Denver College of Nursing is conveniently located in downtown Denver. If you have enrolled in a nursing program, you will have your hands full most days. But you may also want to blow off some steam from time to time while living in incomparable Colorado. Fortunately, Denver and its surrounding environs offer some delightful opportunities for fun, without spending too much money—if any.
Unwind in a Natural Hot Spring
Would you believe there is a place you can go to soak in exhilarating, refreshing hot water laden with reportedly rejuvenating natural minerals? Thanks to geothermally heated water that rises to the surface in selected places, it is possible to bask in one of nature’s complementary hot tubs while enjoying the outdoors. In fact, Colorado is dotted with hundreds of these natural wonders.
Some of the better known hot springs are located at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, and Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Others include Strawberry Park Hot Springs and Indian Hot Springs, in Idaho Springs. Of course, not all of these springs feature free access, but do a little digging and you may find some entirely free opportunities.
You may need to hike a bit to get to them, and there may or may not be nudity on site. But most are perfectly safe and friendly places to visit. One example is Penny Hot Springs on Crystal River, near Carbondale. Radium Hot Springs is another example. Located on the Colorado River near Vail, you’ll have to hike about a mile to access this popular, but free, gathering spot.
Visit a Wild Animal Sanctuary
Denver Zoo is a popular attraction downtown. The zoo features a wide range of animals from various climates, continents and habitats. But near Keenesburg, Colorado, you will find the Wild Animal Sanctuary. Situated on more than 700 acres, the Sanctuary features hundreds of rescued and “retired” lions, tigers, bears, leopards, mountain lions, and wolves.
Clearly, being a carnivore is a theme at this sprawling park. Admission is not free, and tours require 48 hours advance notice. For a donation of $30 per adult, you will be granted access so you can walk among the various habitats at your own pace. The park is open seven days a week.
Hike Amongst the Wildflowers
Spring and summer in the Rockies are like no other time or place on Earth. The hills shrug off the cold of winter and burst forth in exuberant colors as wildflowers bloom. You can hike just about anywhere and take in gorgeous vistas, but one of the most famous wildflower hiking opportunities can be found in Crested Butte, in Gunnison county.
Known as the Wildflower Capital of the World, Crested Butte is where you will find the Lupine Trail; a 3.5 mile hike through lupine-rich valleys and vistas. These alpine flowers paint the valleys with shades of rich blues and purples. The wildflower season used to run from late May through September, but according to experts, global warming means the season has shifted to late April through late September in most areas of the Rocky Mountains.
Step Back in History
Visit Four Mile Historic Park, 714 S. Forest Street, Denver. Relive Colorado’s pioneer past at this charming 12-acre park, where you will find a pioneer village from the old days of Denver’s founding.
Tour the Four Mile House Museum, visit the blacksmith’s shop, view a miner’s & trapper’s cabin, and view the kinds of farm animals that early settlers depended on for their continued existence in a challenging landscape. Admission is just $5 for adults. Once the site of the final stop for weary pioneers heading West, before reaching Denver, this site has been preserved for posterity, to give modern visitors a glimpse at Denver’s rugged past.