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Winter: A season to celebrate

Visitors to the Blossoms of Light event at the Denver Botanic Gardens take in the wonder of the season.



By Lisa Nicklanovich; photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens

Coloradans are known for their love and celebration of winter.  Check out some of the many festivals and events that remind us how great it is to live here.

The Downtown Denver Grand Illumination (through December 31) lights up downtown from Union Station to the City and County Building.  Union Station will be ablaze with brightly colored floodlights illuminating the historic structure in the heart of lower downtown and its lighted tree in front.

Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo (December 2 – January 1, 2017) spans 70 acres of illuminated animal sculptures that swing through trees, jump across lawns, hide in bushes and appear in places where they are least expected.  There is nightly entertainment, animal encounters, Santa visits and more.  Visit www.denverzoo.org.

Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light and Trail of Lights (through January 1, 2017) is an annual tradition for some, with new elements this year.  Be dazzled by the twinkling lights through HoloSpex glasses as you stroll through the gardens.  Visit www.botanicgardens.org.

If you want to see it all, take a Denver Holiday Lights Tour (through December 31) through Aspire Tours.  See many of the city’s famous landmarks brightly lit, then visit some of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods before arriving at Denver Botanic Gardens for the Blossoms of Light show.  Visit www.denver.org.

The inaugural Gingerbread House Competition with a focus on historic Denver houses (through December 11) allows you to vote for your favorite house.  Enjoy the sights and smells of gingerbread houses built by Art Institute of Colorado culinary students.  Visit www.historycolorado.org.

The Southwest Rink at Skyline Park (through February 14, 2017) is open for free skating, and skate rentals are only $2!  Skate lessons are offered for free on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Visit www.downtowndenver.com for more information on dates and times.  Or, closer to home, skate at Rink at the Rock (through February 20) in downtown Castle Rock, which offers lessons, leagues and even broomball.

Hop on the Santa Express Train (through December 24) and head to the North Pole to visit Santa.  Nibble on cookies and sip hot cocoa while in your pajamas!  This is a magical journey with special surprises, so buy your tickets early.  Visit www.royalgorgeroute.com

The Georgetown Loop Railroad offers a North Pole Adventure and Santa’s Lighted Forest (both through January 3, 2017).  Both are one hour train rides.  The Lighted Forest ride includes a light show set to synchronized holiday music while you travel through the forest above Georgetown.  Visit www.georgetownlooprr.com.

Bundle up, and enjoy the season!

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