Taking the Kids: A different kind of water park
It's nice to find a place where parents and kids can be entertained all day and into the evening (the pool is open until 10 p.m.) for just $17 for kids and $26.75 for adults. "You can't beat the price," said Danny Serafini, here with his family from Denver, adding that his family of four could have two days at the pool and a hotel room for $300, less than it would cost just to get in the door of most theme parks.
The kids were jumping off the diving board while at the other end of the gargantuan pools, adults were soaking in the 104 degree "therapy" pool. Everyone was lining up for the Chutes. There are spa treatments here as well. The water source is the Yampah spring -- 3.5 million gallons of water per day -- first recognized by the Ute Indians for the therapeutic value.
The Spa of the Rockies here features treatments that rely on the waters. How about a Mineral Mud Ritual?
Ask locals and they'll tell you they especially love the pool in the winter. "It's really beautiful with the snow, and the pool is warm, even if it's cold. The kids love it," said Jacque Piffer, who grew up coming here with big groups of friends.
Of course, there is a lot more to Glenwood Springs than arcane history and the pools. There is also Iron Mountain Hot Springs pools on the banks of the Colorado River -- 16 small soaking pools and a freshwater family pool, the nearby Glenwood Caverns Adventure Parkthat bills itself as America's only mountaintop theme park (you take a gondola to get there) complete with cave tours, a 32-foot climbing wall, thrill rides (ready to swing out into Glenwood Canyon, 1,300 feet above the Colorado River) and kid-friendly attractions like the new larger sluice for gemstone panning.
This being Colorado, of course, there are umpteen hiking and biking trails, as well as a thriving, kid-friendly food scene like at the popular Pullman,which draws locals and visitors alike for everything from stellar mac and cheese and burgers to herb grilled artichoke, goat tacos and roasted local beets.
"It's like Disneyland. There is so much to do," said Jill Wilson.
It's just a lot more affordable.