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Aurora: Top five tourist destinations

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There are no amusement parks in Aurora, no baseball stadiums or aquariums or world-class art museums. But the upstart city to the east does have some gems when it comes to tourist attractions, as explained in this week's cover story, "Wish You Were Here!" The story tells the tale of Visit Aurora, the city's new tourism organization. Below, we present the top five tourist destinations in Aurora. Plains Conservation Center

Preserved as open space by the city of Aurora, the 1,100-acre site serves as an outdoor education facility and home to prairie dogs, hawks, chickens and cows. The center has a historic farm complete with two replicated homesteads furnished with antiques, a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, an heirloom garden and a barn. It also features four replica 1830s Cheyenne tepees. The center provides programming for toddlers, schoolchildren and families, such as Introduction to Woodstove Cooking or Prairie Bird Identification Workshops. If those two don't sound terribly exciting, check this: Cheyenne Life: Men's Skills, a program scheduled for mid-May, aims to teach the manly skills of Cheyenne Indians, such as how to make your own arrows and track wild animals. Badass.

The Aurora Reservoir

There aren't many beaches in Colorado.

There are even fewer great fishing spots within a half-hour drive from Denver, and you'd be hard-pressed to find too many sunken twin-engine planes perfect for scuba diving or museums all about (you guessed it!) water.

But the beach-like Aurora Reservoir has it all for the low, low, low fee of $10 a car.

Dry Dock Brewing Company

Dry Dock calls itself "Aurora's microbrewery," and it is. Literally. The only independent game in town, Dry Dock is making a name for itself far beyond Aurora's borders. In addition to winning Best Tap House in this fine publication's Best Of Denver Awards, Dry Dock has been racking up numerous awards, including winning gold for its hefeweizen at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival. Believe us, Dry Dock is worth the drive.

Aurora Fox Theater

Born as a movie theater in 1946, the Aurora Fox was renovated and reopened in 1985 as a 245-seat theater and performing arts space. The theater is intimate and the plays interesting. A recent production of The Elephant Man by PHAMALY was excellent, and the Fox is currently featuring Xanadu, which its website describes as "kind of like The Wedding Singer on skates!" Preceded by dinner at one of Aurora's hundreds of ethnic restaurants, a play at the Fox makes for an excellent date night.

Golf courses

Aurora is the place to be if you like greens and balls. The city is home to ten golf courses, and though swinging and putting isn't our thing, we hear the offerings are excellent. Fitzsimons Golf Course was a favorite of President Dwight Eisenhower! (His wife's family was from the area.) Saddle Rock Golf Course was ranked one of America's Top 10 Best New Courses by Golf Digest in 1998! Aurora Hills Golf Course has something called "finesse holes!" We're not sure what those are, but sounds good to us.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Aurora's award-winning water to be bottled and sold by California company."

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