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free vail: 19 summer activities that cost nothing By Rachel Walker | JUL 15, 2013

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All Interests Upon returning from every vacation, I find myself asking how we managed to spend so much more money than we (OK, I) budgeted. I know—that’s tantamount to giving my toddler a pint of ice cream before bedtime and then asking why he isn’t going to sleep. We all know vacation costs add up. Lodging, a few meals out, splurging on the all-day raft trip for the family (and yes, it is absolutely worth it) cost money. Most of us plan a vacation budget and account for those costs It’s the little expenses, the $10 entry fee here, the $15 price tag there, that we don’t anticipate and that always make the time away more expensive than planned.

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Make that almost always. Thanks to a teeming roster of free activities in Vail, a family could entertain themselves for an entire vacation without shelling out money at every turn. Seriously, there are multitudes of free activities going on all summer. Free. For everyone. Don’t believe me? Read on to find your free Vail. (By the way, if you’ve already bought your 2013-2014 season pass, gondola rides at Vail are also free.) 1.Vail Farmer’s Market Every Sunday through September 22, Meadow Drive in Vail Village is converted by Web2PDFConvert.com


home to an abundant offering of fresh fruit and produce, natural products, art, and more. “Window shop” and enjoy the free samples. 2. The Lionshead Family Fun Club Every Saturday through Aug. 11, from 3:00pm to 6:00pm, the Family Saturday Afternoon Club commandeers the center of Lionshead with a variety of activities including a Kids’ Fun Zone & Crafts Center, interactive projects, and the world famous Blue Creek Children’s Theatre Company. There’s also face painting, a Hula Hoop Zone, a 60-ft inflatable obstacle course, the Blue Moose Pizza Dough Tossing Contest, a family “Water Balloon Toss of Death” Contest, special appearances by the Vail Fire Department Family Safety Zone; and the Kids’ Discovery Zone. 3. Free Wednesday Art Walks (June 29 – August 31, no tour on July 4) This hour-long walking tour of Vail’s public art collection meets Wednesdays at 11:00 am at the Vail Village Visitor Information Center on the top level of the parking structure. Then your guide takes you through the Village. In addition to talking about art, your group will talk about master planning and specific commissioned art in Vail. Visit www.artinvail.com or call 970-479-2344 for more details. 4. Free Guided Nature Walks, Nature Discovery Center, June 23 – Aug. 30, daily, 11am & 2pm OK, you’ll either have to pay for a gondola ticket or hoof it UP the mountain, but once you get to the Nature Center at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola, the nice people from Walking Mountains Science Center will help you discover how plants and animals adapt to the high elevation environment. For more information, please call (970) 754-4675. 5. Free Creekside Nature Tours The Science Center comes to the Farmer’s Market and offers free tours from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sundays. 6. Family Fun Ride These daily rides offered by Vail Sports take you through Lionshead Village, Vail Village, and Golden Peak. Bring your own bike or rent one. For more information, please contact Vail Sports at 970-476-3600 or visit vailsports.com. 7. Parks! Ford Park, Pirate ship Park, Donovan Park, Bighorn Park – each is different – check them all out. 8. Story time at the Vail Library My sons love story time for different reasons: the three-year old actually listens to the stories. The one-year-old makes friends. Lots of them. Vail has the following story time schedule at the library: Toddler Story Time (ages 18-30 months) is Wednesdays from 10am -11am and Preschool Story Time (ages 2-5 yrs.) is Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11am-12pm. 9. Free for All at Adventure Ridge Yes, you have to pay for the trampoline. But the Slackline Park, Horseshoes, Bean Bag Toss and Dino Dig? All free. 10. Run with the Vail Rec District’s Free Summer Running Club The VRD offers a free, weekly running club this summer around Vail’s scenic recreation paths and mountain trails. The club will be led by local runner Greg Decent and will meet at 5:30pm on Thursdays, beginning June 23 at the base of the Vista Bahn in Vail Village, located in the Mountain Plaza area. For details, email jgunion@vailrec.com. 11. Vail’s Free Skatepark Head to the LionsHead parking structure and check out Vail’s free skatepark. Open dawn to dusk daily, the free skatepark features a halfpipe, pyramid, multiple ramps, transitions, rails and banks, plus a street course area for younger or less experienced riders.

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12. Free tennis Enjoy a free tennis match at the Golden Peak Tennis Courts. Tennis can be played at the courts on a first-come, first-served basis for free. 13. Free Fly Fishing Casting Clinics! Gore Creek Fly Fisherman offers complimentary daily casting clinics at 10:30am in Lionshead at the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. For more information, please call (970) 476-3296. 14. Summertime Community Yoga Brought to you by Vail Athletic Club, free outdoor yoga at the lawn/Ice Rink at Solaris happens 8:15am – 9:30am every Saturday in July and August (unless there’s a downpour). 15. Free Hot Summer Nights Concert Series Every Tuesday, through August 21, Vail hosts a summer concert series. Shows start at 6:30pm at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Shows range from rock to country to bluegrass to funk and beyond. 16. Friday Afternoon Club (FAC). Kind of like TGIF, but better. Beginning at 5pm, this free high-country happy hour takes place on the Talon’s Deck at the top of the Eagle Bahn gondola. Expect the best views in the valley with amazing sunsets, free live music and activities, food and drink specials, and more. Full schedule available on vail.com. 17. Jazz @ The Vail Farmers’ Market Jazz @ the Market presents ten free outdoor concerts featuring local and regionally-based jazz talent at the regular Sunday Vail Farmers’ Market. Concerts will start at noon with seating for up to 100 inside the tent. Stop by to check out refreshing jazz groups at our new concert venue, and enjoy! 18. Free JAZZ Concerts outside the Arrabelle Hotel in LionsHead Thursdays through Aug. 30 will see LionsHead transformed into Jazzland from 6pm-8pm. Presented in a tented venue seating 300+, this dynamic concert series features national jazz artists with styles ranging from Swing to straight ahead, Latin Jazz to the American Songbook. Seating is first come, first served, and the concerts go on under the tent rain or shine. 19. Colorado Ski Museum Chances are you’ve parked right next to it (it’s located in the upper level of the Vail Village parking structure). Now go visit and learn about the history of Vail, skiing and the 10th Mountain Division.

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Mad Dog Mom And if you bring your own discs, the disc golf course is free, too. We played with the kids a few weeks ago and had a blast. Plus it's up at Adventure Ridge so the views are primo. Reply · Like · July 16 at 9:21am F acebook social plugin

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Epic Moms- July 2013