The one-two combo of the Denver Zoo and the Museum of Nature and Science, both located near City Park, makes for a great family outing. The Denver Zoo spans more than 8 acres (3 hectares) within Denver’s historic City Park, where visitors will find 3,500 animals representing more than 650 species. The zoo features naturalistic habitats like Predator Ridge, as well as Tropical Discovery (which contains the world’s largest Komodo dragon exhibit) and Primate Panorama, all designed to enhance the lives of some of the world’s most endangered species. The Museum of Nature and Science is the fourth-largest museum in the nation and is filled with treasures of the earth—dinosaur fossils, dioramas, space exhibits and interactive, hands-on science experiments. The museum also features an IMAX theatre and the Gates Planetarium.
The Great Outdoors
Rent a bicycle through Denver B-cycle, the first large-scale municipal bike-sharing system in the U.S. Since Denver receives more than 300 days of sunshine a year, a bike tour is the perfect way to explore downtown and neighbourhoods like Capitol Hill, Washington Park and the Highlands. Or take a road trip along the Peak to Peak scenic and historic byway, established in 1918. The 55-mile route begins less than an hour outside of Denver and provides unmatched views of the Continental Divide and several of Colorado’s famous 14ers—mountain peaks soaring more than 14,000 feet (4,250 metres). There are several popular attractions along the way, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Arapahoe and Roosevelt national forests, the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Eldora Ski Resort, and the ghost towns of Apex and Hesse. The route ends in the beautiful mountain town of Estes Park.
The 90-minute signature Balancing Gemstone Massage at the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Denver is not just a treatment; it’s an energy-balancing experience. This treatment is based on the theory that energy is inherent in gemstones, which can be used to balance the mind and body. The spa experience focuses on the five chakras of the body, utilizing aromatherapy, crystal energy wands, gemstones and herb-infused oils to balance the body and mind, leaving the guest soothed and relaxed with a calm sense of inner and outer well-being.
Experience a Colorado dynasty: Golden Brewery, in Golden, Colorado, is approximately 20 minutes from downtown Denver. It offers free tours that include a self-guided tour of the brewery, and an exploration of the town and the history of Miller Coors. At the end of the tour, those 21 and older can sample up to three types of draught beer.
The world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheater is just 15 miles west of Denver. This spectacular venue has hosted a number of national acts each year since it opened in 1941. Red Rocks is open to the public on non-event days and features several hiking trails around the amphitheatre, with stunning views of Denver. Red Rocks is where U2 famously recorded their 1983 concert video U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky in a driving rainstorm; that energy is replicated every summer season.
Located approximately an hour south of Denver is Colorado Springs, offering visitors several outdoor sight-seeing opportunities. See 300-foot (90-metre) towering sandstone rock formations and views of snowcapped Pikes Peak at the Garden of the Gods, a registered National Natural Landmark. Pikes Peak, the best-known Colorado 14er and most visited mountain in North America, can be best appreciated either by driving its beautiful 19-mile (30-km) road to the summit or by taking the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the world’s highest cog railroad.
A Perfect Day
Begin with pineapple upside-down pancakes at Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. Stroll through the historic lower downtown and stray into Rockmount Ranch Wear to purchase an authentic Western shirt and take home a piece of local history. Head to the Denver Art Museum and try to find a single right angle in the Libeskind-designed Hamilton Building. For lunch, sip a mojito in the back courtyard of Cuba Cuba. Then, rent a bicycle from Denver B-cycle and explore the Capitol Hill neighbourhood, where you can find the Molly Brown House Museum, Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art and the Colburn Hotel, the onetime residence of Beat writers Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. Round out the night with a concert at Red Rocks or swing into Jazz at Jacks, on 16th Street, to see the house band, Dotsero.