Starting in 1919, author and collector Harold Marion Dunning began assembling artifacts and stories about Loveland?s pioneers. By 1938, he had built up enough of a collection to start a history museum in a converted garage. Today, Loveland Museum is both an art and history museum that encompasses more than 30,000 objects. Most are displayed in interactive historical exhibits where visitors can discover how Great Western Sugar churned out its namesake or sit on one of mountain man Mariano Medina?s saddles.
The museum's trio of art galleries brings world-class art to Loveland with various exhibits, renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Dale Chihuly, Salvador Dali, Wayne Thiebaud, and Francisco Goya, and a gallery dedicated to contemporary artists. This gallery highlights different artists or themes roughly every 8???12 weeks, and the artists themselves frequently stop by to give lectures on everything from their inspirations to whether they could take Pablo Picasso in a fight. The artist?s talks are among many classes and programs hosted by Loveland Museum, which include kids? art classes and historical lectures from visiting scholars.
Cody Walker muses that within the stillness of Rocky Mountain National Park, "You get a sense that it's the way it should be." His father, Rex, grew up on a steady diet of cowboy films, eventually following his dream to Colorado where he met his wife, Queeda. Queeda was born into a family of homesteaders who caught and broke wild steeds. In 1959, they channeled their passion for the old-west lifestyle into Sombrero Ranches, eschewing souvenir-shop gimmicks for horseback expeditions that, much like avalanches of super glue, bond visitors with their steeds and natural surroundings.
Today, Cody carries on his parents' legacy with a staff of ranch hands from nearby homesteads and college students participating in equine-science programs all across the country. After training in a vigorous program that's evolved during more than 50 years, his employees launch short rides or lengthy adventures. Cody distinguishes the Continental Divide ride as one of the most awe-inspiring; it begins at Bear Lake at 6 a.m., wending across the Continental Divide and to Grand Lake during a nine-hour stretch.
In 1874, a few cowboys were presumably struck by the view of what is now Estes Park, so they decided to settle there to raise their barn and breed their horses. Over time, the lodge became known as Ranahan Ranch, named after the many elite cowboys who worked it. More than 100 years later, JT Adams, a former Marine looking for a quiet, beautiful piece of the world, bought the lodge and accompanying horse business.
JT and his staff preserve a lot of the lodge's old traditions, such as raising horses, training folks to ride Western-style, and leading horseback tours on the surrounding trails. Although the trail rides provide spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains, they do more than just take riders to picturesque vistas. The guides peel back the veil of history and discuss the important events that shaped the park, mountain range, and surrounding communities. At the end of each tour, JT invites visitors to the ranch's yard or the Hayloft, the barn's built-in venue with a bar and dance floor. There, he strums his guitar and sings some of his original country songs before sending visitors home with sore thighs and new memories of the sights and sounds of the mountains.
For 20 minutes, darkness descends over your world. The only light is the eery glow of the Egyptian ruins that surround you, plus the streaks of your enemies' bright LEDs as they sprint through the arena. Inside Loveland Laser Tag Fun Center's 5,700-square-foot battlefield, the action spreads across three levels, as up to 40 total players compete for high scores in a simulation of mankind's oldest conflict: what to wear with a vest. Along with using high-tech Gen7 Supernova equipment, laser tag sessions have plenty of ways to keep the game fresh, hosting a variety of game modes and allowing players to follow their scoring progress online.
Yet the laser tag arena only accounts for a portion of the fun at Loveland. Outside the competition area, an indoor rope course stretches over an arcade, and a climbing wall looms 23 feet high. Luckily, house-made pizza gives climbers plenty of energy for the ascent.
Click here to take a video tour inside Loveland Laser Tag Fun Center.
At Little Chaps Riding School, all horseback riding lessons are one-on-one-on-one. That is to say, every time a young rider arrives at the Loveland-based ranch, he or she teams up with a horse named Misty and a 20-year veteran trainer. Because every lesson is private, kids get the full attention of Misty and the trainer.
As the star of the show, the child develops at his or her own pace during lessons tailored to individual goals, whether they include riding in shows or for pleasure. Youngsters typically start out with basics such as safety guidelines and anatomy in 60-minute beginner lessons, before moving on to more advanced riding technique. Though topics may change along with the child's goals, all lessons feature the common themes of instilling a commitment to safety and nurturing an abiding love for the animals.
The veteran equestrians at Estes Park Horseback Riding let riders get an up-close look at the picturesque property of Elkhorn Lodge during year-round trail rides. The lodge perches on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park, and horseback-riding excursions consequently wind past several spectacular sights, including the Continental Divide and Old Man Mountain, easily distinguished by its inability to operate its smartphone. During winter months, snow-dusted paths stretch before riders, whereas spring and summer adventures trot along trails dappled with sunlight. Estes Park Horseback Riding encourages guests to tote along cameras to capture scenic views and potential sightings of elk, bighorn sheep, and other animals roaming through the area.