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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Activity Idea: Pow WOW!

Pow Wow- ©Sarah Cates

One of the traditional activities that mark the years for us is the Native American Pow Wow at the Trail of Tears Park in Hopkinsville, KY. It’s always held on the weekend after Labor Day, and there’s just something about it that signals the changing of the seasons, the coming of fall.

These events can be very exciting for kids. Depending on the year, and the location, Pow Wows offer a variety of different sights and smells. Fry bread is a regular treat sold at the stands, along with other tasty goodness. There are innumerable crafts, furs, jewelry- even headdresses! As you go along, you may run into a storyteller with children sitting around his feet. Many of the dancers travel around between competitions, and almost all are friendly and willing to pose for a picture with your kids.  There are certain dances where they invite everyone into the center ring and your kids can spin along with the Native Americans! Our Pow Wows have included amazing hoop dancers, flute players, and even tomahawk throwing contests. The highlight of every year for us is the final round of the dance competition where the “fancy dancers” dance off to win the pot of money. They call this the “dance of the athlete” and you can see why! They give it all they’ve got!

If you’ve never been to such an event, it’s definitely worth trying. If you are a homeschooler and can attend a Pow Wow in the fall, you can even use the opportunity to talk about Thanksgiving and how the Native Americans helped the first settlers. Educational + fun=….funducational?

To find out if you have a Pow Wow near you, try this site. By selecting my state and pressing “GO” I was able to locate ours easily. There’s also info on the size of the Pow Wow, etc. on many of the pages. Enjoy!

Pow wow-© Sarah Cates

Check out the claw at the end of that staff!