Enjoy the outdoors as a family

From left, Ryan Larese and Hayden Eppers, enjoy some free time during an environmental education program at Marcy Gulch Open Space in Highlands Ranch. Courtesy photo
Ashleigh Wilson plays a lawn tennis game with equipment from a Highlands Ranch Metro District Picnic Pack last summer. File photo
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After months of cold weather, snow and wind, the summer season comes as a relief. So why not take advantage of the warm, sunny weather, get off the couch and away from the computer and hit the outdoors for family, fun activities.

Living in Douglas County, there are countless, trails, parks and outdoor events to spark anyone’s interest. Families can choose from a quiet picnic in a park, or a bike ride down Cherry Creek Trail. Whatever the interest, residents can agree, Douglas County is the place for families to be active and truly enjoy what their community has to offer.

Parker Family Fun Fest, May 21

A great way to kick off the summer is a free event at O’Brien Park. Parker Family Fun Fest is an event promoting the Town of Parker’s “Kids Living Active!” program. The program focuses on healthy lifestyles and wellness education in a fun and interactive way.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m . on May 21, Family Fun Fest will get the whole family involved in a one-mile family fun walk, followed by a variety of activities including an obstacle course, jump rope competition, martial arts demonstrations and a dance off. Hillary Roemersberger, fitness and wellness coordinator with the Parker Recreation Center, said as the third year of the event, the Family Fun Fest gets better and better. She said it’s a great opportunity for families to spend time together being active and enjoying the beginning of summer.

“It’s a fun, simple, inexpensive way to have a great time with your family,” she said. “There are so many activities kids can choose from and kids can try a new activity they have never done before. It’s really great.”

Roemersberger said there will also be vendors at the fest with information on health and wellness, so parents can get more information and learn different options when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle as a family.

For more information on the Parker Family Fun Fest, visit www.parkeronline.org or call 303-805-3278.

Kids' TRY-athlon, Aug. 6

For kids who want to try something new and even push themselves athletically, the Parker Kids’ TRY-athlon is the perfect opportunity. The event is geared toward effort, not competition, and allows kids of all athletic abilities the chance to swim, ride and run.

On Aug. 6 at the Parker Recreation Center kids will be divided into age groups and participate in a triathlon. Children ages six to eight will have a 25 meter swim, one mile bike ride and half-mile run. Children ages nine and ten will have a 50 meter swim, one-and-a-half mile bike ride and half-mile run. And children 11-12 will have a 100 meter swim, one-and-a-half mile bike ride and a one-mile run. Each race begins in the morning, with the oldest kids racing first.

Hillary Roemersberger, fitness and wellness coordinator for the Parker Recreation Center, said this is one of her favorite events. She said it is very popular with more than 100 participants last year.

“This event is great because it’s geared towards girls and boys of all ability levels. We focus on trying, not competition,” she said. “The kids try so hard and they don't give up. It’s great to see them come out and try something new.”

Roemersberger said the triathlon is part of the Town of Parker’s “Kids Living Active!” program. The program focuses on healthy lifestyles and wellness education in a fun and interactive way. All the kids get a certificates for racing and Roemersberger said the kids always seem really happy when they cross the finish line.

All participants are required to wear helmets, have a bicycle and have some level of swim coordination. Swimmers can use kick boards if needed. The cost to compete is $15 and $20 on race day per child and the cost does include a T-shirt.

For more information visit www.parkeronline.org or call 303-805-3278.

Picnic packs

Many times families want to play volleyball or softball, but don’t have the right equipment. Well that problem is now solved with picnic packs provided by the Highlands Ranch Metro District. For a small fee, families can rent a pack for the weekend and enjoy a new activity at the park or in their backyards.

There are six picnic packs to choose from: volleyball, softball, lawn games, happy kids, lawn tennis and field day fun. The packs come with all the equipment needed and are appealing to not only young children, but also to teens and adults.

Pam Moisey, reservations specialist for the Highlands Ranch Metro District, said the picnic packs are very popular during the summer months, especially for graduation parties, birthday parties and even company picnics. She said most people reserve their pack, then pick it up between 1 and 5 p.m. on a Friday and don’t have to return it until the following Monday. She said it is an affordable way to spend the weekend doing something fun, active and outdoors.

“It’s a really easy, convenient way to have some fun and add some entertainment to a party,” she said. “Instead of going out and buying a volleyball net that will be used only a couple times of year, families can rent a one and save a lot of money.”

The picnic packs range from $25 to $42 for residents and $29 to $49 for non-residents. A damage deposit it required, but will not be processed unless the pack has been damaged.

For more information on picnic packs, visit www.highlandsranch.org or call 303-791-2710.

Environmental education

Every child is different. Some enjoy playing sports, or reading, and some enjoy learning about nature and the outdoors. For the kids hoping to get a little dirty outside, an environmental education program through the Highlands Metro District will provide the dirt, bugs and knowledge the child craves.

The environmental education programs are for children ages three to 11. Depending on the age and interest, kids can choose to learn about raptors, jobs performed by rangers or basic camping skills. Some camps are just one day and some are a week long.

Also through this program, families can participate in a family scavenger hunt on May 21, Fly'n B Park in Highlands Ranch.

Foe more information on environmental education program visit www.highlandsranch.org or call 303-791-2710.