4 must-do Colorado attractions this winter | VailDaily.com

4 must-do Colorado attractions this winter

Liana Moore
Special to the Daily
A snowy evening at dusk may be the best time to view the Ice Castles in Dillon.
Liana Moore | Special to the Daily

When winter hits the Vail area, the weekends are for skiing. If you are anything like my family, you may avoid road trips that just aren’t necessary. But there are a couple of regional attractions that we think are worth a winter drive. Most of these only last through spring, or earlier.

Ice Castles in Dillon

When: Now through as long as weather permits (typically until mid-February or early-March).

These magical twinkling castles built of ice were imagined and created by Brent Christensen. He started by building miniature versions of today’s castles in his backyard for his daughter. The first large ice castle was built in 2009. Since then, Christensen has built ice castles in a handful of locations around the United States and Canada each winter. We are lucky enough to have one just over the pass from us. These breathtaking creations are straight out of a fairy tale.

The Ice Castles at Dillon are located about an hour drive from Vail. Visitors will enjoy exploring ice caves, whizzing down ice slides while taking in the magical colors and ambiance of the ice castles. You may even discover an ice cave with thousands of glistening icicles forming a ceiling or a colorful fountain set in ice.

Insider Tip: Purchase tickets in advance and dress warm, including good snow boots and snow pants for anyone wanting to enjoy the ice slides.

‘DIOR: From Paris to the World’ Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum

When: Now through March 3.

Ideal for adults and mature art or fashion-loving kids, the “DIOR: From Paris to the World” Exhibit showcases 70 years of the House of Dior with more than 200 couture dresses. This exhibit is an interesting mesh of history, art and fashion. Old photos and videos are dispersed throughout the exhibit, nestled between striking couture gowns.

Christian Dior created haute couture expressing modern femininity, and inspiring protests due to his “waste” of fabric. His rise to fame occurred following World War II and eventually led him to run the first worldwide couture house. To have created a fashion house that has stood the test of time, he clearly was also a genius businessman.

What I found so interesting is how he and his successors, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri, found their inspiration. The creative process is fascinating. I am no fashion aficionado, but I do love art, history and especially a good story. Learn about the furniture designer who went on to head a couture house. The thousands of hours that went into hand cutting fabric designs for one dress is incredible. This exhibit is chock full of great stories, as well as dazzling dresses and accessories.

Insider Tip: If you are an arts lover and staying the night in Denver consider booking a room at The Curtis, a DoubleTree by Hilton. Each art-inspired floor of the hotel is fun to check out. Hyper Themed Rooms give guests the opportunity to hang to hang out with Marge Simpson and the Barbie crew, play Pac Man or waste away again in Margaritaville

Keystone Kidtopia Culinary Festival

When: Feb. 8 to 15.

We haven’t been to the Keystone Kidtopia Culinary Festival yet, but it is on our list and should be for anyone whose kids enjoy “Chopped Jr,.” Food Network’s “Star Kids,” “Cupcake Wars” or other cooking shows. This year’s festival features Nicholas Hornbostel, celebrity kid chef and Cricket Azima, founder and The Big Cheese of Kids Food Festival.

Led by Nicholas, the Quick Fire Challenge has kids working together to use the ingredients in front of them to whip up something yummy and filling as quickly as they can.

At Play with Your Food, kids get messy and build snow creatures and winter animals using a combination of fun finger foods. At Unique Eats with Nicholas kids will be challenged to try new food combinations, textures and flavors.

Cooking classes are available for the whole family. And kids won’t want to miss the all-day unicorn-themed party featuring sweet treats and desserts with a magical design.

‘Natura Obscura’ at the Museum of Outdoor Arts’ INDOOR museum

When: Now through April 29.

Another new art installation making our list of things to experience this winter is the “Natura Obscura” at the Museum of Outdoor Arts. Its resemblance to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe has us intrigued.

“Natura Obscura” is an immersive art experience that explores humanity’s ever changing relationship with nature through time. The art installation is described as an alternate dimensional and interactive experience. A partnership between Museum of Outdoor Arts, Prismagic and more than 30 local artists, “Natura Obscura” offers self-guided exploration through a surrealist, dreamlike forest that combines art, sculpture and the latest in virtual, augmented and digital technologies.

Cynthia Madden Leitner, Museum of Outdoor Arts president says, “We encourage people to wander among the surrealist forest where they will encounter fantastical woodland creatures and hopefully leave with a feeling of inspiration and excitement.”

Liana Moore is chief mama blogger at Insider Families. She can be reached at http://www.insiderfamilies.com, https:// http://www.instagram.com/insider families, http://www.facebook.com/InsiderFamilies or liana@insiderfamilies.com.