Field Trip: Olympic Training Center in Colorado

Now that your kids are all pumped up about the Olympics, you might want to consider a trip to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. It’s definitely on our to-do list!

The tours are offered year round, Monday- Saturday, and best off all–they’re FREE! You may be fortunate enough to catch a peek at some athletes in action.

Check out the website to find out more!

 

Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

National Parks @ Three Cornered Hug

February 15th-17th happens to be a free weekend at many of our national parks (including the nearest and dearest to me- Rocky Mountain National Park!). Many are already free, but this will include those that typically charge an entrance fee.

Check out their website to see other free dates throughout the year:
http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm
So get out there and enjoy yourself!

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Field Trip: Hammond’s Candies- YUM!

One expected thing we stumbled upon since moving to the Denver area is the Hammond’s Candies factory. Only about 20 minutes from my house, they are busy making yummy goodness all day long- and giving free tours every half hour. Tours that start with a free candy-maker’s hat, and end with a free candy cane right at the door to their store so you can take home a sugar rush in a bag (not free)!

I have to admit, even though I expected it to be fun, it was really so much more than I thought it would be. It’s amazing watching the candy get shiny as it’s pulled and later extruded from the machine, clipped, and bent into canes or twisted into lollipops! It’s thrilling to watch the little candies go through a chocolate waterfall…oh that waterfall…

Hammond’s has been featured on Food Network, Travel Channel, Fox and more!

I know this post may be useless to many of you, but if you’re anywhere in the vicinity, you have to visit Hammond’s. If you’re not, you can check out their website or get a little taste of the fun by starting the video playlist below. One of the vids even features Al Roker and the biggest lollipop ever!

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104,185 Square Mile Playground

This is my backyard.

Rocky Mountains @ Three Cornered HugWell…..sort of.

Now that we’ve been in Colorado over two months, I’ll testify that this state is one humungous playground. And it’s a good thing- the people here love the outdoors. They thrive on fresh mountain air.

Opportunities to sniff this goodness abound. Even in the middle of the big city of Denver, there’s beautiful park space, and young people can be found taking walks or playing football at lunchtime. In the suburbs, there are huge open spaces planned right in- the one near us is about 40 acres. There you can enjoy the playground, or paddle boats while quacking at the ducks in the lake.  You can walk or take a bike path–all the way into Boulder if you’d like! But then there’s the mountains. Nothing like them, and no limit to the activities to be found there. Snowshoeing, skiing/boarding, hiking, and more. Recently I found out that you can even drive a dog sled!

One of the places we like most near home is the Rocky Mountain Arsenal wildlife refuge. (That’s actually what’s shown in the picture above) This wonderful preserve just about 10 miles from us, is home to so many different kinds of animals. The highlight for me are the many eagles that come to spend the winter there. Bald and golden, you can find these majestic birds sitting together on the ice or in the trees.

Bison: Rocky Mountain National Arsenal @ Three Cornered HugAs you drive through you can watch as the little birds fly from one bison’s lumpy back to the next. You can chatter back to the little prairie dogs who pop out of their homes to scold you. A mule deer might be watching you from behind some brush just a few feet away as he nibbles on his dinner.

There are some areas where you can get out and hike the trails here. One evening as I knelt down in the grass along the road to take a few landscapes, I heard the eerie sound of a coyote calling to his friends…and then their answer.

After a few minutes I hopped back in the car and we drove down the road a bit. Like a flash, a coyote darted across the road in front of us. Looking to our right we could see the herd of deer he had been stalking. The huge buck who had apparently driven him away was watching to make sure he wouldn’t return.

What a wild and awesome state we’ve come to. It’s difficult for me to believe that all of this beauty, all of this wonder is all around us. Hard to believe this is all my big backyard.

Evening Over Denver @Three Cornered Hug