Christmas at Gaylord Rockies runs through Jan. 2 in Denver
The Christmas spirit illuminates guests from the moment they walk up to the front doors of the towering Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora and continues throughout the 85-acre space. If you love the holidays, this is the wonderland to visit this year.
To start the merry adventure, head toward Mistletoe Village, a makeshift town at the far end of the convention center. Don’t worry, there are maps and ropes of Christmas lights to guide you. Once there, make sure to book a time to see “Mission: Save Christmas Featuring Elf” (starting at $19.99). It’s like stepping into a stretched-out version of the movie, with interactive games and plenty of photo opportunities. Favorites of the 7-year-old we brought included the giant piano game, mailroom dance party and snowball fight. Overall, this attraction is for the 3-year-old to 10-year-old set, and/or die-hard fans of the 2003 movie “Elf” who just want to immerse themselves in Buddy’s world.
Next, wander around Mistletoe Village. Don a mask to visit Santa. Just keep in mind any photos with the big man are done by the professionals and must be bought. If no physical memory is needed, it’s fun for the kids just to whisper their heart’s desire in hopes Santa will deliver it Christmas morning.
Also in the village, guests will find Mrs. Clause dishing up milk and cookies and reading “Twas’ The Night Before Christmas,” complete with some caroling ($12.99, various times). Or check out the “Naughty or Nice Escape Room” (starting at $125, various times) for some older kid fun. Don’t skip the fantastic gift shop that covers the back end of the village. With fun ornaments, clothes, cute plushies, candies and more, it will make any Christmas fan squeal in retail delight.
At this point, it’s nice to get some fresh air right outside of the hotel and enter into a wonderland of snow games, holiday lights and surprises around every turn. Skates can be borrowed for a twirl around the rink ($17.99), which also has push-rides for little ones to either sit on or use to anchor themselves as they glide along. There’s no time limit here, and guests of the hotel can pop in and out of the attraction all day as they desire.
Next, take a plunge down a snowy hill on a fat tube ($19.99), or a more gentle ride around the merry-go-round ($6.99). Start a snowball fight in the man-made snow area (free), play some snowdrift mini golf ($9.99) or take a ride on the ice bumper cars ($10.99). It’s worth walking outside, too. With pockets of games and fun lights, this space has been transformed into a winter wonderland perfect for kids to burn up some of that cookie energy by running around.
Warm up inside with a hot drink or food from the makeshift cafeteria. Then go see “Cirque Dream Holidaze” ($19). This circus act runs two times a day for 90 minutes and features death-defying plunges down a pole, a strong man that can balance a Christmas tree on his chin, artsy clowns, juggling, acrobatics and more. It’s magic to watch, and guests can bring in food and drink. There’s also a Snoopy Scavenger Hunt and a Secret Santa Scavenger Hunt ($9.99 each) that include a decoder ring, scavenger hunt booklet and prize.
Christmas at Gaylord of the Rockies runs now until January 2. Guests can enjoy the attractions most days from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Prices depend on which attractions you want to attend. If doing a bunch of the events, purchase a bundle package, which starts at $63.67 for adults and $55.27 for kids. All tickets and timed attractions can be booked online on the hotel’s website, christmasatgaylordrockies.marriott.com. Between the lights, Santa, decorations and things to do, this attraction certainly fits its tag line, “So. Much. Christmas.” And for those who love the season, it’s a dream come true.
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