Adventures From the Last Few Weeks – Off-Campus Study

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“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your Mountain is waiting so… get on your way!”

Dr. Seuss

When I told people I was spending a semester in Denver most people told me that I should plan on moving here after I graduate because of all of the cool opportunities that are here. And while I whole-heartedly agree about the opportunities and beauty of the mountains, it is really expensive to live in Denver, so I decided to make the most of it while I am here. In the past two weeks I have had the opportunity to do so many things and after talking about my internship, I figured I would share the fun things we have been doing. 

The first day I was in Denver way back in January before my dad left to fly back to Michigan, we decided to find something to do that morning. One of the top-rated things is a place called Dinosaur Ridge Trail. It is a short hike up a road where there are fossils in the rocks and history about the area. A few weeks ago, a few of my housemates and I decided to go check it out. My honest opinion is that it does not live up to the expectations I had. Everyone said it was super cool and you got to see a lot of cool fossils. As an average person walking alongside these rocks there were not that many fossils to see. But my guess is that if you were to take the bus tour with someone who knew the area and what to look for it would probably be much better. So after that short hike we drove over to Red Rocks and hiked on some of those trails. It was a beautiful day and those trails are some of the best short trails that do not require much effort. Plus, it was close which meant we did not have to drive far to get there.

Later that week as part of my internship there was an intern outing day, where we went out for part of the morning and did some reflection. There is a super cute park that has swings to sit on and a playground for young children. Because it is in the art district there was also a lot of graffiti on the buildings too which was fascinating. In the short period of time that we were there, I saw multiple parents with their young children riding their bikes or learning to skateboard, as well as lots of dogs. One good thing to know about Denver is that it is dog central. Never in my life have I seen so many people with dogs out and about all the time.

Once a month, the Denver Urban Semester Program does an outing to different places. For the month of March, we went to the Botanic Gardens. While it is still early in the spring and the ground is still pretty dead, there is still a lot to look at and so much to look forward to when everything blooms. Although, that will not be until after I leave Denver. They had a tropical greenhouse area that reminded me a lot of Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids Michigan, but this one was much smaller and did not have the butterflies. It did have some pretty cool mini greenhouses throughout the outdoor sections, one of them being full of succulents ranging from really small to pretty big. But I think one of the coolest things to see was the outdoor spaces for the Japanese gardens, and ponds that in the summer are filled with flowers, lily pads, and fish. There is a historic house that is along the backside of the property which is a hundred years old, which is not very common especially in the Denver area where a lot of things are becoming more modernized. Needless to say, there is so much to see in the Gardens.

And to bring in the month of April, with a 70 degree day, we decided to go to the Denver Zoo! The Denver Zoo is a non-profit organization meaning it is all run by donations. This blows my mind because of how many animals they have and the amount of land that is needed to keep some of the animals. The elephants alone have 10 acres of land for their enclosure. That alone blows my mind. They have 6 male elephants that can choose which area they want to be in every day. While we were there we got to see a training session with Billy who is one of the 6 elephants. Before the show started, he was walking around close to everyone and waving back to people who waved to him. Along with the elephants we got to see giraffes, penguins, giant snapping turtles and even got the opportunity to touch a snake! It was a super fun day to go see the animals and enjoy the warm weather that the weekend brought – especially now that it is back below freezing temperatures. 

And to finish out the weekend, we had to make one last ski trip while we are here in Colorado! 

Thanks for reading, until next time,

Aurora Franzon 2024

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