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Around Our Town...Great Getaways

Six Flags Elitch Gardens, LaQuinta Inn & Suites, and the Denver Zoo

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07/01/2006 - Summer is here and we all know what that means...VACATION!!!

If you're looking for a family-friendly fun vacation spot, Our Town Casper has a few recommendations.

One of the great assets of living in Wyoming is the natural beauty with the National Parks and historical sights. We're sure all of you here in town have taken time to enjoy some of the things that make our homeland beautiful.

But, we thought a Great Getaway this year would be something new, something unique, something big, colorful, exciting!!! Denver, Colorado, just a short puddle jump from the airport or a few hours drive has a lot to offer!!!

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Easy to spot from the Interstate, towering over city is The Mind Eraser...Six Flags Elitch Gardens' most popular roller coaster!!! This colorful theme park, which will be celebrating it's forty-fifth anniversary all year long, is a must see... "Not to see Elitch's is not to see Denver!"

While you're there, be sure to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a meal with a movie star!!! Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck will take time out of their busy schedule just to have brunch with you! Wonderful eggs, fruit, bread, yogurt, sausage, just what you need to give yourself energy for a full day at the park! Did we mention you get to dance onstage with these fun-loving friends?

The kids will get the t-shirt to prove they did! All that for just $17.99 for adults and $14.99 for children under 48"!

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After your exciting, energetic breakfast, with a full day at the park ahead of you, you will feel like you have the world at your fingertips! So much to do, so little time! If this is your dilemma, don't worry. For just an additional $15 added to your park admission, you can aquire a Flash Pass! No more "so little time" for you!!! We know waiting in lines isn't your thing, (you're used to Wyoming where you never have wait in line!) and with the Flash Pass, you can skip the line on your choice of five out of the eight most popular rides!

After being out on the go for a while, the summer sun might start to get to you. This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the Island Kingdom Water Park, free with admission! Yes, bring your swimsuits! You will get wet! The best part is, the water park is connected to Six Flags. No inconvenient driving to the other side of town, getting your hand stamped, etc. It's two parks in one!

And if you're not into getting wet either, then this will be the best time to enjoy one of the park's spectacular shows indoors, air conditioned! We recommend the Amazing Acrobats of China! They perform several times daily in the Trocadero Theatre on Main Street! The troupe of nine acrobats will be at Six Flags until Labor Day. They have been trained since the age of five in China and perform such incredible feats as flight spinning, hoop diving, contortion, chair stack, martial arts, Diablo and foot juggling and, of course, the traditional Lion Dance. This show is free with admission.

Then there are the parades ending with free birthday cake and the new commitment Six Flags has made to provide an even better park environment. Examples: non-smoking policy, emphasis on universal customer service training for park employees and new team members to serve as park ambassadors.

Close out the day with the spectacular Carnival De Fuego an original show produced for Six Flags Elitch Gardens, included with park admission. Beginning nightly at 9:15 in the Batman arena you can enjoy eight performers including fire dancers and flame jugglers. For more information and brunch reservations call 303-595-4386 or visit www.sixflags.com/parks/elitchgardens.

After such an exciting day, you will need a place to stay! Not just anyplace, mind you. Something comfortable, clean and classy. After all, you're VIPs as everyone will know when they see your Brunch with Bugs t-shirts! We recommend the La Quinta Inn & Suites (formerly Woodfield Suites)!

This all-suite hotel was built at a time when you were pampered with large rooms and lavish amenities. Our suite had a living room, bedroom and kitchenette and slept 6 comfortably. We enjoyed the wonderful complimentary breakfast with fresh-made waffles, all kinds of fruits, donuts, bagels, eggs (scrambled or hard-boiled) cereal, coffee, juices and a nice selection of premium teas. You will want to enjoy the sizeable indoor pool, since our swim season doesn't last long! Your younger ones will enjoy the kiddie pool, kid's room and game room. And everyone who insists on working out even though they're on vacation will appreciate the exercise room, which features a treadmill, bicycle, stair stepper and other cardio equipment. There are weight machines, mats to stretch on and even a ballet barre with a full length mirror! Don't worry. Your exercise doesn't have to go by the wayside.

South of downtown Denver, La Quinta Inn & Suites is located at 9009 E. Arapahoe Rd. at I-25, the hotel is convenient to fine dining, dinner theater and the Park Meadows Shopping Mall.

What Our Town Casper appreciated most about our stay was the outstanding customer service. The polite, smiling staff was most helpful! This is definitely an Inn for the family!

Just a couple of blocks away at 7077 S. Clinton is another LaQuinta Inn & Suites, not quite as large, but still beatifully appointed for both business and family travelers alike.

By the way... all the Colorado-based La Quintas are offering Our Town Casper readers VIP treatment as well!!! A DISCOUNT! For booking hotel rooms in Colorado through May 31, 2007 you'll receive a 5% by visiting www.lq.com and using Promotion Code RTCASP, calling the hotels directly or calling 1-800-531-5900.

After a refreshing night's sleep (you'll find it's not hard to get a refreshing night's sleep on La Quinta's comfortable beds) you're ready for another day of vacationing! Denver still has plenty to offer! Something you definitely will not want to miss is the "mane" event! The Denver Zoo!

The Denver Zoo began in 1896 with a small orphaned black bear named Billy Bryan, a present to the mayor of Denver. It is now the number one cultural attraction in Denver and one of only 214 zoos and aquariums in North America that meets all of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's strict requirements.

You will enjoy the Predator Ridge which covers eight of the zoo's eighty acres and is home to lions, hyenas, banded mongoose, african wild dogs and other african animals that are not carnivorous, separated by moats in the habitat which is designed to resemble the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya.

Don't miss Primate Panorama. This seven acre exhibit is home to twenty-nine species of primates from six ounce pygmy marmasets to 400 pound gorillas! With the atmosphere of bamboo and thatched-roof huts and the sound of drums in the background, the Primate Panorama takes visitors to another world as they enjoy many endangered species.

Then you'll move on to Tropical Discovery. It will look more like ancient temple ruins, waterfalls and caves to the visitors who will also see giant pythons, spectacular coral reefs with a variety of saltwater fish and a cypress swamp with the world's largest fresh water turtle, the alligator snapping turtle.

If you like arctic wolves or sea lions then you won't want to miss Northern Shores where polar bears play! The pathway is beautifully adorned with tundra wildflowers and arctic willows

Then there's Bird World where you may see nearly 200 species, many endangered and rare, including the rhinoceros hornbill and the african penguins!

And there's still so much more to see! That is, if you enjoy seeing mountain lions, bears, camels, elephants, rhinoceros, Okapis, kangaroos, and much, much more!!!

The zoo is involved in many programs concerning conservation and wildlife education in the local schools and offers summer day camps and "Bunk with the Beasts" overnights for both children and adults who would enjoy observing nocturnal animals!!! For more information visit www.denverzoo.org or call 303-376-4851

Have a great summer!!

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