Chances are a Tyrannosaurus would bite if you tried to pet it. Thankfully, that's not the case at Morrison Natural History Museum, where a Tyrannosaurus skull is one of many safe fossils that visitors are encouraged to touch. The paleontology museum's 3,000 square feet of exhibition space is full of other dino bones discovered in Colorado, from the first stegosaurus fossils to the tracks of an infant dinosaur. A peek into the museum's Paleo Lab reveals scientists conducting research in real time, while trips to the dig pit let kids experience the rush of unearthing their own fossils.
Not everything at the Morrison is about fossils. Among the Ice Age exhibit's bones of saber-toothed cats, for instance, glass displays teem with live reptiles, amphibians, and a wooly mammoth stretching after a 7,000-year nap. Educational programs likewise blend dinosaur-focused activities and interactions with live creatures, such as birthday parties that include the chance to pet a live snake.
Captain James Cook's nautical adventures have taken him from delivering yachts across oceans using only sextant navigation to earning the ASA's most-advanced instruction certification. Since 1986, he's channeled that oceanic expertise into Victoria Sailing School, where expert instructors help students of all skill levels earn ASA certifications and endorsements through hands-on techniques.
Before they set foot on a boat, however, aspiring seafarers get their feet wet in a safe classroom setting in the Colorado Executive Club Building. Upon passing their exams, they move on to practical sessions on the Cherry Creek, Lake Carter, or Chatfield Reservoirs, where they learn basic maneuvers or rig spinnakers on a J/22. More advanced students cut their nautical teeth on a J/30.
Along with sailing courses, 10-week coastal- and celestial-navigation classes help guests master the skills necessary for steering a course through the open seas, including an ability to decipher longitude, latitude, and the shouted, arcane demands of the moon. Weather for the Mariner classes teach students to analyze weather maps and prep strategies to avoid hurricane hazards.
Having plumbed the waters of New York, Michigan, Minnesota, and Colorado during their respective childhoods, the guides of 5280 Angler know that fly-fishing is a sport of personal preferences. They practice catch-and-release, and they don't schedule cookie-cutter trips?instead, they consult with their clients to gauge their skills, ambitions, and ability to hold something slimy without making a face. They then organize fly-fishing excursions that would best challenge and entertain their charges, scouting through public waters for choice wading locales such as South Platte River Valley, which accommodates fishers of all experience levels with prime casting spots. Full-day trips also include an onsite lunch, often prepared picnic-style along burbling banks and scenic mountains.
Anytime Fitness, as the name suggests, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year with nonstop security. Novice calorie burners and ripped Michelangelo models alike can take advantage of a one-month membership, which equips bodies with enough treadmills, cycles, elliptical machines, and weights to train them to run a marathon inside of a swimming pool filled with mud. Highlight the results of fat-frying and muscle-mass-magnifying sessions with one month of unlimited tanning in high-powered beds that paint ripply physiques a brilliant shade of bronze.
After wowing audiences with her dance moves for more than 25 years, Rachelle Nemec—a former captain of the Denver Nuggets Dancers who has twirled across Las Vegas stages and several TV commercials—decided to ignite a passion for the arts in her community's children. At X-treme Dance Force, she helms an experienced crew of dance instructors who hail from such prestigious arts organizations as the Houston Grand Opera, Hawaii's Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre, and the Kim Robards Dance company. They teach kids of all abilities to perform a variety of dance styles that range from contemporary pointe and tap to hip-hop in classes divided by age. Their comprehensive instruction helps students master fundamental moves and confidently conquer turns, leaps, and shuffles for memorable touchdown celebrations.
The instructors further prepare kids for a career in the arts with drama and musical-theater training, and they host auditions for the studio's three dance companies, which whip advanced students into performance form. In addition to the studio's yearly dance competitions, these students show off their moves at instructional dance conventions, Denver Nuggets games, Colorado Christian University basketball games, and local fairs.
Beth and Jim Trammell started 5280 Gymnastics to share their love of gymnastics with students young and old, novice and expert, casual and competitive. They assembled an elite team of coaches that trained Olympic gymnast Sasha Artemev and placed graduates on the gymnastics teams at Stanford University, into officer's education at West Point, and onto the diving team at Northwestern University. Under this refined tutelage, the two USA Gymnastics teams that regularly train within 5280's confines took home awards at regional, state, and national levels of competition.
The owners and coaches recognize that not everyone desires to train for peak levels of gymnastics competition, and so the range of classes encompasses plenty of other options, including casual, confidence-inspiring play for tots and free running and parkour classes for older students. During the summer, daily camps keep kids busy during sunny hours with athletic games and arts-and-crafts projects such as building a balance beam out of popsicle sticks.