Turn off the T.V., get off the couch and go EXPLORE. We live in Colorado Springs: vacation destination location. It is so easy to take for granted our purple mountains majesty. I get it…loading the car, unloading the car, sunscreen, hats, tears, changing diapers, our “special” 719 schizophrenic weather– all of it can feel or seem so overwhelming. I promise you, once you have escaped the prison of your living room, once you breathe in the fresh air, you will begin to come alive and remember how great it is to LIVE here, and how many FREE or cheap things there are to do! A staycation is the perfect fix.
- Be a tourist: You went on a field trip to Cave of the Winds a dozen times? So what if you have seen Garden of the Gods a million times? Penny Arcade—been there and done that. Well, guess what? It is still fun every time you go. Besides, NOW you are the tour guide for your children. Go to the Paint Mines, take a walk through Bear Creek, have a picnic at Fox Run: enjoy, explore, and make some incredible or not so incredible memories, but memories nonetheless.
- Humble and Kind: Grab a few sandwiches, a couple of fishing poles, and spend the day at a local lake or pond. The littles can dig up worms, you may be able to take some time to catch up with your older children. Time well spent.
- Ice Cream: Take a trip to Monument or Old Colorado City and grab a cone and walk the local shops. Buy a postcard and write a little memory of your day.
- Get to know Palmer, Tesla, and our patriarchs: Roast s’mores at the Broadmoor, spend the day at Glen Eyrie Castle, take the train up to Pikes Peak… Who are our Patriarchs? It is fascinating to learn about these men and their women too.
- Museums, libraries, Space Foundation Discover Center, The North Pole, visitor centers: Seriously, there is so much to do in our backyard.
- Take a day trip: Royal Gorge, Woodland Park, Denver, the Pueblo Riverwalk, Reservoirs, Rampart Range, and more… Get out and explore.
- Skip naptime: Yes, I said it. Get off your schedule. Put down the clock and let the children sleep in the car, or not sleep at all. Let them stay up a little late or go down a little early. Life is more than your precious schedule. (Note: this is something I struggle to do, but when I finally let go of my crazy obsession with schedules and time, we really do have a lot more fun and I end up a lot more relaxed.)
- Finally, enjoy the rainy days: Cuddle on the couch, build forts, dance in the rain, bake cookies, etc. When you are home, put down the broom and try to enjoy the time you have together. Wake up your imagination.
If you are one of the lucky ones, you will be able to give your children a great childhood just like you had. If not, take the time to give them the childhood you wish you would have had. Sometimes getting out feels daunting, like it is more trouble than it’s worth, but it’s not. And this is coming from a single mama that cried in the fishing aisle at Bass Pro Shop because I was so incredibly overwhelmed. Do you know how many types of hooks and doohickeys there are now?
My point is that once you are there, making memories, it will all be worth it. Even if those memories are less than perfect. The days are long but the years are short, so take the time now, because now is all we are guaranteed.
What would you add to this list? Where are your favorite places to go? Please comment your favorite places to go and explore and how old your children are. Give us ideas, mamas! Any tricks we should know?