Elk in the Beaver Meadows – Rocky Mountain National Park – Estes Park, Colorado – 06/30/2012

As you begin the descent from the highest elevations of Alpine Tundra in Rocky Mountain National Park, back to the lower level altitudes, lush green valleys will once again appear before you. Or, if you are coming in from Estes Park, this is where you begin your journey! Make sure you keep an eye out for Elk in the Beaver Meadows and Moraine Park areas! Such huge, majestic animals! But, be careful! They are beautiful, but can be deadly! Respect their space, and always follow ALL National Park rules on keeping a safe distance!

Tundra Snowfield Hike – Rocky Mountain National Park – Grand Lake, Colorado – 06/30/2012

Looking for snow in June? The Rocky Mountains have you covered! If you make it all the way up to the Alpine Levels of Rocky Mountain National Park, you can enjoy the Tundra Snowfield Hike! Or, basically, just spend an afternoon playing in the snow! Snow isn’t just for summer when you’re over 11,000 feet above sea level! And check out the little Pika! He’s so adorable!

Alpine Tundra – Rocky Mountain National Park – Grand Lake, Colorado – 06/30/2012

Wow! 11,796 feet above sea level! It’s a whole different world in the higher elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park! Gone are the tall trees, lush grasses, and thick patches of flowers; and instead you have rocks, ice, moss, lichens, and other smaller, more fragile vegetation. Four miles East of the Continental Divide at Milner Pass, the Alpine Visitor Center is the highest elevation of a National Park Visitor Facility! Even in the middle of Summer, you can be frolicking in your tank tops, shorts, and flip flops in the lower altitudes; but as you climb, you’ll see snow everywhere!…

Entering Rocky Mountain National Park from the Western Side of Trail Ridge Road – Rocky Mountain National Park – Grand Lake, Colorado – 06/30/2012

Coming through Grand Lake, and into the Rocky Mountain National Park, your first Visitor Center is at Kawuneeche. Continuing along Trail Ridge Road, there are a variety of lower altitude trails through gorgeous lakes and rivers. In the summer season, you can see thick carpets of lush grass; endless forests of tall, stately trees; stunning bursts of colorful wildflowers; and, hopefully, you’ll luck out with the occasional wildlife encounter! As you begin your ascent in altitude, you’ll negotiate some crazy curves and hairpin turns; and the ecosystems will shift before your very eyes! The lower lying valleys are vastly different…

Continental Divide Trail at Berthoud Pass – Arapaho National Forest – Berthoud Pass, Colorado – 06/30/2012

It is glorious up here, at 11,300 feet of elevation! The trees, the wildlife, the rocks, the plants… The hiking is well worth the effort! But, hiking in such thin air is most definitely harder to do! We were quite winded, quite frequently. If you’re hiking with littles, my recommendation is definitely to take it slow. Hike a bit, but then take a rest. Explore the details. The bark of a tree… The leaf on a flower… But, most importantly, stay hydrated, rest frequently, and be aware that the return trip IS a challenge! Enjoy! But, be safe!

Berthoud Pass Along the Continental Divide – Arapaho National Forest – Berthoud Pass, Colorado – 06/30/2012

Deep in the Rocky Mountains, the Continental Divide passes through, effectively separating which rivers ultimately drain to the Atlantic in the East, or the Pacific in the West. Along this Divide, at 11,314 in elevation, the Berthoud Pass was the travelway of Pioneers from the early 1860’s onward. Today, an easily accessible parking area leads you to a sign marking the historical, geological, and hydrological significance of the area. If you are feeling adventurous, take a hike along the Berthoud Pass Trail! But, let me be the first to warn you, hiking at 11,300 feet in elevation is no simple…

Berthoud Falls Hike – Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests – Berthoud Falls, Colorado 06/30/2012

Hopefully you saw the post on Berthoud Falls itself! It truly is stunning! If and when you check out the Falls, be sure to enjoy some of the trails in that area! Here we are, just wandering through the forest, right around Sub-Alpine Level altitude! Rich in flora and fauna, the Rocky Mountains are just incredible!

Waterfall Scrambling at Berthoud Falls – Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests – Berthoud Falls, Colorado – 06/30/2012

Located along Highway 40, just north-ish of Empire, Colorado, and only about 8 miles off of Interstate 70, Berthoud Falls in the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests is INCREDIBLE! An absolutely beautiful set of cascades, rolling down the rocky mountainside, and so easily accessible by all ages and abilities! Parking is just beneath the falls, and you really could spend some time hiking, scrambling, enjoying the flowers and leaves, and just taking in the absolute awe of Rocky Mountain Life at 9,800 feet elevation! Even if you are just passing through on Interstate 70, do yourself this favor! Take Exit 232, and…

Random Rocky Mountain Interstate 70 Shots from Denver to Empire, Colorado – 06/30/2012

Stunning mountain vistas as far as the eye can see… Majestic snow-capped peaks… Driving through the inside of behemoth mountains via the engineering marvel of tunnels! Remnants of glacial activity… The historical preservation of old gold mines… Rocky Mountain Life. The glimpses of such raw, powerful beauty along any stretch of Interstate 70 through the Colorado Rocky Mountains are jaw-droppingly beautiful…

Random Kansas Along I-70 – Colby, Kansas – 6/29/2012

Topeka Zoological Park – Topeka, Kansas – 06/29/2012

The Topeka Zoo in Gage Park is a small, but well-designed zoo that offers easily viewable animal enclosures. Topeka Zoo offers FREE or discounted admission with the AZA Reciprocal Program! It makes a great pit stop when passing through on Interstate 70. The city of Topeka makes a WONDERFUL family destination if you fancy a longer stay!

Gage Park – Topeka, Kansas – 06/29/2012

Some of the play structures at Gage Park in Topeka, Kansas may be a little older, but we thought they were FABULOUS! The fun animals were unique, and offered a much different combination of creative and active play than we find at most parks or playgrounds. In addition to the storybook-style structures, though, they did also have some train-themed play areas; as well as a section that included a very modern playground. When driving cross country, Gage Park in Topeka is a wonderful pit stop to get the kids out of the car to enjoy burning some energy. Gage Park…

University of Kansas Natural History Museum – Lawrence, Kansas – 06/29/2012

The Natural History Museum, situated in a gorgeous building on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, is an extremely well-done set of exhibits, encompassing many disciplines of science. From habitat dioramas, to microbiology, to halls of preserved animal specimens; and so much more! If your kids love science and natural history, this is a GREAT destination for your family! Spend an hour, or spend a day! There is something here for everyone! And, best of all, the UK Natural History Museum is on the ASTC Passport List offering FREE admission to ASTC Reciprocal Members! How cool is…

University of Kansas Campus Tour – Lawrence, Kansas – 06/29/2012

The University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas is a lovely campus, indeed! The Natural History Museum is a real gem! And the ambiance of the campus as a whole is genuinely enjoayble!

Crown Center – Kansas City, Missouri – 06/28/2012

LEGO Mini Land: Kansas City – LEGOLAND Discovery Center – Kansas City, Missouri – 06/28/2012

My favorite part of visiting the different LEGOLAND parks and LEGOLAND Discovery Centers is, by far, checking out the Mini Lands! The Kansas City LEGOLAND Discovery Center Mini Land is extra fun because it not only has the amazingly detailed skyscrapers, buildings, stadiums, and other unique landmarks of downtown; but it also has an INCREDIBLE section of Wizard of Oz themed builds! Follow the Yellow Brick Road from Munchkin Land, to Emerald City, and on to battle at the Castle of the Wicked Witch! So much fun! And, really, how jaw-droppingly impressive are these LEGO builds?

LEGOLAND Kansas City – Kansas City, Missouri – 06/28/2012

SEA LIFE Aquarium – Kansas City, Missouri – 06/28/2012

University of Kansas Dino Lab in Science City – Kansas City, Missouri – 06/28/2012

Such a great experience to watch real paleontologists working on dinosaur fossils and specimens at the UK Dino Lab inside Science City! Kids can see, first-hand, various stages of packing, preparation, research, and more! Lots of hands on activities throughout the lab area allow kids to touch, feel, and view a variety of fossils and molds!

Science City at Union Station – Kansas City, Missouri – 06/28/2012

Union Station – Kansas City, Missouri – 06/28/2012

Good Morning, Kansas City! – Kansas City, Missouri – 06/28/2012