Top 5 Experiences at Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Allow me to tell you a little bit about Colorado’s loveliest zoo!  Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is truly unique, with one exhibit in particular that will knock your socks off, and possibly change your life.  But I’m getting ahead of myself. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a gem that has been brilliantly nestled along a mountain side, near Colorado Springs. Trails to view the animals slowly wind up the mountain, switchback style.  Foliage and trees are prevalent, and while some exhibits (like the monkey house) feel a little dated… most of the habitats are excellent. We visited on a cool, rainy November day.  Which I highly recommend!  The animals were active, and the crowds were very low.  One of the things I love about going to a zoo, is that each visit is unique.  Here are what we feel were the Top 5 Experiences at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. #5 Rocky Mountain Wild… Moose, Mountain Lions, & Bears! Especially given the natural Colorado Rocky Mountain surroundings, I loved the Rocky … [Read more...]

Best Travel Destinations for 2018

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 is the highly anticipated collection of the world’s hottest destinations! These are the breathtaking places that should be on every traveler’s wish list in the year ahead.  (Yaaaayy....! My favorite, Portugal, made the Top 10 List!) What a fabulous gift idea, for any who love to travel.  I love this gorgeous little book, plus it's an awesome size (5.8 x 7 inches).  Works beautifully as either a coffee table piece or stuffed right in your travel bag to bring along.  And it's jam packed with gorgeous photos, and helpful and inspiring tidbits for your wanderlust plans.  Or daydreams.  :) Once per year, Lonely Planet experts reveal their selections of the Top 10 countries, cities, regions and best value destinations. This is an excellent resource for travelers looking for recommendation on what to experience in 2018. Top Ranked Country, City, & Region Chile takes the coveted top spot of the best country for travelers in 2018! Seville … [Read more...]

5 Winning Reasons to Visit Colorado Springs – “Olympic City USA”!

Nestled along a gorgeous stretch of Rocky Mountain Foothills, just a touch south of Denver, lies the city of Colorado Springs.  The front range views of this area are some of the most stunning in all of Colorado.  And there’s plenty of fun to be had during a family visit to what’s been dubbed “Olympic City USA”. Here are just a few winning reasons why your family will enjoy a visit to Colorado Springs. #1 – Rich Olympic Heritage, a.k.a. Olympic City USA Curious why this place is known as Olympic City USA?  Note these interesting facts: Colorado Springs is home to the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Paralympics They have two official Olympic Training Sites: the velodrome and ice skating facility The Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center is located here, and is open to the public. Public tours are available year-round Monday – Saturday.  Visitors can then explore the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Rotunda, shop at the U.S. Olympic Store and check out the art … [Read more...]

14 Places Kids Ski Free in Colorado

It's almost ski season in Colorado!  Many slopes have their opening this weekend.  My family is starting to make plans. and will be kicking things off in early December, with a visit to Crested Butte. Crested Butte  is a fantastic, laid back mountain on which to learn to ski... and it's particularly family friendly.  See their "kids ski free" deal below - it's fantastic and includes FREE lift tickets for ages 12 & under,  through Dec. 150. Although I'm not a die hard skier, it's something I want my kids to learn how to do.  Living in a state with the Rocky Mountains running through it makes me feel a little obligated! However, skiing with a family is not a cheap sport.  Fortunately many of the Colorado ski resorts offer deals, and it definitely pays to work these into your plans.  Saving on your kids lift tickets makes a huge difference!  Here's an excellent roundup from the non-profit organization Colorado Ski Country USA. 5th and 6th Graders Ski Free - Passport … [Read more...]

7 Amazing Things I Loved About Portugal

Named “2016 Hottest Destination of the Year” by Travel & Leisure, and now #3 on Lonely Planet's "2018 Top 10 Countries" list, Portugal is an amazing Europe destination that's getting more and more attention as people discover it's unassuming treasures.  This was my FIRST trip to Europe, and what a wonderful, eye-opening experience it was!   Pastries, kayaking, beaches, seafood galore, a perfect family resort, and visiting one of Europe's most unique castles.   Bliss. First Timer in Europe ~ Why Pick Portugal? My recent visit to Portugal was my first time experiencing Europe, and was certainly a thrill.  Fellow world traveling companions provided some insight for me along the way, pointing out just how many of this country's wonderful features were unique in all of Europe. Portugal offers relatively low prices, lots of English speaking, friendly people, delectable foods (including tons of mouth watering fresh seafood), and amazing coastline scenery. For these reasons and all … [Read more...]

A Disney World Fireworks Cruise Will *Blow* You Away!

We were blown away by the Disney World fireworks cruise my family took, to view Epcot IllumiNations! Here are the details of what to expect, what it includes, how much time to allow, and how much a Disney World fireworks cruise costs.  Plus a preview video of our on-the-lake view of IllumiNations! Did you know that your family can take a Disney World fireworks cruise aboard a pontoon boat? My family tried this fabulous experience out during our most recent Walt Disney World vacation.  The fireworks cruise we took was near Epcot, where we had an up close and personal viewing of Illuminations.  It was absolutely breathtaking! A Disney World fireworks cruise is such a unique and over-the-top experience, that I absolutely recommend your family trying this at least once.  Put it on your Disney Bucket List! Disney World Fireworks Cruise ~ Schedule & Location Our Epcot IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth cruise departed from Disney’s Yacht Club marina.  We had to meet at the … [Read more...]

When a 7th Grade Hiking Field Trip Goes Awry

Last Friday was the perfect Colorado Fall day.  Sunny and high 60’s, absolutely ideal hiking weather.  My daughter’s 7th grade class was scheduled to do a class hike field trip.  I had the day off of work, and planned to join them.  Everything was right in the world. That is, until the bodies started hitting the floor. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Wait, Can We Bring Dog…?! So Friday morning we are scurrying around, packing lunches and getting ready for school.  I swear our Golden Retreiver Daisy must have spotted my daughter grabbing her hiking backpack.  You know those key items, that set the alarm bells off for a dog...”An adventure is afoot!!” Bless her 10 year old heart… she starts bouncing around like an excited puppy. “Oh Daisy, you can’t come on the field trip.”  Wait. Maybe she can? Since I planned on driving behind the school buses, and hiking with the kids – in theory, maybe we could bring the dog? Our plan was to have my daughter ask permission once … [Read more...]

Capturing Colorado Family Adventures

One of the things I love about living in Colorado, is that we do have four seasons. The variety keeps things interesting, and allows for different types of outdoor play different times of the year. And Fall means hiking and biking! No bugs.  Perfect temps for athletic endeavors. Gorgeous scenery of gold, orange, and red colored leaves.  It all makes for an ideal time to get the family outdoors for some adventuring. Capturing Your Family Adventure Memories I'm pretty good about taking pictures on our family recreates in the great outdoors.  I love looking back on past memories of the fun times we've had camping, fishing, and exploring.  This makes and preserves memories for us, as much as when we take a full-on vacation somewhere! Plus then I can share photos and video from our outdoor endeavors.  It keeps my family and friends up to date on the fun we've been having, which they love to see. And I'd like to think it also inspires other to want to go play outside, … [Read more...]

Must-Have Fall Gear for the Outdoor Woman

Ahhh... when those Fall temperatures start to drop enough for me to get out my scarves and boots, I am one happy camper!  My favorite Colorado season brings with it breathtaking golden Aspen trees contrasting the evergreens, and ideal weather for outdoor adventures. It's also the perfect time to review your clothing and gear, and check out the new Fall lines from your favorite outdoor brands. Adding just a few key pieces that catch your fancy can breathe new life and functionality into your wardrobe.  I've been doing my research and a bit of sample testing, and here's the best of the best:  Must-Have Fall Gear for the Outdoor Woman. Womens Outdoor Gear for Fall Here's a quick overview of my awesome Fall women's outdoor gear picks - including info on sizing, fabric, best use, and where to find them.   Sunday Afternoons ~ Northwest Trucker Cap, $28 Sunday Afternoons focuses on one thing:  making hats.  And they're really good at it!  My tween daughter … [Read more...]

Tips for the Best Colorado Fall Drive & Family Adventure

You just can't beat Fall color in Colorado!  When those Aspen trees turn brilliant gold, and contrast against the Rocky Mountain evergreens... it's a breathtaking sight to behold.  Here's my "Insider List" of where the locals consider the best Colorado Fall drive.  Plus my tips on exploring a bit off the beaten path, and how to keep your kids excited about this awesome family outdoor adventure. A year-round outdoor lover, I'd have to say that fall is my absolute favorite season in Colorado.  I've polled the experts, and seen many of these for myself.  Here's my Insider List of best fall drives. Top 5 Colorado Fall Drives NORTHERN - Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park CENTRAL - Kebler Pass, part of the West Elk Loop that ends in fun ski town Crested Butte CENTRAL - Grand Mesa Byway (My favorite! More on this below), 45 minutes from Grand Junction SOUTHERN - Last Dollar Road, from Ridgeway to Telluride, both awesome mountain towns DENVER AREA - Guanella … [Read more...]