If you live in Colorado, or are coming to visit for the holidays, you must add the Living West Exhibit at History Colorado Center to your list of things to do. And do not park in a parking spot and feed a meter for two hours because you will want many hours to explore. I made that mistake once when they first opened.
I am so very thankful that we have such an incredible, and interactive history museum in Denver. It is very easy to walk around in our everyday life and forget about the struggle and triumphs that existed not so many years ago under our feet. The families that lived here. The farmers, the store owners, the seamstresses and the children that lived here.
History Colorado Center makes learning about the history of Colorado very easy and your children will not get bored either. All of the exhibits are extremely interactive. I can’t say it enough, you just want to learn more.
I also have to comment on the other patrons that were in the History Colorado Center the day we visited. There was a gentleman and his father, who had to be late 70’s or early 80’s. And as we walked through the exhibit we crossed paths on multiple occasions and I feel lucky to have done so. I felt like the older man was reliving part of his life and remembering ‘this and that’ and how horrible times were through the Dust Bowl period in the 1930’s where we watched videos and looked at photos of barren land and struggling farmers, and I don’t know if he actually lived through them or heard about it, but his words had meaning. His son was attentive and very knowledgeable on Colorado history so I imagine he has studied it at some point. It was just a “moment” that my 10 year old and I relished that day.
As I mentioned above, your kids will not get bored and they will LEARN in the process.
There was a section that showed the pottery and basket collection and an interactive area where you could make your own twine (I guess it was) as they used to weave baskets and an older lady next to us was so taken with the process that she sat down and tried it for herself.
We learned about the use of carbon gases and how our actions directly impacts our environment. It allows the user to make choices and depending on those choices is the amount of carbon gases being used. Pretty cool to watch.
Colorado seems to have such an extreme need for water and I’m not talking about ski areas. Whether it’s for the farm land or to hydrate the population, we also seem to be in a perpetual drought. Despite the times it feels like we are just pounded with snow, we are often socked with water restrictions.
The truth of it is that it takes over 12 FEET of snow to produce the amount of moisture that one inch of rain would. And unfortunately, we found out what several inches of rain produce this fall when we experienced hundred year flooding in Colorado, but the need for water does not diminish. It grows.
They had interactive tubes with a wheel to turn to produce the 12 feet of snow and a partnering tube that would slowly fill with water. I get it now. I will hope we get more snow each year.
We also learned about the fire dangers that Colorado faces. With the devastating fires over the last few years we have lived through them and understand firsthand how awful fires can be when they hit a highly populated area. Unfortunately (or is it fortunately?) fire is a part of nature and plays a part in growth and regrowth, but we did learn how the nasty pine beetle is killing our trees and essentially making firewood in our mountains.
My little one has his favorite parts that we always have to visit each time we go like the ski jump hill, collecting eggs from the chickens and turning them in to the general store for “money” and of course we have to take the virtual tour in the old Model T Ford.
There is a huge map of Colorado that you can explore when you first walk in and OF COURSE the Denver diorama where we spend significant time locating various items like a cat.
I hope that you add this to your things to do here in Denver.
And be sure to build up an appetite and stop into the Rendezvous Cafe because they have the most amazing chicken fingers and their sweet potato fries are out of this world.