The Plains Conservation Center is an offshoot of the West Arapahoe Conservation District, an organization appointed in 1949 to teach farming and ranching techniques that could help prevent another devastating Dust Bowl. While the PCC's mission has since expanded, the nonprofit organization's main goal remains the same: preserving the health of Colorado's plains. Between its two sites—a main 1,100-acre location in Aurora and more than 10,000 acres spread along West Bijou Creek—the organization maintains several attractions devoted to the history and environmental character of the region. These include more than five miles of hiking trails, a Cheyenne camp from 1837 with four standing tepees, and Wells Crossing, a replica 1887 farm consisting of sod houses, and heirloom gardens. For more modern sites, the Aurora location's visitor center features interactive displays and seasonal events such as Hops for Habitat, an annual fundraiser with beer tastings from local craft brewers.
Snakes slither in glass display cases, and lizards wriggle in the hands of trained handlers as they're held up in full view of a curious crowd. This is the scene as one of Repticon's presenters educates attendees on the biology, behavior, and typing speeds of exotic cold-blooded creatures at one of the year-round shows held in cities across the country. Reptile and amphibian breeders, scholars, and handlers engage audiences in lectures and demonstrations in the midst of live reptile exhibits, family activities, and displays for exotic-pet supplies. Presentations may focus on the genetics of large snake species, the specifics of exotic-pet care, and the effect that tiny hats have on the image of arachnids such as tarantulas, scorpions, and spiders.
It's a good idea to arrive early at Movie Tavern, and not only if you hate missing the opening credits. Early birds can peruse the extensive menu of chef-crafted American cuisine, from kobe beef sliders to pizza and sandwiches. But even after the show begins, the snacks keep coming. Unobtrusive servers slip in during the show to deliver orders, and can be called on for more drinks or dessert with the push of a button. Guests can even sip margaritas or signature cocktails at the full bar before heading in to the theater. The family-friendly establishment also serves finger food for kiddies.
As for the entertainment, audiences get to enjoy all-digital presentations of first-run films any day of the week, plus Retro Cinema every Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. as well as Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Audiences also benefit from Movie Tavern's membership program. Anyone can sign up for free online to receive one free bag of popcorn, plus a free ticket every year on their birthday, special offers, movie news, and invites to screenings and other special events.
Surrounded by the eponymous mountain range, Guests at A Bite of the Rockies descend on The Denver Mart to chow down on cuisines from more than 80 eateries and food trucks. Among them, Town and Country Foods transports their organic veggies and natural meats to the festival, which participants can sample along with artichoke and spinach dip from Gourmet Farms of Colorado. Boulder Vegans doles out their signature cashew cheese, and Glazed and Confused Donuts gives folks a dose of the dulcet with their preservative- and chemical-free confections. In addition, chefs lead cooking demonstrations that teach onlookers how to create healthy meals at home.
Though the food is the main draw, A Bit of the Rockies offers up plenty of other sensory delights. Live music from the Colorado Symphony sets the soundtrack to the event, while jewelry vendors and kids' activities round out the family-friendly shindig.
At the Jumpoline Park, the whole family can escape from the everyday stresses of work, school, and gravity. Decked out in rainbow colors, the trampolines send jumpers soaring into the air, giving them the feeling of walking on the moon, where the surface is made of inner-spring mattresses. Jumping teams lob balls at each other in high-flying games in the dodgeball area, and kids age 7 and under leap safely in their own section, protected from injury by padded walls. But this enclave doesn't house just trampolines. Toddlers play in their own soft-surface area, while parents relax under the skilled hands of in-house massage therapists. During breaks, everyone meets up at the coffee shop for a snack or a cup of frozen yogurt.
The American Basketball Association has nearly 90 teams. But ever since their founding in 2010, the Colorado Kings have resided amongst the elite, leaving most of the league in their wake. During their inaugural season, the Kings made quite the impression: they went 24-1, and advanced to the ABA's Elite 8 round of the playoffs. Instead of celebrating that success by having all of its players dipped in gold, the team followed up with a record-setting effort in 2011, when it recorded an ABA-best 32 victories in a row. For as much success as the Kings have had on the court, they've also made an impact off of it. The organization's players give back to the community in a number of ways, including by running youth basketball camps and hosting charity golf tournaments.