Doing Denver…… with a toddler!

  When I left from visiting Colorado Springs back in May, I knew that I wanted to return to Colorado as soon as possible. This time, I would be returning to this beautiful state with my son, Connor, visiting the Mile High City – Denver. Despite having my two-year-old in tow, I was determined to make the trip one that was full of exploring and adventure, in a FAMILY-FRIENDLY way.

DAY 1!!!!!!!!

  Upon touching down in Denver, I immediately did what I love doing in Colorado – taking in the scenery! I can never get enough of the view of the larger-than-life Rocky Mountains that dance across the horizon!

NOW FOOD!

Denver Biscuit Company
  Brunch is something that the folks in Denver take seriously. I headed to Denver Biscuit Company (www.denbisco.com) to grab one of their amazing sandwiches. Located inside of Atomic Cowboy, the vibe was chill and modern. As we sat down, I grabbed a menu and was in awe. On the menu, there are biscuit sandwiches like “The Colfax A,” which has ham, collard greens, fried egg, and hot sauce, as well as offerings like Biscuit French Toast. While Connor had scrambled eggs with biscuits and gravy, I went for “The Franklin,” which happens to be a favorite of diners. In between the house-made biscuit is buttermilk fried chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese, fried egg (added for an extra charge), and it is drenched in house-made gravy (there is a veggie gravy options as well). The sandwich was surprisingly large and could EASILY be split between two people! After barely making it through a half of the sandwich, we ventured off to our next stop.

The Franklin – Denver Biscuit Company

Voodoo Doughnuts
  Voodoo Doughnuts (www.voodoodoughnut.com) is a crazy, cavity-inducing doughnut shop that is Portland, Oregon based, but has made its way to several cities. Interestingly enough, the owners had to adjust their doughnut recipe to deal with the altitude of the Mile High City! After being overwhelmed with the immediate toothache I got from just walking in the doors and looking at the doughnuts, I had a vanilla iced doughnut FILLED with captain crunch, which was just one of MANY of their outrageous doughnuts that were topped with cereals, obscene amounts of icing, candy bars, bacon and more.

VooDoo Doughnuts – Denver, CO

For those still trying to be more health conscious, vegan options were also available. Reasonably priced (all locations are cash only!), these doughnuts are a great fix for ANY sweet tooth. Ready to do some sightseeing (and Connor hyper from a sugar overdose), we were off!

Red Rocks Amphitheatre
  This famous amphitheatere is a rock structure, 15 miles west of Denver. The rocks there took more than 300 MILLION years to form, making this open-air concert venue not only amazing acoustically, but also beautiful visually. It is surrounded by hiking and biking trails that are also full of beautiful scenery. Even when there are no events occurring, the amphitheatre is full of tourists admiring the visuals and belting out their own songs to test the sounds. If you are fortunate to catch a concert here, DEFINITELY do so!

Chipotle
  After a failed attempt to make it up into the Rocky Mountains to Grand Lake (heavy snow), I made a stop at Chipotle. “Why?” you may ask……… IT’S THE VERY FIRST CHIPOTLE!

THE VERY FIRST CHIPOTLE!

This Chipotle location, located on East Evans Ave, near the University of Denver campus, was opened in 1993 by Steve Ells, who did so with an $85,000 loan from his Father. After more than 20 years and renovations, it is still there and the parent to what is now more than 3,000 locations worldwide. The location is very small and can probably sit about 10 patrons comfortably, as they munch on their burritos I the same place where its founder used to make them and yes, they still got my order wrong, just like most locations do.

DAY 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Biker Jims Gourmet Dogs
  Lunch in Denver gave us the opportunity to get weird! Biker Jims Gourmet Dogs (www.bikerjimsdogs.com) started off as a street cart and now sits in Downtown Denver. This restaurant specializes in exotic game links, like rattlesnake & pheasant, boar, reindeer and more, topped with delicious dressings. My choice was the Alaskan Reindeer (Hi, Rudolph!), topped with “The Conspiracy,” which consists of bleu cheese, bacon red onion marmalade, lemon aioli, and french fried onions.

Alaskan Reindeer!

Outside of the premade topping combinations, you are also able to stick to the basics (ketchup, mustard, relish, etc). After watching my reindeer link being grilled in front of me and topped with the interesting mixture of ingredients, I dug in! The taste of the meat was salty and gamey, but delicious, even though it had more of a tougher texture than regular deer. The toppings initially had me concerned, especially since I’m not a big fan of bleu cheese, but “The Conspiracy” balanced out the flavors. If you venture here, tackle more than one and don’t forget that they have “normal” dogs as well! Next, Connor had some demands on his choice of an activity.

Dinosaur Ridge
  Connor is OBSESSED with dinosaurs! There was no better way to give us both a history dose of these prehistoric animals than to head to Dinosause Ridge (www.dinoridge.com). Dinosaur Ridge is one of the worlds most famous fossil locations, with more than 15 fossil and geologic sites. Once we parked, we were able to walk around and play with the life sized (well not REALLY THEIR life size) dinosaurs that sprinkle the front area before heading into the main gift shop. The cost is just $9 for adults, $7 for 3-11 year olds, and free for those two and under. The cost includes entry to the exhibit hall AND their popular 45-minute guided shuttle bus tour of some of their fossil sites! The shuttle bus holds a limited amount of people and multiple tours are done during the day. While awaiting our tour, we were able to visit the exhibit hall, which was full of information, pictures, and some interactive activities. During the tour, we made a few different stops and were able to see dinosaur footprints and fossils, while listening to an expert guide and explored the sites. Afterwards, kids are able to get into the sandbox outside the exhibit hall and dig for their own REAL fossils, that has picture guidance next to it to detail some of the treasures that may be found. If you have a further desire to explore more of the area and fossils, there are self-guided tours that you can take on your own.

 

Molly Brown House
  For our next dose of Denver history, it was off to the Molly Brown House Museum(www.MollyBrown.org). Margaret “Molly” Brown was a philanthropist, socialite, and activist, who became known as the “unsinkable Molly Brown” from surviving the sinking of the infamous Titanic and was also depicted in the cinematic movie. The tour was $12 and scheduled to be 30 minutes long. I strapped Connor to my chest (so he wouldn’t break anything historical) and enjoyed! Though the years have claimed some of the homes originality, there were still some original decorative pieces on display, that were brought back by the family from their worldly travels, along with some other original items – wallpaper, furniture pieces, and more. Pictures are shown during the tour to compare and contrast the original rooms and their restored conditions. Among the rooms explored are the rooms of The Browns’, their children’s rooms, servant’s quarters and the kitchen. Connor was ITCHING to jump down and destroy a piece of historical Denver, but I was able to keep him controlled as we rounded home base to our final stops.

Molly Brown home

“Love This City” Mural
  For a great photo op we stopped by the “Love This City” mural in the River north Art District at Broadway and Arapahoe. This is only 1 of 3 of these murals created by Artist Pat Millberry, who is a self-taught artist who created the murals to express his love for Denver. The other two are located at 7th & Santa Fe and at 12th & Bannock. After Connor and I grabbed an awesome picture, we went to our very last stop.

Love This City mural

Blue Moon Brewing Company
  No visit to Denver would be complete without a stop here and thank goodness millennials have made it normal to take kids to breweries! HA!

Blue Moon Brewing Company

Blue Moon (www.bluemoonbrewingcompany.com)  is in the same neighborhood as the mural, so the drive was short. 20+ beers rotate on tap and many of these special brews can only be tasted at this location. I indulged in a turkey burger while Connor had pasta, which was quickly brought to us by our waiter. The location is super inviting and modern, with tons of open space and a patio that looks perfect to sit and enjoy a brew on, in warm weather.  Blue Moon also offer tours and tastings to give a deeper look at this national beer favorite……….

 

    And just like that, it was time to go home.

  When I first visited CO, I fell in love with the scenery, the food, the chill vibe, and the people; this time was no different and I think Connor approved as well. So once again, Colorado, until next time, you still have my heart.

Businesses from article

Denver Biscuit Company
3237 E Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO, 80206
(303) 377-7900
www.denbisco.com
(multiple locations to visit!)

 

Voodoo Doughnut
1520 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO, 80218
(303) 597-3666
www.voodoodoughnut.com
(multiple locations to visit)

Red Rocks Amphitheatre
18300 W Alameda Pkwy
Morrison, CO, 80465
(720) 865-2494
www.redrocksonline.com


Chipotle
1644 E Evans Ave
Denver, CO, 80210
(303) 722-4121
www.chipotle.com
(This address is for the first location, but of course, there are thousands more)

Biker Jims Gourmet Dogs
2148 Larimer Street
Denver, CO, 80205
(720) 746-9355
www.bikerjimsdogs.com

Dinosaur Ridge
16831 W Alameda Pkwy
Morrison, CO, 80465
(303) 697-3466
www.dinoridge.org

Molly Brown House Museum
1340 Pennsylvania Street
Denver, CO, 80203
(303) 832- 4092
www.mollybrown.org

Blue Moon Brewing Company
RiNo District
3750 Chestnut Place
Denver, CO, 80216
(303) 728-2337

 



 

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