by Emily Baker
Mondays are a sacred day to the avid horse shower in the summer. As much as we love our days spent at the show, Mondays offer one day of respite to recover or perhaps take advantage of the activities off the show grounds. Whether you are in state or traveling from far away this summer, there is a plethora of fun and exciting activities to partake in on your day off just a short drive from the Colorado Horse Park.
1. Top Golf
Top Golf is located in Centennial, CO just a 15 minute drive from the Colorado Horse Park and is one of the most exciting new attractions in the area. It is a driving range and bar that creates a dynamic interactive hangout environment. If you are a golf enthusiast, you can take advantage of the multi-level 240 yard driving range. If you are just there to spectate, Top Golf has a full bar and menu (the Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese Spring Rolls come very highly recommended.) Depending on the time of day, rental of a Bay - a driving range spot with a booth and table - ranges from $25-$45 per hour. Or, if you are truly looking to take advantage of your time off, Top Golf also offers lessons and classes. Top Golf is open from 9:00 AM to midnight on Mondays. For hours on other days and more information check out their website at http://topgolf.com/us/centennial/.
2. White Water Rafting
If you’re the adventurous type, a favorite of many Coloradans in the summertime is white water rafting. Arkansas Valley Adventures provides many different rafting opportunities around the state of Colorado. No previous rafting experience is necessary for even their advanced trips, but as their descriptors indicate “physical fitness is required.” Fortunately, that shouldn’t be a problem for any of us riders! The two most convenient trips from the Colorado Horse Park are the Royal Gorge advanced rafting trip which is about 1.5 hours south of Parker, or the Clear Creek beginner rafting trip just outside of Denver. However, if you don’t mind the drive there are a few other beautiful trips up in the mountains and even some that include dinner or a ziplining experience. For adults prices range from about $54.00 to $76.00 for a rafting only experience. For more information or to check out the other adventures visit www.coloradorafting.net.
3. High Speed Go-Karting
For an adrenaline rush on your off day check out K1 Indoor Speed Racing located just 30 minutes from the Colorado Horse Park in Highlands Ranch. With 20-hp engines these little karts can reach speeds of up to 45 mph instantly. The track itself has been professionally designed and all ages are allowed. In addition, K1 has a video game arcade, snack bar, and TV lounge for your entertainment. It is open from Noon to 10:00 PM on Mondays and prices start at $20.000 per race, but discounts are available for more races. Reservations aren’t necessary but if you’d like more information check out www.k1speed.com.
For even more of an adrenaline rush, if you don’t mind the drive, you can visit the IMI Motorsports Complex in Dacono, CO. There are tamer Go Kart options here as well, but the TKM, Biland, and Shifter karts can reach speeds of up to 90 mph on the 1 mile long outdoor track. IMI is open 7 days a week and costs range from $3.50-$7.00 per lap (minimum 5 laps on some options) depending on which kart you pick. Check out www.imimotorsports.com for more information.
4. Chatfield State Park
If you’re looking for more of a relaxing day off Chatfield State Park is also just a 40 minute drive from the Colorado Horse Park. Located off Titan Parkway in Littleton, CO Chatfield offers trails, camping, and a lake for boating or relaxing. If you don’t have your own boat, Chatfield marina offers boat rentals and even a floating restaurant. If you brought your furry friend with you for the horse shows, there is a dog off-leash area which allows them ample room to run and play outdoors. Entrance to the park costs $8.00 per day, while entrance to the dog park is just $2.00. For more information or to check park conditions visit http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/Chatfield.
5. RiNo Brewery Tour
Why not get a little rowdy on a Monday when it’s your only day off? In recent years Denver has become home to an array of Micro-breweries, many of which are located in a neighborhood called RiNo, just North of Denver. Some of the hotspots include Ratio Beerworks at 29th and Larimer, Epic Brewing at 30th and Walnut, and Blackshirt Brewing at 37th and Walnut. River North is also a great brewery, but it is closed on Mondays. If you find yourself in need of a break from beer, Stem Ciders at 28th and Walnut is essentially a cider brewery and has homebrewed ciders from tart to sweet. Infinite Monkey Theorem is a RiNo based winery serving up their own personal wines in cans and on tap. It’s about a 45 minute drive from The Colorado Horse Park so be sure to nominate a designated driver, or pool your money for a Lyft or Uber. In spite of the distance, it’s well worth a trip to the RiNo Breweries.
6. Coors Field
Another downtown option for your day off is to go to a Rockies Game at Coors Field. Though they may not be the best major league baseball team, The Rockies’ stadium provides beautiful views and (hopefully) beautiful weather. Most days there is either an afternoon game around 1:00 PM or an evening game around 6:00 PM. Seats are as low as $4 if you are willing to sit in the rowdy Rockpile. Or you can buy a $16 concession ticket for the Rooftop area. This is a standing room only ticket but comes with a concession credit in the amount of $6. This option is for the spectators who are more there for the social scene than the baseball scene. For the Rockies schedule and to purchase tickets visit http://m.mlb.com/col/tickets/info/ticket-specials.
7. Red Rocks Ampitheater
No trip to Colorado is complete without a journey to Red Rocks Amphitheater. Both an unforgettable concert venue and an outdoor exercise spot, you’ll be able to find many reasons to make the trip out to Morrison, CO on your day off. Though it is unlikely there will be a concert on a Monday, red Rocks is open all days for general tourists. Many choose to exercise using the venue’s stairs or simply take advantage of the beautiful scenery. You can also choose to take a hike that goes up and around the amphitheater itself. Furthermore, Monday nights throughout the summer Red Rocks hosts Film on the Rocks- a movie series with a one-of-a-kind backdrop. For directions and more information check out redrocksonline.com.
8. Water World and Elitch Gardens
For a more classic spin on fun on your day off hit up Elitch Gardens or Water World. Both located in the Northern part of Denver, they are about a 45 minute drive from the Colorado Horse Park. Elitch Gardens is a Theme Park with typical rides like a ferris wheel, the carousel, and the observation tower as well as an entire kids’ park. But for the thrill seekers Elitch Gardens boasts massive roller coasters like the Minderaser and the Boomerang. Adult tickets cost $35.99 and the park is open Mondays generally from 10AM-7PM.
Neighboring Water World is more ideal for the hot Colorado summer temperatures. Numerous water slides and tube rides will keep you entertained, and then you can relax in the Lazy River. Wally World is a mini water parks for the kids. Top recommendations include: the White Lightning slides, the Voyage to the Center of the Earth, and The Storm. General admission is $41.99 and the park is open on Mondays from 10AM-6PM.
For more info visit www.elitchgardens.com and www.waterworldcolorado.com respectively.
The prototypical thing to do when you’re in Colorado is, obviously, go outside and enjoy our beautiful mountains. There are an innumerable amount of hikes to go on in Colorado. Though there are a few flat lands ones near the horse park, and of course the trails at Chatfield, the best views and hikes are going to be up in the mountains. A short and yet rewarding hike is the Flatirons hike in Boulder. It’s not too grueling, but at the top you have beautiful views of Boulder and the foothills. Another Colorado favorite is the Hanging Lake hike. Only the view at the end of the hike can even begin to explain why this hike is a Colorado must. And of course, somewhere on every Coloradans bucket list is to hike a14er- this is a mountain exceeding an elevation 14,000 feet. You will need to come well prepared for these adventures, and it will require you to wake up much earlier than you may like on your only day off. But it will be well worth it. For other hiking suggestions check out Day Hikes Near Denver at www.dayhikesneardenver.com.
10. Dinosaur Ridge
Long before equestrians, horses, or the Horse Park ever existed Colorado it was home to some even larger creatures- dinosaurs. A fun and unique excursion for your free time is a visit to Dinosaur Ridge. Dinosaur Ridge is located near to Red Rocks in Morrison, CO. A short ⅓ mile hike will walk you past dinosaur fossils and footprints, as well as traces of the aquatic life that was in the area when Colorado was still underwater (yes this is a true fact.) This is a particularly appealing adventure if you have kids, as there are games and entertainment for them as well. But even as adults, the gargantuan footprint of an Apatosaurus is a pretty cool sight to see! Dinosaur Ridge is open 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM on Mondays and admittance is free. However, if you’re not feeling like the hike and want to take a bus to the fossils, this costs $6 for anyone older than three. For more information and directions check out www.dinoridge.org.