Denver, May 2017

Denver!  One of my favorite cities.  We spent a week touring the city and visiting family and friends.  It was a fast-paced trip with great rewards!  Bear’s mother lives in town, so she was our first stop!  We got to spend some quality Grandma time, swimming at her pool, seeing the Nature and Science Museum, and (of course) hitting the toy store.

The science museum was something I had been looking forward to!  It’s a huge museum that is impossible to see in one day.  We picked a few things and took our time. 

 We went through the space exhibit first and caught a planetarium show that Goose loved, but was a bit too real for Bunny.  The show toured the solar system up to Saturn, with a cute premise of a first-time space tour guide, Jessie, taking the audience on a space adventure where something goes wrong.  While flying through the rings of Saturn, a chunk of ice (what the rings are made from) got stuck in our space ship.  After Jessie saves the day by doing a space-walk to remove the ice, we safely land back on Earth.  As we left, we even got to touch the piece of ice from Saturn!

After the planetarium, we quickly went through the space exhibit.  I was very impressed by the number of volunteers available to help explain different concepts of space and planetary science.  One gentleman explained to the girls how the seasons are the result of the orbit of the Earth.

I’m a sucker for a good bug collection, and this one was pretty good!  I really enjoyed their butterflies.  The girls appreciated the giant ladybug.

The girls have been learning about geology, so their Grandmother suggested we walk through the Gems&Minerals exhibit.  It was a very impressive display of gems and minerals from around the world.  

It had large and small samples of pretty stones.  My favorite part of the exhibit was the cave replicas.  They were very realistic!  

There was also a display of gems that had been carved into figurines.  They were very pretty and I enjoyed the samples we saw, unfortunately we didn’t make it to their main exhibit.

The Prehistoric Journey took us back to 3.5 million years to see the start of life on Earth.  The dioramas of early life were very interesting.  At every stop along the timeline, there was information about ‘where Colorado is’ and what was happening on the planet. The journey takes you through the start of life, through  the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, and the evolution of mammals.

This is not a painting! It’s a diorama! Absolutely stunning.

The best stop was the Exploration Station, which had a great area to play and explore.  The water tables were pretty much the only thing the girls wanted to do, and I can’t blame them.  These were awesome water tables.  They got to play with whirl pools, water management, and just plain splash around.  It was a great way to end a great visit to the museum.

Bear and I have a fondness for LoDo, the lower downtown area of Denver.  We usually hit up Wyncoop, and then tour the downtown.  Unfortunately, after lunch, the weather turned, so we had to cut our visit short.  But the eating part got done, and it was delicious.

My folks met and married in Denver, so we took a visit back through their old neighborhood. We got to see the little town where, after work, my father would go for a beer and his dog would escape and go after him.  It was a neat treat.

Bear also had to run off and do some work, so for two days, it was just the girls and me.  We hit REI.  If you’re an REI fan, and you’re in Denver, you MUST stop at their downtown location.  It’s enormous.  I should have taken pictures.  The parking, however, made me teach the girls some new words. (Who am I kidding? Reinforce the words they shouldn’t know.. I’m just going to call this homeschool, subject: swearing.) It was pretty tight, and our truck is a bit big in the hips.

After that, we found glorious parking at the downtown aquarium, just minutes from REI.  We met some friends for lunch and toured the aquarium.  The restaurant was overpriced, but really cool to sit in.  It was all done up to look like it was at the bottom of the ocean, complete with tanks of large fish and mermaids!  I don’t know why I didn’t take a photo of the mermaids, but I did manage to get one as they were being moved from the tanks.

The aquarium itself was well done.  The exhibits were made to match the habitats of the fish and I thought it was a good effect.  We got to see otters, sharks (the biggest in Colorado), and jellies!  My personal favorite.

I wish we had more time in the city, but the time we had was well spent. We managed to spend a good amount of time with family and got to see all our friends in the area. 

We also got to visit some iconic Denver locations, not bad for just a quick week. It would have been nice to see more of the Nature and Science Museum, maybe hit the amusement park and the botanical gardens.  Not to worry, we’ll be back.

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