Short Sighted

SAT, 7/19

Kids stretch themselves every which way at KidSpree 2003, which is dubbed A Kid's Eye View for all the obvious reasons. The annual event, hosted by the city of Aurora, is designed exclusively for the junior set and is one of the best available adventures for kids around town, regardless of season. A virtual fairyland of engaging and exciting activities, KidSpree -- which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow in Aurora's Bicentennial Park, Alameda Avenue and Potomac Street -- aims to set kids free in an environment that's both boundless and safe. "You can be a pawn in a life-sized board game or wander among giant flowers and bugs," festival spokeswoman Julie Patterson enthuses. And, well, adults do get to tag along. In fact, they're required. Returning this year are such crowd favorites as the multimedia ArtAttack area, where mini-masters can weave, airbrush, pot, sculpt, make puppets and rainsticks or slap paint on a jalopy. Active children can wear themselves out on climbing walls and in bouncing tents. Also reappearing are a host of wandering buskers, including the hot-shot Colorado Disc Dogs, boy juggler Tyler Nemkov, Rocky Mountain yo-yo champ Nathan Bottcher, Paul Borillo's giant puppets and more. Stage entertainers will range from hands-on sing-along songstress Sue Schnitzer to balloon master Allyn Gooen, who twists his fanciful Goowin's Balloowins into out-of-this-world costumes for on-stage volunteers.

And the new stuff is equally tempting: Older 'tweens and teens will enjoy a Battle of the Bands from 1 to 5 p.m. each day, while youngsters of all ages can act like grownups and try their hands at Nursery Rhyme Rap or Young Yoga. Admission is free, as is parking, which is available a shuttle ride away in the north parking lot of the Aurora Mall. For information, call 303-739-7000 or log on to -- Susan Froyd

You Animal!
Kids can take a talk on the wild side in Boulder
SAT, 7/19

Creepy, crawly critters are the stars of Profiles of Colorado Wildlife, a program led by local naturalist and photographer Perry Conway. Conway will share information about amphibians, reptiles and raptors -- with a special guest appearance by live owls -- at 2 p.m. today in the Children's Room at the Meadows Branch Library, 4800 Baseline Road, Boulder. "We're anticipating that the kids will learn a whole lot while also having a whole lot of fun," says the library's Ina Russell. "The program fits in very well with our summer reading program, 'Go Wild in Colorado,' which is focusing on wildlife this year."

Conway's wildlife work has been showcased in National Wildlife, Audubon, National Geographic, Outdoor Photographer and Newsweek. "Conway is a very big deal in the circles of wildlife photographers," says Russell. "He's very much an environmentalist, and he's a great speaker. I think he'll have a lot of insights and fun stories to share with the kids."

If this weekend doesn't work for you, the photographer will present the same program at the Reynolds Branch Library on August 2. Other upcoming Boulder Library events for children include the Miss Muffet Spider Program presented by the Butterfly Pavilion on July 25 and the Boulder Mountain Parks and Open Space's lesson on bats on July 31. Conway's show is recommended for kids ages five and up, and reservations are required; call 303-441-4390. All of the programs are free; for more information and a complete schedule, visit www. -- Julie Dunn

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Julie Dunn
Contact: Julie Dunn
Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd