Get out and see something new

Plenty of places to stave off winter boredom

This bald eagle was photographed on Dec. 10 at South Platte Park by Deanna Beutler of Littleton, who walks the trail every day.
This bald eagle was photographed at South Platte Park by Maureen Ravnik, of Littleton, who visits the park almost every day.
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It’s two days after Christmas and a parent might hear this dreaded phrase: “I’m bored!” If possible, it’s time to pull on coats and mittens and head out side to explore a new (or favorite) spot. We have a few suggestions:

• South Platte Park in Littleton offers trails along the river, where one can see a variety of wildlife year round and in winter, bald eagles arrive to fish the open water. A family can inquire at the lovely Carson Nature Center about where to hike to see these majestic creatures, and volunteers will be up to date about what else to look for because a chalk board with “sightings” hangs near the door. Seeing an eagle is a real thrill for children and adults. Hundreds of ducks winter on the river and other year round wildlife will appear. Open dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

• The Littleton Museum’s two historic farms are open daily except Mondays and offer a look at local life in 1860 and 1890 — before and after the railroad came to town. Animal residents and historic re-enactors are present to give a snapshot of early family life, with the 1860s cabin and 1890s house decorated for the holidays in period style. (It can sometimes be muddy on the farms.) Inside the Museum Building, there is an ongoing exhibit about Littleton’s history as well as a pair of Gallery exhibits: a retrospective of Marie Conway’s quilts and the 2013 Own an Original exhibit of works by Colorado artists. Admission is free.

• Beautiful Castlewood Canyon State Park in Franktown invites visitors to “hike, run, snowshoe or cross-country ski 100 trail miles in the park and earn the Castlewood State Park 100 Mile Challenge Medal.” (A shorter hike is also highly recommended.) Entry fee. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 2989 S. State Highway 83, Franktown.

• Roxborough State Park has close to 4,000 acres, with trails of all degrees of difficulty and spectacular red rock scenery. Check for Visitor’s Center events. 4751 Roxborough Park Drive. Admission fee.

• Chatfield State Park, entered from South Wadsworth Boulevard, south of C-470, offers miles of trails, information about wildlife viewing sites on its website. It also has a large reservoir/lake and camping facilities. (No boating in winter.) Admission fee.

• Audubon Nature Center has ongoing programming of hikes for birders and the center itself is an ideal spot to take the shorter set, with trails for strollers and easy walks to see what critters are out and about. See Audubon.org for detailed information. Admission to the Nature Center at the south end of Chatfield State Park, is free. There are charges for programs.

• Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, on Deer Creek Canyon Road just south of the C-470/Wadsworth intersection. Historic farm and trails with several different ecosystems. Trail of Lights through Jan. 1. Admission fee.

• The Cube ice skating rink at Streets at SouthGlenn in Centennial will be open at noon starting Dec. 21. Admission fee. Rental skates available. Santa may be skating some before Christmas.

• “Mythbusters” exhibit at the Denver Museum of Natural History, Colorado Boulevard and Montview Avenue, Denver has interactive exhibits based on the popular television show, through Jan. 5. An exciting spot for science-oriented kids—and their parents. (And you may want to detour past the Egyptian mummies or the planetarium or the movies.) Admission fee includes entire museum.

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