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  1. #1
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    Default Denver or CO Springs places to stay/must-go??

    We're just booked tickets to Denver for a week, but we have nowhere to stay and have no idea what to do. DH has never been, but he wants to check out the area since we're 5yrs from his first career's retirement & he's had job offers in CO Springs. We can drive to CO Springs for the whole time or stay in Denver and make a couple trips down for the day. I looked at VRBO, but our week is popular, so a lot of stuff is booked...and honestly I'm just not feeling the high-rise vibe of the Denver Metro area. I think I want the mountain experience. I'm not familiar with the neighborhoods, though (what is close to parks, hiking, grocery stores, etc). A B&B or hotel is fine, but some places don't allow kids under 14.

    Any tips or advice? We'll have an 18 mo-old with us.
    Muffin, 2010
    Bubba, 2013

    "You've probably heard the expression 'I believe in God, just not organized religion.' I don't think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live. The expression would change to 'I can't deny what the church does, but I don't believe in their God.' At least then they'd address their rejection of God rather than use the church as a scapegoat." Francis Chan

  2. #2
    wendmatt is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    If you are thinking of living in colo spgs, I would go down there to visit. Your DH is military right? you can stay on post at fort carson, af academy or the other af out west (can't remember name). Garden of the Gods is gorgeous, as is Pikes Peak (you can drive up or take the cog railway, but I thought the railway was a bit long and boring!). The town where you go up Pikes Peak (can't remember name) is lovely. There is so much to do in Colo Spgs, it is beautiful. We lived there when we first got married for 3 years and I loved it. Bit too cold for me long term but DH would live there in a heart beat and leave TX if he could. It was 15 years ago so I don't remember everything but it really was a lovely place, I know there has been a ton of building and expansion but I think it's still wonderful.
    Denver has the big aquarium which was great and lots of little outlying towns you could visit.
    Could you just get a hotel/motel down there, there are tons to choose from.
    Have a great trip.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for all the recs--we def wanted to see Pike's Peak. Do you just "see it" or can you take hikes in it/near it w/out much equipment?? I'm a mountain-walking novice. Is the area of CO Spring one big valley? So, you look up at mountains (the Sangre de Cristo, Pike's Peak, etc)?
    Muffin, 2010
    Bubba, 2013

    "You've probably heard the expression 'I believe in God, just not organized religion.' I don't think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live. The expression would change to 'I can't deny what the church does, but I don't believe in their God.' At least then they'd address their rejection of God rather than use the church as a scapegoat." Francis Chan

  4. #4
    kbud is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    I grew up in CO Springs and have also lived in Denver. It's been awhile since I've lived there but maybe I can help. My mom just moved away from the Springs this past fall;( Both Denver and the Springs are wonderful places to live.

    The Springs is very military oriented and conservative Christian. Denver much more metropolitan and liberal. The pp is probably talking about Manitou Springs, w of the city where you catch the train to the top of Pikes Peak. The cog railroad to the top of the mountain is awesome but I wouldn't do it with an 18 month old. It's a long ride up and down and the lack of oxygen at 14,000 feet makes many people sick, especially those who don't live in CO.

    Old CO City is also a touristy town before you get to Manitou. Overall the North side of CO Springs is a bit nicer, better schools, etc. If you ever want specifics about schools pm me, as my mom was a teacher there.

    From either Denver or the Springs I suggest a ride into the mountains. You can head W out of the Springs on Hwy 24. I've heard the North Pole is fun for young kids it's off of Hwy 24. Cripple Creek is a fun old west gambling town in the mountains. There is a fun short train ride in the mountains that my kids loved.

    W out of Denver on 1-70 is good too. In Georgetown there is also a neat narrow gauge railroad that is short and good for younger kids.

    Garden of the Gods in the Springs is just an absolutely stunning park. It's a must see. The AF Academy is interesting too as well as the Olympic Training Center. It's also fun to walk around the fancy Broadmoor Hotel. Focus on the Family has a wonderful fun play area indoors that is a lot of fun for kids. They also have an old fashioned soda fountain there. The Cheyenne Mountain zoo is a good zoo. Be prepared to hike and be worn out though as it's on the side of the mountain!

    Estes Park, NW of Denver in the mountains is one of my favorite cities. It's so pretty and nice shops. Rocky Mountain National Park is right next to it. It's a must see in my book. We drove the road through last summer. I hadn't done it in many years. I forgot how stunning (and nerve racking) it is. My youngest saw snow for the first and only time last June up there (we live in FL).

    Denver is fun, but not as many activities. I haven't been to the aquarium or zoo but I hear they are good.

    Golden W of Denver is fun. I neat railroad museum and of course tours and free beer at Coors

    Let me know if you have any questions. I'm homesick now Love FL but miss the mountains too! Exploring the mountains in the summer was one of my favorite things to do. Bring a jacket it can be cool in the mountains even in the summer.

  5. #5
    kbud is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Oh, if you want to tell me any specific neighborhoods you were looking at I can maybe give you some more info.

  6. #6
    Simon is online now Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    We were just there last weekend with our 3 boys and a Grandma.
    We stayed at the Hyatt Home, which was very nice (though only has an outdoor pool, if that matters). We liked the kitchenette and the nice sectional sofa, there was an extra sink outside the bathroom and the layout worked well for us. It was also close to the Garden of the Gods.

    Garden of the Gods was neat and is probably a good place for hiking (though we didn't). There are neat paths and cool views.

    Manitou Springs had a neat downtown and restaurants, plus a few good park/playgrounds for kids to work off their energy. We ate at the Stagecoach Inn, great buffalo burger and family friendly.

    We drove up Pike's Peak and skipped the train because I didn't think the boys could handle just sitting still for that long, plus I didn't want to have to be on their schedule. The drive was very nice and great views. We stopped at the resevoir and a few pull offs to look. We live around 4-5,000 feet, but Grandma lives at sea level and could not handle the altitude at the top. She needed her inhaler and did not get out of the car to walk around at all.
    Ds1 (2006). Ds2 (2010). Ds3 (2012).

  7. #7
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    thanks, all! These are great suggestions. We just booked an apartment in Co Springs, although I think we might spend the first and last days in Denver for airport logistics.

    The zoo and santa workshop sounds awesome, as well as some local hiking and maybe the caves??

    Curious, do you think it's too much time in a car seat for our DD to drive to Estes Park the day after our arrival, and then hoof it down to Springs to check in later that night?

    ETA--we live at sea level, too. What signs should I look for w/ DD not tolerating altitude well even in the car. My DH skydives for a living and has to have an oxygen mask/helmet above 13,000ft when jumping. I cannot imagine walking around at 14,000ft!! LOL Do they rent/sell portable oxygen tanks?
    Last edited by bostonsmama; 05-07-2012 at 02:17 PM.
    Muffin, 2010
    Bubba, 2013

    "You've probably heard the expression 'I believe in God, just not organized religion.' I don't think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live. The expression would change to 'I can't deny what the church does, but I don't believe in their God.' At least then they'd address their rejection of God rather than use the church as a scapegoat." Francis Chan

  8. #8
    kbud is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    When my oldest, now 8, was that age we spent a weekend in the mountains. At the time we lived in KS. She cried and screamed a lot and did not sleep (although that wan't out of character for her). She did though fall asleep while we were touring a silver mine. No falling asleep was out of character. Looking back I think she was short of oxygen. I didn't think too much of it since I was from there I thought nothing of visiting the mountains. I should have though since I was familiar with the mountains. Headache and a dizzy feeling is a big sign, also some people throw up. My girls have done fine every other time, which has been at least once a year there whole lives.

    I'd say it depends on how your dd does in the car in general. My oldest was a trooper in the car.

    I have not been to Cave of the Winds but I've heard it's great.

    You see a lot of elderly people on oxygen but I don't know of any place that rents to the general public, nor have a seen it. CO Springs is about 6,000-8,000 feet depending where in the city you are. Denver is lower. Most people don't have any significant problems there, maybe just short of breath climbing stairs, hiking, etc. Planes are pressurized to about 8,000 ft just to give a reference.

  9. #9
    jenmcadams is online now Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    I live in Golden (west of Denver), but we've done several weekend trips down to CO Springs. People have mentioned most of the big attractions down that way - we also like the Park of the Americas in downtown CO Springs and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is cool (small and hilly, but you get to feed the Giraffes and they have pony rides) and you could always combine the zoo with lunch at the Broadmoor. Estes Park (& Rocky Mountain National Park) are great, but if I were you I'd stay the night up that way if you can swing it.

    If you end up deciding to check out Denver, I can give you tons of parks, restaurants, shopping etc. The Denver zoo is a great zoo, the Museum of Nature and Science is top notch and the aquarium is nice (but small) too.
    Mom to a DD (8/02) and a DS (6/05)

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