Adventure Activities in Denver - Try if You Dare

by Cathleen Shaffer, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Aug 31st 2010 10:00 AM

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Adventure Activity Denver

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It's impossible not to like Denver. What's not to like? A walkable city, clean air, mountain views from just about everywhere, moderate dry climate, and great shopping, restaurants and night life. The day life abounds with outdoor activities, art and culture, history and architecture and friendly faces.

Denver was cited one of the most "fit" cities in the United States by Forbes magazine, among others, and it seems everyone is always on the move doing some type of activity, indoors or out.

But, it's not a wimpy city by any stretch. Here are five adventure activities in Denver, Colorado we dare you to try:


Swim with the sharks


Denver's Downtown Aquarium (700 Water St.; 303-561-4450) has two huge fish tanks. One for tropical fish and one for sharks. On Saturdays they allow people to scuba dive (must have license) or snorkel in either tank. The tropical tank is home to a giant grouper, moray eels, turtles and other species. The shark tank is home to nurse sharks. You only need to bring a swimsuit and a towel; they supply equipment and give you a one-hour orientation.

The shark tank is considered "interactive", so you can definitely get up-close and personal with the sharks. The Denver Aquarium safety officer, Todd Hall, says they have never had any kind of accident or injury to humans or fish since they started allowing this "fish interaction program". The cost is $175 for divers and $75 for snorkelers.


Trek the Colorado Trail


The Colorado Trail is about 500 miles and stretches from Denver to Durango. For a true hiking/camping experience that will make you feel like a real trail blazer of the West, Colorado Mountain Expeditions (935 County Road 125, Hesperus; 970-759-8737) can set you up for a week-long hike/camping excursion along the trail. It is $925 per person, which includes all meals and a support team that makes your meals and sets up your camp. All you do as a part of this adventure activity in Denver, Colo., is carry a backpack and walk for a week -- piece of cake.


Bike like never before


Denver has over 75 miles of off-road trails for bikers and more than 125 miles of designated bike paths. All of Denver's 205 parks are also connected by bicycle paths. While the common thinking is that you never forget how to ride a bike, riding a bicycle at 5,000 feet above sea level is a whole other challenge. It requires stamina, good muscles and plenty of water. You can rent a bike and go it alone with maps or join a group tour. Local resources include Bike Denver and Bicycle Colorado (1525 Market St., Suite 100; 303-417-1544).


Dress like a cowboy/cowgirl


You are in the West after all, so drop into Rockmount Ranch Wear (1626 Wazee St.; 303-629-7777) in downtown Denver for your next adventure activity. This place is the go-to Western wear store of the "stars." Rock bands, movie stars and country singers wear this brand and even shop here. It is a true Western clothing landmark. Once Rockmount's warehouse, they turned it into a retail store. It has a museum of Western wear and every type of western hat, shirt, boot, scarf, belt buckle and all things Western for sale. We dare you to walk out of here looking like a cowboy/cowgirl, or at the very least a Western rock star.

Eat like your ancestors


In case you're jumping to the conclusion that a restaurant isn't much of a dare, think again. Picture roast bison marrow bones, delectable roast bison tongue, a wild game platter and maybe a few quail eggs thrown in for good measure. The Fort (19192 Hwy 8, Morrison; 303-697-4771) restaurant delivers all this and more. It looks like an adobe fort and initially started off as a home, but the budget got out of hand, so the owners turned the bottom into a restaurant as a source of income.

Built in 1963, this award-winning restaurant has been featured in the New York Times, Bon Appetit and Sunset magazines among others. The family owned restaurant was conceived on the idea of serving food from the 1800s that our ancestors would have eaten. The Fort has nine dining rooms and is only open for dinner. They have a nice patio area where in nice weather, they sometimes shoot off a cannon. (What would a fort be without a cannon?) Their menu offers more typical items like elk chops and buffalo steaks, but don't be a wimp: Go out in style!

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cathy

This makes me want to go to Denver, even though I haven't been there before. Especially swimming with the sharks.

September 04 2010 at 11:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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