Spring Break Survival Guide 2014
Don't leave or stay at home without this!
For some families, spring break is an excuse to flee Mesa County, preferably to a locale with a beach or a ski area.
For other families, spring break is a time when parents and children stare blankly at each other with palms raised as if asking, “What should we do now?”
No matter which category you fall in, spring break has arrived.
Both School District 51 and Colorado Mesa University start vacation at the end of the school day Friday, March 21, and although CMU is back in session Monday, March 31, District 51 students don’t go back to school until Monday, April 7.
That’s TWO WHOLE WEEKS of spring break, love or loathe it.
So here is a Spring Break Survival Guide complete with fun lists, last-minute-trip ideas and things to do locally with so much free time.
All these locations are within four hours of the Grand Valley:
1. Glenwood Springs — Sunlight Mountain Resort offers a “Ski. Swim. Stay.” package that includes a soak in the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park offers cave tours and other activities. (visitglenwood.com)
2. Ouray — The Ouray Hot Springs Pool might be enough to appease both you and the kids. (ouraycolorado.com)
3. Moab, Utah — Spring is a great time to visit Arches National Park or Canyonlands National Park. (discovermoab.com)
4. Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Ski Area is a great spring skiing getaway, with free concerts at the base area on Saturday, May 29, and Saturday, April 5. (steamboat.com or exploresteamboat.com)
5. Telluride — Telluride offers a special treat as it celebrates the homecoming of Olympian Gus Kenworthy, a silver medalist in slopestyle skiing, with a parade at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 21, on Main Street before several other events, including a Meet & Greet with the Olympian. Telluride Mountain Town Get Down is Friday through Sunday, March 28–30. (visittelluride.com)
6. Denver — Denver has a number of live music venues and museums. Plus, the Nuggets have home games on Friday, March 28; Monday, March 31; and Wednesday, April 2, at the Pepsi Center, while the Avalanche play at the Pepsi Center on Thursday, March 27; Saturday, March 29; and Thursday, April 3. Bonus: the Rockies’ home opener is at 2:10 p.m. Friday, April 4, at Coors Field. (denver.org)
7. Gateway Canyons Resort — Gateway is a close option. You may find a deal for the family, or you may find the perfect escape for you and the spouse once the children are back in school. (gatewaycanyons.com)
Want to know what the gas prices are doing? Go to fuelgaugereport.aaa.com/?redirectto=http://fuelgaugereport.opisnet.com/COmetro.asp before you plan your trip.
Teenagers may have their own road trip or vacation entertainment agenda, but sometimes children need guidance. Here are a few apps you might want to consider downloading for spring break. All are available through iTunes app store.
For children ages 2–5
■ Bug Art.Children can design their own bugs that come alive. Enough said. Cost: $0.99
■ Monkey Preschool Lunchbox. Help monkeys pack lunchboxes to learn shapes, colors, numbers, letters. Cost: $1.99
■ PBS Kids. Children can watch videos from favorite PBS Kids TV shows anytime in the United States. Cost: free
For children ages 6–8
■ Toca Lab. Be a scientist and head into the lab to explore and discover the periodic table and more. Cost: $2.99
■ Toca Builders. Build a new world with blocks. Cost: $2.99
■ Cake Doodle. Bake a cake then design it. Eat it or email an image to a friend. Cost: $0.99. (Reporter’s note: WAA?!? I might download this for myself.)
For children ages 9–11
■ Machine World. Drive, fly and operate machines that behave like the real things. Cost: $2.99
■ LEGO Ninjago Rebooted. Help the Ninjas of Ninjago fight evil. Cost: free
■ Toca Hair Salon 2. Run your own hair salon on this improved version of the original. Cost: $2.99
MOVIES ARE A MUST
These are some movies to pop in the DVD player to help pass the time:
■ “Frozen” — This mega-hit with its blockbuster soundtrack, came out Tuesday March 18. It’s almost like Disney knew spring break road trips were coming.
■ “The Croods” — A caveman family treks through a fantastical world from DreamWorks Animation. Released in 2013.
■ “Mary Poppins” — Celebrate the 50th anniversary of this beloved film. Plus, it’s a film even adults would be fine seeing again, or at least singing along to.
STAYING CLOSE TO HOME
If you plan to stay in Mesa County for spring break, there are a ton of options for you!
We have broken this list into the following categories: educational, creative and active.
Many of these options fit into more than one category:
■ District 51 has sent letters and invitations to selected children to participate in special intervention work. Parents who didn’t receive a letter but think their child would benefit from these free, spring break classes should contact their child’s school. Repeat: Call your child’s school. Don’t just show up.
Elementary interventions will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, March 24-28, at various locations. The focus is on math and literacy with free lunch and transportation provided to and from the neighborhood school.
Middle School Spring Break Camps will be from 8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, March 24–28, at Redlands Middle School and Bookcliff Middle School. The focus is on math and other electives that community members will teach. Lunch and transportation provided to and from the child’s neighborhood school.
High School interventions will be Monday through Friday, March 24–28 at Central, Grand Junction, Palisade and Fruita Monument high schools. Times vary by school. Featured work includes credit recovery in most courses as well as some electives. No lunch or transportation provided.
■ At Mesa County Libraries:
The Hi-Fives will show the 120-pound robot they built for international competition at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, at the Central Library, 443 N. Sixth St.
An ACT practice exam will go from 1–4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the Central Library. This is for high school juniors at no cost.
Gigi Richard of Colorado Mesa University will present “The Wonderful Water Cycle” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 31, at the Central Library.
■ Visit Dinosaur Journey, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; noon to 4 p.m. Sundays; 550 Jurassic Ave., in Fruita; 858-7282. (museumofwesternco.com. Note: while you’re at the website, check out the offerings at the Museum of Western Colorado’s other locations.)
■ Visit the John McConnell Math & Science Center of Western Colorado, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 2660 Unaweep Ave.; 254-1626. (mathandsciencecenter.org)
■ Visit Children’s Nature Center, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Saturday, noon-4 p.m., Sunday; 404 Jurassic Ave. Suite A in Fruita; 639-2227. (http://www.gvzooquest.org)
■ Go by the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays; 641 Struthers Ave.; 245-3288. (wcbotanic.org)
■ Creative Avenues, 835 N. 26th St., will have a drop-inSchool’s Out Arts Enrichment Activity Program from 9–4 p.m. Monday through Friday, March 24–28 and March 31 to April 4. There is an early drop-off at 8 a.m. and a late pick-up until 5 p.m. It’s a drop-in program. Cost is $4 per student per extended hour.
The full day costs $25 for the first student, $20 for each additional sibling. Bring your own lunch. Half-day costs $15 for the first student, $12 for each additional sibling.
The activities vary but will include music, art and acting.
Creative Avenues also offers a Saturday Shows for Kids through The Theatre Project. Children sign up, then learn their parts and perform all within a day. Students arrive at noon on show day and perform at 2 p.m. alongside adults. It’s free.
■ The Art Center, 1803 N. Seventh St., will offer a Kid’s Art Camp during spring break. Tuition is $18 per day for members or $23 for non-members. The camps run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, March 24–28, and March 31 through April 4.
The topics change, and space is limited. Call 243-7337, ext 2, to register at least 48 hours before each class. Students need to bring lunch and a water bottle.
■ Powderhorn Mountain Resort is open through Sunday, March 30, so time is running out to the enjoy the “local” ski area. (Officials may decide to extend the season because of snow conditions, but that has yet to be decided.)
Wagner Rents PHriday and Six O’Clock Saturdays are 3–6 p.m. the final two weekends in March, where lift tickets, rental gear and beginner one-hour lessons are each $15, not including helmets which are an additional $5.
Also, the Slush Sprocket Mountain Bike Race will be Sunday, March 30, and is open to anyone with a mountain bike. Cost is $59 and is limited to 100 competitors. (powderhorn.com)
■ Spin City, 637 24 1/2 Road, 263-6930.
■ Bananas Fun Park, 2469 Riverside Parkway, 241-7529.
■ KidsPlex, 609 25 Road, 245-3610.
■ Fruita Community Center, 324 N. Coulson St., 858-0360.
■ Orchard Mesa Swimming Pool, 2736 Unaweep Ave., 254-3885.
■ The city of Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Department, 254-3866, will offer a number of spring break camps for youth of all ages. A full schedule, with pricing and regulations, is available at gjparksandrec.org. Among the camps offered is rock climbing, discovering SCUBA and math and science camps. The duration and start times for the camps vary, so check the website.