Short bike tour of Denver, page 2

Page 1: Denver - Aquarium and downtown
Page 2: Denver - Museum of Nature and Science
Page 3: Estes Park

Monday, August 18, 2008

Distance: 14.0 miles
Riding time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Average speed: 10.4 mph
Maximum speed: 23.1 mph

Denver has a great Museum of Nature and Science, and that's where we spent all of today. We knew from a previous visit that it had a good dinosaur gallery, and Daniel loves reading about dinosaurs in his storybooks. What I didn't know is that giant dinosaur skeletons can look pretty scary to a 3-year-old. Daniel panicked a bit when we entered the dinosaur area, and I had to carry him while we looked at most of the exhibits. We had a similar problem when we watched an IMAX film about Alaska - Daniel held my hand over his eyes during the scary parts (icebergs cracking, wolves hunting, caribou stampeding, etc.) and peered over my hand to watch the rest. He still enjoyed the movie, but I need to remember that little boys can be frightened easily.


Tyrannosaurus Rex in the entryway of the Museum of Nature and Science.


Kathy and Maggie stand beside a sauropod skeleton in the dinosaur gallery. Daniel wouldn't go anywhere near this skeleton, and would have fled the gallery altogether if I hadn't picked him up and calmed him down.


Eating lunch in the food court.


Maggie waits for us to finish our lunch. She was quiet and content the whole day.

Our favorite gallery was about North American animals, and it had taxidermy dioramas of large animals in their habitats. There were bison, grizzly bears, elk, mountain goats, caribou, wolves, musk oxen, seals, walrus and more. Daniel wasn't afraid of these animals, and he liked pushing buttons on the displays to play the sounds of various animal calls.

After a full day we returned to Sue's house, where Sue cooked dinner for us, complete with produce from her garden. We spent most of dinner asking Sue about the years that she worked for the Peace Corps and another aid organization in Congo and Guatemala.


The North American Mammals gallery is well done, combining taxidermy with painted backdrops of real places. This exhibit shows a black bear family in Yellowstone National Park.


Alaskan musk oxen.


Caribou.


California sea lions.


Bighorn sheep.


Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Distance: 64.4 miles
Riding time: 4 hours, 26 minutes
Average speed: 14.5 mph
Maximum speed: 36.7 mph

We biked back to our house in Fort Collins today, enjoying good weather the whole way. This route is so nice when it isn't raining! We made just 2 stops on our way: 1 stop at a playground, to eat a snack and give Daniel a break, and 1 stop at a Fort Collins restaurant for an early dinner.

This little vacation was convenient, fun and affordable. It was convenient because we slept in houses, rather than a tent, and we had access to kitchens. We didn't need to haul our tent, sleeping bags or camp stove with us. During the day we got to navigate downtown Denver on a bicycle, which is much more convenient than navigating in a car. Whenever we got lost we just pulled onto a sidewalk to check our map, and whenever we visited a tourist attraction we didn't worry about parking a car. On our bike we used the downtown bike trails, which provided easy, traffic-free routes to much of downtown. Our trip was fun because we visited both tourist attractions and our bicycle-touring hosts - meeting our hosts was half the fun. Finally, our trip was affordable because it was short, we had free lodging, and we weren't forced to eat all our meals at restaurants.

In the future, this type of trip will be a good fit for holiday weekends when we don't have the energy, money or vacation time for a longer trip.


Horse property near Erie.

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Page 1: Denver - Aquarium and downtown
Page 2: Denver - Museum of Nature and Science
Page 3: Estes Park