Monday, August 31, 2020

Virtual Vacation: Denver, Colorado

Virtual Vacation: Denver, Colorado 
By: Katy DeHaven 

A few weeks ago we visited Baltimore, MD for our virtual vacation and I could not believe all that there was to see and do there. I found Denver to be much the same with tons and tons of attractions. I just picked out some highlights below, but for even more to explore check out this website.

Denver is known as The Mile High City, because its elevation is exactly 5,280 feet or 1 mile above sea level. Annually the city has 300 days of sunshine with a mild and dry climate. This outdoor city is known for its cultural attractions, craft breweries, music scene and world class dining. The city has one of the largest park systems in the country with more than 200 parks within the city. 

Denver Union Station first opened in 1881, but the originally structure was destroyed by a fire in 1894, the central portion of the current structure was completed in 1914. In 2012 the station underwent a major renovation and today the space is not only used for rail and bus transportation, but dining, shopping, and entertainment as well. 

Perfect for outdoor social distancing is the Denver Botanic Gardens, this 23-acre park has a conservatory, a sunken amphitheater, and a variety of themed gardens. Visitors in the summer can enjoy various live concerts. For a quick peak at the gardens: 

The Molly Brown House was home to philanthropist, activist and socialite Molly Brown, who most famously may be known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”, for surviving the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Visitors to the home will learn more about her life as well as some of the history of the city of Denver. For a tour of the home click here

Fans of flight will love a trip to Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. The museum’s collection is situated in a 1930’s Air Force hangar. There are more than four dozen aircraft and space vehicles to explore including a Star Wars X-wing fighter. The museum has its own YouTube channel where you can learn more about the museum and its’ collection of aircraft. 

Here's a quick tour: 

Families will enjoy checking out the Downtown Aquarium, home to over 500 species of animals. The aquarium also has an interactive stingray reef touch tank, mermaid show, train, carousel, and a 4-D theater. There is also a full service restaurant with a 50,000 gallon aquarium serving as its centerpiece. Here's a virtual tour: 

Tours of the Denver Mint are temporarily suspended, but you can check out a virtual tour hereThe Denver Mint first started producing coins in 1906, and is still producing coins for circulation along with commemorative coins today. 

Hammond’s Candy Factory offers free tours of their facility. The company has been making candy since 1920. Visitors can see how their favorite treats are pulled, twisted, shaped and packaged. Click here to see how they do it. 

Pre-COVID, sports fans could enjoy stadium tours of both Coors Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies and Empower Field at Mile High Stadium, home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos. Tours of both are temporarily suspended, but you can check out virtual tours of Coors Field here and Empower Field here

Denver has a thriving beer scene, from the home of the nationally known Coors Brewery in nearby Golden to smaller microbreweries like Wynkoop Brewing Company and Great Divide Brewing Company there is something here for all beer aficionados. Check out this website to learn more about the best brewery tours in area. 

Ten miles west of Denver you will find an open-air amphitheater built into a rock structure as well as amazing hiking and biking trails. The area is known as Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, the natural beautiful ochre sandstone that surrounds the amphitheater provides stunning acoustics for live concerts not to mention an amazing ambiance. Many, many big names have played at Red Rocks including, the Beatles, U2, Depeche Mode, the Grateful Dead, Neil Young and on and on. Visitors also enjoy getting their heart pumping on the hiking and biking trails within the park or by running up and down the stone steps of the amphitheater. Here is a quick drone tour of the area. 

Outdoor activities are big in Colorado, for something a little different how about checking out The Denver Climbing Company Outdoor Climbing School? Catering to all skill levels, this company provides rock climbing guides and instruction. Learn more, here. What a great vacation memory, rock climbing in the Colorado Rockies! 

Denver is the gateway to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the US. There are at least 12 amazing resorts within a 2 hour drive of the city. The best time of year to hit the slopes? February. The base depth of the snow is the deepest, and there is still plenty more snow coming down.

As you can see there is SO much to see and do in Denver. For a great overview of the city, check out this video by Expedia. 

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