After a long school week, are you wondering where you can take your kids to let off a little steam? Sometimes, finding something to do around the house is not enough to take your mind off the daily grind. If you and your kids are ready for an adventure, try one of these day trips.
Garden of the Gods
Need a break from the hustle-bustle of the daily school schedule? Have a moment of serenity at the Garden of the Gods (1805 N. 30 St. in Colorado Springs). A monument made by nature, these divine formations with their reddish hues contrast beautifully with the blue of the sky. It is a sight to behold and makes for a great day with the kids, who can explore the towering reddish rocks while enjoying some sunshine and fresh air. Besides hiking and climbing here, there is also a nature center and museum, as well as a Geo-Trekker theater experience. They have additional activities available, including Yoga, a Scavenger Hunt, identifying rocks, taking a Jeep or Segway tour, learning about wild animals like birds and wolves, and more. Check the calendar to see what is available the day you visit. After a day of activity, grab a bite to eat at the on-site cafe. For more information, visit http://www.gardenofgods.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Lions and tigers and bears… Oh, my! If you have a wild child, then heading to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd. in Colorado Springs) might be just the thing to tame their restless spirit. Here they have a wide range of animals to meet and feed, from elephants and giraffes in the Africa Rift to kangaroos and marsupials in the Australia Walkabout. Hang with the orangutans or pet some farm animals. Head to The Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit and climb the three-story fire tower, or get up close with grizzly bears, mountain lions, otters and more. Get hands-on at The Loft and help take care of and feed the animals. Ask about the custom animal experience as well. Check out the historic carousel. Then, ride on the Mountaineer Sky Ride for an overview. Your admission grants you access to climb the nearby Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun with its breathtaking views. For more information, visit http://www.cmzoo.org.
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
At 956 feet above the Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest suspension bridge and offers beautiful views of the landscape below. Built in 1929, the bridge is an engineering marvel. Try the Via Ferrata to climb the granite rock walls in the Royal Gorge, a controlled experience with a trained guide. For those who really want a thrill, try the Royal Rush Skycoaster and swing through the air at up to 50 mph over the gorge after being hoisted up 100 feet. Another adrenaline-kicking experience is the Cloudscraper Zip Line. For something a bit more subdued, try the Aerial Gondola Ride. Let your kids loose in a three-story playland where they can climb, slide and tunnel or ride the carousel, as well as pan for gold or make wax molds of their hands. At the Plaza Theater, see photos and a mini-documentary about the history of the area. For more information, visit www.royalgorgebridge.com.
Great Wolf Lodge
On a hot day, there is nothing more fun than a water park and, at Great Wolf Lodge, you have quite a variety of options from which to choose. Kids can climb up and play in a four-story water treehouse with slides and games, at Fort Mackenzie, squirt each other with water at Cub Paw Pool, float on a lilly pad at Big Foot Pass, careen down hairpin turns on the Wolf Tail, splish and splash down the six-story Howlin’ Tornado, race others on a toboggan at the Mountain Edge Raceway, play basketball at the water playground of Chinook Cove, take an exhilarating tandem tube ride at Alberta falls and more. There are more than water adventures here. Kids can also rock climb, pan for gold, conquer the ropes course, play mini-golf, go bowling, build a bear, play arcade games or embark on a magical quest. For more information, visit www.greatwolf.com.