Denver and...?

Old Dec 20th, 2017, 12:09 PM
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Denver and...?

One of my best friends recently moved to Denver and I’m hoping to go visit her in early April. I’ll be traveling with my 7-year-old daughter. Ideally, we’ll spend 4 days in Denver and then a few days at some other destination. Where should we go? I’m really, really, really hoping to avoid renting a car but we are up for anything. Can you guys recommend a bus- or train-accessible town or resort or destination that would appeal to a small kid? A vague question, I know, but I’d love to hear where you’d spend a few days and why.

Thank you!
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 12:26 PM
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Trains from Denver stop in Glenwood Springs. Might be fun:

https://www.visitglenwood.com/
http://www.hotspringspool.com/
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 01:15 PM
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Great links MmePerdu. The ski season may be over at Aspen by April but there is good bus service from Glenwood Springs up to Aspen (41 miles).
If the Amtrak California Zephyr is running late, there is a bus service called Bustang that serves Glenwood Springs from Denver.
The other train option closer to Denver is taking the CZ up to Fraser/Winter Park. When on time (sometimes) the CZ leaves Denver westbound shortly after 8AM.
The Bustang also leaves from the Denver Transit Center. There is now light rail service from the Denver airport to the transit center as well.
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 01:20 PM
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Wow - this looks great. Thank you!
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 04:03 PM
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Oh, please. Just rent a car and have some flexibility. There will be a lot in Denver to do with your daughter.
April will be messy season in the mountains. There is a train in the idaho Springs area.
Your age daughter is ripe for a dinosaur trip and Colorado is just wonderful
Go down to Woodland Park outside Colorado Springs to the wonderful exhibit/museum there.
Just outside Denver is Dinosaur Ridge and in Morrison there is a nice little exhibit also.
If you cut a day or so off of Denver you could go to Mesa Verde for a wonderful experience.
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 04:25 PM
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When my son was a child, taking a train anywhere was more fun for him than wherever we were going. And a nice change of pace for his mother too.
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 06:46 PM
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I haven’t been behind the wheel for at least 10 years. Technically, I could rent a car but, as I’ve said, I’d really prefer not to. It’s better for me, my daughter, and the state of Colorado.
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Old Dec 20th, 2017, 07:53 PM
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There are often problems traveling in the High Country even in April. Not only can it snow, but I 70 can easily become a giant headache. If you really don't want to rent a car, don't. There are enough crazy, incompetent drivers out there without adding to their numbers
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Old Dec 21st, 2017, 05:13 AM
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Vail is lovely.
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Old Dec 21st, 2017, 05:45 AM
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Taking the train to Winter Park or Glenwood Springs is a great idea.

If for some reason that isn't working out then you could also take the light rail back to DIA, catch a shuttle up to Estes Park and visit Rocky Mountain National Park.
https://www.estesparkshuttle.com/

There are various outfitters who can get you into the Park from Estes so you won't need a car there. (The free Park Service shuttle itself doesn't start running until May.)

You could work it so you wind up back at DIA when it's time to depart, presuming DIA is where you'll need to be.
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Old Dec 21st, 2017, 08:17 AM
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Thank you, everyone! I think Glenwood Springs is the winner.

Another question for you guys:

Should I go from DIA --> Denver for 4 days--> Glenwood--> DIA

or

DIA---> Denver for 2 days--> Glenwood -->Denver for 2 days--> DIA?

Is one path easier transportation-wise?

Thanks again.
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Old Dec 21st, 2017, 08:33 AM
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There is a lot of half information and some just plain wrong.
I live here so I know what I write.

We have a good public transit system within the metro and it can get you to Golden and Boulder but no further. Golden does a railroad museum that a seven year old girl might find interesting -- I know a boy would. Take the light rail to Golden and an Uber from there. She would find the Children's museum and parts of the Museum of Nat Science (both in Denver) interesting.

RMNP is pretty much out of the question in APRIL. If we have an average winter most of the park will still be buried in snow - even the lower parts. The road through the park does not open til Memorial Day weekend. There is not much there, if anything, that a seven year old would find interesting.

You can certainly take Amtrak to Glenwood Springs. It would be a pretty ride. Beyond a huge outdoor hot springs swimming pool, not sure what a 7 year old would find attractive. Aspen would not provide any interest. Ski season would be wrapping up at that point. Aspen can be attractive in the summer time but April it is skiing.

And anytime in the mountain weather can be an issue. April is the second snowiest month in Denver.

I do think there is enough in Denver to keep you occupied the whole time. And you could do a day trip to Golden and/or Boulder. Boulder has frequent bus service. Doing anything more than that, would really require a car.
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Old Dec 21st, 2017, 09:10 AM
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Thanks. I think we're going to hit Glenwood for a couple of days. Between the train ride, the giant pool, and the adventure park with caverns, I think there will be plenty to keep us occupied.
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Old Dec 21st, 2017, 10:48 AM
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Vail is a shopping wonder and not worth a stop unles there is skiing attached. Just my opinion.
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Old Dec 21st, 2017, 04:12 PM
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Jeepyland, I feel like I am raining on your parade. I don't want to do that but I don't want you to have expectations, especially transportation wise, that cannot be met.

Since you mentioned that you haven't driven in ten year, it might lead me to believe that you are coming from somewhere like New York or Chicago with an extensive transit system. As I said earlier I can get you anywhere in Denver metro area on public transit and walking a couple of blocks. But, beyond the metro area it is very spotty.

...Trains from Denver stop in Glenwood Springs.....

That might imply that there is more than one train a day from Denver -- unfortunately no. Only one a day. It is Amtrak and supposed to leave Denver at 8.05AM getting to Glenwood by 2pm. The return is a little more convenient at 12.10pm but Amtrak is notorious for not being on time. So you could easily spend a whole day getting to and from Glenwood.

...... bus service called Bustang that serves Glenwood Springs from Denver.......

There is not a lot of service between the two. It is more of a commuter type run. A couple of buses leave GW Springs beginning at 7.30am to Denver and return beginning at 2.30 and a little later. Roughly four and a half hours and very dependent on weather and traffic. It works but the schedule is very limited.

Either option would be difficult to line up with an arrival or departing airline schedules.

To answer you earlier question about sequencing ---

DIA --> Denver for 4 days--> Glenwood--> DIA

If you are set on doing this, I would go straight to GW Springs by trying to arrive in Denver by noon and catch one of the late afternoon buses to GW Spring. I am sure it would make for a very long travel day. For your return catch the afternoon train to Denver for the last half of your visit. That way you are in Denver for your departure. BUT - I would not do it.

One other option that I have not checked schedules would be an open jaw ticket into or out of Eagle/Vail airport and Denver. The airport is convenient to GW Springs. It may actually be closer to GW Springs than Vail. Then use the train or bus for a one way trip to or from Denver. Flight schedules to Eagle/Vail are seasonal and direct flights are limited. It is a nice airport and it handles big airplanes. So either into Denver and home from Eagle/Vail or the reserve. That could be a bit more pleasant.

Good luck
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Old Dec 22nd, 2017, 06:50 AM
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>

I agree and think going to Glenwood by train for 2 days is a good plan and will be a fun experience for your daughter!

I'd do the DIA---> Denver for 2 days--> Glenwood -->Denver for 2 days--> DIA so if there are any delays from Glenwood you won't have the stress of making your flight.

I saw a recommendation for the Children's Museum and granted it's been a long time since we've been there but it seems more toddler focused so do some research before you plan a visit.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2017, 03:24 AM
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The Children's Museum is a ripoff IMO--and maybe the "toddler-centric" is correct, but I took toddlers and it was disappointing.
In Denver there is the zoo, botanic gardens, natural history museum--MORE than enough to have a really good time for a youngster.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2017, 03:25 AM
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Oh, and the aquarium which I was told recently is still open.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2017, 09:20 AM
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Gretchen, I thought it was disappointing too when I brought my then toddlers. We never went back, but as I said it was a long time ago, so maybe it has changed.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2017, 03:11 PM
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There was nothing original about it. There was no interaction with anyone. You did it yourself, just like you would in your grandkids playrooms! And for a BIG admission price.
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