Boondocks Amusement Park and Arcade

Colorado is world famous for its natural beauty, and there are TONS of fun things to do in Denver that are artistic, scenic, or historic, but sometimes, what you’re really looking for is a big ball of man-made fun.

Boondocks in the northern Denver Metro area is a family amusement park with go carts, bumper boats, video games, and miniature golf all in one location. Unlike Denver’s indoor amusement park, Funtastic Fun, most of the good stuff at Boondocks is outside, but with 300 days of sunshine per year, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

There are some really great things to like about Boondocks, especially for families with children looking for a way to have a good time for the whole family, including Mom and Dad, and not just by watching the kiddos have fun either.

The first thing about Boondocks that makes it a fun place to go in the Denver area for families is that it has go-carts. Of course, lots of place have go karts. What makes Boondocks fun for family groups is that it has different types of go carts. There are little kiddie go carts that the kids can drive on their own. They go slower around a small track, but that is no downside to a four-year old who gets to drive their own go cart all by themselves!

Of course, slow moving go carts are only so much fun for children and their parents. What would be really fun would be if parents and kids could go on a go cart together around the regular full-speed track.

Can I get an amen?

Boondocks has two-seater go carts for adults and kids to ride together. They go out on the regular track with the regular go carts, so if you have one child who is old enough to drive a full-sized go cart by themselves, but another kid who isn’t big enough to steer a go kart on their own, they can still go out and race together with Mom or Dad in the driver’s seat.

If Go Carts aren’t your thing, there is other fun stuff to do at Boondocks. During the warmer summer months, they have two-person boats, perfect for parent with child, that not only motor around the little water lagoon, they also have water guns on the front that you can use to squirt other riders with.

Unfortunately, there is not a no-squirt zone, so you just have to get over it and get a little wet, or skip this ride.

One important boat ride squirt tip: Don’t just pick your favorite color boat. Watch the other riders and note which boats have a squirter that fires on a low trajectory. Nothing is worse that being squeezed up against another boat getting soaked while your water jet fires harmlessly over their head!

The miniature golf course at Boondocks gets a mixed review. While the two full-length 18-hole putt-putt golf courses give you plenty of play and plenty of length, they actually get pretty boring after a while. Its seems that Boondocks decided that windmills and waterfalls and all the things that make mini-golf great are best looked at instead of played on.

The windmill that you see from the I-25 highway is indeed part of the mini-golf course, but it doesn’t have anything to do with it. You don’t hit a ball past the spinning blades, or even bank a shot off of its sides. In fact, there are no tricks to Boondocks putt-putt course. It’s just AstroTurf with a spot to put your ball down and then a hole. Sometimes there is a curve or a little hill, sometimes not, but there isn’t ever anything unique or interactive.

If you remember the days of jumping your ball over water ramps, or a swinging cowboy arm going back and forth in front of the hole, save your money for a different miniature golf course. If you just want to putt the ball without any challenges or distractions, Boondocks mini-golf is for you.

Inside Boondocks is a decent collection of video games. They aren’t cheap and the cavernous room is really loud with the games turned up so you can hear them and the music turned open so you can hear it over the games. Don’t expect Grandma or Grandpa to hang out here and Mom and Dad probably won’t be huge fans either unless they find a fun game to play.

In all, Boondocks gets recommended for what it has outside.

Funtastic Fun Denver Indoor Amusement Park Winter Hours

Funtastic Fun is a fun place to take kids in Denver. Funtastic Fun discounts can be hard to come by, but it never hurts to search for coupons online or for printable coupons. If that doesn’t work, try taking a peak at all of those free parenting magazines that that put out all over town.

funtastic-fun-denver-amusement-park-hours Like many Colorado attractions, Funtastic Fun has different hours for summer and winter. In the summer, when kids are out of school are parents are looking for something fun to do with kids in Denver, they look for playgrounds, amusement parks, rides, and carnivals. Many of them end up at Denver’s Fantastic Fun on those summer days when it is too hot to be outside, because Funtastic Fun’s best feature is that it is INDOORS with air conditioning.

However, when fall rolls around and the kids head back to school, a big chunk of Funtastic Fun’s target age group becomes unavailable Monday through Friday, and so like many other kid-friendly places in Colorado, Funtastic cuts back the hours it is open during the week.

This is too bad for the parents of young children who either are not in school yet, or who are in half-day Kindergarten, because everyone knows that it is the busiest on weekends. The good news is that Funtastic Fun is open two weekdays in the Winter and Fall. The standard weekday Winter hours for Funtastic Fun are open on both Thursday and Friday at 10:00 AM. If you have preschoolers, this is the perfect time to take them for some uncrowded fun on carnival rides like a Ferris wheel, teacup rids, and for some jumping and running in a bouncy castle.

Of course, they are open on weekends too, also at 10:00 AM. Older kids can accompany younger siblings then. Even though it makes sense to be inside on a cold winter days, Funtastic Fun is still busier in the summer than in the winter, so don’t hesitate to drop by, even if it is a weekend day.

With it being off season, you might have better luck finding online coupons for Funtastic Fun or printable coupons with discounted admission to Funtastic Fun.

Excercise For New Moms In Denver

Having a baby takes quite a toll on Mom. Whether a first time Mom in Denver with a new baby, or as an experienced mother, taking in all the great stuff that Colorado offers requires being able to get outside. Unfortunately, many mothers don’t have a good way to get back into shape after having a baby.

While Heidi Klum style get in shape programs that take recently pregnant women down 4 sizes while losing 30 pounds in four weeks might be the bread and butter of fitness magazines and late-night infomercials, they aren’t very practical for real world moms looking to get back out into Colorado’s great outdoors and enjoy the Denver sunshine with their families.

An interesting enterprise known as Stroller Strides offers an alternative take on the concept of mothers getting back into shape after having a baby.

By taking advantage of the fact that most moms love taking babies for walks in strollers, Stroller Strides offers fitness for Mom, and fun for baby.

Basically, the workout program involves trainers instructing moms in how to get into shape by power walking with the extra weight of the stroller providing the juice that turbo charges weight loss and improved cardio fitness. In addition, there are stretches and exercises with rubber tubing at various pit stops.

While Stroller Strides appear to be a nationwide fitness program, we noticed a class of moms pushing baby strollers around the lakes at Washington Park in Denver. Wash Park is popular with fitness seekers of all kinds with runners on the trails everyday of the week rain or shine.

Wash Park blends a nice beautiful fun Denver attraction with an exercise program that allows Moms to get back into shape without the boredom of concrete walled gyms or the repetiveness of whatever cardio class fad is currently in vogue. (Is it stripper areobics, still?)

Grab a brochure for Stroller Strides at local businesses or eateries. If you can’t find one, head over to Stella’s on Pearl Street, which is where we found ours.

Denver Zoo Guide

The Denver Zoo is one of Denver’s top attractions for kids and adults. With fun for everyone from infants and toddlers, to big kids and adults, the zoo has something for everyone.

Denver Zoo Animals

denver-zoo-welcome-logo-sm Popular zoo animals include polar bears, monkeys, elephants, giraffes, seals, lions, snakes, and more. The Denver Zoo has several special animal exhibit areas. One of the most sought out zoo areas by young boys is the Tropical Discovery zone which is filled with tropical fish, brightly colored frogs, alligators, komodo dragons, and of course snake and spiders. Needless to say, this area is very popular around Halloween, during the zoo’s special trick or treat event Boo at the Zoo.

Another special habitat area is Bird World, where the Denver Zoo keeps its brightly colored tropical birds like parrots and toucans, as well as more exotic birds like the hornbills. A hard to spot, but worth the look animal is the sloth, which occupies one of the tropical bird rooms and can usually be spotting sleeping – of course — among the ceiling rafters.

Of course, no visit to the zoo would be complete without seeing elephants. The Denver Zoo is home to two Asian elephants. Daily demonstrations show both how zoo keepers interact with the elephants and offer a fun show that lets kids see some of the amazing things elephants can do, especially what they can do with that long trunk. Hippos and the zoo’s rhinoceros, along with the unusual Tapir are all housed in the same complex as the elephants.

The zoo is set to break ground on a new and improved elephant exhibit in 2010.

One whole corner of the zoo is dedicated to primates, that’s monkeys to most of us. But, the zoo doesn’t have just one or two kinds of monkeys, it has dozens of species ranging from a family of several gorillas, to chimpanzees, orangutans, and several smaller and less known monkeys as well. The primates live in indoor / outdoor environments that allow visitors to see them either climbing trees outside, or lounging around behind the glass inside.

Another popular attraction are the zoo’s lions which are housed in a new savannah style environment that mimics the animal’s natural habitat. Guests can see lions lounging in the sun on a rock outcropping, or pacing among the long grasses. An indoor viewing area offers up close and personal views of the lions just inches away through floor to ceiling glass windows.

Denver Zoo Special Events

The zoo offers several special events through out the year. Special events in 2009 include Boo at the Zoo, Zoo Lights, Brew at the Zoo and of course, the Denver Zoo free days.

Zoo Amenities – Food Strollers

Scattered throughout the zoo are concession stands offering the usual fare of hotdogs, hamburgers, and French fries. But, the zoo goes one step further, also offering up fresh salads, both chef salads and southwest chicken salads, and other healthier treats for conscientious parents. But, don’t forget to splurge on cotton candy, or a snow cone for that all around fun zoo visit.

If you don’t want to pack up your stroller or are just hoping that maybe it won’t be necessary, don’t worry. The zoo offers affordable rentals of both sturdy plastic strollers (in traditional and Jeep shapes) as well as wagons big enough for two kids and a day’s supply of food and drinks. Rentals are $5 for wagons, and similar amounts for strollers.

Denver Zoo Deals

For a great Denver Zoo deal, buy a large drink when you first arrive. Refills are just 87 cents (75 cents plus tax) all day. In fact, the zoo souvenir cups are refillable year round for the same price, so if you are making more than one trip to the zoo this year, keep your cup.

Parking

Although the zoo is close to downtown Denver, parking is provided with both large surface lots and an underground parking garage. On all but the busiest summer days or when there are special events, parking is no problem. For crowded events like Boo at the Zoo or Denver Zoo Lights, you may have to park at the Nature and Science Museum, or even walk in from one of the surrounding neighborhoods.

If you do park in on neighborhood streets, watch the signs. Some areas require a resident permit and others only permit 2 hour parking. Also, from April to November, be sure to read the street sweeping signs (the red ones with lots of words). These signs will inform you that there is no parking on one side of the street on a certain day each month. If you see everyone parked on the other side of the street, chances are, that day is today.