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Check Out the Top 7 Denver Christmas Events

Christmas in Denver is a beautiful time of year, and this is true whether your family celebrates the holiday or just enjoys looking at the twinkling lights. Here are some Denver Christmas events that you won’t want to miss. In fact, tourists come from miles around to see them.

#1 – Lights at the Denver Zoo

Probably one of the most popular Denver Christmas events is held at the Denver Zoo each year. While all of the zoo animals are safe and cozy indoors, the zoo opens its doors to allow visitors to see animals constructed entirely of lights for a short time.

#2 – Parade of Lights

This is a 40-year tradition that people flock to see each and every year. Floats wind their way through Downtown Denver with lights, reindeer, and of course Santa Claus for the little ones. While you can buy grandstand seating, the parade itself is free for those who want to watch from the side of the streets.

#3 – The Nutcracker Ballet

What holiday season is complete without a viewing of the famous Nutcracker Ballet? Enjoy watching Clara receive her magical gift, and enjoy the dance of the Sugarplum Fairies. It takes place at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House up until December 27th, and ticket prices vary. Matinees are also available.

#4 – High Tea at Brown Palace

The English tradition of High Tea is one of the most popular Denver Christmas events. You can have tea in the atrium of the Brown Palace any day between noon and 4pm, but make sure you make your reservations early as the slots fill up quickly.

#5 – Holiday Carousel Rides

Denver Pavilions brings in a holiday-themed carousel this time of year, and it’s available from the 11th to the 23rd of December. You and your children can ride for just $3 each during this time, and it’s a great photo opportunity, too. There are definitely some lasting memories to be made.

Denver Christmas events#5 – Ice Skate at Evergreen Lake

Evergreen Lake is about 20 miles outside of Denver this time of year, and it opens throughout mid-December to the public for ice skating. It’s one of the Denver Christmas events everyone should experience just once. You can call the hotline to make sure the ice is thick enough for skating at 720-880-1391.

#6 – Blossoms of Light

If you’re a fan of the Denver Botanic Gardens, then you certainly won’t want to miss its annual show called Blossoms of Light. You can check it out up until January 2nd. You can also check out the Trail of Lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield up until the same date.

#7 – Georgetown Christmas Market

The Georgetown Christmas Market will take you back to Victorian times. You can find it in Georgetown, which is just west of Denver. Admission is free for everyone, and there is certainly plenty to see and do. You could spend multiple days here.

As you can see, there are plenty of Denver Christmas events to keep you and your family busy this holiday season. From ice skating to High Tea at Brown Palace and plenty of twinkling lights, you’ll never be without something to do if you want to celebrate.

Denver Thanksgiving Volunteering Opportunities

The Thanksgiving holiday is the time of year when we reflect on the blessings in our lives. Not everyone is as fortunate, so volunteering your time to brighten someone’s holiday can change lives. Here are some Denver Thanksgiving volunteering opportunities that can help you help others.

Denver Thanksgiving volunteering opportunitiesThe Mile-High United Way Turkey Trot

If you’re a fan of fitness and you want to see your steps help others, the Mile-High United Way Turkey Trot is one of the best Denver Thanksgiving volunteering opportunities available to you. It’s a four-mile walk or run that takes place on Thanksgiving morning in Washington Park. An average of 10,000 runners show up each year to trot off a few extra calories before they replace them with turkey and stuffing. Participating in the Turkey Trot helps raise awareness and money for school children. It focuses on their overall success and their ability to succeed in adulthood.

Denver Rescue Mission

The Denver Rescue Mission is Denver’s oldest full-service Christian Charity. Volunteer positions usually go quick for the Great Thanksgiving Banquet (which feeds thousands of city residents), but you can still make a monetary donation online. Each $2 you donate provides a hot, healthy meal to someone in need. If you’d like to donate to the Denver Rescue Mission, just visit their website.

Pet Food Drive

Pets are a very important part of people’s lives, and they’re often forgotten about when it comes to providing food. The Boulder Valley Humane Society works hard to provide food and shelter to hundreds of displaced animals, so if you’re looking for Denver Thanksgiving volunteering opportunities as an animal lover, feel free to pick up some bagged food or other items and drop it off to them. You can find their wish list online, and you can choose from any of these items.

Food Bank Donations

The food banks scattered throughout Denver help thousands of people in the community feed their families. They rely on donations from local grocers and food manufacturers, as well as from people living in the community. Most of the food banks in the area prefer donations of non-perishables (canned and boxed goods), but they will also distribute perishable items to families in need. You can drop off non-perishables at any time, but if you have items that must be refrigerated or frozen, contact the food banks in advance so they can prepare some storage space.

License to Dream

One of the best Denver Thanksgiving volunteering opportunities is with a group called License to Dream. For several years now, they’ve delivered meals to people who have a hard time getting out – and they need your help. Families request meals in advance, and volunteers provide the food, cook it, and then deliver it to those in need. They serve between 3,000 and 5,000 people each Thanksgiving holiday.

If you’re interested in giving back to your community this holiday, there’s certainly no shortage of Denver Thanksgiving volunteering opportunities. Whether you choose to run a four-mile marathon to raise money and awareness for school children or donate goods to a number of rescue missions and food banks, your contributions are appreciated.


How to Have a Fun Family Weekend in Denver

Whether you’re thinking about moving to Denver, you are brand new to the area, or you have been here all your life, planning a family weekend can seem like a chore. Here, you’ll find some options for planning an awesome kid-friendly staycation that parents and adults can enjoy, too.

Denver Aquarium

Although Denver is landlocked and high above sea level, that doesn’t mean you can’t see more than 500 species of animals that typically live in oceans. Denver Aquarium is the largest one between California and Chicago, and it offers up an opportunity to see wildlife in a brand new way. There are stingrays, sea otters, sharks, and even rainbow fish, and you can even see the Shipwreck, which is a replica of a sunken boat that is home to dozens of species of marine life.

Children’s Museum of Denver

The Children’s Museum of Denver is fun for kids of all ages, and adults enjoy themselves, as well. There are plenty of exploration exhibits that allow kids to get involved and learn. Little ones can become firefighters for a day, pretend to work in an assembly plant, or even become veterinarians. Of course, there are lots of dinosaur fossils and other exhibits you’d expect to see in any great museum. It’s a vital part of a fun family weekend in Denver.

Denver Zoo

Denver Zoo is one of the country’s most popular, and for good reason. It offers up a wildlife adventure that is like a safari around the world. You’ll get to see polar bears, orangutans, gorillas, and giraffes, and you can hop on the Pioneer Train which will take you past rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and even elephants. There’s even an Endangered Species Carousel, which contains 48 endangered animals to ride on; each is carved by hand.

Casa Bonita

When you get hungry, no family weekend in Denver would be complete without a trip to Casa Bonita, one of the country’s most exciting and entertaining Mexican restaurants. You’ll find all of your favorites here, including everything from tacos to tamales, but it’s the atmosphere that makes Casa Bonita a must-see. Everything from mariachi bands to puppet shows and magicians make it a blast, and the kids will really love the Pirate Cave. (There are huge margaritas for the adults, too!)

fun family weekend in DenverButterfly Pavilion

Finally, to complete your fun family weekend in Denver, make sure you take the time to check out the Butterfly Pavilion, which is one of the only exhibits like it in the world. You’ll need to travel to Westminster to see it, but it’s definitely worth your time; it’s an invertebrate zoo, reminiscent of a tropical rain forest, that is home to more than 1600 free-flying butterflies, outdoor gardens, and even a kid-friendly nature trail.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to enjoy an amazing family weekend in Denver, whether you enjoy eating at flamboyant restaurants, seeing a variety of animals and wildlife, or enjoying some hands-on fun unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else.

Will Statewide Federal Grants Help the Homeless in Denver?

The state of Colorado receives funding via grants each year to help the growing population of those who are homeless in Denver. This year, the state will receive some $23.8 million to help provide shelter, food, and other necessities to the homeless population. Will this be enough to make a difference?

homeless in DenverA Good Start

According to Gary Sanford, the executive director of the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative, or MDHI, these funds will do little to make a big impact on the homeless in Denver. The MDHI makes recommendations to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, regarding the Denver programs that should receive this funding. Yesterday, on March 8, HUD announced that it would provide some $23 million to 62 various homeless programs in Colorado located in Colorado Springs, Denver, and rural communities.

About the Continuum of Care Grants

The funding provided to the State of Colorado from HUD is part of the Tier 1 Continuum of Care. HUD actually provides these grants each year in two tiers, which are incredibly competitive since each state in the country must compete for a share of the budget. In many cases, states are forced to cut other beneficial programs in order to move more money toward those proven most effective in fighting homelessness. Last year, Colorado received a total of $25 million from both grant tiers.

How the Money Is Allocated

This year’s $23.8 million grant has already been accounted for. $19 million will go to Denver, which is about $1.5 million more than the city received in 2015. Gary Sanford states that the funds will go toward three brand new projects in Denver and the surrounding areas. They are:

  • Home at Last – This is a project aimed toward helping survivors and victims of domestic abuse get back on their feet and into suitable shelter. It will receive a total of $359,640.
  • Boulder City Rapid Housing – This program will help individuals with children, medical needs, or other immediate needs find quick housing. It will receive $680,560.
  • Aurora at Home – Part of the funds will go toward the Aurora Mental Health Center, which provides services to help people maintain their homes. It will receive $533,622.

Taking the Pressure Off the Shelters

Although Denver is home to numerous homeless shelters that provide comfort, food, and even counseling services to the homeless population, the fact of the matter is that most of these shelters struggle to meet the immediate needs and often fail to do so. According to Sanford, adding new programs designed to help people find permanent housing will take some of the burden off of the shelters, allowing them to better serve those who have the greatest need.

Both rents and home prices continue to climb in the area, which makes it difficult for various organizations to compete for the right to help house the homeless in Denver. It is hoped that this year’s grants from HUD and the variety of new projects will help ease the strain and reduce the number of people living on the streets.