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...]

6 Cool Things You’ll Love at the Denver Aquarium

Nestled in a lovely, easy-to-access downtown area, the Denver Aquarium is a fabulous option for families.  You'll even find some surprising, non-fish attractions!  Here are the top exhibits to see, how much time to allow for a visit, what to expect for a closing time, and whether the attached Aquarium Restaurant is a good place to eat. We had been to the Downtown Denver Aquarium a few years ago, and I don't remember being too impressed.  But for some reason, this recent visit was more enjoyable than ever.  Perhaps it’s because this time around we have a first grader son that loves fish?  Or that they are now under a restaurant brand's umbrella, and have upped their overall game to bring in visitors? At any rate, we were quite impressed and had a wonderful time.  I heartily recommend this Colorado attraction!  Here's my recap of what to expect, and the best exhibits to watch for. Travel Through the World’s Ecosystems Rain forest ecosystem at Denver AquariumThe layout of the … [Read more...]

Top 5 Ruidoso, New Mexico Things To Do (for Outdoor Lovers!)

Ruidoso, New Mexico is a unique mountain village that may be a bit off the beaten path.  But what you’ll find here is an outdoor lovers paradise, which is well worth a visit.  Here I've gathered the Top 5 Ruidoso New Mexico things to do with a family. This unique off the beaten path destination offers much to outdoorsy families looking for a fun yet relaxing getaway.  Get your heart pumping activities like hiking, mountain biking, and skiing.  Or just taking a leisurely stroll through town to browse local Western art.  There’s something for everyone here to enjoy. # 5 - Mountain Bike Trails Since my son turned age 5 and graduated to a decent trail worthy bike, family mountain biking has become our favorite outdoor activity. With new trail development and a vast network of empty rural roads and awesome mountain trails, cycling in Ruidoso has never been better. Ruidoso local bike shops can hook you up with bike rentals.  Then check out the Discover Ruidoso website for … [Read more...]

A Visit to Denver Museum of Nature & Science

There is certainly plenty of fun to be had in the city of Denver, Colorado.  When my family and I were there last weekend, we decided to swing by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.  And boy, are we glad we did!  It had been a few years since our last visit.  As it turns out, this place is even more fabulous than we remembered. With three stories of interesting and varied exhibits to choose from, there’s truly something to pique everyone’s interest here. Our kids ages 6 and 12 have been bubbling with enthusiastic chatter ever since, telling friends and grandparents about all the things they saw and learned. Plus, it was air conditioned. On a 100 degree Colorado summer day.  It was the perfect place to be for a day of family fun. Awesome Outer Space Display… (Even if you Skip the Planetarium) You’ll notice when you purchase tickets there are several options.  One is to add a visit to the Planetarium.  We did *not* have these type of tickets, but were happy to … [Read more...]

bd’s Mongolian Grill for Fun Denver Dining

If you’re looking for a fun and delicious place to eat in Denver, you should check out bd’s Mongolian Grill.  Holding steady at it’s location in LoDo (lower downtown) for 20 years now… there’s a reason this place has stood the test of time. Fresh ingredients are ready at the helm for you to build-your-own stir fry, then have it fried up “Mongolian” style by the resident chefs. Make Your Own Stir Fry With so many amazing, fresh ingredients to choose from... you won't have trouble building your own stir fry. Need help crafting a specific dish you love?  Not to fret, they’ve got you covered with the recipe wall. Tip:  Peruse the recipes and grab a card before you start the buffet line.  Many people pass right by and don't realize they are available. I used a recipe card for Kung Pao Beef (although I admittedly wimped out on the full level of spiciness, and only added half the recommended cayenne). First, diners take their bowl up to the buffet of raw ingredients, … [Read more...]

Print Vacation Memories on a Gorgeous Photo Canvas [Giveaway, Ended 7/20]

I have a newly budding passion.  After returning from our recent Florida vacation, I had some wonderful photos I wanted to display in my home.  I have tried this once before (and loved it), so I knew I wanted to order a nice, large print on canvas.  It turned out AMAZING! If you haven’t tried this, I encourage you to do so.  You can select any photo file to have printed on a canvas, then wrapped around a wood frame.  Canvas Factory has great prices, and produces the nicest quality canvas prints I’ve seen. This option is more unique, and honestly less expensive, than ordering a large photo print and purchasing a traditional photo frame to house it. Canvas Factory - Ordering Experience The Canvas Factory site is easy to use.  They have some awesome, artistic ideas and layouts for you to chose from.  I’d love to try the split canvas print (one photo, spread across 3 panels) or canvas wall display (multiple photo panels to display together). After uploading your photo, you can … [Read more...]

Colorado’s Elitch Gardens Opens this Weekend!

Hooray for summertime!  My kids had their last day of school yesterday, the gorgeous sun is shining bright today, and we are ready to have some FUN!  Heads up to Denver - Elitch Gardens opens this weekend, and they are kicking things off with a *BANG*... as in, fireworks! Check out the opening weekend details.  And for a peek at my don't miss Elitch Gardens recommendations, check out my post Top 5 Experiences at Elitch Gardens. Elitch Gardens Opening Schedule Dive head first into summer at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park this weekend as they celebrate Memorial Day. Guests can make a splash in Island Kingdom Water Park on its opening day this Saturday.  Also enjoy two new live daily shows, and a spectacular fireworks display. “Summer officially kicks off when we open the water park for the season,” says Karl Traeger, Marketing Director. “With activities fit for everyone, Elitch Gardens is the place to be for families this Memorial Day Weekend.” The water park boasts … [Read more...]

7 Magical Reasons to Stay at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista (near Disney World)

Let's talk about the elephant in the room first.  I almost always advocate for staying at a Disney World resort.  However, after two visits now to the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista property, I’ve now decided this is my one exception. They’ve got a  LOT to offer, and have gone to great efforts to make sure that families staying with them for a Disney World vacation still feel surrounded by that special Disney magic. There are even a few hidden Mickeys on site! Take a look at these solid reasons to consider staying at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista during your next vacation to Walt Disney World. #1 On Disney World Property Location The Wyndham Lake Buena Vista is literally ON THE WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT PROPERTY, across the street from Disney Springs!  If you want to save money but still stay as close to Disney World as possible, it’s an absolutely perfect location. Staying at this resort really adds no more travel-to-park time than staying at one of the other periphery … [Read more...]

Have You Dreamt of Enchanting Iceland? [Trip Giveaway]

Iceland... enchanting land of wild ponies, steaming outdoor thermal pools, and stunning views of Aurora Borealis.  This destination has gained notoriety in recent years as a fabulous travel destination.  Being a nature and outdoors lover, Iceland is squarely on my Bucket List. So when my friends over at Outdoor Families Magazine recently announced this awesome giveaway, I wanted to be sure my readers knew about it.  In celebration of their 3rd year anniversary, Outdoor Families Magazines has worked with Travel East to offer this exciting Iceland trip giveaway! Family Adventure Iceland Trip Giveaway You can enter HERE for a chance to win the Enchanting Iceland Land and Sea Family Adventure Vacation Giveaway.  This opportunity is for you and your family to explore all the great unknown treasures the "land of fire and ice" has to offer! The Grand Prize Winner will receive the following: 3-night Stay for 3 at Hotel Bláfell in Breiðdaslvík Kistufell – 3-4 hour Super Jeep … [Read more...]

My First Kayak Adventure Ever… in Sagres Portugal!

Death by rollover.  Trapped upside down in my kayak, whoosing past head-smashing rocks, unable to release my lower body from its underwater tomb.  Yep, it’s one of my worst nightmares.  Can you blame me? Hence my hesitancy whenever I’ve had the opportunity to go kayaking. And I almost passed up the opportunity yet again, on a recent media trip to Portugal.  We had a local guide from the fishing village of Sagres Portugal who was planning on taking our small group of three out for a kayak adventure.  Realizing I was there to report in the capacity of “OUTDOORSY” TravelingMom… I figured I better suck it up, Buttercup! And join them. Lesson learned:  Never pass up a chance to kayak with a guide! My First Time Kayaking – Walk in the Park Turns out the only danger that day was if I had actually tipped over, my iPhone would have been trashed.  Other than that, it was so completely safe that they even take out children if the sea is calm. “The Sea.”  That’s what they … [Read more...]