Road Trip to Fantastico!
Fantastico Colorado Style!
We planned a road trip to Colorado for Fantastico, our trip we plan every four years on our anniversary. I know, it’s crazy that Eric and I intentionally chose a road trip. But I wanted to take the kids to a new state, and we needed room to pack all the games that are required for a true Fantastico. So we braved driving more than 10 hours in the car each way. And it was FUN! The kids didn’t complain during the drive, they hardly even pestered us about how much longer it would be. We could hardly believe it.
The first day we headed into Kansas with no hotel reservation or real plan. We were just going to drive until we got tired, then grab a hotel and continue on the next day. We ate delicious Thai food in Wichita, which all three of our kids ate and enjoyed which was another shocker. Then we saw the Keeper of the Plains, a giant statue of a Native American. I randomly found it because of a road trip article that showed up on my Facebook feed. It was beautiful! We made it while the fires were still blazing, and there were lots of interesting displays that told Native stories and traditions. We really had a great start to the trip! Unfortunately, the night did not continue as smoothly. We started looking for a hotel around Salina Kansas. And they were ALL full! There was a KK convention. That’s what Eric told me when he got in the car, and when I was completely appalled and concerned about the KKK he explained it stood for Klassic Kars. Ugh. Awful spelling. Anyway, after trying three hotels we got back on the highway and I pulled out my phone and booked a hotel in Hays Kansas. When Eric got to the hotel in Hays, I had evidently booked it for the next night, but since I had the booking they found us a room even though they too were full. The room had possible water damage from some rain, but it was fine to us and the kids were sooo sleepy. Sleeping in the car was not a thing. So we were really lucky they held it together so very well. =)
In Hays Kansas we went to the Sternberg museum. It was awesome! A Natural History museum, there were lots of fossils, insects, cool rocks, and dinosaurs. We loved it. Originally it was supposed to be a mid-morning stop, but since we drove all the way to Hays we went right when it opened, after enjoying a really great breakfast at the hotel. We liked the hotel so much I went ahead and booked it for the return trip because no way I was risking it again. I didn’t even let Eric check in, I had much better luck. And reservations ;)
Then we were off to Colorado Springs! I had reservations for two nights in Colorado Springs. Abbey had planned on driving through the Garden of the Gods on her way to Winter Park for Fantastico, and when I looked it up it was amazing! So we followed her Google plan =) It was absolutely magnificent. And one of the rock formations, the Sleeping Giant, was perfect for the kids (and Eric) to climb all over. They loved it. Serenity found a spot and dug little animal habitats in the mud to help out tiny creatures. She loves nature =) After all the hiking, Eric’s glute hurt so he sat on a bag of ice at the hotel. Maia asked “How did you hurt your butt? Did you fart too much?” 😂😂😂
We went to the Cave of the Winds in the afternoon. The kid’s favorite part there was probably the huge climbing net thing that led to a twisty slide. Maia tried several times to make it to the top, and she managed it right before we had to leave. She was so proud!!! The Cave itself was beautiful, and fun to explore. Expensive, but I’m glad we went, the kids had never been in a real cave before.
The next day we drove to Winter Park with a stop in Denver. We spent most of the morning at the Children’s Museum. It was AMAZING! There were so many fun things to explore! They had a wind exhibit with fun dress up wings and aviator helmets where you could learn about air. They had a huge water section with ball pit balls that you could put into whirlpools. They had a whole room to play with bubbles. They had a maker lab where they had real tools, saws, hammers, pliers and wood and they had lots of project suggestions for things you could do. Maia sawed through a board! It took a lot of patience. We took a break for lunch at a restaurant devoted to biscuits. YUM. Denver Biscuit Company. So good. We ate a ridiculous amount of fancy food this trip and the kids really ate. I’m starting to get my hopes up that they are ready to eat normal food without complaining. Maybe the trick is to take them on multiple hour hikes… We went back to the museum for another few hours before heading to Winter Park. The outside playground had a zip line that all the kids did, and a giant sandbox that Maia could happily have stayed at all week.