Recommended: Summer Kids’ Stuff, Live Music

Twiggy The Waterskiing Squirrel (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Tim Van Schmidt | New SCENE


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There are plenty of opportunities throughout the NOCO region to keep younger residents and visitors busy with summer fun.

In Loveland, we took our two grandsons for a ride on the Buckhorn Northern Railroad in North Lake Park. This leisurely trip around the park follows more than 1500 feet of track and passes through a tunnel. The train is run by the Loveland Lions Club and has been in operation since 1977.

Of course, no trip to Loveland with the youngsters is complete without a stop at Dairy Delite, out on West Eisenhower Blvd. It’s a locally owned ice cream shop — with other food options, car hop service, and an old fashioned charm.

On another excursion, this time to Bellvue, we fed the fish at the Bellvue-Watson Fish Hatchery. 

Bellvue-Watson Fish Hatchery (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

When we arrived, we were welcomed into a little shed that housed some displays about the work at the Hatchery and its history.

Here’s what they do, according to the Colorado Parks & Wildlife site: “The Bellvue Hatchery produces 1.1 million subcatchable trout including: rainbow trout, Loch Leven-strain brown trout, Snake River cutthroat, greenback cutthroat and splake. Watson Rearing unit produces 280,000 ten-inch cut bows and rainbow trout each year”.

Beyond the history and statistics, then it becomes a matter of how many quarters you have in your pocket. At convenient stations near the multiple “raceways” that store the fish, a quarter gets you some fish food in a cup that the swarms of hungry fish just go nuts over — it looks like a hundred to one, fish to pellets, when you throw some in the netted water troughs. Our grandsons loved it and even though I came prepared, they drained me of all my quarters.

Buckhorn Northern Railroad Loveland (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Then, in Fort Collins, we not only had a great lunch with the kids on the patio at Avogadro’s Number, but also some pirate adventures in the tree house and some wish-making in the small stream that circles the patio. To add to the fun, the restaurant is decorated with colorful, playful murals that in themselves make Avo’s kind of a magical place.

Lucky Penny Avogadro’s Number Fort Collins (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Of course, family activities of all kinds are coming up at the Larimer County Fair in Loveland, from August 5-9. Not only are there rides galore, but there is also a lot of family-friendly entertainment.

That includes my favorite act from last year — Twiggy the Waterskiing Squirrel. That’s right — a squirrel on water skis being pulled around a pool by a toy boat. It’s a crowd pleaser. 

Check for full fair info.

Live music: On July 29, Little Feat celebrates the 45th anniversary of their funky defining album “Waiting for Columbus”, with openers Hot Tuna Acoustic, at Fiddler’s Green in Greenwood Village. At Red Rocks: The Chicks on August 2-3 and Joe Bonamassa on August 7-8.

NOCO Shows: Remember Jones is at the Rialto Theater in Loveland on August 4 and Charley Crockett and the Blue Drifters will be in Cheyenne at The Lincoln on August 5. Also on August 5, see Son Volt at the Aggie Theatre, Swing Aggregate at the Magic Rat, and Hazel Miller at the Foothills Mall’s Music on the Lawn.

Hazel Miller plays Music on Lawn at the Foothills Mall on August 5 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

On August 6, see George Porter Jr and the Runnin’ Pardners at Washington’s and Lukas Nelson & POTR at the Aggie Theatre. Also on August 6, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is joined by Ryan Chrys and the Rough Cuts at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre. On August 7, Lorna’s Swingset plays a free show at Swing Station.

Visit “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt” on YouTube.