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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It’s the universal back-to-school essay topic: “What I Did on My Summer Break.”

It’s the universal back-to-school essay topic: “What I Did on My Summer Break.” What did you write about? In 1976 I wrote about America’s birthday and the most exciting 4th of July of my seven years. I remember this because the experience was so real and multi-dimensional (it seemed the entire summer was red, white and blue – every party, every picnic, every place and thing a declaration of independence and bicentennial celebration) that it actually gave me clarity and context for my place in the world – not a small thing for a soon-to-be 1st-grader. Truly. Cracking a history book was never the same after that summer.

Fast-forwarding a few decades, I’m now a 21st-century parent watching my children’s summer fly by. We’re well-meaning, awfully silly creatures, we modern parents. I’ve seen so many friends spend many a sleepless spring thinking up all kinds of ways to keep their school-age kids engaged and challenged and happy all summer. How about Lego Engineering Camp? (“Build an entire city!”) Archaeology Camp? (“Dig up an ancient civilization!”) Mathletes? (“Keep sharp over the summer!”) Ok, I am that parent. (And I’m not knocking engineering camp – it was really fun!) But the question is, what can I give them that’s really meaningful this summer?

Studies show that the average American household enjoys 40 to 60 hours of television a week. There are plenty of kids who can play to level gazillion on any number of video games or re-program a computer. My seven year-old recently showed me how to use CTRL+ALT+DEL to best advantage, but can she tell me how Colorado came to be? Who discovered and mined the gold, entertained the people, designed and built the places that makes ours a great, historic state? What if she could, and what if she learned something about herself in the process?

There’s a gift waiting for us this summer in an enchanting place that’s 45 minutes west of Denver, but a million miles away. A most imaginative, unplugged family experience awaits at Central City Opera’s historic adventure weekend, Central City Days. This is a call-out to the modern-minded parent and those wondering how a family of four can get the most bang for the least bucks. An experience that will make the kind of childhood mark that’s hard to come by these days.

Central City Days will celebrate Colorado Day by unfurling the roots of the place and digging deep into her past. On July 30th and 31st, come for a day or weekend of outdoor adventuring on foot and on bike through 19th-century streets, stables and gold mines, geocaching history hunts, ghost town touring and a little taste of family-friendly opera. Together we’ll unlock the secrets of Colorado’s story – and our own – for a weekend that will beat any virtual thrill your television can deliver.

And we hope to be on the tip of many a No. 2 pencil come September.

A multitude of all-access pass options allow you to custom-craft your adventure:
Two - Day Pass $25 adults / $15 kids* / $75 family 4-pack**
One - Day Pass $15 adults / $10 kids* / $45 family 4-pack**
Saturday or Sunday       VIP Pass $25 per day / includes access to all daily events plus 4 - 6 p.m. beer/wine/mead tasting receptions at historic al fresco venues with live music accompaniment (21 and older)

RSVP and Buy tickets for Central City Days*Valid for kids ages 4-12; children 3 and under are free.
**Family 4-packs not available online.  Please call the Box Office at 303-292-6700.

View the complete list of events.

Editor's Note: This blog post was written by Heather Lauren Quiroga, Event Planner for Central City Opera's Central City Days.

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