Denver Colorado

We decided to spend several days in Denver Colorado.  I chose to camp at my old stomping grounds…Chatfield State Park.  The park looks very much the same as it did when I was a kid.  The park has pay showers for $.50 for 3 min.  And a great swim beach.  It is $22 a night and even has laundry for $1.75 a load.

The kids did the jr ranger program here and earned their fifth Jr ranger badge.  Their program book is actually the most in depth of all of them so far.

We spent the first day here walking around downtown and doing the tour of the Molly Brown house.  Molly Brown house tour was around $30 for the 7 of us.  However it was a really interesting tour and I’ve always wanted to so it so it was money well spent.  It took about 45 minutes.

I was sad to see that the state capitol was being refurbished so the kids didn’t get to see the gold dome.  However there was a major bike tour race so we did see that.  It was fun walking around downtown Denver again with my family this time.

We ended that day by going for a late lunch-early supper.  We went to my favorite restaurant as a kid…Casa Bonita.  After going again as an adult it is still my favorite restaurant!   The Mexican restaurant is a fantasy world for kids.  There is cliff diving, gun fights, pirate fights, gorilla escapes, pinyata for the kids, puppet shows, and more.  Adults eat for between $13 and $15 (all you can eat) and kids eat for $5.  Drinks are just over $2 each and free refills.  It is extremely affordable.  If you want more stimulation you can purchase tokens for their arcade.  As well they have a pirate cave you and your kids can explore.  It is a fantastic place to go!

We spent our second day by first driving to Georgetown and then taking the train on the Georgetown loop and doing the tour of the old Lebanon Mine (a silver mine).  It was super fun.  It took about 3 hours and cost about $35 for adults and $27 for kids.

We decided to stop for lunch at a little place in Downtown Georgetown called the Happy Cooker.  It was fantastic food.

Then we drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park and drove through the park stopping at the lookouts and stopping several times for hikes throughout.

It was a really fun day!

Today we spent the day at the beach here when we weren’t taking Jason to the airport to catch his flight home.  It was super fun!

Focus on the Family

Friday we had planned to visit Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs.  I wanted to do the tour and also let the kids play in Whit’s end and the kids area.  I really wanted to see where they record their radio programs and if I was lucky maybe even see one.

For those of you who don’t know Focus on the Family has an entire building dedicated to welcoming people.   This building was donated specifically for this purpose! It has a basement that has been turned into a virtual kids’ zone.  It has a book store upstairs and a theatre and several walls of history and overviews of many of their ministries.

The kids area has a 3 story windey slide, movie area, computer games, actual stage and dressing room complete with costumes for all your favorite Odyssey characters, a puppet theatre with puppets of several odyssey characters and more.  There’s a replica plane from one of their movies and interesting memorabilia throughout.  There is even a wardrobe to walk into Narnia.  There’s a reading area and a whole room for little ones 4 and under.

They even have KYDS radio studio where you can sign up for a 30 minute session and create your own Odyssey episode with up to 4 people.  This is done on a first come first serve basis and only when open.

They have Whit’s ice cream shop with very reasonable prices.  A peanut butter and jam sandwich is $1.50 and a kids’ ice cream cone is $1.75 and a huge ice cream sundae is $3.75.  You can even try the famous wodfamchocsod for only $2.75. (World famous chocolate soda).

We went on Friday and had such a great time that the kids insisted we return Saturday.  The kids spent close to 2 hours going down The slide (and visiting with their new friend Hannah who we met as our tour guide and then who supervised the slide and finally when she produced their 2 Odyssey episodes.  And she even remembered all 5 kids names the next day – she is a great ambassador and employee for the ministry).

Friday the KYDS radio studio was closed so Saturday we arrived early to get 2 early time slots.  We needed 2 time slots so all the kids could be involved because only 3 to 4 kids can do each episode.  There are 2 reading parts and then up to two kids can be Foley’s (sound effects).  The kids doing Foley had just as much fun as the kids with reading parts!  Then when you are done you get a free CD of your episode to take home.  I’ll post this and photos when I get home.

They even have 2 party rooms available for use for free simply by signing up.

I have long been impressed with their ministry and we have supported them for years.  But this visit just reinforced it.  I love the fact that they are mortgage free and all the monies donated go directly to their ministries.

3 of my kids said this was as good or better than Disneyland, which we were at 2 weeks ago.

Adventures in Odyssey

I grew up listening to Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey.  My kids have listened to it every Saturday on the radio.

Just before we left on this trip we purchased 15 volumes on digital copies.  They were on sale for $9.99 each and I figured they’d save my sanity on the trip.  As they have!

We have purchased several volumes over the years, but digital ones was new for us.  However, the kids have loved having easy access on the mp3; and I like that they can’t scratch the mp3’s! LOL!

I love the clean messages and the christian morals that the episodes portray and I love that my kids love them too!

Great Sand Dunes Ntnl Park and Reserve

Yesterday we spent the whole day at the sand dunes.  We hiked up them and attended a ranger talk on bugs and animals of the park.

Who knew that there are 14 insects found only here; nowhere else in the world.

Luckliy for us the heat was broken up by a thunderstorm.  Watching lightening over the dunes is beautiful.

After the kids watched a movie on the sand dunes and finished their papers to earn their jr ranger badges (apparently there’s 400 they can earn) we returned to the campsite for a late lunch.

During the rain we read the book series we’ve been working through.  Dragons in our midst.  We finally finished the second book.  Now we’ve begun the third.

We roasted Turkey dogs over the campfire in the drizzle and then when the kids returned from their exploring we went back to the dunes.  It was dark and we wanted to see if we could see any nocturnal bugs or animals.  We heard lots but didn’t see too much.  We did see someone high on the dunes so I flashed them a few times with our flashlight so they could see the right way to go.  They thanked us when they got down.  I did see a kangaroo rat, kind of a mouse like thing that doesn’t drink, burrows, and jumps over 5 feet high.

It was a great day full of interesting experiences.

Huntington Beach

We spent several days split between Huntington City Beach and Huntington State Beach.

This beach is absolutely beautiful!  The first day we were at the city beach.  It cost $15 to park.  Then next few times we were up the road at the state beach.  It also cost $15 to park; however you could leave and return later without any additional cost.

Both were manned by lifeguards and the sand was soft white.  Both had fire pits which were close, but not too close to feel like you were infringing on anyone else.

When chatting with a gal from Anaheim she told me that most of the public fire pits between LA and San Diego are in the process of being removed or already have been removed.  Because the towns voted to remove them because of the traffic they bring.  To me it seems crazy.

But we LOVED the days and evenings at Huntington Beach!