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Keeping them occupied in August – What am I going to do with the kids until school starts?

Chris Morris Flickr | Used under a creative commons 
Chris Morris Flickr | Used under a creative commons 

So the weather is warming up and you’re wishing you lived somewhere fun and exciting. Well guess what — you do. Southern Colorado is full of fun and exciting things to do. You just have to get out of your normal routine and try something new.

Whether it’s just you and a pet, or your whole family, there is something for everyone.

I typically plan for my family, so what is there to do with three kids under the age of five that appeals to everyone? The possibilities are endless, really.

Let me take you on a tour; if you will.

Let’s start out as early as possible on Friday, ensuring you take full advantage of the evening. Before you leave the house for the night, make sure you throw some blankets and pillows in the car. You’re going to need them later.

Head down to my favorite burger place in Pueblo, Bingo Burger. They have a great variety of burgers, chicken, and and even a vegetarian burger, with a wide array of toppings, including a fried egg. The fresh cut fries are covered with the best tasting salt you can imagine. Pair a burger and fries with a special dipping sauce and the mixture of aromas and flavors become magical.

Personally, I have to recommend ordering either The Blocks or The Boilermaker. I mean, who doesn’t like bacon on a burger? Then add an order of friends with the roasted-garlic blue cheese dipping sauce. Need something sweet to make your meal complete? Have a delicious shake made with Hopscotch Bakery ice cream.

Normally your Friday evening might end here, but get outside of your bubble and live a little. Remember those blankets and pillows you put in your car? Well, you’re going to head out to the Mesa Drive-In and watch some movies. Is there a better way to watch two movies than while laying under the stars? You’ll be hard pressed to convince me otherwise. Plus, if you have kids, they’re going to be amazed that people actually watch movies like this. When you get there you’ll have to pick one of three screens to watch movies on. This is the most difficult decision you’ll make all night as you can’t switch screens.

Once the smell of the fries and popcorn begins to make its way from the concession stand, all but eliminating Bingo Burger from your memory, grab your cellphone and dial the phone number to the concession stand (it should be on the menu you received when you paid to get in). Calling in your order is a simple step that will save you from a long wait time in the line that’s wrapped around the concession stand by now. The Drive-In makes for a late, but memorable, night.

Saturday mornings start early for me; I’m not blessed with late sleepers yet. So that leaves plenty of time to enjoy a beautiful Colorado Saturday, which lends itself to some outdoor exploring.

Fill up the car, grab some snacks, pack a lunch and take plenty of water — time for a road trip. Great Sand Dunes here we come!

Oh, and it’s also a good idea to grab some sunscreen and a sled or two. Trust me.

Since you are going to make a day of it, you’re going to need to start off with the best breakfast you can find in Walsenburg. Just off of I-25 you’ll find a place called George’s Drive Inn. It’s been a staple if my life since I was young. I have not tried everything on the breakfast menu, but who needs more than pancakes and bacon? I know many also love biscuits and gravy, and they will not disappoint.

Time to get back on the road. Head through Walsenburg and go West towards the beautiful mountains. Take your time, notice the view of the Spanish Peaks and watch for wildlife as you head over La Veta Pass. After passing through the little towns of Fort Garland and Blanca your destination won’t be much further. The Great National Sand Dunes park offers plenty of parking, where you can apply sunscreen, take out your sleds and get ready for a fun filled day.

After a long day in the sun, you’re going to be exhausted, and so are the kids. The drive back will be the perfect time for them to catch up on some rest.

by Jamie Cipriani

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