Fort Morgan Museum (credit: Fort Morgan Museum)
When you think about places to visit in Colorado, chances are most of your attention goes to the center of the state – from Fort Collins to Pueblo along I-25 and west along I-70 to the mountains. However, you may not realize that there is a lot of fun stuff to do with the whole family when you venture towards the Eastern Plains. Sure, things are more spread out and you’ll need to do some driving, but once you find these little hidden gems, you’ll realize just how much interesting and fun stuff there is out east. Plus, you will rarely encounter the crowds you find when you stay within the Denver area. So grab the kids and check out some of these fun spots on the Eastern Plains of Colorado.
Fort Morgan Museum
414 Main St.
Fort Morgan, CO 80701
The Fort Morgan Museum is an excellent way to learn about the surrounding area and the plains in Colorado. There are lots of different exhibits to spark your interest, covering a range of topics from music to history. The most famous graduate of Fort Morgan High School was music legend Glenn Miller, and his story and contribution to the area is covered in the exhibits at the Fort Morgan Museum. In addition to the Glenn Miller exhibits, you’ll also find other information about the area including artifacts from the Plains Indians. This is a wonderful place for a day trip with your kids, as you’ll spark lots of great conversation about the many different historical events that have impacted the state of Colorado.
Amaizing Pumpkins and More
Holyoke, CO 80734
As fall approaches, the weather begins to cool off and all of the major farms in Colorado start setting up for the busy harvesting season. Amaizing Pumpkins and More is a massive pumpkin patch with lots of fun activities for the kids. Every year it opens its gates to welcome families eager to pick pumpkins, get lost in the corn maze, go for a hay ride, race some ducks or tackle the straw bale mountain. The Haunted Corn Maze opens in October but the rest of the farm usually opens at the beginning of September. Be sure to check the website for official opening dates and other information.
16359 County Road S.
Fort Morgan, CO 80701
If your kids love to see a fun high-speed race, then the I-76 Speedway is a great destination for the family. This speedway is a quarter-mile dirt oval track with a full racing season from April through October. You’ll find a variety of different racing divisions here from late models to sport mods and everything in between. Grab your favorite racing gear and show up early to get pit passes for an up-close look at all of the awesome cars or just enjoy a seat in the grandstands to watch the race. The racing schedule changes often and there are lots of different races to check out, so be sure to check the current schedule on the website before you head down.
Jackson Lake State Park
26363 MCR 3
Orchard, CO 80649
The Eastern Plains may not have the huge Rocky Mountains but that doesn’t mean this area is short on natural beauty. Take the family for a day at Jackson Lake State Park and you’ll find lots of great ways to enjoy the beautiful Colorado outdoors. Plus, you won’t have to fight off all of the crowds you normally see when you take a trip to the mountains. You’ll find a huge natural reservoir here with lots of sandy beaches and more than 260 places for camping. There are lots of activities to enjoy as well including boating, hiking, swimming, waterskiing, kayaking, four-wheeling, hunting and more. Stop by the visitor center when you arrive for some information and help with how to spend your time at this beautiful park.
Old Town Museum Complex
420 S. 14th St.
Burlington, CO 80807
The historic town of Burlington has lots of great ways to walk into the past. When you arrive, you’ll find a six-acre complex with 21 fully restored buildings furnished with artifacts from the turn of the century. There are exhibits for kids to get some hands-on education, you can enjoy truly old-fashioned ice cream at the Soda Fountain and take a ride on the Kit Carson County Carousel. There are so many fun ways to learn about life on the Colorado prairie here, with each part of the museum dedicated to teaching about local agriculture, heritage and history. The kids won’t even realize they are learning as you wander around this authentic little town.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.