Denver has greatly expanded its off-leash options for canine lovers in the past year, but Greenway Park wins high marks for security, cleanliness and doggie good vibes. Amenities include several hydrants, plenty of plastic bags and shaded benches, but it's the community feeling of the place that makes it work. It's a great place for residents to become neighbors.

Giving of your time is hard; so is finding enough time to work out. The Colorado Humane Society has the perfect solution: Walk a dog. Or two, or three. With no training, a volunteer family, classroom or scout troop can pop by the CHS any time and take a frisky Fido out for a frolic. Everyone wins: The dogs calm down -- and perhaps get adopted -- and their walkers get exercise, too. The shelter logged just shy of 1,000 dog walks between April and December last year. These dogs are made for walking.


Giving of your time is hard; so is finding enough time to work out. The Colorado Humane Society has the perfect solution: Walk a dog. Or two, or three. With no training, a volunteer family, classroom or scout troop can pop by the CHS any time and take a frisky Fido out for a frolic. Everyone wins: The dogs calm down -- and perhaps get adopted -- and their walkers get exercise, too. The shelter logged just shy of 1,000 dog walks between April and December last year. These dogs are made for walking.

Best Gymnastics/ Equine Sport You've Never Heard Of

Vaulting

What, you thought vaulting was a gymnastics event? Well, hold your horses: It's an equine sport, too. Combining single-rider and team displays of acrobatic moves with horseback riding, the ancient sport of vaulting has an unusually strong hold on the state of Colorado, which is home to eight of the fewer than 100 clubs that promote this old-world sport nationwide. What's more, the 2005 National Vaulting Championships are scheduled for this August in Denver.

Best Gymnastics/ Equine Sport You've Never Heard Of

Vaulting

What, you thought vaulting was a gymnastics event? Well, hold your horses: It's an equine sport, too. Combining single-rider and team displays of acrobatic moves with horseback riding, the ancient sport of vaulting has an unusually strong hold on the state of Colorado, which is home to eight of the fewer than 100 clubs that promote this old-world sport nationwide. What's more, the 2005 National Vaulting Championships are scheduled for this August in Denver.

Rocky Mountain Audio Guides, which produced a CD titled Walking Tour of Denver's Historic Lower Downtown in 2003, expanded its reach last year with a cell-phone hookup. Founder Barb Rigel's idea was to have folks who might want to tune into the cityscape dial a number, enter a credit-card number (for $15), and then listen for up to eighty minutes as a recorded expert tells them where to go in LoDo. While the CDs are still available at places such as the Tattered Cover, Rigel hopes this will allow folks to get even fresher insights on places such as Skyline Park. Good call!


Rocky Mountain Audio Guides, which produced a CD titled Walking Tour of Denver's Historic Lower Downtown in 2003, expanded its reach last year with a cell-phone hookup. Founder Barb Rigel's idea was to have folks who might want to tune into the cityscape dial a number, enter a credit-card number (for $15), and then listen for up to eighty minutes as a recorded expert tells them where to go in LoDo. While the CDs are still available at places such as the Tattered Cover, Rigel hopes this will allow folks to get even fresher insights on places such as Skyline Park. Good call!

Just an hour and a half from Denver -- and a short, soul-restoring drive out of Colorado Springs -- Manitou Springs has got to be one of the most wonderfully weird places in Colorado, if not the world. Laden with kitschy mementos of the auto-mad '50s, when travelers motored west to mountains and drive-up motels, Manitou is a combination tourist trap and liberal enclave, an artists' community with a disproportionately large number of cigar-store Indians and ice-cream parlors. Victorian houses lie in colorful clusters across a mountain valley, and nutritious, mineral-laden spring water runs freely from taps all along the charming main street. There's an old-fashioned arcade, complete with nickel pinball machines and shooting games, and kiosks that sell lollipops and rock candy. Santa Claus sets up shop here in the off-season. And who can blame him? Manitou's a quick, easy escape from city life -- and reality.


Just an hour and a half from Denver -- and a short, soul-restoring drive out of Colorado Springs -- Manitou Springs has got to be one of the most wonderfully weird places in Colorado, if not the world. Laden with kitschy mementos of the auto-mad '50s, when travelers motored west to mountains and drive-up motels, Manitou is a combination tourist trap and liberal enclave, an artists' community with a disproportionately large number of cigar-store Indians and ice-cream parlors. Victorian houses lie in colorful clusters across a mountain valley, and nutritious, mineral-laden spring water runs freely from taps all along the charming main street. There's an old-fashioned arcade, complete with nickel pinball machines and shooting games, and kiosks that sell lollipops and rock candy. Santa Claus sets up shop here in the off-season. And who can blame him? Manitou's a quick, easy escape from city life -- and reality.

The DOW conducts workshops around the state that amount to a four-hour crash course in how to sharpen your senses, pick the right binoculars, read the habitat and turn yourself into the Crocodile Hunter. Each course ends with a nature walk to put your new skills into action -- for example, studying a coyote family making the rounds of Aurora's Plains Conservation Center. With enthusiastic instructors and a cost of $15 per family, getting wild proves contagious.


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