Cave Of The Winds (credit: CBS)
When you have a family, sometimes getting away, even for an evening, is hard work. Luckily, near Denver there are many beautiful locales that are only a short drive from the city that will help you, your spouse and even your kids relax a bit and enjoy the state’s natural beauty. Below are a few getaways near Denver that provide a perfect way to unwind for parents. The first three are perfect adventures for the whole family and the last one is great for a getaway minus the little ones.
Cave Of The Winds
100 Cave of the Winds Road
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Located just west of Colorado Springs, there is a majestic cave system that offers an adventure that is perfect for the whole family. Cave of the Winds, which is open year round, is located in Williams Canyon and has opportunities for exploration for every age group. Its three tours cater to different groups and adventure levels. The Discovery Tour is a 45-minute walking tour that is easy and perfect for the whole family. The Lantern Tour is for visitors that can handle more rugged terrain and lasts 1.5 hours, delving deeper into the cave system. The Caving 101 Tour is a serious one, for those who want an intro into real spelunking. Bring an extra pair of clothing, because you’ll be crawling through the muddy caverns. Regardless of which tour you decide to take, the whole family will love exploring the cave and learning about these underground wonders. There are many other fun activities for kids at Cave of the Winds too.
If you decide to stay overnight when visiting Cave of the Winds, consider staying at the Rodeway Inn (103 Manitou Ave. Manitou Springs, CO, 80829) which is located in the middle of Manitou Springs and is convenient to many attractions and restaurants. This family-friendly getaway is almost effortless as it provides all of the fun activities to ensure that everyone sleeps well after the adventure.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Though the Denver Zoo is a terrific way to view animals, sometimes something a little different is in order. In Colorado Springs, located on the side Cheyenne Mountain, is one of the most interesting, diverse and fun zoos in America. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is home to many wild animals but the layout and enclosures are what sets it apart. Whether looking for a daring trek up the mountainside like the native Mountain Lions, a close encounter with a black bear or feeding the majestic giraffes at eye level, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is equipped to provide one of the most enthralling zoo adventures available. The zoo offers a wide variety of tours, both self-guided and docent led, to ensure the most informative trip possible. Catch one of the many animal shows or keeper talks to learn more about the diverse population at the zoo.
Make the trip to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo a getaway by staying at The Broadmoor (1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80906) which is only one mile from the zoo. The historic hotel mixes classic elegance with modern-day amenities, making for a perfect stay for the whole family.
Argo Gold Mine and Mill
2350 Riverside Drive
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
Idaho Springs is only about 30 miles west of Denver but the mountain charm that it exudes makes you feel like you’ve left the area completely. A former mining community, Idaho Springs boasts several old mines that offer tours, which can be quite fun for the whole family. Besides the mine, there are also hot mineral springs, rafting, fishing and much more outdoor fun. When visiting Idaho Springs, the first thing you’ll see is Argo Gold Mine perched on the side of the mountain. The mine offers several tours, and journeying through the old mine and learning about gold is fun for kids of all ages. After the tour, be sure to try your hand at mining for gold, as there is still some to be found and you can keep anything you find!
When in Idaho Springs, there are several hotel options, but the Indian Hot Springs Spa and Hotel (302 Soda Creek Road, Idaho Springs, 80452) is a favorite. The natural mineral springs are warm, soothing and restorative, making for an all-around relaxing getaway.
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111 Richman St.
Black Hawk, CO 80422
When that sometimes rare opportunity arises when you have a sitter for the night, or even weekend, it’s time to let loose and play in the way only adults can. Luckily for Denver residents, it’s only a short drive to a gambling haven in the mountains. Black Hawk has many fun things for an adult to do, namely hitting the slots, or tables. If gambling isn’t your forte, Ameristar Casino has an on-site Spa, many fine restaurants and nightly entertainment, making a night away from the kids worthwhile. There are many other casinos in Black Hawk and the nearby Central City but Ameristar has great packages and spacious rooms, making for the ultimate getaway.
Nicole Cormier is a hip-hop head with business ambitions who stumbled awkwardly into journalism in 2007 as Colorado Music Buzz’s hip-hop editor. She is the publisher and editor of the Colorado hip-hop e-magazine. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.