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.
With 25 years of equine experience under their saddle, SK Horses' experienced equestrian ambassadors herd trailblazers from the bottom of Giant Track Mountain past the scenic 'scapes of the Rocky Mountain National Park. A knowledgeable steed whisperer will lead a pony parade of up to seven novice and experienced riders along trails that boast breathtaking views of the Continental Divide or around Horseshoe Park's cowboy-hat-shaped sand traps. Gaze upon the fauna and flora that inhabit the lush escape, and keep sight-spheres peeled for sightings of coyotes, deer, and squirrels disguised as wildflowers. Deeply committed to the cowboy creed, SK Horses bolsters a fun and safe riding experience while maintaining healthy and happy horses. All equipment is provided for each ride, and rides depart hourly.
Tender Grass Carriages’ coachmen take passengers on a rollicking one-hour wagon ride across the town of Estes Park and adjacent areas. A team of gentle clydesdale horses powers the old-fashioned wagons, drawing upon their origins as Scottish farm workers for strength and their built-in GPS systems for directions. Parties of up to 12 guests can traverse the spectacular scenery of Estes Park, where views of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains and abundant wildlife evoke sentiments of goodwill and bouts of nature-appreciative poetry.
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.