I have been writing for Growing Up Fort Collins for over a year now and have not yet teased, picked on, or made fun of my husband. Today, that all changes.
Recently, I nagged about constructively critiqued the fact that I do the majority of our vacation planning. Believe it or not, I don’t want to be the one making all the decisions. It’s too much pressure and then I worry about whether or not everybody is enjoying themselves. In response, my considerate husband offered to plan a weekend away for all four of us. He did some research, booked the hotel, and planned some activities, all without telling me or the kids about our destination.
Shortly before the trip, he spilled the beans.
We were to go to…
wait for it…
Cheyenne. In Wyoming. A mere 45 minutes away.
First, I went into denial and was certain he must be bluffing. He might say Cheyenne, but he really meant Breckenridge or Steamboat Springs. Then, I felt irritated that perhaps this was all just a ploy to get off the hook for any future vacation planning. Added to the irritation was the fact that I couldn’t exactly complain. After all, he DID plan a family weekend away and he did so because of my nagging constructive criticism. Finally, I accepted the fact that we would spend an entire weekend in Cheyenne. A weekend away from dishes, laundry, and cooking. A weekend at a hotel with a pool. A weekend of eating out and quality time with my husband and children.
My attitude adjustment was complete and we were off to Wyoming. As expected, it was windy, flat, and void of camera-worthy scenery. The view from our hotel window featured Home Depot, I-25, and miles and miles of beige land. But, our room had a bunk bed for the kids and the pool was a short walk away. Already, the kids were happy with our destination, which meant I was happy as well.
By the end of the weekend, we were all in agreement: Cheyenne had been surprisingly fun and my husband could breathe a big sigh of relief. With this experience behind us now, I’d like to share with you our two best discoveries in this little frontier town.
1. Wyoming State Museum: This FREE museum is dedicated to the history of Wyoming. That means dinosaurs, wildlife, coal mining, mountain men, and teepees. Our entire family enjoyed the Hands On History room, featuring a chuck wagon, fort, puzzles, blocks, dress up closet, and more.
2. Cheyenne Botanic Gardens: I have a confession to make. Botanic gardens sound utterly boring to me. I suppose it would be a nice place for a relaxing stroll, but I couldn’t imagine having fun with my kids there. Now, I have to admit to being wrong. Significantly, enormously, absurdly wrong. We had a blast at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens and it was the highlight of the trip for all of us. The gardens are pleasant, relaxing, and unique. We slowly wandered the grounds, stopped for a snack, and took way too many pictures. The real fun, however, was found at the award winning Paul Smith Children’s Village. It features natural wetlands, a picnic orchard, a water wheel, a secret garden, a teepee village, puppet theater, world vegetable garden, and more. There are plenty of places for the kids to wade in the water and play in the sand. If you can’t spend a weekend in Cheyenne, at least drive up for the day to visit this gem. And, it’s FREE! Don’t forget swimsuits for the kids and plenty of sunscreen.
Although those two attractions were the highlights of the trip, there are other activities to consider as well. We enjoyed a bit of horseback riding at the Bit O Wyo Ranch, about 30 minutes out of town and in a beautiful spot among the foothills of Medicine Bow National Forest. We spent a rainy afternoon at the crowded, yet enjoyable, municipal pool. Finally, we wandered town and admired the historic train depot.
In retrospect, the weekend was a success. The landscape may have been dull and unappealing, and the restaurant scene may have been disappointing, but Cheyenne was enjoyable anyway. So, my dear sweet husband: You were right. I was wrong.