On September 19, 1975, CU alum Wallace Franze Fiske?s wish ?to build and equip a planetarium for the University of Colorado? was finally realized with the dedication of the eponymous geodesic dome built thanks to his generous bequest. From its inaugural showing of a program detailing supernovae decades ago, the planetarium has upheld Fiske?s vision with an ever-evolving lineup of educational initiatives, engaging events, and outreach activities. Now under the helm of a passionate staff composed of members of CU?s Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, its programs grant the community a chance to explore the wonders of outer space. The skyward dome of Fiske Planetarium, featuring a state-of-the-art 8K theater, one of the first in the nation, acts as a projector screen for immersive, 360-degree educational star shows showcasing the universe's glittering galactic splendor. Laser shows set to jazz, rock, and classical music feature choreographed lasers and special effects that perform a wave-particle Humpty Dance for the audience's amusement. Audiences can catch showings in Spanish as well as English.
The pool at Ocean First Divers is warmed to 88 degrees to wrap students in a watery safety blanket as they venture out of their element. As a classroom for swimming and scuba-diving lessons, the pool boasts a gradient bottom that deepens in slow increments from 4 to 12 feet. Though Ocean First Divers now trains scores of students in swimming and scuba each year, the dive center was originally founded to advocate for the ocean’s unique ecosystems. The organization was so successful in its mission that it has claimed PADI’s Environmental Achievement Award every year since the prize’s inception. Now, the dive center's creative conservation efforts include group trips to Key Largo, Fiji, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Galápagos Islands, where students get a firsthand look at why these one-of-a-kind ecosystems are worth protecting, and, alternatively, the detrimental environmental effects of litter left by Charles Darwin.
The Urban Assault Ride challenges cyclists to speed from obstacle course to obstacle course across their city during eco-friendly scavenger hunts that benefit local charities. Teams draft a road map to try to thwart the competition and be the first to complete the race, pausing at a series of checkpoints, where they must surmount such active roadblocks as slip 'n' slides, bike jousting, and reciting the Iliad in Pig Latin. The first team to conquer each challenge and cross the finish line is declared the victor, but all participants celebrate their efforts at a lively after-party stocked with snacks, beer, nonalcoholic drinks, and prizes.
The mountain-savvy staff at Apex Ex equip people of all skill levels with the knowledge, gear, and plans necessary to explore the wilderness all year round. Seasoned guides and instructors, many of whom are trained by organizations such as the National Outdoor Leadership School and the American Mountain Guides Association, lead classes that teach students important lessons ranging from backcountry snow basics to avalanche rescue. In summer months, the experts lead guided climbing and backpacking trips and teach riders to careen down rocky paths of every sort during mountain-biking lessons.
At amphitheaters, parks, and ice rinks throughout the city, Boulder Creek Events organizes get-togethers to inspire and connect community members. Each year, they bring more than 500 food vendors together with musicians and carnival rides for the Boulder Creek Festival. They also coordinate classic car shows and outdoor skating events. During the winter, BCE Productions fuels ice skaters with warm concessions, and during the summer the crew transforms the Twenty Ninth Street Plaza into a rink ideal for roller skates and guests with the latest trend in wheeled pedicures.
Colorado Adventure Park proudly proclaims itself to be one of Grand County's largest tubing hills. Every winter, this snowy dreamland offers kids of all ages an adrenaline-pumping adventure in the form of tubing, double-tubing, and renting Snow Scoots––pintsized snowmobiles designed for kids as young as six. Though Colorado Adventure Park is currently open only during the winter, the owners are making plans for summer activities as well.