Day Trips

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Colorado is home to so many beautiful hikes and trials and Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of them! Hiking is a fun physical activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family, but there are certain precautions and tips that should be followed when hiking with children.  Not only to keep everyone safe, but also to make it an enjoyable experience for the kids (and parents!) Here are some great tips to follow below to make your hiking experience the best it can be!

 

 

 

Keep it technology free!┬áToday it’s necessary to unplug before tuning into the natural world. Leave electronic gizmos behind. Consider your cell phone for emergency use only.

Pack day packs with bright colored clothing for warmth and rain. A boy in an orange ball cap straying off-trail is easier to spot than a brunette in blue jeans wandering into the forest’s shadows. Give each hiker a whistle with instructions to keep in their pocket and use only when lost. Stash the trail map, first aid supplies, and a surprise snack in your pack along with along with an “emergency only” cell phone (turned off) or GPS device.

Tell someone else where your group is going, expected return time and stick to the plans.

Invite your child’s buddy along, you’ll hear more laughs and fewer whines. The duo will keep one another entertained while hiking and the competition factor will make neither one of them want to look slow!

Arrive at the trail head early in the day. If you don’t, afternoon rainstorms may cancel the opportunity to see wildlife or play creek crossing games. Have all hikers use the nearest toilet, then check that each one has their own water bottle and day pack. In order to keep tabs on each hiker’s fluid intake you should discourage water bottle sharing.

Assign “TL” (trail leaders) (or “engine” and “caboose” for very young hikers), The status gives kids an energy boost and encourages them to pay close attention to the trail. If there is a lagging hiker, give them the opportunity to be trail leader, and it will keep the group moving at a steady pace.

Take interest in your child’s natural curiosity. When your son shows you a snail captured in his palm, enhance his discovery by asking him questions like, “How does it see?” “Can you find its mouth?” “Do you think it can hear us talk?”

Enrich your kids’ sensory awareness by encouraging them to sniff, listen, and feel along the trail. A mint plant, identified by its distinct smell, also gives kids a chance to feel its square stem between their fingers. Pause to listen for birds calling to each other. Marvel at the variety of colors in the field of wildflowers. Hug that mighty Ponderosa while inhaling its vanilla aroma. At creek crossings allow little hands to feel the rocks above and below the water. Explore why the two surfaces are different. Questions without answers develop your child’s inquiry skills.

Make rest stops frequent, short and standing. Your announcing, “Water and treats at the next switchback,” accelerates the climb. Breath-catching breaks should last thirty seconds to a minute and a half. Longer stops allow the cardiovascular system to slow down, making it harder to start again. Keep the crew standing, another energy-saving, motivation-preserving strategy. For truly tired hikers, turn around when continuing would do harm than good. Do so at a viewpoint or destination-like place, giving young hikers the sense of completing the hike.

Review with your crew after the hike. Wait till they’re well-fed and rested before finding out, “What did you like best about that hike? Should we go back in the fall, when the leaves are gold? Did we go fast (or far or long) enough? What treats did you like? Where do we want to explore next time.” Their answers are clues to having another fun outing with your kids.

 

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Whether it’s a weekend with the girls or a getaway with the hubby, we need a momcentric break once in a while. We need a respite from chaperoning play dates and organizing trips to the zoo. Instead of conquering that ever mounting to-do list, we need a moment of Zen. Say it after me, “I will not do arts and crafts or create balloon animals for children’s birthday parties this weekend. I will not cook, run errands or otherwise engage in activities that might be deemed domestic or Martha Stewart-ish.” How will you spend the weekend? You’re going to unwind at a local winery, where you don’t have to choose whether or not you want to drink in front of the kids or not.

If you haven’t had a glass of wine since the days of Zinfandel in a box, or that Christmas when all your friends went gaga for blush and wine gift baskets were stacked beneath the tree like a Stonewall Kitchen showroom, a lot has changed. There are over 100 wine producers in Colorado, and according to Denver.org, there are a dozen wineries in the Denver metro area alone. The best terroir, as wine aficionados call it, is on Colorado’s Western Slope, and there are numerous wine trails meandering through the desert mountains of northwest Colorado. Here are six local wineries worth checking out:

Augustina’s Winery

With a shiraz blend named WineChick Red, Augustina’s Winery, located in Boulder, represents the independence and DIY free spirit of the city. Augustina’s is a small, homegrown operation. All the labels feature original artwork. Augustina’s Winery doesn’t have public hours, but you can book tastings by appointment.

The Infinite Monkey Theorem

The Infinite Monkey Theorem takes a counter culture approach to wine making. Purists might scoff at the operation, but hey, how many moms are wine purists? Save it for Wine Spectator, folks. Infinite Monkey Theorem is an urban winery in the RiNo Art District of Denver. There’s no vineyard or rolling hills. The grapes aren’t grown in Colorado, but handpicked and harvested from some of the best vineyards in the States.

Varaison Vineyards & Winery

For something more traditional, head to the Varaison Vineyards and Winery in the Grand Junction area. According to Colorado.com, Varaisons is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. It’s a large and elegant vineyard featuring tours, a restaurant, gift shop, private banquet rooms, and the David Austic Rose Garden, where 1,500 English Roses are on display. Price is determined by the size of the group.

Terror Creek Winery

The Terror Creek Winery, at 6,417 ft, is the highest altitude winery in world. Family owned, Terror Creek Winery makes Alsatian-style wines. You can unwind with a crisp Riesling or Pinot Noir as you enjoy a stunning view of the West Elks Mountains. If you want to get away from that to-do list, this hilltop gem is as far away as you can get without hopping a plane to Bordeaux. Terror Creek is open seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend until the end of September.

Turquoise Mesa Winery

Using only Colorado grapes, the Turquoise Mesa Winery makes a Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Viognier, as well as a selection of red and white blends. All tastings are held on Saturday afternoons or by appointment.

Plum Creek Winery

Plum Creek Winery might be Colorado’s most famous vineyard. It’s been making Colorado-grown wines since 1980, and it is the oldest winery in the state. With its redwood bar, sandstone fireplace, hand-woven rugs and antique furniture, Plum Creek has a tasting room than radiates Old World charm. However, that’s nothing in comparison to the Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, both of which won the gold medal in the New World International Wine Competition in 2004.

Andrea Porter – A painter, mom, wife and photographer, Andrea always has material to write about. Finding the time to write is another story altogether.

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Last week we helped you start a Summer “To-Do” List for you and the kids. We have 10 more ideas to help you and the kids have a fun summer!

  1. Sign up for a Summer Camp! We have some great options that are highly recommended by 719 moms. Check out our list here.
  2. Visit a local park for a nature walk, picnic, bird watching or many other fun things. Click here to find an El Paso County Park near you.
  3. Play in the water! Widefield Community Center has a fun splash park. There’s a FREE splash pad at Deerfield Hills Community Center. Uncle Wilber Fountain is always a fun afternoon activity.
  4. Enroll in a summer reading program at your local library. One mom said her goal is to visit all of the libraries in Colorado Springs. Click here to learn more about the Pikes Peak Libraries.
  5. Create your own stamp and go Letterboxing! “treasure hunt” style outdoor activity. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online on one of several Web sites. However, clues to finding some of the most highly-sought boxes are passed around by word of mouth. There are about 20,000 letterboxes hidden in North America alone. Individual letterboxes usually contain a log book, an often hand-carved rubber stamp and may contain an ink pad. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox’s stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of their personal stamp on the letterbox’s logbook .
  6. Cheer on the Sky Sox, Colorado Springs’ minor league baseball team. They have some great deals like Kids eat FREE on Mondays and $2 Tuesdays. Click here for more information.
  7. Visit a Museum. Keep the kids’ brains turning with a fun trip to a local museum. The Pioneer Museum is free and they have a fun scavenger hunt for the kids. The US Olympic Training Center is one way to spark the fire in your budding Olympian. They have free tours year round. Learn all about money at the Money Museum here in Colorado Springs, kids under 12 are free.
  8. Visit a local farm! Rock Ledge Ranch is a living history farm and ranch that shows us what life was like here in our area throughout four different time periods. Venetucci Farm is an active working farm. They sell their produce and eggs on Saturdays.
  9. Visit a Farmer’s Market. This is a great way to support local farms and buy locally grown food. There are usually lots of homemade and homegrown items to buy. Click here to find out more about local Farmer’s Markets.
  10. Take in a movie under the stars with Pictures on the Promenade. The Shops at Briargate offer an outdoor summer movie series. They invite you to bring your chairs and blankets and enjoy a family-friendly movie for free.

What are some other ideas for fun summer activities?

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Last week we helped you start a Summer “To-Do” List for you and the kids. We have 10 more ideas to help you and the kids have a fun summer!

  1. Sign up for a Summer Camp! We have some great options that are highly recommended by 719 moms. Check out our list here.
  2. Visit a local park for a nature walk, picnic, bird watching or many other fun things. Click here to find an El Paso County Park near you.
  3. Play in the water! Widefield Community Center has a fun splash park. There’s a FREE splash pad at Deerfield Hills Community Center. Uncle Wilber Fountain is always a fun afternoon activity.
  4. Enroll in a summer reading program at your local library. One mom said her goal is to visit all of the libraries in Colorado Springs. Click here to learn more about the Pikes Peak Libraries.
  5. Create your own stamp and go Letterboxing! “treasure hunt” style outdoor activity. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online on one of several Web sites. However, clues to finding some of the most highly-sought boxes are passed around by word of mouth. There are about 20,000 letterboxes hidden in North America alone. Individual letterboxes usually contain a log book, an often hand-carved rubber stamp and may contain an ink pad. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox’s stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of their personal stamp on the letterbox’s logbook .
  6. Cheer on the Sky Sox, Colorado Springs’ minor league baseball team. They have some great deals like Kids eat FREE on Mondays and $2 Tuesdays. Click here for more information.
  7. Visit a Museum. Keep the kids’ brains turning with a fun trip to a local museum. The Pioneer Museum is free and they have a fun scavenger hunt for the kids. The US Olympic Training Center is one way to spark the fire in your budding Olympian. They have free tours year round. Learn all about money at the Money Museum here in Colorado Springs, kids under 12 are free.
  8. Visit a local farm! Rock Ledge Ranch is a living history farm and ranch that shows us what life was like here in our area throughout four different time periods. Venetucci Farm is an active working farm. They sell their produce and eggs on Saturdays.
  9. Visit a Farmer’s Market. This is a great way to support local farms and buy locally grown food. There are usually lots of homemade and homegrown items to buy. Click here to find out more about local Farmer’s Markets.
  10. Take in a movie under the stars with Pictures on the Promenade. The Shops at Briargate offer an outdoor summer movie series. They invite you to bring your chairs and blankets and enjoy a family-friendly movie for free.

What are some other ideas for fun summer activities?

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Keystone Resort has a Snow Fort open and it is sure to make your kids smile. Explore the ultimate Snow Fort* at the top of Dercum Mountain, dance to live music in the plaza, make arts and crafts, go Disco Tubing and join the continuing education activities that fill this weekend on and off the slopes. Bring the whole family for a fun filled, kid friendly weekend.

Find out more about this fun family event by clicking here.

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Keystone Resort has a Snow Fort open and it is sure to make your kids smile. Explore the ultimate Snow Fort* at the top of Dercum Mountain, dance to live music in the plaza, make arts and crafts, go Disco Tubing and join the continuing education activities that fill this weekend on and off the slopes. Bring the whole family for a fun filled, kid friendly weekend.

Find out more about this fun family event by clicking here.

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It’s the right time of the year to get outside and get active! There are lots of things to do in the cold weather, close to Colorado Springs.

Mueller State Park offers lots of space for snowshoers, cross-country skiers and snow tubing!

Snowmobiling and even Dogsledding can be found in Colorado, some as close as 2-3 hours away. Check Colorado.com for these fun activities.

Check out 10 great places to sled in Colorado Springs.

You can ice skate at Sertich Ice Center or The World Arena Ice Hall.

Take in a Colorado College hockey game at The World Arena.

Seven Falls has a Christmas Light Show worth checking out!

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Electric Safari is an awesome way to spend an evening. Brave the cold and take some hot chocolate.

If you have any other winter activities to add, please share them in the comment section below.

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It’s the right time of the year to get outside and get active! There are lots of things to do in the cold weather, close to Colorado Springs.

Mueller State Park offers lots of space for snowshoers, cross-country skiers and snow tubing!

Snowmobiling and even Dogsledding can be found in Colorado, some as close as 2-3 hours away. Check Colorado.com for these fun activities.

Check out 10 great places to sled in Colorado Springs.

You can ice skate at Sertich Ice Center or The World Arena Ice Hall.

Take in a Colorado College hockey game at The World Arena.

Seven Falls has a Christmas Light Show worth checking out!

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Electric Safari is an awesome way to spend an evening. Brave the cold and take some hot chocolate.

If you have any other winter activities to add, please share them in the comment section below.