We parked the car and seriously considered putting the key back in the ignition and taking off for home. It was freezing. About 20 degrees give or take, but the hubs and I had promised the kids that we would go check out the Trail of Lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms, and the six-year-old at least would be devastated if we decided to call it quits. The one-year-old couldn’t really care either way.
We pulled out the jackets and hats and mittens and bundled up ourselves and the little ones while still inside the van, relishing the last bit of heat we possibly could. When everyone was ready, we stuffed our little abominable snow-woman into the stroller—we couldn’t even strap her in because she was too puffy, but she sat still and pumped her legs, excited to be out of the car. The boy joyfully led the way.
All the trees dressed up in lights were visible along the different paths, and the boy couldn’t decide which way he wanted to go first. Ultimately, we decided to head toward a building on the left and soon came across several people sitting around a bonfire laughing and soaking in the sights while enjoying the warmth of the flames.
Lights in Denver for days
We pushed on and found ourselves crossing a bridge into an area that truly looked like a majestic fairy land. My favorite decoration of the night loomed before us in the form of a massive tree, at least 50 feet high, adorned completely from the ground all the way to the tips of the branches in red lights. Large orange bulbs dangled down from those branches; I’ve never seen decorations done so well and so completely. We stopped and watched this tree for a little while before heading farther down the path.
Not too far from here, we found what could only be described as a yurt. Other visitors in groups were congregating in this “hot house” to warm up while indulging in sweet treats sold by the staff, but we kept moving. Past the children’s play area, past the dancing snowflakes on the path, and through the tunnels of light. The kiddos ooooed and ahhhed the entire time.
Skip the holiday crush
Seriously, who doesn’t love a good trail of lights around the holidays? We didn’t go until after Christmas this year, and we were pleasantly surprised at the lack of hustle and bustle and the ease in which we could stroll along the trail with the kids. The lights and music kept both little ones in an excited trance for the entire time, but we certainly missed out on some fun going so late in the season, as there wasn’t anything to do except walk along the trail. (Throughout December Santa comes to visit and hayrides are available on Friday and Saturday nights.)
It may be a bit more crowded, but I’d suggest families with kids go to the Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms before Christmas to get the entire experience, and anyone without kids visiting the Denver area take an hour to escape the city and enjoy a romantic meandering under the twinkly lights out in the Colorado countryside.
What are your holiday traditions? Do you ever do Christmas activities after December 25th to avoid the crush?