Have you checked out my post on 10 Ways to Save on Your Summer Vacation? One of them is to take a staycation which is a fantastic option for those of you that would prefer to stay close to home this year. A staycation is similar to a vacation, except you get to pass on the flight tickets, long road-trip gas costs and hotel expenses. One of the most difficult things about planning a staycation is thinking of creative things to do. This is where a theme can really come in handy. Select a theme that your family is interested in and then seek out activities that fit within that theme. For those of you that are in Colorado, I have included a round-up of some of my favorite Denver staycation and summer activity ideas below!
Historic Denver Activities
Denver Mint: Tours of the Denver Mint are free, but you will need to make a reservation online. Keep in mind that you must be at the tour entrance no later than 15 minutes before your tour time. Also, don’t forget that there is no parking at the Mint, so you will need allow for some extra time to find a public lot in the area and walk back before your tour is scheduled to start. Lastly (I learned this the hard way), the Denver Mint does not allow any bags in their facility (with no exceptions) and there are also not any storage options, so make sure to leave all bags and purses at home or in your car.
Red Rocks Park: Admission to the park and parking is free. They also have guided tours available for $6 for adults and $3 for children and seniors.
The Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave: Open daily 9:00am to 5:00pm through October 31st. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors over the age of 65, $1 for children between the ages of 6 and 15 and free for children under 5. Visit the Buffalo Bill Museum website for more information about this attraction.
Dinosaur Ridge: Visit Dinosaur Ridge the first and third Saturdays of each month for a 2 ½ -hour detailed walking tour of the Ridge with one of their geologists. Tours start at 9:00 am and reservations can be made at 303-697-3466 Ext. 103 prior to 5:00pm the night before. Shuttle bus tours are available for $6 or you can tour the exhibit hall for $2 (3 and under are free).
**Head on over here for more Museums and Historic Sites in Colorado.
Outdoor/Nature Themed Denver Activities
Denver Museum of Nature and Science: The museum is open daily 9:00am-5:00pm. Adult tickets are $14.95, tickets for seniors over 65 are $11.95, ages 3-18 are $9.95 and children 2 and under are free. There are also a few package deals available if you want to visit the IMAX while you are at the museum. Make sure to also check out the list of free admission days for 2015.
Denver Botanic Gardens: Tickets are $12.50 for adults, $9.50 for seniors over the age of 65, $9 for children between the ages of 3 and 15 and free for little ones under the age of two. They are open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily through May 9th and then 9:00am to 8:00pm May 10th through September 27th. Make sure to also check out the list of free admission days for 2015.
Hudson Gardens in Littleton: Admission is free for most visitors. There are also lots of bonus activities throughout the summer, so make sure to check out their activities page while planning your visit.
Denver Zoo: The Denver Zoo is open 9:00am to 5:00pm through November 1st. Tickets are $17 for ages 12-64, $14 for 65+, $12 for ages 3-11 and free for children 2 and under. There are a lot of demonstrations and activities to participate in while you are there, so make sure to check out their daily calendar online. The Denver Zoo can be very busy on the weekends, so if you can plan this activity for a weekday you are likely to have a far more enjoyable visit. Make sure to also check out the list of free admission days for 2015.
Visit a Mountain Town or Take a Hike: There is no shortage of beautiful mountain towns and hiking trails in Colorado. Visit the State Park website for lots of ideas.
Elitch Gardens in Denver: For a limited time, purchase season tickets and you’ll get them for $69.99 per person ($10 off the regular price), plus they will throw in a free parking pass. There are also lots of other perks to having a season pass. Check them all out and purchase your season passes on the Elich Gardens website.
Water World in Denver: There are a number of different admission options that start at free for children under 40″and go up to $38.47 for an all day General Admission pass. Front Range King Soopers stores also sell discounted ($5 off) General Admission and Child tickets. King Soopers also sells Family 4-Pack ticket packages that include 4 admissions (any guest 40″+), one 16″ Family Sized Pizza and 4 drinks. The Family 4-Pack is $147.96 (tax is already included–this works out to be $36.99 per person). If you purchase your tickets form King Soopers you can bypass the ticket windows and head straight for the entry turnstiles. Make sure to also check out the Water World website for other discount and coupon options. You can also stop by your local Subway store (beginning May 11th) and pickup a coupon for a 2 for 1 admission Opening Weekend (Saturday, May 23rd-Monday, May 25th). Bring an empty Diet Pepsi can to the front gate coupon center and you will save $10 in May/June and $6 for the rest of the summer. Bring a canned, non-perishable food donation for 9 Cares, Colorado Shares and receive a $6 off coupon!
This is just very small sample of the things that there are to do in Colorado, I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section of this post.
A few other theme ideas include: Adventure Theme (sky diving, white water rafting, paintball), Volunteer Theme (select several different charities to volunteer your time with), or Spa Theme (schedule a few different spa treatments throughout the week).
Do you plan to take a staycation this year? Share with us in the comments section!