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Fun Things to Do When Traveling to Colorado
Living near Denver, there are hundreds of outdoor attractions which would happily draw visitors all year round. The beauty of the Rocky Mountains, of course, being one of the biggest attractions for visitors from all over the country. And of course, the legalization of marijuana has people flocking to the Centennial State in droves. But once you see the mountains or indulge in your herbal remedies that are still illegal in 48 states, what is there left to do? Well, the great state of Colorado offers plenty of options for visitors and residents alike. Among them, a hidden gem near the foothills of the spectacular Rocky Mountains, is one of the area's best kept secrets. It is the Littleton Historical Society's museum and farm.
There are a number of reasons why this museum and farm holds such appeal for visitors. First and foremost is the cost--visiting the museum and farm is FREE! Open 5 days a week (it is closed on Sundays and Mondays), the museum accepts donations, but there is no set fee to visit. Feel free to give as much or as little as you like, and spend hours being immersed in the history of the city of Littleton and the state of Colorado.
The museum itself features artifacts and information about some of the earliest settlers in the region--the Ute Nation. Gorgeous, hand made pieces of pottery as well as textiles and jewelry are proudly displayed. Visitors can also learn a lot about agriculture as it applies to Colorado's unique climate. A designated children's area allows kids to use hands-on interaction in their old-fashioned play kitchen. There are also computer games which allow children to see the way water flows and how it affects farming and agriculture in the area from the different water tables accessible to farmers.
Once visitors complete touring the museum, they can step outside where they will be transported to two separate eras of farming. On one side of the museum is an 1860s farm. It is fully operational and functional, with museum staff dressing in era-appropriate clothing and engaging in activities that a typical person living on that farm in the 1860s might have engaged in. Some days, staff can be found in the large garden behind the one-room cabin harvesting the garden or cooking over the large fireplace in the small cabin. Other times, they can be found hand-churning ice cream with an old-fashioned ice-cream maker following a recipe that would have been around in 1860. There are real, live animals and livestock, chickens, cats, dogs, and other farm animals kept in pastures on this side of the farm, as well as an 1860s one-room schoolhouse. Visitors can enter the sparse room and get a feel for what it would have been like to be a student almost two centuries ago! A single, wood-burning stove located in the center of the classroom offered students their only source of heat, and desks are arranged facing the center of the classroom where the stove provided warmth in the cold, difficult winter months.
Visitors likely finish their tour of the 1860s farm at the boathouse and then cross over into the 1890s farm. Another fully-operational and functional farm offers visitors a huge shift in perspective. The shift in both housing and agriculture in just 30 years is spectacular, and guests have the opportunity to visit the blacksmith's shop, where a real-life blacksmith gives demonstrations on smithing things like horseshoes and tools. Visitors are then able to walk through the much larger 1890s home with several different bedrooms, a separate living room/parlor, large pantry, and many different types of games and toys that would have been popular to that time period. Just like the 1860s farm, museum employees can be found in full costume baking pies in the kitchen of the farmhouse on an actual stove instead of an open fireplace. Samples are often offered to guests if they are arriving at just the right time (at the end of summer, they often prepare preserves from the plums harvested from the trees on the farm--I would recommend tasting them!), and each day offers a new perspective as they prepare for another harsh winter.
Visiting the Littleton Historic Society Museum and Farm is one of the highlights of our summer. My children love to see the animals and walk through the rooms of the buildings on the farms. It is one of my favorite things to recommend to visitors in the area, and one of the best kept secrets of the city of Littleton.
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