Golden History Museum's interactive history summer camp takes kids back in time

So, you've got a kid, huh? Whether it's your own rambunctious preschooler or the bratty nephew you've been charged with keeping alive for the next five hours, the most important thing is leaving your house where valuables are liable to be destroyed and seeking refuge on somebody else's property. In this series, we'll be exploring fun, local, and quirky spots that are kid-tastic and adult-friendly, too.

No DeLorean required for children ages six to eleven looking to learn about Colorado history on these hot, summer days. Golden's popular Hands-on History Summer Day Camp uses active lessons to help kids relate to their frontier past with five week-long, themed camp sessions.

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Anybody who has been through elementary school knows history has caught a bad rap; some might even say that it's -- gasp! -- boring. "But really, it is incredibly interesting," says Jessica Lira, visitor experience and operations coordinator for the museum.

The museum aims to connect people to the history of Golden through innovative exhibits, dynamic programs and historic collections, and its summer camp, in commission for over a decade, shares in this mission. "It's a great way to get kids excited about history and a great balance between education and fun," Lira says.

"This year we revamped a lot of the camps," she adds. Although the five "themes" are the same, the Pioneer session has added a real-life Oregon Trail experience, the exploration-based Pioneer Journey game, in which campers will travel through the nearby park, gathering supplies, playing games and "hunting" buffalo.

Each of the five themes offers participants a glimpse into Golden life, dating as far back as the 1870s. During the Dirty Jobs session, for example, campers learn how people got rich in a supply town like Golden by playing the Mine the Miners game, in which kids purchase supplies from an unscrupulous general store owner. In Old Time Tech, kids will write letters with nib pens and send Morse code messages over a working telegraph machine. Decision Makers, the popular town-building week that premiered last year, teaches children how to build a town from the ground up.

And since "Golden has a history in silent film- making," notes Lira, during Silent Stars week, older kiddos will make a silent short.

The camp is divided into two groups -- for six- to eight-year-olds and nine- to eleven-year-olds -- and morning and afternoon sessions, which run from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to p.m.Kids can elect to participate in mornings, afternoons or both, and multiple weeks are available.

"We do an hour-long supervised lunch break that gives kids time to engage in free play and parents some flexibility for when they can pick-up and drop-off," explains Lira. In addition to bringing a lunch, all participants should definitely bring a snack (two if they'll stay for the whole day) and a full water bottle. Closed toe shoes are also necessary, since kids will be exploring the history park.

The first session begins on June 9 at Clear Creek History Park, located near downtown Golden; the final session begins on August 1. Camp sessions cost $90 for Golden History Museum members and $100 for non-members. Registration is currently open, go online or call 303-278-3557. Space is still available, Lira says, but spots are filling up fast!

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Jamie Siebrase is a Denver-based freelance writer, and author of the forthcoming Falcon Guide Hiking Wth Kids, Colorado: 52 Great Hikes for Families.
Contact: Jamie Siebrase