Ways to Celebrate Your Mom in Denver

Mom, I made this for you out of a yogurt lid.
Mom, I made this for you out of a yogurt lid. Pixabay
When you were a kid, Mother’s Day was easy. You made a card with construction paper and crayons, maybe crafted something in art class at school. Anyone else ever get to make a tile ashtray back when moms chain-smoked in the kitchen? Those were the days.

Now, very few moms smoke (nicotine, anyway), and you’re old enough to have a little spending money in your pocket — maybe not much, but enough that you’re expected to pony up some of that scratch for a nice gesture to the woman who raised you in this world, or at least brought you into it.

If you ask most moms what they want for Mother's Day, they'll usually say they want time with you. But how to spend it? There's more out there than bouquets and brunch. Here are a few ideas:
1950s Mom
Cirque Italia Water Circus Gold Unit
Town Center at Aurora
14200 East Alameda Avenue

Whether your mom grew up in the 1950s or is just a fan of some of the joys from that era, she's sure to love this (100% animal-friendly!) circus in Aurora. Cirque Italia’s Gold Unit performers take the audience back to a time when hula-hoops and soda fountains were abundant, Elvis Presley dominated the airwaves, greased hair was all the rage, and street racing was a parent’s greatest concern. Tickets range from $10 to $50 for one of the two performances under the white and blue big top on Mother's Day.

Alternative Mom
Drag Bingo Brunch
Denver Milk Market
1800 Wazee Street, Denver

Yes, yes, we know: We said there was more to Mother's Day than brunch. And this proves it: There are also drag queens and bingo. Come out and have a blast with Mistress of Ceremony Shirley Delta Blow while brunching and bingo-ing your little mother-loving hearts out. Wait, what? Bottomless mimosas, too? Done deal. The joint is first come, first seated, so get there early.

Artsy Mom
The Art of Banksy
Denver Sports Castle
1000 North Broadway

It's the largest touring exhibition of authentic artworks from the mysterious street artist Banksy, whose identity remains a mystery. If your mom is a fan of modern art, pop culture or subversive performance, then this will be a day she (and you) won't ever forget. Tickets start at $45, but spring for the $55 tickets that also include flexible admission time and a limited-edition poster. You know your mom's going to have that sucker framed.
Binge-Watching Mom
Red Rocks: Night of TV and Music
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
18300 West Alameda Parkway

Daily Show veteran Amber Ruffin comes to Red Rocks as part of SeriesFest, now in its eighth "season" of celebrating the best in episodic television. She'll be appearing ahead of a special screening of her favorite episode yet of The Amber Ruffin Show, followed by a full set from headliner band Lake Street Dive. Now you can watch TV with your mom at Red Rocks. That's pure Colorado right there.

Fitness Mom
Colorado Women’s Classic 5K/10K/10 Miler
10600 Westminster Boulevard, Westminster
In past years, the CWC has been a female-only event, but organizers are opening up the race for everyone to come race and celebrate Mother's Day with their loved ones. So if you have a mom that owns a pair of running shoes, lace them up alongside her, and get some steps. Tickets are $45 for the 5K, $55 for the 10K, and $65 for the ten-miler — and all who finish the ten-miler get a medal at the finish line!

Foodie Mom
Colorado Chocolate Festival
Crowne Plaza DIA Convention Center
15500 East 40th Avenue

It's on the day before Mother's Day, but you can celebrate a day early for the chocolate, can't you? Of course you can. Tickets are only $10 to this annual tradition that was recently named one of the nation's five best food fairs by Orbitz Travel; taste tickets are only $10 more per dozen, and are the way vendors get paid for their chocolatey talents.
Mexican Heritage Mom
Cinco de Mayo Festival
Civic Center Park
101 West 14th Avenue

We can still celebrate Cinco on the 8th, can't we? For our moms we sure can. Join the crowds gathering in Civic Center Park for a day of food, fun and culture, with the spotlight firmly and rightly on the Mile High City's vibrant Latin culture. There will be three stages of live music and dance performance, along with enough food and drink to keep everyone smiling.

Nerd Mom
Free Comic Book Day
Various locations around Denver
Two options here: You can either take Mom out to Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, when there will be geek-friendly parties at comic book stores all over, or, if you're a purist and want to do something on Mother's Day, those stores will still be open Sunday. Get out there and buy your mom a cool T-shirt or action figure or whatever she wants. Ask her what comic book she might have read as a kid, and look for that in the back issues. No matter what day you go or what memories you share, it'll be a super-heroic way to spend the day.

Society Mom
Tea at the Molly Brown House
1340 Pennsylvania Street
Celebrate your mom with a fancy tea at the Molly Brown House Museum, complete with snacks both savory and sweet and plenty of opportunities to extend that pinky finger while sipping some piping-hot chamomile. Tickets are $24 and include a tour of the museum, where you and your mom can learn all about the "unsinkable" Molly Brown.
Travel-Loving Mom
Georgetown Loop
646 Loop Drive, Georgetown
If you and your mom have fond memories of day trips, why not take one again up to Georgetown? Get out of the house, pile in the way-back of the station wagon, and head out to experience a narrow-gauge train ride. Or book a real silver mine tour, or learn how to pan for gold. Climb aboard and travel back in time to the rugged romance of the Colorado Rockies in the 1880s (minus the random violence and rampant racism). They're running open-air cars throughout the year for extra COVID safety, so like Mom always said: Don't forget your jacket!
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen