The Best And Worst Of Colorado

On Saturday, David and I decided to take the kids to the Sand Dunes National Park here in Colorado. Even though it's a big drive from our house, it is so worth it. The Sand Dunes are exactly that: sand dunes. They lie in a valley where the wind has, over time, blown hills of sand up against the mountains. The best part of the year, though, is when the snow melt from the nearby ranges runs through the dunes and creates a Colorado beach. The water flows directly over the hot sand, making the water temp. feel like a bath. Also, the water flows in currents so you get the wave effect, but it is never deeper than your shins, so it's impossible to drown. All in all, it is a family paradise and very worth the drive. Here are some photos...

Building a dam. I heard my kids say the word "dam" way too many times that afternoon.

Lily's personal spa treatment.

My view from the beach chair. Love it.

Mountains and water and sand. Gorgeous..

The day was warm, even though we had a few clouds block the sun from time to time.


David enjoying a moment of relaxation while watching the kids run.
Now, to cap off our perfect afternoon, we drove about 15 minutes to the horrible tourist trap called Colorado Gators. It began in the 1970s as a Tilapia fish farm, and they bought an alligator to eat the dead fish. Someone, after a late night drinking too much beer, decided to turn the place into an alligator farm, so they acquired more and more gators. They also added turtles, snakes, various reptiles, emus, and donkeys. It defies logic, I know, but that's what it is. However, it is horribly obvious that they have not spent one nickel on maintenance or safety. I think whenever they have an extra $50 lying around they buy another snake. The place is falling apart and is a hodge-podge of corrugated steel buildings with alligators walking around. Needless to say, the kids LOVED it and had their moment of glory each holding a small crocodile (or was it an alligator? who knows!) The fact that the property backed up against a dump and tire heap completely escaped their notice. Ahhh, to look at the world through a child's eyes. Sigh.

A lovely family photo in front of a rusted out tank for snapping turtles. Too bad Carver was taking the picture because I look at this and it just screams "Christmas Card" at me!

Zinabu standing in front of one of the many gator pools. Can you see the rickety gate being held closed by a couple strands of wire? Lots of gators in the background, and though it's hard to see, there is an alligator right behind the gate.

Possibly Carver's favorite moment of his entire life! Guess who was scared out of his sneakers? I'll give you a hint: His name starts with "Da" and ends in "vid."

Only the best for this place. High tech signs at every turn, telling us where to go.

This sucker was huge. You could buy buckets of "gator food" to throw at it, too. You know, I've always found that throwing things at dangerous animals is a good thing.

David looking at me. You can't see the despair in his eyes because of his sunglasses, but it was there. Multiple "gators" on the other side of the fence. Discarded tire pile to our right. I wish I could make this picture a scratch and sniff so you could get the full effect.

Lots of big turtles walking around. They must be able to defend themselves well because they were on their own.
We pulled into our driveway at 10 pm and collapsed.


Courtney Orrange said...

how far away is sand dunes? we've never been.. maybe we should take a trip there

Vivi said...

In spite of the fact that I have GOBS of relatives in CO, I have never heard of these glorious sand dunes! That sounds so fun! What a great day. The gator/snake/dump visit sounds like a parent's nightmare and a kid's dream. Perfect.

Melodie Monberg said...

What a great idea! How long did it take you to drive? We drove by the turnoff for the Dunes on our way to Durango last year. Maybe after the marathon I'll attempt a trip like this...looks like a lot of fun sans alligators...I'll keep that part to myself! ha!


Melodie Monberg said...

Thanks for the Dune information on FB. Also for the well wishes for Sunday. My stomach is a bit quivery but I think all will be well. I am taking pictures so will post when we get back!


Heatherbean said...

this is first beautiful, and then hilarious.
i miss you!