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Posts Tagged ‘colorado’

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Here’s how.

by | December 1st, 2016

Sometimes December feels more like the season to be busy, with the frantic pace of end-of-year work assignments, office parties, shopping, cooking, cleaning for house guests…well, you know the drill. Rather than simply reacting to every demand, consider taking a more proactive stance: What do I want my month to look like? What memories do I want to create? And then plan accordingly. Try subbing a few of these five memorable activities for other less-jolly obligations; there’s even one as close as BackCountry’s own Sundial House.

Here’s to a happy holiday season…on your terms.  

9 News Parade of Lights-Dec. 2 at 8pm & Dec. 3 at 6pm

Downtown Denver- Parade of Lights

This 42-year-old tradition remains the perfect way to kick off Denver’s holiday season. On a two-mile route in downtown Denver, this parade features marching bands, ornate floats, and, of course, special appearances by Major Waddles the Penguin and Santa. Dress warmly, take a thermos of hot cocoa, and stake out your spot along the route, or grab tickets ASAP for the limited grandstand seating in front of the beautifully lit City and County Building. Learn more. 

Hometown Holiday and Tree Lighting-Dec. 2, 4:30pm-7:30pm

If you prefer smaller crowds or just staying closer to home, try on this special Highlands Ranch tradition. Hometown Holiday is an old-fashioned community celebration with caroling, entertainment, food, and a visit from Santa Claus himself. (Naturally, the big guy has a busy schedule these days, so catch him before he leaves at 7:30.) The tree lighting is planned for 5pm. Held at Town Center South. Learn more

Community Menorah Lighting-Dec. 26, 5:30pm

This year, Chanukah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights, stretches from December 24-January 1. Join your friends and neighbors for the celebratory lighting of the menorah at sunset at the Eastridge Recreation Center. The Menorah will be lit and there will be a special performance by the children of Chabad Hebrew School, latkes and donuts, and Chanukah arts and crafts. It is free and open to the whole family! Learn more.

Denver Zoo Lights-Dec. 2-Jan. 1, 2017, 5:30pm-9pm

Imagine all 70 acres of the Denver Zoo, bright with illuminated animal sculptures that swing through trees, jump across lawns, and hide in bushes. Plus, you’ll enjoy all the holiday carolers, Santa meet-and-greets, and much more at this beloved Denver tradition. Zoo Lights is a memorable way to spend time with family, get a little exercise, and, of course, support the animals. Tip: Go on a “Value Night” for smaller crowds and reduced entry fee. Tickets range from $10-17. Learn more.  

Cookies with Santa-Dec. 10, 9am-1:30pm

Santa's Visit- Reunion CO

True, BackCountry is a bit of a hike from the North Pole, but the lure of cookies and photo ops with star-struck BackCountry kids brings Santa back year after year. Come enjoy time with your neighbors, wear your favorite ugly sweater or other festive attire, and have your kids bring their wishlists. Residents, RSVP through by Monday, December 5th.

Denver Performing Arts Holiday Events-through December

Make attending at least one festive performance a holiday tradition in your family. The DCPA is offering something for everyone this month, from classics to new favorites in the making. Consider a musical performance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The soaring majesty of Handel’s Messiah. David Sedaris’s hilariously snarky Santaland Diaries about his stint as a Macy’s elf. Or The Nutcracker, dazzlingly performed by the Colorado Ballet. Ticket prices vary. Learn more.

Parade of Lights- Holiday Happenings

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

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)

Why BackCountry smells so good

by | November 23rd, 2015

It could be all that fresh air, free of city traffic. The thousands of acres of open space rippling with sweet prairie grasses and wildflowers.

Or it could just be all the bath bombs residents are snapping up at Salus Bath & Body.

salus Highlands Ranch facial products

Salus, a Colorado maker of natural bath and body care products, is located in Highland Ranch’s Town Center, just a short drive from BackCountry. Opened this year, it’s the company’s third location; the other two are in Manitou Springs and Old Town Fort Collins. At the Highlands Ranch location, you can pick up customized, well, everything for your personal care: lotions, soaps, bath bombs, bubble bath, body washes, shampoos, conditioners, spa treatments, salt therapies, massage and body care, facial care, baby care, home fragrance, sport products, essential oils, and fragrances. Whew.

In a Denver Post article, co-owner Elissa Klaver (husband Jerell is her business partner) describes the shop as “Build-A-Bear meets Bath & Body Works meets Lush.” The Build-a-Bear reference speaks to how the products are handcrafted on the spot, per your taste. Customers choose among the many unscented products, then select from among 200+ fragrances and essential oils. Next, they watch the “Suds Team” mix up a freshly made batch just for them.   

salus bath products bath cupcakes

In the other half of the store, you can sniff your way through 200 types of bath and shower bombs and bath cupcakes, which have a bubble bath frosting and moisturizing “cake.” As fun as they are functional, these cupcakes are a clear winner in the stocking stuffer category.

Customers with sensitive skin can relax, knowing that all ingredients are labeled, and products are natural, organic, and paraben-free. Many are also gluten-free. If you’re allergic to fragrance, then simply forgo the scent.

salus shower bombs

Salus also has an active online business, so shopping from your living room (or bathtub) is always an option. Start shopping at

Interested in supporting other locally owned Highlands Ranch businesses? Read our previous posts about businesses, like Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, BackCountry’s own CrossFit gym, and the artful floral arrangements at Abloom

Fall. It’s more than pumpkin spice lattes.

by | October 8th, 2015

Finally, the days are cooler, the leaves are changing, and so are the coffee flavors at Starbucks. Life is good. But if all that is not enough for you, here are other ways to enjoy the month, including Halloween fun that goes beyond answering the door with a bowl of Skittles. So get out there and revel in one of the months Colorado (and BackCountry) does best.

BackCountry Colorado Halloween pumpkins

Honey From a Hive-Oct. 13, 2-3:30pm
Ok, so the bad news is that all your tasty homegrown tomatoes are gone. But the good news is that it’s now time to harvest honey. (Fun fact: It takes two million flowers to make one pound of honey.) Join Highlands Ranch’s resident beekeeper for an engaging program about honeybees, how they make honey, and how they do their crucial job of pollinating flowers. You’ll taste honey from different areas and meet some of these hardworking bees. For all ages. Residents $10, nonresidents $12. Group rates of $6-7 for three or more. Held at Metro District Parks, Recreation & Open Space Service Center, 3280 Redstone Park Circle. Register here

Denver Zombie Crawl 2015-Oct. 17, starts at 9am
Zombies on a screen just can’t compare with those in the flesh—or perhaps, remnants of flesh. Just in time for Halloween, the “largest zombie gathering in history” will get your heart racing one way or another as zombie hordes run, walk, or crawl around downtown Denver solving clues and reaching checkpoints along the Organ (yes, Organ) Trail for cash prizes.  Part Amazing Race, Fear Factor, and haunted house, the event also includes music, games, a parade, and after parties. Free and open to all ages, but do bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Food Bank of the Rockies. Please register so organizers can get an accurate count and set the world record. Held at Skyline Park. Learn more.

Denver Zombie Crawl Organ Trail

BackCountry Haunted House-Oct. 22, 5pm-9pm
Everyone’s favorite place to hang out will take a turn for the terrifying when the Sundial House transforms into BackCountry’s first-ever haunted house, complete with ghosts, witches, werewolves, prizes, games, fortunetelling, and more. From 5pm to 7pm, the haunted house will be designed to accommodate kids ages 3-9, but from 7pm to 9pm, it will become a scare-zone fit for tweens, teens, and adults. Please RSVP at by October 16.

Trick or Treat Train-Oct. 31, 10am-4pm
Not only is the Colorado Railroad Museum a safe place to take the kids trick-or-treating, it’s a wonderful spot to while away a morning or an afternoon. Catch a ride behind a historic locomotive in vintage passenger cars hosted by costumed conductors. At special stops you can fill your treat bags, visit a not-so-spooky haunted railcar, the Olde Railroaders “graveyard,” and a pumpkin patch for a cute photo op. Museum members and children under two are free, $5 for ages 2-15, $15 for adult, and $10 for seniors over 60. Learn more.

trick or treat train

BackCountry Halloween Hot Spot Houses-Oct. 31, dusk-7:30pm
BackCountry is known for its friendly ways, and here’s one more example: neighborhood “hot spots” for trick-or-treaters and their parents to enjoy a hot drink and/or snack, plus a little chitchat along the way. The HOA is looking for one volunteer on each block to open their garage and provide light refreshments. It’s a wonderful way to get to know your neighbors and see all the spooktacular costumes. If you’re interested in hosting, please contact John Lyon at by Friday, October 23.

September is sneaky. Winterize now.

by | September 22nd, 2015

In September, weather is even more unpredictable than usual. By the end of the month, average temperatures will have dropped 12 degrees. And while temperatures typically soar into the 90s for a day or two, snow shovels can make their first appearance.

If you’re new to BackCountry or Colorado, you’ll want to check out the winterizing tips below. Your beautiful new home and yard require just a little bit of attention this month. Then you can relax, knowing that everything is shipshape for the chilly season that lies ahead.

1) Tidy up your perennials. Colorado’s extreme temperature fluctuations and dry winds can brutalize many of our commonly planted perennials. And, as any long-suffering vegetable gardener will tell you, our first hard frost can land in September—which means that the foliage of most perennials starts to wither this month. If you prefer to remove dead foliage right away, gently apply mulch to protect the plant from the winter elements. (Always remove diseased foliage to avoid the spread of leaf-spot diseases and fungal problems.) Alternatively, you can wait to remove dead foliage in the spring.

2) Keep your plants hydrated. Our winter snows can be heavy and frequent…or irregular and insufficient. Make sure your landscape has the moisture it needs with a layer of mulch that’s several inches thick. Mulch should be coarse and loose, such as shredded leaves, to permit air movement to the roots. Become a mulch expert here. Also, water at least monthly under dry winter conditions. Apply water mid-day, and only when it’s 40 degrees or warmer.

flower bed mulch winterize

3) That goes for your trees, too. If you’re a new BackCountry owner, you should know that new trees are more susceptible to winter drought. Your trees will absorb water best with a slow soak into the soil to a depth of 12 inches. Apply water to many locations under the drip line and beyond, ideally with a deep-root fork or needle. Read the how-tos of tree and shrub watering here.

4) Replace your furnace filter. Even if you’re not turning on the heat yet, you will soon. Be ready for the chill with a nice, clean furnace filter so you can breathe easier and improve energy efficiency. By the way, you should do this every month, since a clean filter minimizes wear and tear on your furnace. Buy a bundle, so you have them ready. Mark the date on each new filter as you install it.

5) Unclog your gutters and downspouts. Naturally you’ll want to do a touch-up after all the autumn leaves have fallen, but cleaning out gutters and downspouts prevents serious damage from trapped rain, snow, and ice. Do it yourself if you’re comfortable, or play it safe and leave the climbing to a pro.

Clear out rain gutters for winter

6) Flush the water heater. Over time, particles and sediment can collect in the bottom of your water heater, hindering the unit’s efficiency. Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the material and keep your heater healthy and long-lived. Because who wants a frigid shower on a cold morning? Watch this how-to video.

7) Rotate ceiling fans clockwise. And you thought ceiling fans were just for summer. Use these smart energy-savers year-round by reversing them in a clockwise direction. That way, fans will push the hot air near the ceiling down towards the floor.

8) Inspect your chimney. New Colorado fireplaces are gas-burning, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about the chimney altogether. Critters sometimes move in—which can spell disaster. Call a chimney sweep to inspect your chimney and clean out any hazardous debris.

9) Protect your pipes. Temperatures can get ugly around here fast, so don’t leave your pipes vulnerable to the freeze, thaw, and burst cycle—which can create a world of water damage and icky mold growing.  Weatherproof your plumbing by shutting off the supply of water to outdoor spigots and sprinkler systems, and then drain them. (Depending on your irrigation system, you may also need a contractor to blow out any excess moisture with compressed air.) Read more about how to protect your pipes while you’re away from home.

Water heater maintenance

10) Just say no to CO. That is, carbon monoxide. Before winter hits, make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and replace old batteries. If you cook on a gas range, use the fan on your stove hood to vent to the outside and reduce your carbon monoxide exposure. Adjust your burners so you get a nice blue flame; a yellow-tipped flame produces more emissions.

10 tips for babyproofing your new home

by | August 18th, 2015

Go ahead, pat yourself on the back. Buying a new home is one of the smartest safety decisions you can make for your child. Sure those vintage homes can be adorable, but the narrow stairs, cloth electrical wiring, lead pipes, lead-based paint, and asbestos? Not so much. Thankfully, you won’t have to deal with any of that drama in a new home!

New homes, like those in BackCountry, follow modern building codes that keep your family safe. After move-in, you may want to tailor your home further to keep the munchkins healthy and happy. First, let’s take a look in the kitchen, that pre-dinner playground where toddlers are tempted to cook up a bit of trouble.

baby proof home BackCountry

1. Use cabinet latches and locks.
Ideally, you’re going to move those toxic, under-sink cleaning products somewhere high and out of reach. If not, then be super-vigilant with keeping the cabinets latched, as well as other cabinets housing breakables and heavies. Of course, it’s a smart idea to leave a few cabinets unlatched with child-friendly plastic measuring cups, spoons and nesting bowls to buy yourself some precious cooking time.

2. Keep the pet food bowls behind a baby gate.
A bowl of hard, crunchy pet food looks so inviting to a kiddo, but it can be a real choking hazard. If you can’t separate the pet food from the living areas, stand by as your pet eats, then immediately remove the bowl. (And if you have stairs, you’re definitely going to need another baby gate.)

3. Install stove knob covers and a stove guard.
Kids do what they see parents do—which can lead to twisting stove knobs and pulling down hot, bubbling pots of pasta water. Avoid that scary scenario with devices that make the stove completely inaccessible.

In the living room:

4. Edit your houseplant collection.
While you want your child to eat his greens, there are limits. Some plants look tasty to a little one, but many common houseplants are actually poisonous. Give those bad boys to your single friends, or those with older kids, and avoid indiscriminate noshing of the rest by keeping all plants high and out of reach.

poisonous house plant

5. Soften sharp edges.
Coffee tables, hearths, TV stands, and window ledges can be right at eye level for short stacks. Cushion all those edges with corner guards until kids get a little taller and steadier on their feet.

6. Choose kid-friendly window treatments.
Window blinds get a bad rap due to choking deaths caused by dangling cords. They’re not off-limits if you choose blinds that are cordless. Other options include roller or motorized shades, or wood or composite shutters.

In the bathroom:

7. Lower your water heater to 120 degrees.
This helps prevent busy little hands from getting burned when cranking up the faucet. Of course, you should always test the water temperature before placing your child in the tub, too. And install an anti-scald device to the end of the bath spout and sink faucet.

8. Install a toilet lock.
These smart devices serve many purposes.  Little fingers don’t get smashed. No danger of accidental drowning. Prevention of icky, germy water play. And no flushing of toys down the toilet—common enough, as any plumber can attest.

9. Lock up your medicines.
First, see #1 regarding a latch on your medicine cabinet. Or if you opted for a cute bathroom mirror without a medicine cabinet, invest in a lockable medicine safe that can fit inside any cabinet or drawer.

medicine cabinet with lock

And basically, everywhere in your home:

10. Cover your electrical outlets.
Because inquiring minds want to know…if that thing makes the vacuum go, what will happen if I put this fork/finger/whatever in there? It happens. Outmaneuver your budding electrical engineer with these universal outlet covers, which slide shut when the outlet is not in use.

Paragon Homes Offers its Last Five Homes in BackCountry

by | August 14th, 2015

“Even though we’re technically building semi-custom homes, I think buyers will find that between our flexible designs and the scope of personalization we offer, they’ll be able to achieve exactly the home they’re envisioning and at a remarkable price point.”

That’s the description of Paragon Homes’ President Ed Venerable describing the five remaining opportunities to build one of his company’s Sanctuary Collection homes in the gated BackCountry community in Highlands Ranch.

“Whatever area of the home is most important to a buyer, the area they feel most passionate for, we create and execute a plan for a home that exceeds their wish list,” adds Venerable describing the process where buyers, along with the Paragon team, work within a footprint to create a home which reflects their individual tastes, wants and needs.


An example of a Paragon home – just five opportunities remain to create a home with the builder in the gated BackCountry community in Highlands Ranch.

The Sanctuary Collection homes range from 3,200 to 5,000 square feet and are priced between $1.2 and $1.4 million. The five remaining home sites are non-walkout, each about one-third of an acre and all backing to open space.

Described as Colorado mountain contemporary, Paragon’s home collection is comprised of seven designs – two ranch plans as well as five two-story residences – that are notable for their oversized entertaining spaces, chef-worthy kitchens and walls of glass that, as Venerable explains, “blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces.”

Courtyards with water features and fireplaces, exposed beams, walls of stacked stone, and spa-like master baths are among the features garnering praise in the Built Green homes.

Adjacent to the 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area and located just south of the intersection of Broadway and Wildcat Reserve Parkway, the award-winning BackCountry neighborhood is a benchmark among the Front Range’s luxury communities.

BackCountry Beauty Mountains Trees

“BackCountry’s master design and vision, its rustic feel and atmosphere, and its dedication to quality and attention to detail really dovetailed with our company’s style and mission and is a big part of why we’ve enjoyed so much success here,” adds Venerable.

“The unmatched atmosphere in concert with our designs ensures the homes live comfortably for both entertaining and family life.”

Paragon Homes has been an award-winning, highly-acclaimed builder along the Front Range for more than two decades and counts hundreds of satisfied homeowners as clients.

BackCountry’s noteworthy amenities continue to progress and include the Sundial House, wilderness trails, the BackCountry Outdoor Pool and the community amphitheater.

The gated BackCountry community also draws from the fundamental strengths of Highlands Ranch’s highly-rated schools, convenient shopping, recreation centers, open space, trails, and a master planned hallmark approach for over three decades. BackCountry is situated on the last available land within Highlands Ranch. Easy access to C-470 puts residents minutes away from Highlands Ranch business parks, as well as Inverness, the Denver Tech Center, and other metro-Denver business hubs.

Begin your adventure by stopping at BackCountry’s Discovery Center, which can be reached by going south from C-470 on Broadway to just south of Wildcat Reserve Parkway onto BackCountry Drive and can be reached by calling 720-344-9600.  More information on BackCountry is available at

Meet the jeweler next door.

by | August 12th, 2015

For most of us, garages are for cars, bikes, and all kinds of dusty, forgotten treasures. But for some, they are the headquarters of a dream. Think Apple, Amazon, Disney, and Google, all of which began in a humble garage. And right now, something similar is happening at BackCountry with resident Carrie Schafer’s jewelry business, Original Hardware.

Ok, maybe we’ll wait and see about the world domination part, but Carrie’s wholesale business has happily expanded to the point that she will be moving into a retail shop in downtown Littleton on September 1. But faithful readers don’t have to wait for opening day. Shop her website now and get a 20% discount on your entire purchase using the promo code Backcountry at checkout!

And what can you purchase on the Original Hardware website? Handcrafted jewelry with a rustic aesthetic, ideal for layering with other pieces. You’ll find earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings in silver and mixed metal, with diamonds and other stones. Carrie and her team of two other designers use handcrafted components, ethically-sourced materials and 100% recycled sterling silver in an effort to “tread lightly on the planet.” So far, the jewelry has been sold in 100 high-end boutiques and the prestigious Sundance catalog.

BackCountry open space provides excellent photo ops for product shots like this, taken just outside the Sundial House.

BackCountry open space provides excellent photo ops for product shots like this, taken just outside the Sundial House.

“Everything is made in my BackCountry studio,” says Carrie. “Once the Littleton space is ready and we’ve moved in, I plan to keep the garage studio for a bit. I like to get up early in the morning as the sun rises and work on new pieces in there.” (Her garage studio does have some creature comforts, like a chandelier.)

Carrie’s career shift was dramatic. “I was working as a VP for a global software company when a coworker came into the office with a bracelet she’d made,” says Carrie. “I’ve always been fascinated with rocks and metal, and in some way my life has had some creative energy to it. Once I bought a few stones and jewelry supplies, I was hooked.” Beyond some basic metalsmithing courses, Carrie is entirely self-taught. She says that “everything else has been learned the hard way and I have the scars and Band-Aids to prove it!”

Carrie started the company in 2003 and she and son Evan, 9, have lived in BackCountry since 2008. “I’ve lived in Highlands Ranch for 20 years and I knew when BackCountry was starting to develop that it was something special,” she says. “And it really is. There’s nothing like it in Highlands Ranch.”

Also shot in BackCountry. Carrie and Evan, with significant other Chris McGinnis and daughters Grace and Abby.

Also shot in BackCountry. Carrie and Evan, with significant other Chris McGinnis and daughters Grace and Abby.

Carrie loves the trails, where she mountain bikes on her lunch hour, but she says that more than anything it’s the people that make it special.  “I’ve made so many great friends here,” says Carrie. “There are many creative entrepreneurs that live in BackCountry, some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with. What I love about this community is the genuine support I’ve received.”

Continue that support, BackCountry residents and friends, with a visit to the website, or in September when the Original Hardware shop opens at 2336 W. Main Street in historic downtown Littleton.

August is American Adventure Month

by | August 4th, 2015

August is an excellent choice for a month devoted to snagging some last bits of summer adventure. School days are looming, so before the kids’ homework and your end-of-year obligations kick in, try something outside the regular routine. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning.

Nature Connects: Art with Lego™ Bricks-Aug. 7-Nov. 1
Boasting a 400 lb. bumblebee, lion, and other creatures built entirely from LEGOs, this traveling exhibit at the Denver Zoo is sure to appeal to animal lovers and diehard fans of the classic toy building blocks. (Many families have both.)  This award-winning display of engineering and art prowess features more than 35 life-size-or-larger animal and plant sculptures. Scattered throughout the zoo, the exhibit makes a leisurely summer day even more of a visual treat. Free with admission, which ranges from $12-17. Learn more.

Lego Nature Connects Denver Zoo
BackCountry Bike Clinic
-Aug. 8, 9am-12pm
BackCountry residents, grab your ride (dusty or much-used) and head over to the Amphitheatre for BackCountry’s first-ever bike clinic. Tuned to beginner and intermediate riders, the clinics will be led by Cindi Toepel of Energy Xperience, a five-time World and 10-time National XTERRA Off-Road Champion. Bike safety checks, a snake presentation, food, beer, and more add to the fun and learning. Kids’ clinic from 9:15am-10am and adults’ from 10:30-11:45. Register at by Aug. 5. Open to BackCountry residents & their guests only.

USA Pro Challenge Bike Race-Aug. 17-23
Kicking off in Steamboat Springs, cruising through eight host cities, and then coming to a grand finale in Denver, this prestigious race offers plenty of places to watch the altitude-busting ways of the world’s top cyclists. New destinations this year include Arapahoe Basin, Loveland Pass, and Copper Mountain, but the Golden-to-Denver stretch makes the viewing easy for us locals. Learn more.

USA Pro Challenge go ride

Film on the Rocks: The Breakfast Club-Aug. 26, 7pm
Got your summertime Red Rocks fix yet? Don’t let the season slip by without a trip to this world-renowned venue. Without the hefty price of a concert, Film on the Rocks lets you enjoy a vintage film, live music, and spectacular views. This go-round features music by Jen Korte & the Loss with The Dirty Femmes, a Violent Femmes cover band, followed by The Breakfast Club, the coming-of-age classic about a cross-section of ‘80s high schoolers stuck together in detention.  $12. Get tickets here.

BackCountry End of Summer Luau-Aug. 28, 6pm-8:30pm
Somehow saying “aloha” to summer feels so much better than “goodbye.” Luau with your BackCountry neighbors at the Amphitheatre, enjoying dinner, dancing to the summery sounds of the Margarita Brothers, Hawaiian-themed balloon artistry, and a message-in-a-bottle craft for the kids. Reserve your spot at by August 20.

Aloha beach writing

Big ideas meet big fun. The Biennial of the Americas returns.

by | July 7th, 2015

Back when our governor was the mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper envisioned an event that would celebrate the ideas, art, and culture of North, Central, and South America—putting Denver at the hub of a globally influential discussion. His plan appears to be working. Launched in 2010, the Biennial of the Americas keeps getting bigger, better and, happily, more inclusive of metro residents. So, BackCountry residents, think about how you might want to participate in this history-making event.

Opening week of this year’s Biennial is scheduled for July 14-19, and features talks by international innovators, experts, and artists; local art exhibitions; public parties; performances; and cultural events. Many art exhibitions, installations, and cultural programs will continue through August 30.

Image courtesy of Biennial of the Americas Facebook page

Image courtesy of Biennial of the Americas Facebook page

This year’s theme is Now!, a “dive into our present circumstances, seeking to understand the contexts, conditions, and challenges that exist across the western hemisphere today.” During three nights of symposium discussions, speakers and panel moderators will include (among others) former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and former Colombian President César Gaviria, media mogul Tina Brown, Nature Conservancy president Mark Tercek, and Univision’s León Krauze. Discussions will range from strategic investing and evolving technology to the long-term community effects of legalized cannabis. Get your tickets here.

Photo courtesy of Biennial of the Americas Facebook page

Photo courtesy of Biennial of the Americas Facebook page

If a symposium isn’t your thing, you’ll find many other ways to enjoy this multicultural extravaganza:

For more details on the many events planned, please visit the official Biennial website.

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