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Three perfect hours... on a cold day

Friday, January 18, 2008 Leave a Comment

If you haven't been to the Children's Museum, now is a good time to check it out. When the weather's cold, everybody's getting cabin fever, and Christmas toys are OLD news, a day at the Children's Museum can be a lifesaver. And the new Commons Park neighborhood is a vibrant place to spend the day.

Start your morning at the most gorgeous Starbucks in the country: inside the REI building. A little coffee for you, a little muffin for the kid and a romp on the purple couches, and you'll be properly caffeinated for the Children's Museum.

I'll warn you beforehand: An hour and a half is all a toddler can take of a Children's Museum. And that's okay, no need to push to get your money's worth ($7.50, I think), because the neighborhood has lots of other things to do.

The real life fire truck, complete with sirens, a Dalmation and fireman coats & helmets, is a hit no matter what age your kid is. We could spend our whole time scrambling around on the truck and my kid would be happy.

For babies and toddlers, the downstairs Meadow is the place to hang out. With lots of creeper and crawler trees, chutes, slides and ladders, it's perfect for the about-to-walk kid.

Older kids can find a plethora of things to do upstairs, from building ginormous train tracks to playing a game of hoops to shopping in the market. And if you have more than one kid, you can pretty much let them run around on their own. There's enough activities to entertain everyone in a relatively controlled area.

Monday and Wednesday mornings at 10am, it's Toddler Time, where they read a book or do some kind of messy craft activity. We took our first spray-bottle paint project and framed it. Voila! New art.

When you're sufficiently exhausted from chasing your kids around, head outside. There's a great park next to the parking lot, which your kids will want to play on, no matter how ready for a nap they were. It's cool, let them burn off more energy while you enjoy the Platte River rolling lazily by.

When it's time for lunch, just drive down the road a wee bit to 15th & Platte. OK, the restaurants are not entirely kid-friendly, but they're trendy and cool, and if your kid behaves, you'll feel like a downtown hipster for an hour.

We love Proto's Pizza. The pizzas are Italian style, thin crispy crust. The tomato sauce is sweet and red, but you can concoct any kind of pizza. Plus, the kids can watch them spin the dough in the air, put on the toppings and pop it into the wood-burning oven.

If you're in more of a burger and beer mood, head over to My Brother's Bar. Great joint, great burgers, great onion rings. And because it's one of the oldest bars in Denver, and a hangout of the Beat poets, no one will look funny if you order a Guiness at noon. Even if you have a kid with you.

After lunch, you can do all the shopping for tonight's dinner in 15 minutes. Pop into Vitamin Cottage and get some good organic greens and meat for tonight's dinner. Then walk down to the best wine shop in town, Cork's, where the good proprietors will help you pick out some great wines for around $10. Three perfect hours!


  • Maria Lucas said:  

    ditto ... my toddler and i love that three hour plan and have replicated on many a cold day. best part is, sometimes when the children's museum is too packed, we head to the aquarium.

    i've never ventured outside of going to Proto's b/c my daughter gobbles up their pizza... but maybe next time we'll try something new!