Family outings for the days after…

Posted 12/24/08

Sonya Ellingboe Even when holiday celebrations are idyllic, there comes a time when the kids might be whiny and the adults feel a bit of cabin fever. …

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Family outings for the days after…


Sonya Ellingboe

Even when holiday celebrations are idyllic, there comes a time when the kids might be whiny and the adults feel a bit of cabin fever. Following are a few suggestions for family excursions inside and outside, both ticketed and free:

After dark

“Trail of Lights” is new at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield this season. More than 1 million twinkling lights illuminate the forest paths. A children’s area includes a treehouse and there’s a decorated historic 1880s farmhouse to visit. Hot cocoa and other refreshments are available for purchase, as are 3-D glasses, which delight kids. Hours: 5-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays through Jan. 4, 2009. Admission: $9 adults/$7 members; $7 seniors/$5 members; $6 for children ages 4-15/$4 members. Tickets can be purchased in advance at King Soopers/TicketsWest with a 50-cents service charge. Location: 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton, just south of the C-470 and South Wadsworth intersection. Visit The annual Blossoms of Light will return to the Denver Botanic Gardens next year, following completion of construction.

Zoo Lights, 5-9 p.m. through Jan. 4 at the Denver Zoo, features more than 150 animated, lighted animal sculptures in trees, on the lawn, in bushes and all around the zoo’s 38 acres. All are LED lights, we are assured. There are warming stations. Animal demonstrations from 6-8 p.m. nightly in Pahall Ya Simba. Kwanzaa activities Dec. 26-28 with African storytelling, dancing, drumming. New Year’s Eve magic show, juggling, band, early countdown. Admission: $8, $6, $4. Activities are free with admission.


“Cartoons — More Than Just Comics” will run through Jan. 2 at Curtis Arts and Humanities Center, 2349 E. Orchard Road, Greenwood Village. It’s geared to helping kids learn about cartooning. Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays. 303-797-1779.

Littleton Historical Museum offers two historic farms to explore, with costumed interpreters. The 1860 and 1890 farmhouses are decorated for the holidays. Inside the museum are art shows and a history of Littleton gallery with hands-on displays for kids. The address is 6028 S. Gallup St., Littleton. Admission is free. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Mondays, Christmas, New Year’s Day. 303-795-3950.

Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver, has three fine temporary exhibitions: Art of Ernest L. Blumenshein, Taos school; Houdon from the Louvre, sculpture; Daniel Richter: a Major Survey, German contemporary. And then there are the worlds of the permanent collection to be explored. “Winter Break at the Denver Art Museum” programs offer opportunities to design a building, weave a rug, play games, dress up in costumes inspired by the paintings and more. Admission is free for kids younger than 18 through Jan. 4. The first Saturday, Jan. 3, is a free day for anyone who lives in Colorado. Otherwise admission costs $10, $8. (I spent New Year’s Day there last year— very pleasant day!) The Culture Complex garage is accessed from 12th Avenue. Information:; 720-865-5000.

South Platte Park, 3000 W. Carson Drive, Littleton (enter from the northwest corner of the Santa Fe/Mineral Park ’n Ride) is open daily sunrise to sunset, with 878 acres of natural park to explore on trails. Many species of birds live there year-round and others travel through. look for furry critters. Eagles appear in winter because of the stretch of open water. The Carson Nature Center is open noon to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays; 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays. A board inside the door lists the bird breeds and other critters that have been seen recently and where they were seen. The friendly naturalists will help in a search. nature; 303-720-1022.


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