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Let’s take the party outside

by | May 3rd, 2016

Dare we say it? The snow and cold is over so it’s time to celebrate. Because May is such a wonderful (and well-deserved) time in Colorado, you’ll find all kinds of outdoor festivities planned at BackCountry™, Highlands Ranch, and beyond. Sure, that occasional, rogue snowstorm can roll in, so don’t go planting your tomatoes and eggplant just yet. But do plan on hitting a few of the outdoor happenings listed below. Just bring a jacket to be on the safe side.  

Taste of Highlands Ranch-May 6, 6pm-9pm
Eat, drink, and discover your new favorite restaurant. For 21 years, The Taste of Highlands Ranch has brought the community together for food, wine, and fun. Held at the Eastridge Recreation Center, The Taste features sumptuous cuisine from more than 30 area restaurants and all you care to enjoy of wine, beer, and spirits. Savor a cold one outside at the ever popular beer garden with live music. $30 in advance, $35 day of event if not sold out. Must be 21+ to attend. Learn more. 

Cinco de Mayo Festival (Denver)-May 7-8

cinco de mayo Denver

The original inspiration behind Cinco de Mayo is the heroism of the outnumbered Mexican army who fought off the French in 1862. But along with honoring that struggle for freedom, there’s the sheer celebration of Latino culture—from the beauty of dance and music to the fun of Chihuahua races and taco-eating contests. Watch the parade downtown on Saturday at 11am, then make a day (or two) of it by exploring vendor and exhibitor booths and catching live performances.  Learn more.

Five Points Jazz Festival-May 16
Each year since 2004, the Five Points Jazz Festival has treated metro residents to an afternoon of around 40 incredibly talented and culturally diverse jazz performances from across the country: Latin, blues, funk, trios, youth-focused programming, and more. It all happens along Welton Street at eight different venues in the neighborhood. (Five Points was once known as the Harlem of the West, home to several jazz clubs that hosted legends such as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and many more.) Come for the music, food, culture, and fun. Entrance is free. Learn more.

First Film on the Rocks-May 23, 6:30

film on the rocks

Here’s the definition of gilding the lily. Sunset at the awe-inspiring Red Rocks amphitheater. Live concert or comedian. Audience participation contests. And the screening of a cult classic film. Now that’s a delightful evening. This year’s season of Film on the Rocks kicks off with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, preceded by Strawberry Runners and Plume Varia. Doors open at 6:30 pm, bands begin playing at 7 pm, and movies start at dusk. General admission tickets $12; higher on day of show. VIP packages begin at $42. Learn more.

Pool Opens/Memorial Day Celebration-May 27
Come celebrate Memorial Day, the end of school, or just the pleasure of hanging out with neighbors who’ve come out of hibernation too. Located next to the Sundial House, the pool area offers something for everyone with a big pool, splash pad, water feature, lap pool, and lounge chairs. Activities include face painting, games, grilling, and a DJ.

BackCountry’s Luck of the Irish Show

by | April 15th, 2016

The Luck of the Irish touched the Children of BackCountry during a magic show a the Sundial House.

How to spend your daylight savings.

by | April 5th, 2016

Last month’s “spring forward” to Daylight Saving Time may have cost us a little sleep, but now we get to reap the rewards—outings that can stretch luxuriously into the evening, thanks to that inviting extra hour of sunlight. Now that longer days are officially here, it’s time to get out and enjoy some of the city’s seemingly infinite supply of springtime activities. Here are a few favorites, hand-picked for our BackCountry friends.

Rockies Opening Day-Apr. 8, 2:10pm
Hope springs eternal for Denver’s beloved, if beleaguered, professional baseball team. Support our boys by attending the always-exciting opening day game, this year against the San Diego Padres. The game, the beer, hot dogs, and Dinger are attractions enough, but more serious fans will be interested to see the effect of the newly raised outfield wall. What will this mean for our high-altitude home run advantage? Tickets $40-250. Learn more.

(Photo provided by Colorado Rockies Facebook page)

(Photo provided by Colorado Rockies Facebook page)

Sweeney Todd-Apr. 8-May 15
Remember the Academy Award-winning 2007 movie with Johnny Depp? This darkly funny thriller by Stephen Sondheim veers off in a bold new “gypsy punk” musical direction, reinvented by DeVotchKa, Denver’s Grammy-nominated hometown heroes. The story centers on Sweeney Todd, an unjustly treated London barber who exacts revenge by slicing his way through the city’s upper crust. (Actually hilarious, but not for kids or the squeamish.) Performed at the DCPA’s Stage Theater. Tickets start at $35. Learn more.

Family Fun Spring Event: Golf Cart Services-Apr, 9, 11am-1pm
Golf cart rides. Food trucks. Prizes. Entertainment for the kids. There’s something fun for everyone at this community get-together. And if you have a golf cart, Colorado Golf & Turf (the event sponsors) can even service it with appointments between 11am-4pm. If not, you can check out the new models they’ll have on display—kind of a fun thing to have on the winding, hilly roads of BackCountry. Where: the pool parking lot of the Sundial House. RSVP at BackCountryLife.org.

golf carts Sundial House BackCountry

Highlands Ranch Kids’ Expo-Apr. 16, 12pm-3pm
Summer’s coming. Get the scoop on the season’s best kids’ programs while your kids get a preview of the fun. Held at the Eastridge Recreation Center, this free event will provide inflatables to play on, music, contests, activities, drawings, and food for purchase. Learn more.

Elitch Gardens Opening Day-April 30
In Denver, Elitch’s and summer go hand in hand. But why not be a contrarian and visit in the spring? Your reward will be smaller crowds and better temperatures. Beyond the park’s impressive 53 rides and attractions, this year’s extras include exciting new family shows, Dive-In Movies, a free summer concert series, and three fireworks extravaganzas that promise to light up the Denver skyline. Tickets range from $29.99-49.99, but children aged 0-3 are free. Season passes are $69.99. Learn more.

(Photo courtesy of Elitch Gardens Facebook page)

(Photo courtesy of Elitch Gardens Facebook page)

BackCountry’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt

by | April 1st, 2016

The Easter Bunny hopped to BackCountry for the annual Easter Egg Hunt.

BackCountry’s Luck of the Irish Show

by | March 18th, 2016


BackCountry’s Luck of the Irish Show at the Sundial House

Bored kids? Here’s your answer.

by | March 9th, 2016

Should the dreaded words, “I’m bored” cross your child’s lips this spring break, you can always suggest killing time with chores—the go-to reply of moms for generations. But if that’s not your style (or better yet, the kids complete their chores), here are some alternative activities you can all enjoy together, easily accessible from BackCountry. Just in case you need a reminder, spring break at BackCountry schools is March 18-March 27 at Stone Mountain Elementary School, Ranch View Middle School, and Thunder Ridge High School.

Samurai Armor at DAM-Mar. 6-June 5
Fashion, history, weaponry—there’s something for every taste at this special exhibition at the Denver Art Museum. Surrounded by exquisitely decorated suits of samurai armor, helmets, weapons, horse trappings, and additional battle gear, visitors will be immersed in the life, culture, and pageantry of samurai from the 1100s to 1800s. The exhibit will also highlight the artistic inspiration for these masterfully crafted suits of armor. Ticket prices vary. Learn more. 

Samurai exhibit at DAM

Denver Zoo Giraffe Encounter
A springtime trip to the zoo is always a welcome idea, but now there’s an extra reason to visit. Well, actually, four: Dikembe, Heshimu, Masika, and Kipele, the four reticulated giraffes that you and your children will have the opportunity to feed by hand. Go for the whole day, but stop by the giraffe habitat for Encounter times at 11am-noon and 1pm-2pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. General admission tickets are $9-13. Learn more. 

NCAA Division I Basketball-Mar. 17-19
Get ready to cheer on your favorite college team: The first and second round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship is coming to the Pepsi Center. Opt for games only or a PrimeSport Hospitality Package with light hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, entertainment, excellent tickets to the game, and more. Get tickets here.

Newsies-Mar. 23-Apr. 9
Winner of the 2012 Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Choreography, Newsies is a Disney musical that tells the underdog tale of newspaper delivery boys who stand up to the most powerful men in New York—and it’s based on real events. Direct from Broadway, this high-energy show has quite the pedigree, with a score by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast), a book by Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles), and choreography by Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific). At the Denver Center for Performing Arts. Tickets start at $25. Learn more.

Newsies in Denver

Littleton Museum
Get a sense of what life was like in the 1800s (hint: it wasn’t easy) at this beloved community resource in the heart of Littleton. Located on 39 acres, the museum consists of two living history farms (representing the 1860s and 1890s, respectively), a small lake, and exhibits inside the main building. Plenty of animals for the kids to ogle, too. Open for more than 40 years, the Littleton Museum has been recognized as one of the top ten local history museums in the country and, amazingly, it’s still free to visit. Learn more.

BackCountry’s Kids Science Event

by | February 24th, 2016

Minds were stimulated and imaginations were sparked as the kids of BackCountry experienced high-energy science magic during the Kids Science Event.

How to enjoy a supersized February.

by | February 2nd, 2016

Cold, snowy February may seem like the one month you’d prefer less of, not more, but this year it comes with one extra day. 2016 is a leap year, which means it’s the year made for ladies proposing to gents, according to Irish tradition. And for newborn “leaplings,” who beat the 1,471-to-one odds of being born on Feb. 29.  And for everyone in BackCountry who could use an extra day to fulfill that January resolution to have more fun. Enjoy the February activity ideas below.

Mardi Gras in Snowmass-Feb. 9
Can’t squeeze in a trip to New Orleans this month? That’s okay—Snowmass has been throwing the biggest Mardi Gras bash in the mountains for 34 years. With face painting and performers at 2pm, bead tossing at 3pm, a madcap parade at 4pm, and fireworks at 7:30pm, you may feel as if you’re in the Crescent City itself. Except for all the epic skiing and snowboarding that you’ll be able to fit in, too. This authentic fête offers Cajun-inspired fun for every age. Learn more.

Lovers & Lattes at the Sundial House-Feb. 13, 7:30am-10am
It’s the month of love, and who among us doesn’t have warm, special feelings about…coffee? As a kickoff to Valentine’s Day weekend, BackCountry shows its love by offering residents a complimentary cup o’ joe at the Sundial House. Sinfully Delicious Mobile Gourmet Coffee Cart will whip up a delicious cup of your favorite beverage while you enjoy breakfast treats and coffeehouse jazz with your loved ones. No registration required.

Lovers and lattes BackCountryCO

Denver Pops Orchestra-Feb. 18, 7pm-8:30pm
In the perfect run-up to the Oscars on Feb. 28, the Denver Pops Orchestra is going to feature some of the best music written for the big screen. (And happily, this concert is close to BackCountry, at the Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch.) Sit back with popcorn and candy as you listen to epic music from movies like Titanic and Pirates of the Caribbean from composers such John Williams, James Horner, and Hans Zimmer. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 day of event if not sold out. Discounts for military, seniors and children. Learn more.

Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night-Feb. 26, 7pm
First trivia question: What is Geeks Who Drink? Check out their website for a full description, but the short answer is this: A Denver-based company that hosts highly entertaining bar trivia events created by dozens of quizmasters, writers, fact-checkers, graphic designers, and artists. Geeks Who
 Drink will be hosting 
the first- ever trivia night at BackCountry’s Sundial House, where neighbors will face-off
 and show each other their trivia chops. Bring your friends, neighbors, and thinking caps for an awesome night. Indulge at Pike’s Pub will be open for business throughout the event. Snacks will be provided. RSVP through ActiveNet by Friday, February 19. Participants must be 21+.

Leap Day!- February 29
What will you do with this extra day? It’s a Monday, but don’t let that stop you from adding in a little something special for you (Dinner out? Calming yoga class or massage?) or the family. Check out these ideas for 29 fun things to do on Leap Day. 

For example, have your kids write letters to themselves they’ll open on Leap Day in four years. Try your hand at frog origami. Or tackle a household project that you only want to do every four years—say, organizing the basement.

leap day activities

BackCountry’s Princess and Superheros

by | January 26th, 2016

The Princesses and Superheroes of BackCountry met with Batman and Princess Elsa for an afternoon celebration at the Sundial House.

More fun: The best resolution ever.

by | December 30th, 2015

Lose weight. Save money. De-clutter. Yawn. How about a resolution with some real shelf life? “Have more fun this year” is a resolution we can all rally behind, and long past February. (Make your other resolutions, of course, but a few rewards along the way may help you keep them.) Besides skiing and snowboarding, fun activities are a little trickier to find in January—so here are a few suggestions to kick off your happiest year yet.

Winter Cultural Series: Arias and Ensembles-Jan 7, 7pm-8:30pm
Opera Colorado is coming to you, featuring a delightful evening of operatic and musical theater performances at Cherry Hills Community Church, just 10 minutes from BackCountry. Selections will be performed by Opera Colorado’s Young Artists—a talented crew of emerging professional opera singers—just as they would be on stage but without sets and costumes, creating an intimate and engaging experience. Tickets $7-15. Learn more about this and upcoming events in the series.

Highlands Ranch January events

Comedy Night at the Sundial House-Jan. 9, 7pm
What do you get when you cross a bouncer for the Rolling Stones, a veterinarian, and a professional stand-up comic? Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, a true Renaissance man, who mines his well-rounded life for lots of laughs. Performing for BackCountry residents at the Sundial House, Dr. Fitzgerald has opened for performers such as Bob Hope, Diana Ross, The Temptations, and The Neville Brothers. And yet he still maintains a busy practice at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver. All ages, $25 per guest. Space limited to the first 65 residents. Register online through ActiveNet or at the Sundial House by Monday, January 4th.

National Western Stock Show & Rodeo-Jan. 9-24
Denver may be getting more uber-hip by the minute, but the Stock Show is our annual check-in with our rugged Western heritage—which is pretty cool, too. This 16-day show is a smorgasbord of entertainment and learning opportunities. Choose from rodeos (traditional, Mexican, and African-American), a BBQ Throwdown, Catch-a-Calf contest, fiddle contest, horse shows, livestock exhibitions, and much more. Ticket prices vary.  Learn more.

Princess & Superhero Party-Jan 21, 4pm-5pm
Residents! Hold onto your cape (or tiara): Batman and Princess Elsa are coming to the Sundial House. Which gives your kids the perfect excuse to dress up (again) in their favorite princess and superhero garb. Join us for afterschool snacks and fun, but be sure to RSVP by Friday, January 15 at www.BackCountryLife.org. Open to the first 40 kids who sign up. See a video of last year’s event here.

BackCountry Rapunzel and Spiderman

Southwest Rink at Skyline-through Feb. 16
Free ice skating is a wonderful way to enjoy the season—and maybe assist in another couple of resolutions too. At Skyline Park in downtown Denver, this seasonal outdoor rink invites you to skate, play broomball, and enjoy other activities like face painting, holiday movies, a photo booth, and hot cocoa. Skating is free; rent skates for $2 or bring your own. Free learn-to-skate lessons are offered every Wednesday from 11 am-12 pm and every Saturday 8 am-10 am. Learn more.

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