Friday, July 18, 2014


It was a little bit of deja-vu when we tagged along on Erik’s work trip to Denver in March. Two years ago the kids and I joined him on a conference trip to the (other) Mile High City (blogged about here and here). We visited some of the same kid attractions and a few new ones, and it was eye-opening to compare the ease of travel this time with the relative ordeal of our previous trip! We’ve surely gone from a baby and a little boy to two kids. Now Luke and Eleanor enjoy the same kinds of activities and feel so at home wherever we go with their best friend by their side. I’m so delighted to see how their friendship gives them a sense of security and sparks natural play at any kids’ activity, whether it be mobbed with kids or empty. The trip was also simplified by my a-little-less-is-more attitude. I wasn’t as insistent that we fit numerous attractions into each day and I brought a few toys and books and let the kids have some playtime in the hotel room to decompress from time to time.

This year we returned to the Museum of Nature and Science twice. It’s hard not to when admission is free with our membership at Explora in Albuquerque, and it takes a few visits to see everything that the enormous museum holds! They were in the process of constructing a new and improved young child discovery zone (plus some other exhibit space I think) and we can’t wait to return when that’s finished too. The kids loved the wildlife, gems, space, dinosaur and human body exhibits, most of which have a little section geared toward younger kids. Eleanor never completely forgave the museum for one grievous shortcoming though. We checked just about every bathroom in the huge facility and not a one is equipped with a manual flush. She can’t be the only tot who is terrified by the sudden whoosh and spray of the capricious automatic toilet. I love to save water, but not at the expense of underwear… can we get a manual flush somewhere please? (:

The conference hotel was right downtown, a perfect location for walking to an excellent story time at the Denver Public Library. On the way back, we strolled past the capital building and other landmarks and Luke was sure to give the pigeons a friendly chase or two. Another day, we walked over to the Firefighters Museum and enjoyed their story time and soon had the museum to ourselves. We did our duty responding to emergencies with their play-friendly fire truck, fire gear, hoses, and walkie-talkies. The small and friendly museum was a great deal with this coupon.


We never made it to the pricier attractions like the zoo and children’s museum, but those are terrific options too. If our last day in Denver hadn’t been monopolized by wintry mix, we would have spent some time at Westlands Park, a public park in South Denver with glowing reviews for its innovative playground.

We enjoyed two evenings with sweet friends who recently moved to Denver, spent a few crazed hours in Ikea (my second trip, and I still want to love the store but actually find it frustrating, especially their shopping carts and out of stock items!), and did plenty of swimming in the hotel pool. On the way home we spent a night in Colorado Springs to allow for some mini-hikes around the Garden of the Gods. The views were spectacular and we even bumped into Sarah B., a friend from NJ, and her friend who happens to go to our church in ABQ! Luke especially loved scrambling around on the enormous boulders by Balanced Rock and holding the map for our hikes. Eleanor was more taken with the deer and bunnies that we saw, and snack time.

It was a wonderful getaway, and despite a few meltdowns along the way the kids thrived on sleeping at three different hotels (my favorite was the Inverness – such a lovely location and facility!), new experiences, and more Chick-fil-A than they’ve had since then. We’re all hoping Erik has another trip up that way soon!

Oh, and on our drive home we stopped at the Rio Grande overlooks back in home sweet home New Mexico. What a perfect nature escape pit stop right along the road back down to ABQ.

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