us later."
To see the entire list and to read the article, please click here:
Denver Family Friendly Holiday Road Trips: Ride the Santa Express on the Royal Gorge Train Route
Written by Kristin Kleimann-Duggan
Are you and your family both train and holiday enthusiasts? Do you like beautiful scenery, holiday lights, meeting Santa, and good food and drinks? Do you enjoy adventures close to Denver? If so, the Santa Express on the Royal Gorge Train Route may be just what you are looking for…
This past weekend, our family and some friends took the 2-hour roadtrip (each way) to ride the Santa Express in Canon City. We decided to stay overnight in Canon City to make the overall trip more tolerable for the young children, oh, and for us. The length of the train trip (2 hours) was perfect, the scenery and holiday lights gorgeous, the experience nostalgic, and the food and drink delicious.
Once you board the train, you are provided hot chocolate and cookies to snack on. As the train starts its journey, they play Holiday music and conduct sing alongs. If it is still light out, you are treated to spectacular views of both the gorge and the Arkansas River, and possibly the sunset. There are a few open air cars that you can go to to really experience the views. Once the train reaches the “North Pole,” which is all done up with lights, Santa and the elves board. The elves come around and give each child a bell from one of Santa’s reindeer. Santa also makes his way to talk to the children and collect their wish lists. We absolutely loved the adventure and highly recommend the overall experience.
For 2018, trips are offered November 16th-December 30th. Trips are scheduled up to four times daily: generally, 9:30, 12:30, 4:30, and 6:30. Some dates are less expensive than others so do check their website schedule. There are several different classes of service offered including Vista Dome, Club, and Coach. The ticket price varies by class.
We opted for the Vista Dome class and purchased our tickets (easily) online in advance. Vista Dome service provided us with 360-degree views, assigned seats at a table (seats are in groupings of four so we were all seated together), and table side food and drink service (food and drink are not included in the ticket price, but purchasing food in advance is an option.) Food, drinks, and the full service bar are available to all classes of service. Passengers are also permitted to visit the open air car as frequently as they’d like and at any point in the trip.
One of the highlights of the tour is seeing the Royal Gorge bridge from a unique vantage point, below it! The Royal Gorge bridge is the world’s highest suspension bridge and is located at the narrowest and deepest point in the gorge. The train stops under the bridge for a few minutes for viewing and for photo opportunities.
A Very Brief History of the Royal Gorge Route
The Royal Gorge route opened in 1879 and cost $11,759 (about $250,000 in today’s dollars) but service eventually ended in 1967 for a variety of reasons. The Royal Gorge historic rail line was resurrected in 1999 with the goal of creating “an entirely new Colorado experience featuring excellent food, friendly service and memorable events while sharing the most spectacular scenery in the Rocky Mountain West” (Royal Gorge Route Railroad “Signal” Publication). The route is run by a private, family owned Colorado company passionate about good food and wine.
Visit: www.royalgorgeroute.com or call 1.888.724.5748
Colorado Bucket List 2018
Happy NEW Year! Welcome 2018!
"If you’re reading this, you already know that living in Colorado is pretty great. There’s always something to do, something to see, something to revel at— and you can drink a craft beer or smoke a joint while you’re doing most of them. Each new year signifies a new opportunity to explore the state and embrace the benefits of living here. Don’t spend your days off on the couch— make every moment worth it. To help inspire your inner adventurer, we’ve compiled a list of 88 things to do in Colorado in 2018. Check them off and thank us after another badass year in this badass state..."
Click below for the 88 things to do in Colorado in 2018. How many will you do?
My family and I love exploring new and family friendly places near Denver. For Labor Day weekend, we decided to explore a place we’ve never actually spent much time in---Grand Lake.
Grand Lake is approximately a 2-hour drive from Denver, in Grand County. It is located outside of the Western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and sits at 8,367 feet in elevation. In the summer months, you can get to Grand Lake via Estes Park and Trail Ridge Road or I-70 to 40 over Berthoud Pass through Winter Park. We chose to travel the Winter Park route.
We arrived on Friday with plans to stay through Monday. The drive there was beautiful, especially as you travel over Berthoud Pass and then past Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain Lake, and finally to Grand Lake.
Grand Lake is Colorado’s largest and deepest natural lake, and part of the Colorado River headwaters. It is 265 feet deep which also means the water never gets particularly “warm.” Not surprisingly, that doesn’t usually deter the kids from getting wet!
We stayed at a place we found on Home Away that was right in town on Grand Avenue and had views of the lake. We chose an in-town location so we could easily walk the western boardwalk, Grand Avenue, that boasts more than 60 shops, restaurants, bars, and galleries.
Things to Do:
Though Grand Lake does offer year-round recreation, we only experienced some of the summer activities. The best summer activities include hiking, biking, boating, sailing, and fishing. In winter, Grand Lake is known as the “Snowmobiling Capital of Colorado.” Here are a few ideas:
Places to Eat:
We were pleasantly surprised at the variety of food options available. Here are some places we enjoyed:
Places to Stay:
There are many different lodging options available including cabins, camping, private homes, and resorts to fit all different budgets. Here are a few ideas:
This mini vacation was well worth it. Being in land locked Colorado, I often forget how rejuvenating and calming looking at large bodies of water can be. Life here really is Grand…
For more information, visit:
This article was written by Kristin Kleimann and will be appearing in a future issue of Life in the Park magazine.
Butterflies, and Butterflies, and Butterflies, Oh My! Visiting the Butterfly Pavilion
Have you ever been surrounded by hundreds of magical and colorful butterflies? You can be at the Butterfly Pavilion!
The Butterfly Pavilion is located about 15 minutes North of Denver in Westminster, Colorado. It is a 30,000 square foot facility that is located on an 11 acre campus. The vision of the Butterfly Pavilion is to teach an appreciation of the environment and of all living thing. It is considered an invertebrate zoo and hosts over 5,000 animals.
There are five different exhibit areas (four indoor, and the garden and nature trail outside). The exhibit areas include: Crawl-a-See-Em, Water’s Edge, Wings of the Tropics, and Invertebrate World.
For our visit, my 4 year old son particularly enjoyed holding Rosie the resident tarantula and touching a starfish. We were also lucky enough to have a butterfly land on our clothing as we were exploring the tropical rainforest area.
What a great way to spend a Saturday!
Cost: Adults $11, Seniors $9, Children 2-12 $7, Children under 2 FREE (reduced prices for Westminster Residents)
Hours: 9-5pm daily, 7 days a week
Address: 6252 W. 104th Avenue, Westminster CO 80020
Bucket lists are entertaining and dreamy. Bucket lists in your own city can be even more engaging because the experiences are easier to accomplish and check off. This list was originally a list of 29 essential Denver experiences from an article on Thrillist, published in 2015 by Rebecca Feder.
Since so many of the items on the list resonated with us and our love of Denver, adventure, history, and a challenge, we modified the original list to an attainable 20 experiences with a plan to complete each item and check it off the list. We’ll be posting our experiences over the next few months.
If you are interested in joining us on our journey to check off these items, please follow us on Instagram at: www.instagram.com/homesimpledenver/ and post your own photos of these completed Denver bucket list items on Instagram with the hashtag: #yourdenverbucketlist
We look forward to seeing your photos and hearing about your bucket list adventures!
If you’d like a hard copy of the original list to help you keep track of the items, please send a private message and we will send you a copy.
Finally, to see the original Thrillist list, visit: https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/denver/the-denver-bucket-list-red-rocks-my-brother-s-bar-mayan-theater
Sharing Colorado, Denver, real estate, and home related news and information...