Denver to Keystone and Back Again: Red Rock, a Zoo, a Goldmine & a Steam Train
At the kick-off of the annual TBEX event (travel blog exchange), held this year in Keystone Colorado, travel bloggers, writers and photographers were placed into groups for day long tours of the greater Denver area – history, beer drinking and adventure, depending on your interest.
I opted for the historical tour which did a loop from Denver up to Keystone via our first stop the Denver Zoo, where we saw the new 50 million dollar Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit which just opened two weeks ago. Here, we said hello to the largest living inhabitant of Denver — Groucho, a male Asian elephant.
Visitors can view 3,500 different animals, representing over 650 species, including amur leopards, king cobras, black rhinos, coral reef fish, elephants, zebras, vampire bats, giraffes, gorillas and more.
With naturalistic habitats like the new Predator Ridge as well as Tropical Discovery, Primate Panorama and the Dragons of Komodo exhibit, the Zoo is working to enhance the lives of some of the world’s most endangered species.
Did I mention that was also very cool ladies room with different vibrantly colored animals on each of the stall doors.
We then headed to the Red Rocks Ampitheatre, where the Beatles played in 1964, the only concert in America they didn’t sell out (tickets were $6.60). See my write-up on the ampitheatre located in Red Rocks, which includes photos and links.
Onward to Denver’s buffalo herd to look for the 40 buffalo there, all direct desendents of the last free buffalo herd in America (the one in Yellowstone). After buffalo, we decided to pan for gold at the Phoenix Gold Mine, which has a vein of gold still visible and a handsome guide.
After gold, we dove into some more history via the Silver Queen, the historic town of Georgetown with 200 restored Victorian buildings. In and around Georgetown, you can catch the Georgetown Loop Railroad,Hamill House, Hotel de Paris Museum (pictured above left), and Guanella Pass which is a Scenic and Historic Byway.
We watched the train come into town via the Georgetown Loop Railroad, the only loop RR in america that crosses over itself on a 95-foot high bridge to gain 600 feet elevation in 3.5 miles.
They offer cheese and fruit plates on board together with wine (we had a nice Cabernet Sauvignon) although a crisp Sauvignon Blanc was also available.
We also went to the Continental Divide and the summit of 11,990 foot Loveland Pass, where I discovered that drinking a shot-ski may not be my sport. What were these guys thinking anyway? Below is our team’s attempt at the task and then posing in front of the sign to prove that we all made it, after all the beer messes and views.
For more blog posts on Colorado, go here.