Why go back to Colorado?
The easy answer is: it is freakin’ amazing. Insanely beautiful, breathtaking scenery. Clean, crisp air. No humidity. Oh, and it’s #JohnDenverLand.
The more difficult answer: because my children went to visit their father who lives in Colorado and unique circumstances warranted me traveling with them.
Bottom line: my children come first. Always. I always have and always will do whatever I can to make their lives the best they can be. If that involves a blog-worthy journey with #GeezLouise, then I say: Let’s Do It!
That said, my mother — my rock — traveled with me in what we would be the sequel to last year’s Thelma and Louise trip. (click link here for the recap!)
In a nutshell, here was the breakdown of our trip: Five days, four Goodwill stores, three Christian shops, two hotels and one zoo. Plus, a bunch of stops at Starbucks and Walmart. And naps. Lots of naps. I have never slept so well. ZZZZZzzzzzzzz!!!
Ummmmm, turns out, I love other people’s crap.
These stores are NOT like the ones in New York. They are organized, color and size coordinated, and beyond reasonably priced. These stores are ideal for people who can’t afford to shop in “big name stores” but still want gently-loved clothes and accessories. There must be a strict screening process of incoming merchandise because everything was perfectly clean (no stains) and in near-new condition.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
I was so excited to visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Did you know that it is America’s ONLY mountain zoo. I couldn’t wait to feed the giraffes – which is the first thing we did when we got there. What beautiful, amazing animals! It was incredible to get that close to them (though I was warned to “watch my hat” because they might snatch it right off my head).
The Mountaineer Sky Ride ($5 for adults, $4 for children 3-11) was another favorite for me. We were able to “fly” over the zoo in a chairlift, open-air ride that featured spectacular views. The trip is about 7 minutes each way (what goes up, must come down!). This may have been the funniest 14 minutes of our trip. #GeezLouise was at her finest and funniest doing some hardcore praying.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers educational programs, conservation efforts and truly fantastic animal experiences. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because you will do some walking and make sure to make it to the top – we didn’t on this visit, but that’s where the grizzly bears hang out. By the way, there is a golf-cart shuttle that can help you get around more easily (available on most spring and summer days). It runs on a continuous loop making frequent stops — and it’s only $2 per person for all-day access.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo adult admission rates ranges from $14.75 – $24.75 per person, depending what day and time of year you visit. There are discounted rates for children, seniors and members of the military. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover are accepted.
Hours: Open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admission sold at 4:00 p.m.). Location: 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd. Colorado Springs, CO 80906. Website: www.cmzoo.org
Garden of the Gods Park
We didn’t shop, drink Starbucks and feed giraffes the entire time…we did get to experience Colorado’s amazing landscape first-hand at Garden of the Gods Park. In a word, “WOW!”
Did you know that the 1,367-acre Garden of the Gods Park has been designated as a National Natural Landmark? The 300 million years of history of the Garden of the Gods is a true geological wonder. Words can not do justice to the beauty we saw at every turn.
We took in the AMAZING beauty of the red rocks and canyons and got some great pictures. With paved trails, the whole area is perfect for walking (our choice!), hiking, biking, rock climbing and horseback riding. Those people in Colorado Springs are an active bunch – I was tired watching them!! (Seriously, could you imagine #GeezLouise on a horse?)
And of course, the on-property café and gift shop (offering a variety of souvenirs) were the perfect way to wrap up our visit to Garden of the Gods.
And, we are off to Denver…
After Colorado Springs, we headed to Denver for the final night of our trip. We stayed at The Warwick which was in a great location and a wonderful hotel. Bonus: did someone say rooftop pool? It was nice to take a break from shopping to sit and relax for a few hours. I have never been to a rooftop pool before – I definitely felt “high society” (with suitcases full of Goodwill goodies in our room just three floors below – does anyone see the irony here?).
At least one of us remembered to bring our shirt!
We were walking distance to the 16th Street Mall which is a located in downtown Denver. The mile-long, pedestrian-friendly Mall is packed with shopping, restaurants and attractions. There are free shuttle buses, dubbed the MallRide, that travel up and down the 16th Street Mall, stopping on every corner. You can hop on and hop off as the shuttles come and go every few minutes and make everything downtown easy to reach.
We shared my walking stick!
There is tons to do and plenty of places to eat and drink. And even lots of entertainment. Think a cleaned-up NYC, without the creepy costume characters. Visiting the 16th Street Mall is a must-do – at least once!
On the final day, we met the kids at the airport and finally arrived home at about 1 a.m. I am still trying to get caught up on work, laundry and my calendar which is why I am only posting this now.
Not sure what travel journey the future holds, but I hope #GeezLousie is along for the ride!