Saturday, July 9, 2011

Our Week In Colorado

We're back! Thank you so much for all of your well-wishes. The FunSchoolers had a roaring good time from June 28 - July 5, visiting Denver and Colorado Springs. Here's a recap of all we did.

First stop: Denver. We visited the Botanic Gardens. I was swooning over the beautiful stone/brick houses on the way. Living in the sunny Central Valley, we don't see many homes built with sturdy brick facades strong enough to withstand plummeting temperatures like those near the Rockies so I drank in the sight as much as possible. At the Botanic Gardens, kiddo enjoyed the shady promenade of tropical plants and also the Japanese garden. He was disappointed there weren't any visible carnivorous plants on display. Therefore, although the Denver Botanic Gardens is definitely pretty, we prefer the Botanic Gardens in Berkeley.

Also in Denver, hubby couldn't pass up the opportunity to ogle at planes. Being an ardent WWII aircraft fan, he was very captivated by the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space museum. Kiddo and I not so much but the boy did enjoy the chance to "pilot" a simulated Wright brothers plane.

We drove to Colorado Springs on the second day. It was a gorgeous drive with views of snow-capped Rockies in the distance. We visited the awe-inspiring Garden of the Gods first. Haven't seen so many uniquely-formed red rock structures in one place. And the area is just teeming with photo ops. One time, we spotted a pigeon peeking out at us from a hole in the rock way up. Another time, we spotted someone climbing up the sheer rock face and I refused to look for too long because I began visualizing all sorts of ways the guy could lose his footing lol. There are some really brave folk out there! Kiddo and hubby did some light climbing for a more up close and personal experience of Balanced Rock (photo below, on right). I stayed on flat ground as much as possible lol.

Our second day in Co. Springs was spent in the Manitou Springs area taking the cog railway up to Pikes Peak (I skipped this as I was a little wary of altitude sickness, hence no photos) and visiting the nearby Cave of the Winds. If you'd like to try the train ride up, I'd strongly recommend reserving ahead of time and also, to bring along some warm clothing (yes, even in summer). I loved the walk through the cave. We chose the flashlight discovery tour (and got to keep our cute little flashlights too). Our 16-year-old tour guide kept us giggling throughout with her dead-pan jokes (look real close at the photo on the far right below for a glimpse of our guide). Trips like these are most enriched by the people we meet, regardless of who or how old they are, don't you agree?

The next day, feeling adventurous, we drove to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park about 60 miles southwest of Co. Springs.

Built in 1929, the bridge has a main span of 880 feet and towers over 1,000 feet above the raging Arkansas river. We first took a cable car to cross to the other side (a very smooth ride considering we were many, many feet above ground) and then walked back to the visitor center using the bridge. Hubby and kiddo also took the incline railway ride (the blue contraption pictured above) to visit the depths of the gorge. We voted not to try the world's scariest skycoaster because we had budget constraints but the boys surely were tempted!

After Royal Gorge, we headed to the Glen Eyrie conference center for four full days of delightful dorm-style room and board and excellent cuisine. Kiddo joined other kids there in a number of cool activities including playing with zometools and solving logic puzzles. We established some wonderful friendships at Glen Eyrie and left with a heavy heart, feeling as if we should have stayed longer.

We returned to Denver on the last day for our flight back to the SF Bay Area. But just before heading to the airport, we visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We had very few hours to spend and decided on watching a show on black holes at the planetarium, visiting the gems and minerals exhibit and taking a tour of National Geographic's Pirates of the Whydah exhibit. Despite the rush, I felt that this is one of the best museums I've visited. We really hope to return some day to enjoy other exhibits and offerings here.

Well, like all good trips, it ended too soon. We're slowly getting back to routine now. It was great to have the break and I feel rested and recharged. Will probably need it in the coming days as I try to figure out some semblance of a plan for the rest of Year 4.

Hope you're having a lovely summer!


  1. Welcome home, Suji, looks like you all had a blast! I would have loved seeing the Botanical Gardens. I got to see a pitcher plant at a garden centre here in the UK, and it was so cool.

  2. A big WOW! The bridge over Arkansas river would have been too much for me.


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