When guests cross the threshold into MorbidNights Colorado's Nut House, they enter the tormented minds of history's most notorious serial killers. Inside the 20 rooms that occupy the 12,000 square-foot fear factory, brazen voyagers come face to face with some of the most homicidal humans ever to walk the earth, and shudder with fear as the criminals reenact their notorious crimes or a favorite dance number from South Pacific. Those brave enough to risk the madness do so for a great cause, however, as the haunt donates a portion of its yearly proceeds to worthy causes including the Weld Food Bank or UNC student radio.
To raise funds for youth ice hockey leagues in northern Colorado, NCYH Power Play celebrates another great American pastime: running. Hosted at the NoCo Ice Center, the third-annual USA Track & Field-sanctioned event lets loose runners of all ages and ability levels in the 5- and 10-kilometer distances. Launching from the starting line early in the morning, racers beat a path through areas such as the Highland Meadows neighborhood, Highland Meadows Golf Course, and the backyard of the local high school's beleaguered principal. Back at NoCo Ice Center, a beer garden welcomes returning runners with chilled brews, water, and snacks.
Flesh-eating zombies, cannibalistic clowns, nightmarish ghouls, and haunting ghosts prowl The Frightmare Compound, ready to snatch those foolish enough to venture through its fear-infested grounds. Known as one of Colorado's oldest and largest haunted attractions, the compound houses two terrifying attractions on more than 100,000 square feet of swampland. Horrors unseen wait for new victims inside the first compound, where a haunted barn filled with terrors is the least of visitors' worries. The second attraction, the House of Darkness, was the site of a terrible massacre and lay abandoned for some time until the Frightmare staff brought it to their site. Soon after, the ghosts of those slain began roaming its halls, and clowns with a taste for human flesh found their way inside its corridors.
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.
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.