Loveland Ski Area (credit: Casey Day)
School is out and the fun is in. College students and kids alike will come down with cabin fever during spring break and thankfully there are activities in the Denver area for all ages. From skiing to dinosaurs, the week-long spring break can be filled with plenty of activities within a two-hour drive of downtown Denver.
85 Parsenn Road
Winter Park, CO 80482
Plenty of powder east of the dreaded tunnel, Winter Park is the hot spot to spend spring break. The bonus of skiing at Winter Park is the thrill of two resorts in one. Why not pick up the Colorado Spring Break Pass for only $199 for four days of skiing and riding between March 15-31? Winter Park and Mary Jane offer sweet runs for skiers and riders along with spectacular mountain views. Denver locals make this one of their top ski and ride spots where there are plenty of pubs and restaurants in the resort as well as in town. Even though it is a fairly quick trip to the slopes, there are hotels and condos galore with which to extend your spring break to more than just a day. The mountain area has more than just skiing. Just up County Road 72 in Fraser is a must-visit spot called Fraser Tubing Hill. Affordable and fun, this little area offers visitors the chance to bolt down a steep groomed hill with the luxury of a tow rope to bring the rider to the top in just minutes.
Exit 216 Interstate 70
Georgetown, CO 80444
Denver natives know that the fastest way from the front door to the slopes is Loveland Ski Resort. A spectacular straight shot up I-70, Loveland offers a large variety of greens, blues and blacks to satisfy the cravings of any skier. Its small restaurant and bar offer a quick fix to rest and relaxation and just down the hill in Idaho Springs are some fabulous restaurants and hangouts. Spring break weather lends itself to some of the best skiing conditions of the year.
6715 W. Colfax Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80214
“South Park” got it right when with its depiction of what Casa Bonita is like. Just remember that it is not about its so-called Mexican food; it is all about the fabulous fun and memories for the kids. Revisit childhood and remember what it was like to be a kid exploring that giant pink wonder. Casa Bonita boasts 52,000 square feet of pure fun including a puppet show, gorilla show, mariachi bands, arcades, exploring Black Bart’s cave and, of course, watching the cliff divers plunge 30 feet to deep waters right in front of tables. The sopapillas actually aren’t too bad and the smiles on the kids’ faces will make it all worth it.
16831 W. Alameda Parkway
Morrison, CO 80465
Weather permitting, Dinosaur Ridge is an affordable and fun way to spend a spring break afternoon with the family. Get the kids in the mood with their favorite dinosaur films and then plan a trek to discover fossils and bones right in their own Front Range backyard. Upgraded and improved over the years, Dinosaur Ridge now has a cool little gift shop with books, posters, toy dinosaurs, rocks and gems. First discovered in 1937, construction workers found the 100-million-year-old dinosaur tracks of an Iguanodon. These along with tracks of other ancient mammals, birds and insects have now become Dinosaur Ridge. The Triceratops Trail and Dinosaur Ridge tours can be enjoyed for a nominal fee. However, most pack a lunch with the family and explore the dino fun on their own through maps and signs leading the way. There are about 15 points of geological interest and history with the beautiful bonus of nice views of the Rocky Mountains.
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Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Cog Railway Depot
515 Ruxton Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Hiking enthusiasts can wait for the snow to melt to climb a 14ER or they can enjoy the luxury of traveling to the top of one of Colorado’s most famous mountains, Pikes Peak. At 14,115 feet, the air can get a little thin and the Pikes Peak Cog Railway is the ideal way to travel. Definitely parka and hat weather, this three-hour scenic journey will take travelers to the top to soak in the breathtaking above-tree-line beauty of the Colorado Springs area. Since 1891, this old fashioned cog railway has been tugging visitors up this steep mountain for an adventure for all ages. Only a little more than an hour drive from Denver, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway is a must visit to be followed up by a fun day of shopping in the charming town of Old Colorado City.
Colleen Bement is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.