I have lived in Colorado most of my life. That means I have lived here for more than 45 years *gasp!*. When I decided to have a family, I thought I knew just about all there was to know about Colorado. Then I started home educating my children, and in CO the students are required to learn Colorado history in 4th or 5th grade. I can tell you as a student in Colorado (Denver Public Schools for 18 years), I learned very little, so I set out to change that with my family.
Every year since my children were small, I set out to find at least one landmark, one place, or one historical area that we have never seen, heard about, or studied, in Colorado. This has opened us up to learning about people like Ralph Carr, the Colorado governor that was firmly against internment of the Japanese descendants during WWII, but forced to take them, and he vowed to treat them with respect. His very vocal position on the internment of Americans of Japanese descent actually lost him the next election.
We have also visited places like Tin Cup, St. Elmo, Turret, Bishop’s Castle, Bent’s Old Fort (reproduction), Centennial Village museum in Greeley, Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland, and the list goes on. I think, perhaps, I will put together a complete list of our Colorado adventures some day, as they are numerous and interesting, but today I want to share a few things you can do in Fort Collins, CO.
We took a day trip to Fort Collins because our 15-year-old really wanted a pair of green camo overalls they sell at Wal-Mart, but we just couldn’t find her size locally. The only pair I could find “nearby” was in Fort Collins, so we pre-purchased them and decided we would make it an education/family day as well.
After picking up the overalls, we ate at Twin Silos park, and then played for a bit. I can’t tell you how often parents see my giant children (aged 10-16) and wonder if the big bullies have arrived (honestly, when my children were small, I worried when the “big kids” showed up to a park). The truth is, my kids have been Sunday school teachers for years, and they love helping kids…but also love being kids! Only a couple parents gave us silly looks, the rest were happy to see a family playing together and polite and respectful of their little ones.
I’m the only one that didn’t go down the really cool slide. I’ve had bouts vertigo lately with the onset of perimenopause (yay me! lol), and didn’t want to chance triggering dizziness. The playground is truly epic, and we spent almost an hour exploring the nets, riding the zip line, and even playing connect four.
After we finished our lunch and played for about an hour in the windy chill, we visited some of the more historic buildings we found listed in the “36th Annual Historic Homes Tour Guide.” If you want to take a look at the guide and print it, you can find it here: 36th Annual Historic Homes Tour
The guide made it very easy to find the historic places and gave a good background of each:
We then made our way to downtown Fort Collins. Did you know Walt Disney was influenced by downtown and fashioned Main Street Disney after the area? We’ve been to Disney World several times as a family, and I can see why.
Downtown Fort Collins:
I don’t have many closeup architecture photos of Disney World, even though I’ve been there numerous times, but if we do go back, you can bet I will be taking many photos of the details of the buildings. These photos were taken on Mainstreet Magic Kingdom, watching the Mainstreet Parade, and I think you can see some of the resemblance.
Fort Collins is also known for having pianos scattered around downtown, but we only found one. I think, perhaps, some are brought inside for winter. There is still one in the main square, so the girls stopped to play. Click the link to see the video on Rumble.
We had decided we would patronage a small business affected by our state government lockdown. If you don’t know, in Colorado, we have had some pretty severe lockdowns since last March, and just recently our governor announced that $4 million of the Federal money would be earmarked for minority businesses ONLY. In addition, every small business owner we know received no more than $4,000 in help, if any at all, as our governor is forcing everyone at 25% capacity long term. For most business owners–especially restaurants–it means they have had 1/4 the revenue of most years since March of last year. Small businesses cannot survive this, so we have been focusing on spending our money at small businesses.
We chose to go to Backyard Bird. They had a food truck for a couple years and finally opened their doors in a strip mall just before covid and government mandates hit. I have to say, it did NOT disappoint! They sell chicken and donuts made from scratch (though with the restrictions, they don’t make donuts during the week, only weekends). From their website: “*Never frozen, natural, cage free, antibiotic/steroid/hormone free chicken. Lemon brined, marinated in yogurt, twice tossed in organic flour and house crafted spice blend.”
Mon amour and I had the Nashville Hot, two of the girls had the Dirty Bird, one had a two piece dark meat, and one had the Caesar chicken salad. We also ordered the waffle fries, and the brussel sprouts. YUM! The chicken was tender, cooked exact, and the spices were great! Definitely recommend if you are ever near Fort Collins, CO.
We had a fantastic day. We tend to squash many things into one day when we take day trips, but we never felt rushed. In fact, the Swetsville Zoo was not planned, but I am pleasantly surprised to find 45 minutes in our day to mark it off our checklist, especially since it won’t exist much longer.
Have a Blessed Day!