*This most may contain affiliate links. Check out my About page for more info.
We finally went on our family vacation to Denver, Colorado! I’m glad we went, but also glad it’s over. Traveling with 3 kids and 3 adults was kind of crazy.
Everything went smoothly for our flights. Thank goodness they allowed families to get on separately. We needed a window seat for the carseat that we were taking with us. It was really easy to install and, looking back, I
probably definitely worried about this way more than I needed to. It was nice to have the seat that my son is used to.
The idea was that he would feel comfy and sleep.
He slept maybe the last 30 minutes and didn’t even notice the bumpy landing. Oh well.
Next, we navigated DEN, which is HUGE, and finally made it to our rental van. Thank goodness my husband has been in and out of DEN for work. We just followed him. The kids thought it was great riding the trains and escalators. We ended up renting a Dodge Caravan from Alamo and this van truly has made me appreciate my Honda Odyssey. I liked my van as much as a mom who wishes she was driving a farm truck or jeep can appreciate the van that is able to actually hold all three kids, their crap, possibly some friends of theirs or mine, and maybe our gigantic dog. Well, I can now say that I love my van. I’m sure that caravan is fine for some, but let’s just say I prefer my van and missed it on the trip.
At that point we got some late lunch and brought the kids to a park to run around. We were at about 5400 ft elevation at the time. The elevation of RDU, where we left out of, was in the 400’s. We were feeling pretty pooped and started to notice the lack of oxygen.
This is where I planned soooooooooooooooooooooo poorly. I managed to make everything run smoothly, but I didn’t think once about altitude sickness or what elevation that our cabin would even be at. You don’t think about that going from Raleigh-Durham out to the smoky mountains. It was just never a thought. We grabbed groceries and began to climb up the mountain to Black Hawk, Colorado and to where our cabin was still 40 minutes away.
It was a beautiful drive. The weather was pretty amazing. The cabin was at 9000 ft and some change. All of us felt varying levels of crappy for about 3 days. Several of us would wake up at night several times feeling like we were suffocating. My husband and I felt sick. He was worse because he had had one beer before reading that you shouldn’t do that.
Everyday we would go down to about 5000 ft and spend the day. It gave us all some relief and we would feel normal until we climbed back up. During that time we were able to visit these sites:
- The Denver Zoo
- The Downtown Aquarium
- Dinosaur Ridge Trail
- Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum
- Countless playgrounds
At our cabin we also had some visitors. We had a bald eagle land right outside our window, saw moose on the lake, saw a single elk in a field, and hummingbirds almost everyday. I was most surprised by the hummingbirds. It wasn’t very warm up there. It even snowed that last night we were there. We even saw a mountain goat on one of the drives back up the mountain.
Boulder, Colorado was probably my favorite place to visit. It was crazy seeing so many people rock climbing. It was sad to hear that one of those people had lost their life that day. We visited a park near a river on Boulder. The weather was perfect, the air smelled amazing. We actually saw a pair of deer walking downtown on our way out. If I had to move to Colorado, Boulder would be the winner.
The cabin stated it had a fireplace and toys/video games for the kids. It had VHS tapes, no video games, and ONE board book for kids. There was a pack n play and a booster seat at least. There was also no fireplace. The listing hadn’t been updated for a couple years. It was perfect for adults though. There was internet and TV available for the times we felt too crappy to go anywhere. My husband set the kids up on Scratch and they were having a blast making games for each other.
It might be some time before we do another big family adventure, but despite the illnesses and hardships of dealing with a large family on a trip, we will definitely do another one someday. The next trip will need to be drive only(so I can take my van), closer to sea level, and I’ll double check that the place we stay at is as family friendly as it states and possibly stay near a playground.
We learned what we could handle as a family on a trip. My oldest learned he loves planes. Between flying on the commercial plane to riding in the simulator at the museum, he’s now leaning toward getting his pilots license someday. He is only still 10, but if anyone has any cheap resources for him to explore this send them my way.