Travel Tips & Trends

Denver takes on international flair with July’s Biennial
King Tut exhibit comes to Denver
Mountain lion safety
Ten tips for summer hikes
AAA upgrades free mobile app
Mission Wolf
Heat can be a killer for kids

Denver takes on international flair with July’s Biennial

It’s the largest and one of the most exciting international events scheduled for 2010 in the U.S., and it’s happening in Denver. Launching July 1, the Biennial of the Americas will be a month-long celebration of the Western Hemisphere’s people, art and cultures.

Throughout the entire month of July, the Biennial will offer visitors cross-cultural experiences through a wide array of art exhibits, live music and special cultural programming. Emerging talent and leaders in the arts, culture, sciences, politics, economics and technology will also convene roundtable discussions designed to create a shared vision for a more cohesive hemisphere.

“Starting with the Western Hemisphere, we are working to position Denver as leader in fostering a global community,” said Donna Good, president of the Biennial. “Through art and culture—a beautiful commonality all 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere share—we can gain a new perspective about each other.”

To get the full perspective on the Biennial, first stop by the McNichols building located in the heart of Denver’s downtown Civic Center park. This historic monument, which was restored and renovated for the event, will be home to the Biennial’s central art exhibition “The Nature of Things.” The name comes from a first-century Roman poem, by Lucretius, about how we perceive the world and make sense of our surroundings. The exhibit will feature contemporary art by 24 artists from nine countries throughout North, Central and South America. There will also be an interactive kids’ area with workshops, a daily speaker’s series, and live concerts and films every Friday and Saturday evening.

After touring McNichols and visiting the Welcome Center to figure out what other Biennial adventures await you, jump on the Biennial Bus tour. The bus will make stops at Denver’s finest large and small cultural institutions that are partnering with the Biennial—more than 41 cultural partners.

“From Latin rhythms and Caribbean drums to fireworks and inspiring art, Denver will be heating up the summer this July with hundreds of events,” said Steve Katich, the Biennial’s director of arts and culture. “On any day of the week, visitors will be able to choose from more than a dozen events.”

Unlike most biennials, there will be an added awareness-raising component, through a series of roundtables and policy summits. Some of the Western Hemisphere’s most distinguished thinkers will come together to discuss and formulate calls to action for some of the region’s most pressing issues, like education, poverty reduction and public health. Thus far, 14 former presidents of Western Hemisphere nations have been confirmed as participants, including Vicente Fox of Mexico, Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil and Alejandro Toledo of Peru. Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala and other luminaries will also participate.

Not since the Summit of the Eight, which brought world leaders to Denver in 1997, has the city had the chance to participate in this level of international leadership. The Biennial might be the most important international event to happen here in a decade, and will certainly be one of the most exciting.

For more information on Biennial events, please visit

King Tut exhibit comes to Denver

Just because the economy isn’t strong enough to support a vacation to Egypt doesn’t mean you can’t explore the culture’s rich history and beautiful artwork here in Colorado. Starting on July 1, 2010, the Denver Art Museum will be featuring Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, a traveling exhibition showcasing over 100 artifacts from King Tut’s tomb and other sites spanning the great pharaohs’ 2,000-year rule.

Organized by National Geographic, Arts and Exhibitions International and AEG Exhibitions, the Denver stop will be the exhibition’s only Rocky Mountain destination and the museum is ready for big crowds.

“This exquisite exhibition will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors from Denver and the Rocky Mountain region to experience the art of ancient Egypt,” said Christoph Heinrich, Denver Art Museum director. “Our expanded campus provides us with the space and infrastructure to serve the community with a wide variety of art experiences, and we are excited to be hosting Tutankhamun.”

Featuring artifacts from the 4th Dynasty into the Late Period (approximately 2,600 B.C. to 660 B.C.), the exhibit will begin with a short documentary produced by National Geographic and narrated by Harrison Ford. Various exhibits showcase 3-D CT scans of King Tut’s mummy, the golden death mask of Psusennes I and the largest image of King Tut ever unearthed—a 10-foot statue.

The death mask of King Tut himself will not be presented, however, as the Egyptian government no longer allows it to leave the country.

Kids get a special treat with a dedicated area devoted to activities and learning opportunities, including the chance to dress up as an Egyptian ibis or owl and hang out on pyramid replicas. Lectures, special events and workshops will also be offered during the exhibition’s time in Denver.

Tickets for the general public range from $16.50 for youth 6-17 to $30 for adults on the weekend. Seniors and college students get $2 off weekday prices. Kids under 5 are free and all tickets include general admission to the rest of the museum. The exhibition will be open from July 1, 2010 until Jan. 2, 2011 and is expected to draw large crowds to the Denver Metro area.

For more information on the exhibition including how to plan your visit, tickets, hotel packages and exhibition information visit

Mountain lion safety


Mountain lion populations in the West are healthy, and sightings are becoming more and more common in Colorado. While attacks are extremely rare, the Colorado Division of Wildlife recommends the following safety tips while hiking and to protect your pets.

Hiking with others is always safer than being alone. Carry a walking stick, and keep pets on a leash or under voice control.

If you encounter a mountain lion, stay calm. Don’t approach it, and never turn and run! Face the lion and stand upright, trying to make yourself look as big as possible, then back away very slowly. Some ways of looking bigger could include holding up your pack or bicycle, holding your jacket open or standing close to others in your group. Throw sticks or rocks at the lion, yell and make a lot of noise.

These tactics will usually convince the lion that you are not prey, and make it run away. But if you are attacked, your best chance is to fight back in any way you can, not to “play dead.” Try to stay on your feet facing the animal.

To help protect your pets at home:

View a Colorado Division of Wildlife safety video on mountain lions.

Ten tips for summer hikes

There’s nothing like a summer hike in the mountains. Here’s a planning list for an enjoyable day:

© Jeff DeMent

  1. Remember sunscreen and sunglasses. At high altitudes, the sun is more intense and you can burn faster than expected, even on a cloudy day.
  2. Drink plenty of water. Dry air combined with high altitude means increased dehydration. Also go easy on alcohol and caffeine.
  3. Wear closed-toe shoes. Walking on Colorado’s terrain can be hazardous in flip flops.
  4. Snap up a $12 card (valid for three years) that covers search-and-rescue expenses in Colorado (though not medical transportation) at
  5. Bring one more layer with you—to protect you from moisture, wind, or one of the unexpected fronts that regularly roll across the state. Going light is great, but don’t flirt with hypothermia.
  6. Check forecasts at before heading out. See #5 for a crucial reminder why.
  7. Take along your camera. There are many reasons why it’s called “Colorful Colorado.”
  8. Start the day with a full tank of gas. Filling stations can be hard to find in the mountains and gas is often higher priced.
  9. A plastic litter bag. Pack it in, pack it out. ’Nough said.
  10. Have the wisdom to know when to turn back because of (fill in the blank): Sketchy terrain, rank weather, your physical condition, or your companions’ condition as well. The trail will be there for you next week to try again.

AAA upgrades free mobile app

A free iPhone app is always a great thing to download, but it’s even better when it can offer maps, directions, travel information plus gas station locations with frequently updated gas prices. AAA TripTik Mobile is the only free app to have all these features.

You can select a point of interest or a specific address, then follow the turn-by-turn directions. And if you need voice navigation help, you simply shake the iPhone to get to hear it. Even if you stray off your route—by design or by distraction—you can shake the phone again for updated directions from your new location.

Beyond A to B directions, the app notes local AAA points of interest, such as AAA Approved hotels, restaurants and campgrounds, recommended attractions and events, Approved Auto Repair facilities and local AAA offices. When you look for gas stations, the current gas price is displayed at each icon.

Hotel and restaurant icons display AAA Diamond Ratings for each property, plus notes from AAA professional inspectors. With one touch you can view images and make reservations. Of course, the app also provides an easy way to ID your location for roadside assistance.

For more information on AAA mobile solutions, visit

Mission Wolf

Visitors from around the world travel to a remote Colorado location to have an intimate encounter with a wolf. The first priority of Mission Wolf near Gardner, Colo. is to provide rescued wolf and wolf-dog mixes a life that is as peaceful and natural as possible.

All animals at the sanctuary—up to 40 at a time—were born in captivity and would not be able to survive in the wild. They live in enclosures that range in size from half an acre to 12 acres.

Courtesy of Mission Wolf

Wolves typically greet one another by making eye contact, biting each other’s cheeks and sniffing each other’s nose and teeth. A few of the wolves are tolerant of humans and allow Mission Wolf staff members to bring visitors into the enclosure to meet them—over time, these wolves have been taught to only lick and sniff teeth when greeting humans. A wolf’s breath is actually quite fresh. In return, humans are instructed to make eye contact and bare their teeth at the wolf.

Mission Wolf’s second task is education. What better way to teach respect for wolves and other wildlife than to give students the opportunity to look a wolf in its bright yellow eyes? People who have never seen a live wolf often react with fear upon meeting one up close. With knowledge, this fear is easily transformed into respect and often compassion. In addition to the refuge in Colorado, Mission Wolf’s Ambassador Wolf program travels around the country educating people about wolves and their place in the ecosystem.

Mission Wolf relies on voluntary labor and materials to operate. Ongoing projects include building wolf pens and shelters, water systems, feeding the wolves and educating visitors. Volunteers are welcome to work on a variety of projects—you must be able to endure the 9,300-foot altitude, provide and cook your own food, and bring your own tent and sleeping bag. Visitors are also welcome to camp out and enjoy the howling at sunrise and sunset, as long as they do not put a burden on the staff or scare the wolves.

If you just want to spend the day and see a wolf, Mission Wolf is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Visit for more information and directions to the wolf sanctuary.

Heat can be a killer for kids

Children should never be left alone in a vehicle—even for a minute. Heat is much more dangerous to them than it is to adults. When left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s body temperature may increase three to five times faster than an adult’s.

Even on days with relatively mild temperatures, vehicles can reach life-threatening temperatures very rapidly. In just 10 minutes, the temperature inside a car can spike 19 degrees, and it can go up 29 degrees in 20 minutes. So on a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a car can climb to 97 degrees in just 10 minutes. Cracking the windows has little effect.

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