Visiting Five Parks in and Around Denver

When one of my very good Disney College Program friends got engaged to her very own Prince Charming, I knew I had to be there to help celebrate! When we found out we were pregnant and would have a two month old at the time of their wedding, I was still convinced we needed to make the trip to Denver. My husband agreed, and we decided to enlist help from the grandparents, who eagerly said yes.

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Flash forward to the Wednesday before Memorial Weekend when we met my parents at the airport! Our baby did very well on the flight and slept the majority of the trip. As soon as we arrived and got all of our luggage, we headed straight to Four Friends Kitchen, a Southern-inspired brunch place in Denver. Our friends who had traveled to Denver told us we had to stop here, and it did not disappoint. It was delicious!

Our adventures had only begun! Traveling with a baby certainly changed the trip dynamics. We focused more on experiences and cared much less about restaurants than we had in the past. We stopped more often for diaper changes and nursing sessions. However, we had no shortage of fun times and saw some incredible places in and around the city!

Five Parks Around Denver in Four Days

During our trip, we visited five parks and walked an average of 3 miles a day. Since I had a baby in March, I haven’t been as concerned about my fitness although I do go on daily walk. That, coupled with the altitude difference, had my legs shaking a few times!

1. Garden of The Gods

GOTG

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! We headed to Garden of The Gods in Colorado Springs after leaving Red Rocks, which was about an 1.5 hour drive. Zach’s family used to live out this way (before he was born), so he’d always wanted to come to Colorado Springs. The views at Garden of The Gods were beautiful, and the paved trail was a nice surprise. Hello, stroller! We saw a rattlesnake and a bobcat here.

2. City Park

City Park is next to the Denver Zoo. We stopped here on our way to our hotel from the airport and walked the loop once. It was a great stop to stretch our legs. We had fun trying to see the animals in the zoo and even had an elephant sighting.

3. Rocky Mountain National Park

RMNP

It took about 2 hours to get here from our hotel, and the drive was well worth it. My parents love visiting national parks, and Rocky Mountain National Park was no exception! Since we were traveling with a baby, we primarily saw sights from the car, but still managed to walk over 3 miles. Driving into the tundra was pretty incredible! We even got out and walked in the snow. We visited Bear Lake Trail in the afternoon and easily found a parking spot.We saw a lot of wildlife here. I’d love to return when Samuel is older to do some trails!

4. Red Rocks Park

When I asked my CO friends where we should go, the Red Rock Amphitheater topped their lists! In the morning, the amphitheater was filled with people working out, which was pretty inspiring to see. I’d love to go there and run the stairs one day! There are trails around here, but we stuck to climbing the amphitheater.

5. South Valley Park

SVP

This state park was about 20 minutes away from our hotel, so it made for a perfect morning trip. The views were beautiful, but the shade was limited to the picnic areas. I’d recommend coming here even earlier in the morning. Thank goodness for my babywearing husband. It was hot! We saw more red rock formations here and took a nice hike.

 

Your Turn

Have you been to Colorado? What park was your favorite?

 

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Anna Maria Island Weekend Trip

Recently, my husband and I hopped on a plane and jetted off to Tampa, so we could spend the weekend on Anna Maria Island!

Anna Maria Island is an amazing place to experience a true beach vacation! My family has been vacationing here for over 15 years, and we always look forward to returning.

There’s something so calming about the ocean that other vacation destinations can’t replicate. I’m imagining myself back at the beach right now listening to the ocean waves crashing into the shore, feeling the salty sea breeze and warm sun beaming down on my skin, and enjoying the peace that comes with relaxing in a beach chair under an umbrella with a great book in hand.

Weekend Highlights

This was Zach’s first time to the island! There are so many places we didn’t get to visit on our short weekend trip, but we did our best to relax while still enjoying some of the great things Anna Maria Island has to offer!

  1. Watching the sunrise (and sunset).

    This is something that is special to us, and we make a point to watch the sunrise and sunset on vacations and at home. This picture was taken as the sun was setting. Zach took a hyperlapse of it. His ability to hold his phone still and stay in one spot for so long is impressive!
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  2. Eating the most delicious dinner at The Waterfront Restaurant.

    This meal was easily the best meal of the trip! Zach absolutely loved the fresh bread, mashed potatoes, and ribeye. The ribeye was marinated for three days, and the wait was definitely worth it. I love the baked brie appetizer and mashed potatoes. Everything was cooked to perfection and our service was amazing.

  3. Spending time on the lanai.

    Nothing gets better than simply enjoying each other’s company and taking in the view. You just can’t get these views in the Midwest! image3

  4. Creating our own donuts at The Donut Experiment.

    We actually went twice! If you love warm cake donuts with a slightly crunchy exterior and picking out your own toppings, this is the place for you. Zach’s favorite? Crushed peanuts with vanilla frosting. My favorite? Key lime. If you’re visiting on a weekend, arrive as early as possible to avoid long waits! We got there at 7:15 am and had no problems. image1

  5. Browsing through shops.

    We especially loved Back Alley Treasures! They have a variety of local items and other fun trinkets to look at. We didn’t take any pictures while shopping, but we did leave with some homemade soap and soy candles that smell delicious!