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Old 02-15-2010, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Central North Carolina
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My wife, daughter and I will be visiting from NC in early April. Daughter is 10 years old, not very athletic, and actually will have issues with the elevation (she has medical issues related to pulminary), so please keep that in mind with suggestions.

We will be staying with family in DT Denver, but willing to drive to see/do cool stuff. Even 1-2 nights "away" is OK if it's worth the drive.

Have been to Boulder many times, and Pikes Peak when she was very young (too young to remember).

Please let me know any ideas.

(Is Mesa Verde too far to drive? It looks like 7-8 hours on Google, but with local knowledge, maybe it is a lot closer?)
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmateo View Post
My wife, daughter and I will be visiting from NC in early April. Daughter is 10 years old, not very athletic, and actually will have issues with the elevation (she has medical issues related to pulminary), so please keep that in mind with suggestions.
We will be staying with family in DT Denver, but willing to drive to see/do cool stuff. Even 1-2 nights "away" is OK if it's worth the drive.

Have been to Boulder many times, and Pikes Peak when she was very young (too young to remember).

Please let me know any ideas.

(Is Mesa Verde too far to drive? It looks like 7-8 hours on Google, but with local knowledge, maybe it is a lot closer?)
Mesa Verde is at least that far. You'd have to spend at least four days, one out, one back, and two there, to make it at all worthwhile.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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Cañon City has a lot of fun stuff that a young family can enjoy and the lower altitude is just right. Also, since it's a bit warmer in the area than other places (Banana Belt is one of it's nicknames) you can still enjoy some of the sites.

Official Visitor Guide to the Royal Gorge Region! (http://www.canoncitycolorado.com/ - broken link)

You don't say what the dates are you are coming out because early spring is a lot different than late spring.

Another option to make a couple of days of it would be to head south on I-25 then head west to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Not sure if it's open that time of year but the Best Western Movie Manor, Monte Vista Colorado is supposed to be pretty cool. I've never been and will be going some day!

Anyhow, those are a couple of options because the drive from the Denver area to Mesa Verde (Durango) isn't short and it's a bit iffy from Oct. to April. That's one of those types of trips where you spend an entire week in the area because of all the wonderful things to do there.

Oh, I almost forgot, you may also want to check out Steamboat Springs. You don't have to be a skiier but it's a wonderful town and at a lower altitude at the base than some of the other ski areas. It's kind of a hidden gem amongst the ski towns.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Mesa Verde is too far. It's on the other side of the state and you have to go through hours of mountains to get there.

Some cool mountain areas closer to Denver are Winter Park, Estes Park, and Breckenridge.
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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I'm no doctor but if your daughter has pulmonary issues then I'd avoid some of the higher elevation towns and I'd stay in Denver for a few days to adjust.

The Royal Gorge is a good trip and scenic. Walking across that bridge is something else. Having done it once, don't need to do it again myself. Also it's at 6500 feet or so, so not a big deal with the elevation.

A day trip out of Denver that is non strenuous is to go to Lookout Mountain, the buffalo herd at Genesse Park and then over to Idaho Springs and have a dip in the hot springs pool and then lunch at Beaujos Pizza.

April is a transitional time in Colorado. Most tourism during the winter revolves entirely around skiing and skiing is ending at that time and most summer activities have not got going yet.

Mesa Verde is over hill and dale and just about going over every mountain range in Colorado to get to. Realistically, including stops and assuming the weather is clear, it's a whole day of driving. And there is still plenty of chance for big snowstorms in the mountains at that time. Some of the worst storms I have been in have been in the first 2 weeks of April.

Roads look nice and straight on the maps in Colorado but not is what they are really like up in the mountains.
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Old 02-16-2010, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Central North Carolina
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Thanks all, keep the good suggestions coming.

I don't want to over-play the pulminary/elevation issue. Just wanted to put it out there because strenuous activity at elevation is not going to happen. She can do stuff, we just need to manage the aerobic activity and pick things that are a bit more passive than some of the best that CO has to offer.

Also, thanks for the feedback on Mesa Verde. Now I know that it's out for this trip, but maybe a future trip dedicated to four corners region. (I did this in 1987 and it made a HUGE impression on me.)

Thanks!
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:17 PM
 
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But when you have extra time Mesa Verde would be recommended. It is one of the crown jewels of the National Park system.

Here's an idea. There are several one day drives that are easy to reach from the Denver area. I-25 to Ft. Collins, then Hwy.14 to Red Feather lakes. Or I-25 to U.S. 34 to Estes Park. I like the suggestion of the Royal Gorge west of Canon City. Beautiful place. Stay west on hwy. 50 to Salida, and then come back to Denver through U.S.285 through South Park.

Colorado Springs? How about one of the better zoos in the United States, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo? Or the Broadmoor? Or the Garden Of the Gods?

With Denver there are a variety if places to visit, among the top of the list would be the Denver Museum of National History. Red Rocks is cool. How about the Denver Mint?

Just throwing out a few possibilities.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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Not to rain on your parade, but April is considered "mud season" in Colorado. Colorado really doesn't have spring--it just sort lurches between winter and summer. None of the trees will be leafed out yet most anywhere in the state, snow can still happen on any given day, and it could be 75 degrees or it could be 20.

It should be instructive that March-April are the months that most native Coloradans pick as the time to vacation elsewhere. Unless you are coming to Colorado for some other reason, there are far better times of year--in fact, just about any other time of year--to visit the state.
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Old 02-17-2010, 11:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by DOUBLE H View Post
....Colorado Springs? How about one of the better zoos in the United States, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo? Or the Broadmoor? Or the Garden Of the Gods? ....
That's a perfect day trip from Denver. Easy to spend a whole day here, the drive is only 60-90 minutes each way.




The Zoo is excellent and is renowned for it's giraffe program; kids love to buy the zoo biscuits to feed the giraffes.



The zoo has a chair lift that goes a ways up the side of the mountain for viewing the city, and there's a road you drive from the zoo up to theWill Rogers Shrine, way up the side of the mountain.



Garden of the Gods is free, has walking trails and is right in the city, on the west side.



Pikes Peak Cog Railway is about a 3 hour round trip, quite the view from 14000 feet. It's always 30 degrees colder up top than at the base, so plan to take warm stuff for a trip up in March.


Downtown, the Pioneer Museum is low-cost and a short walk away from many good eateries, like the Olive Branch or Jack Quinn's Irish Pub.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 02-17-2010 at 11:13 AM..
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Old 02-17-2010, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Colorado
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There are a lot of fun things to see and do around Colorado Springs altho the weather may not be cooperative. Obviously I've no idea what kinds of things your daughter likes but in Denver there is the Nature & Science Museum, the Denver Zoo, The Children's Museum, The Wildlife Experience and possibly Elitch Gardens (not sure when they open this year).
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