Central City, Winter Park, Colorado
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Mining the WestFlag review
Central City might seem like a strange place to take the kids since today most people probably go there to gamble... but it has huge significance to anyone wanting to experience the glory days of Colorado mining. In 1859 Central City was quite the bustling frontier town drawing hundreds of thousands of prospectors in search of gold. The staff at the visitor's center is more than happy to share the history of the mining community and map out a walking tour for you which includes significant architecture from the mid 1800s, the Opera House, and some trails that are safe from which you can look for wildlife. We've been fortunate enough to see, from a safe distance, everything from foxes, coyotes, deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats to ravens, golden and bald eagles, and hawks. The kids wished they'd seen the reported black bears but I'm glad we missed that show. The shops are an eclectic mix of art galleries and boutiques combined with vintage shops selling everything from old furniture to clothing to old maps and charts. mine deeds, antique books and home furnishings and more. My kids really enjoyed the shop with an extensive local rock collection and a very knowledgable owner who talked with them for nearly an hour about the various ores and minerals that could be found in the mountains. Really fun for my fashion-focused teen was seeing the casino workers in costume from the mid to late 1800s. This is an interesting afternoon side trip into historical Colorado as you head on up the mountain from Denver. Definitely worth a few hours.
Tips for Families
Take it easy walking around Central City-- at nearly 9000 feet, breathing can be challenging! Be sure to go inside a couple of the old casinos, just for a peek! It's ok with the kids as long as they don't approach the gaming areas. These structures are original and rather ornate. Something to see for sure.
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