Best Places to Take Kids in Denver, CO

As a family traveler it’s exciting planning visits to places you’ve always wanted to see. But with kids in tow you’ll need to plan some kid-friendly excursions to keep the boredom woes at bay.

This list is a comprehensive guide to the best spots to take your kiddos while traveling in Denver that’ll surely make lasting memories, they’ll beg you to bring them back!

1. Denver Zoo – This zoo is stocked full of amazing exhibits, great restaurants and thrilling events. The built in aquarium is designed to feel like you’re walking into a muggy rainforest and the animals are so close the kids feel like they’re really in the wild!

2. Denver Aquarium – Experience interactive fun like never before. With tanks that have cut outs for kids to stick their heads into so it feels like they’re swimming with the sharks, “real” mermaids that put on beautiful shows while swimming with the fish, and a sting ray cove where they can feed and touch the sting rays the Denver Aquarium is a thrilling experience for children of all ages! *Did I mention they also have tigers?!

3. Colorado Railroad Museum – Have a train lover? I know I do! This museum has real trains built into the side of a mountain kids can experience the history and beauty of old stream engines (and even ride them!) Thomas the Train comes every September for a fun train ride around the train yard! As well as the Polar Express with reenactments of the entire movie – It’s serious fun for the entire family!

4. Butterfly Pavilion – Ever wondered what it would be like to have thousands of butterflies surrounding you while you take in the smell of tropical flowers? It’s s a constant reality when you’re at the Butterfly Pavilion! They have so many interactive and educational stations for children of all ages it’s an amazing way to kill a few hours while letting your kids get their wiggles out and their minds growing!

5. Denver Museum of Nature and Science – This is a favorite of my family’s. Three stories of incredible history, interactive exhibits, an IMAX theatre and a planetarium. If you’re looking for a way to spend an entire day with the kids this is the spot. With a built in cafe and restaurant, a rotating travel exhibit area, and a kid’s indoor playground this is the place to bring the kids. Seriously one of our favorites!

6. Children’s Museum of Denver – Newly revamped and reimagined this eclectic museum has the coolest places for kids to play, learn and imagine. Another place to spend all day and wear them out (win-win!)

7. Elitch Gardens – Like amusement parks? You’ll LOVE this place. Stocked full of rides for people of all ages, you’ll easily spend an entire day drinking beers, riding crazy rollercoaster and eating some of the best comfort foods you can find!

8. Water World – One of my favorites since I was a kid. An amazing water park filled with some of the best rides and best funnel cakes Ive ever had. This is a MUST do on a warm summer day! Easy to spend an entire day here but definitely an unforgettable memory locale!

9. Denver Art Museum – Have an artsy kiddo? They’ll love the beautiful design of this building and even more beautiful sights inside (ha!). There is some gorgeous and unique art along with interactive STEM fun to keep kids engaged and happy 😉

10. KidSpace – STEM based play space for kiddos. An amazing spot for them to climb, play, learn and experience science with hands on exhibits. Also, it has a built in coffee shop, how cool is that?! It’s a spot we frequent for sure!

11. Little Monkey Bizness Westminster – Another absolute favorite of ours for sure. We come here about once a week, because it also has a coffee shop, an art room, and huge inflatables for kids to get ALL of that crazy energy out. they even have a spot for infants so they don’t get trampled on 😉 You can save 10% off with code SIMPLYKARALIZ_fff.

Obviously, outside of the Denver metro area, there are a million other amazing spots to hit but these are some of our Denver favorites that we go to often!

Looking for great recommendations on places outside of the city? Then check out this amazing post on fun things to do in Breckenridge, CO over at Champagne on Deck!

Provided by Champagne on Deck

Have another local spot you love? Comment with them below!

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Best Hidden Date Night Spots in Denver

I love Red Robin and Chili’s more than the next gal, but when you’re traveling and looking for a unique spot, you want something authentic and memorable. I’ve lived in Denver long enough to find the most amazing spots hidden in plain sight – And been desperate enough to try anywhere if that means making my babysitter time worthwhile, ha!

5. 740 Front – 740 Front St, Louisville, CO 80027 – $$

Built in 1904 this Louisville saloon restaurant has a lot of history with many stories to tell. But their greatest story is their phenomenal food. Known for their incredible seafood and steak, there are many amazing items to choose from so even the pickiest of eaters will find something they’ll adore. Their drinks are artfully handcrafted and their staff exudes sophistication. This is the perfect spot for a fancy night out for an anniversary, birthday, etc.

4. Ocean Prime1465 Larimer Street Denver, CO 80202 – $$$$

One of the best meals I’ve ever eaten was eaten here. Their food is incredible, their drinks are unique and dreamy, but their location is gorgeous. Right in downtown Denver you get an amazing view of Larimer Square that’s always lit up and always lively. This place is amazing if you’re looking for a classy dinner to impress and celebrate with a loved one. Try their lobster mac n’ cheese, seriously drool worthy.

3. EAT! Food and Drink – 520 Zang St N, Broomfield, CO 80021 – $

Love this place. It is tucked into a cute little strip mall but packs a big punch. Amazing food, along with gluten-free options, patio seating while sipping on a cold, refreshing cocktail, and pleasing conversations are only a few of the amazing qualities this place has to offer. The owner creates unique and thoughtful menu items that make it a place to try and remember!

2. Jack’s & Steamers – 8565 Five Parks Dr #100, Arvada, CO 80005 – $

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Owned by a former Olympic skier, Jack and his wife, Athan, own this incredible restaurant and created a training kitchen in order to support and employ people with developmental disabilities. Their kindness is not the only amazing thing they offer – Their unique and delicious menu keeps locals and travelers coming back time after time.

  1. Aspen Lodge Bar and Grill – 8125 W 94th Ave, Westminster, CO 80021 – $$

Literally, my number one favorite place to eat in Colorado. We’ve been coming for 6 years now and it’s become a tradition to take family and friends every-time they’re in town. Owned by Turkish native, Mesut, his restaurant is like a scene out of a Christmas lodge, but in the background, there is always Iron Maiden playing. An eclectic restaurant with American/Turkish foods will leave you full and happy. You’ll never experience anything quite like it anywhere else – When you come make sure to order his Mesut Burger (a traditional burger with a Turkish twist!) and his award winning Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich! Best place in Denver!

FOX 31 News – Toy Fair 2020

Hey y’all! For my third year in a row I’ll be promoting the New York Toy Fair on FOX 31 Denver! This year we’ve got some amazing products to promote – Ones that enhance creativity, reinforce screen-free play, and STEM based toys that provide educational fun!

With the rise in awareness among parents and the same being taught at schools, it has been noticed that most children are shifting to sustainable choices and that includes toys! Green Toys™ is a line of eco-friendly toys and children’s products Made in the USA
from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs.

Green Toys™ Stacking Cups are colorful and fun, and teach basic counting and math concepts. Six graduated cups, dozens of possibilities for bath and play time. Scoop and pour water, build towers by turning upside down, or just sort sizes to nest. Fill cups 1 and 2, for example, and it will equal the volume of cup 3. Ages: 6 months + MSRP $9.99

Green Toys™ Tide Pool Set is a set includes a starfish, scallop, abalone, snail, squid, and jellyfish. Scoop up water with the abalone and create a cascading waterfall with the holes along the edge, or fill the jellyfish and watch the water run down and out each of the legs. The palm-sized shells are the perfect size for scooping and pouring water to wash little ones in infant tubs, while also great for the beach and backyard, too. Ages: 6 months + MSRP $9.99

Green Toys™ Tugboat allows kids to embark on a cruise across the bathtub. Navigate the
wading pool and even splash around in the occasional mud puddle. There’s
no end to the fun! Ages: 6 months + MSRP $9.99

Twinkling Twilight Turtle – New Calming Lights + Soothing Sounds! Now with 2 soothing MELODIES and 100’s of stars that TWINKLE on and off in a colorful, magical light show. Projects constellations in blue, green or amber. Fun, vibrant light effect on shell. Two soothing melodies built in, with adjustable volume control. Available for all ages. MSRP $34.99.

Lil’ Shuckies Large Shell Case from WeCool – Unboxing, blind bags and slime continues to captivate children nationwide. This colorful clam shell is also a carrying case complete with all the essentials one needs to shuck their Lil’ Shuckies and store their discoveries. Includes clam tool, two glitzy slimes, magic and 60 colorful pearl beads and
a necklace string. MSRP: $19.99, AGES: 4+, is available at Walmart!

What’s Wrong with Grown-Ups?, a new card game from Authentic Agility
Games
because adults like to have fun too.. How often have you wished that your teen would stop playing video games, sending friends videos you can only hope are appropriate, and going out, and instead, share what they’re thinking… with you?

A fun way to engage kids of all ages, the 500-question card games creates an
open two-way dialog that allows you to make new connections and deepen
your bond. It’s simple to play as each participant rolls the dice and then selects the category in which you are asked to answer a related question.

There’s plenty of research out there reminding parents how important screen free play has become. From toys that teach fine motor skills to STEM, screen free play is essential for the growth of our children.

That’s where smART Pixelator comes in. The smART Pixelator empowers kids to design and build 2D and 3D projects using Bluetooth connectivity, easy-to-follow lights, and smART Pixel Beads, Sequins or Pegs. Right out of the box, kids have a choice of creating 50 step-by-step designs using Pixel Beads. A smART Pixelator app and any mobile device also let them engineer their own projects, encouraging customization and experimentation. Additional beads, sequins, pegs, and projects are available to keep the fun flowing. Ideal for kids 7 to 107 years old. MSRP: $59.99

Construction toys can help kids develop cognitive and social skill as well as fuel creativity.

CREATTO™ Light-Up Crafting Kits is a simple yet versatile building system that consists of just two primary components that can be woven together into countless 3D creations. The flexible yet durable plastic tiles interlock quickly and easily for all skill levels; no additional materials or hardware required! Each Creatto kit includes assembly instructions for four different configurations, but the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Add strings of colored LED lights to illuminate your works of art from the inside out. Five Creatto kits will be available Winter 2020. Creatto will be available in 3 fun sizes: mini, medi, and maxi.

Kids can choose to build the Moonlight Elephant Safari (MSRP $9.95; ages 6+), Magical
Moose & Forest Friends (MSRP $9.95; ages 6+), Starlight Kitty & Cutie Crew (MSRP
$19.95; ages 8+), Shimmer Shark & Ocean Pals (MSRP $29.95; ages 9+), or Sparkle
Unicorn & Friends (MSRP $29.95; ages 9+).

Harlem Globetrotters

All-New Harlem Globetrotters Pushing The Limits World Tour

I’ve been wanting to take my son to a Harlem Globetrotters show for FOREVER – Between their amazing athletic ability and their hilarious skits it’s a show the entire family will enjoy! We’ll be going with our best friends and we cannot wait to show y’all the pictures.. Or come with us! 25% off coupon below!

This is more than a basketball game. It is more than a show. It is the one and only Harlem Globetrotters in an all-new, larger-than-life world tour. You’ll be on your feet, out of your seat, laughing until it hurts and loving every moment. The 5th Quarter – The game isn’t over after the final shot! Meet your favorite Globetrotter court-side after the game to get an autograph and photo.

Don’t miss out – get your tickets today and save SAVE 25% for ALL Harlem Globetrotters Games with promo code FUNFAM. Must purchase 14 days before Game Date. https://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/world-tour/schedule http://www.usfamilyguide.com/coupon.php?bid=13043&dealid=2964

Mile High Epidemic – Teen Vaping

I’m sure y’all have heard comments like this before: “Vaping isn’t nearly as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.” or, “It’s just water vapor – How can that be worse for you than straight cigarettes?”.

Well, these thoughts and ideas are filling our teen’s heads and they believe they’re actually making a “safer” decision by keeping to e-cigarettes. In reality, a JUUL pod (an e-cigarette cartridge) contains the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes. TWENTY CIGARETTES.

Colorado youth are vaping nicotine at twice the national average and at the highest rate of 37 states surveyed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, most recently, on Sept. 12, 2018, the FDA declared vaping as an epidemic across the United States.

How terrifying is that?! Colorado is ranked at TWICE the national average. As the mother and step-mother of almost five children that absolutely horrifies me. That could be one of my children. My 14 year old step-son could so easily hear these misconceptions and think it’d be “cool” to try vaping and then get addicted. Getting hooked on e-cigarettes could introduce horrible chemicals and nicotine into his body and within a year it could be a gateway into actual cigarettes.

There is little known about the long-term effects of vaping, however it is proven to have negative effects on their mental development as it harms their memory capabilities and causes depression. There is enough going on in our teens’ brains at this vulnerable age and we cannot have them stunting it with smoking.

This is not the future I want for my children and that is the reality of many teens right now in our state and country. So I implore my fellow parents and educators to cultivate their children’s thinking on vaping, even if it is not cigarettes. It Still.. Isn’t.. Safe.

According to the Tobacco Free Colorado website, about half of Colorado high school students have tried vaping nicotine and a statewide school survey shows 87 percent of Colorado high school students think cigarette smoking is risky, but only 50 percent think those risks apply to vaping nicotine.

As parents, we hold the responsibility in informing our children of the risks – even if they don’t smoke or have never tried it. It’s important to bestow the knowledge onto them.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has created a suite of materials to help parents and askable adults to understand the risks of vaping, and prepare them to have informed conversations with teens about it. The materials are available on the new Tobacco Free Colorado website at www.TobaccoFreeCO.org/know-the-facts.

(I was compensated for this post in partnership with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. All opinions are my own and I truly feel passionate about this as my children are my world!)

KidSpace A Children’s Exploration Center

Y’all know I love to do local places – This is one I really love to take Hudson to! It’s fun, educational AND health conscious so wanted to share them with y’all incase you’re looking for some fun places to hit up during these cold Colorado winters!

You walk in and it just screams interstellar.. There are themed sections everywhere! You see scientific experiment games based on Archimedes’ work, a launch lab where kids can use different levels of strength to get a rocket ship to different planets, a ballistics zone where kids can run, play, climb and use air launchers to shoot balls – And SO much more!!

Wherever you look there’s STEM play and that’s an amazing feeling as a parent to have the opportunity to have your kids learn as they play! I believe STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is so crucial for children, especially at a young age as it allows their minds to bend and flex in ways they wouldn’t be able to ordinarily.

They have hourly planetarium shows in an amazing blow up igloo which is so fun for the kids!

Something all parents can appreciate is the extreme cleanliness of the entire facility – I never feel as though I’ve got to give Hudson a bath after he leaves! Another parent pleaser is the amazing full espresso bar with delicious coffees and healthy snacks!

The owners are so friendly and passionate about their creation and they should be. You can easily spend hours here.. So if you’re looking for a fun, indoor place to take your stir crazy kiddos – Bring them here!! You won’t be disappointed and they’ll be begging you to come back!

Boulder Clean Natural Cleaners

In our household we exclusively use eco-friendly, kid-safe products. As I’ve said many times before I believe that it is just as important what you put on your body as what you put in it. Our skin can easily absorb harsh chemicals – You wouldn’t ingest bleach would you? Then why spray it all over your home only to have it produce harmful fumes and toxic surfaces?

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My kids play in every inch of our home, so I would never want to douse it with chemicals I knew could easily get onto their hands and possibly in their mouths/eyes/nose/whatever! All of these and more are reasons to choose a natural cleaner. After trying all of the different natural cleaners I could I found that my favorite was always Boulder Clean. They’ve got all the items needed to tackle any type of house cleaning project: Laundry items, dishwashing products, soaps, cleaners and more!

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My dishes always come out cleaner, my clothes always come out smelling fresh and are safe for my kids’ skin, and their cleaner sprays smell amazing all with different surface cleaning specialties!

It took me awhile to adjust to the natural cleaners when I first got into it because I always thought bleach means clean but once you do your research and realize how much of a difference it makes for the environment and your families health you’ll never go back.. And Boulder Clean has their ingredients transparently listed on their website so you know exactly what you’re using!

Now, I want to help jump start some of y’all’s future in eco-friendly natural cleaners with a…..

GIVEAWAY!

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With back-to-school around I want to help you give your kids some fresh, amazing smelling clothes they’ll feel comfortable and irritation-free in! I’ll be giving away an entire laundry bundle to one lucky winner! This will include their Original Natural Laundry DetergentFabric Softener Dryer Spray, and Oxi-Smart Pre-Treat Stain Remover SprayI use these for my family and they’re incredible (Especially the Stain Remover Spray! I actually spilled red wine on my favorite white shirt and it took it out like friggin’ magic!)

Giveaway is hosted on my Instagram so head there to enter! Contest will end September 29th at 12:00PM MST so get those entries in! <3

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Marcella’s Ristorante, Pizzeria and Wine Bar Launches New Sunday Brunch with Italian-Inspired Menu

My FAVORITE Denver restaurant – Marcella’s Ristorante, Pizzeria & Wine Bar, located in the LoHi neighborhood of Denver, is thrilled to announce the launch of Sunday brunch featuring chef-driven cuisine inspired by authentic Italian recipes. The menu includes shareable antipasti, hot and cold plates, pizzas, soups, salads, pastas and delicious brunch entrees. There will be Sangria Sundays, $20/person bottomless; Bellinis, mimosas and bloody Mary’s in addition to Italian wines, handcrafted cocktails and local beer. To kick-off brunch, the restaurant will offer bottomless sangria for just $10 on Sunday, August 19 and Sunday, August 26.

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“Brunch has become a widely popular event for locals and visitors alike,” said Dain Cooke, general manager at Marcella’s. “We are thrilled to bring it to our LoHi location and offer guests a chef-driven menu with Italian-inspired twists. From brunch celebrations and day parties to family and communal gatherings, our Sunday brunch has something special for everyone.”

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The brunch menu includes specialties like: a Nutella Waffle with chocolate, hazelnut and whipped butter; a Ricotta Crespelle with crepes, macerated strawberries and marcona almonds; and Short Rib Hash with Yukon gold potatoes, pepperonata and sweet garlic sauce. In addition, there are such items as Truffle Eggs with poached eggs, toasted ciabatta and taleggio as well as Shrimp Polenta with poached eggs, toasted garlic, tomato and basil.

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Marcella’s seats 152 guests inside and 40 guests on the patio, which faces downtown Denver. The large patio offers unobstructed views of the city. Marcella’s is located at 1801 Central Street in LoHi. Free parking is available in the Centric building where the restaurant is located and complimentary valet is available on weekends for dinnertime.

Marcella’s is open Monday-Thursday from 4-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight; Sunday for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 3-9 p.m. On Denver Broncos home game Sundays, Marcella’s will open at 9 a.m.

For more information visit marcellasrestaurant.com or follow them on Instagram @Marcellasdenver.

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ABOUT MARCELLA’S RISTORANTE, PIZZERIA & WINE BAR

Marcella’s Ristorante, Pizzeria & Wine Bar, located in the LoHi neighborhood of Denver, is a bustling Italian café featuring chef-driven cuisine inspired by authentic Italian recipes and serving Italian wines, handcrafted cocktails and local beer. The restaurant offers shareable antipasti, hot and cold plates, pizzas, pastas and entrees. Marcella’s bar provides a vibrant venue for sampling 50 Italian wines served by the bottle or quartino, as well as handcrafted cocktails and weekday happy hour from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The restaurant is located at 1801 Central Street in Denver and is open for dinner Monday-Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday for dinner from 4 p.m. to midnight; and dinner from 4 p.m. to midnight; Sunday for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Denver Broncos home game days the restaurant will open at 9 a.m. For more information visit marcellasrestaurant.com or follow us on Instagram @Marcellasdenver.

Birch Benders

As y’all already know – We’re big paleo eaters. It’s been amazing for our health but it can be a little challenging at times when cravings kick in. A big one in my family is waffles and pancakes. Hudson is obsessed with waffles and the kids always want pancakes on the weekends. However, I really hate using regular sugar and flour – So much bleach, gunk and chemicals, so I would take forever trying to make paleo pancakes and they’d only come out “okay”.

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But when I stumbled across a Birch Benders’ Paleo Waffle/Pancake mix in Sprouts I was SO excited. “Only Add Water SO much easier than 20 minutes worth of trying to get the consistency and taste justtt right.

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Well.. 2 years later and it is a staple in our home. That long being a customer and I happened to get an invite to an exclusive writer’s event thanks to Sprouts to Birch Bender’s Denver office!! I was literally giddy!

Once we got there we were greeted by the sweetest people ever – Their employees were so friendly, really passionate about their product and just happy with life (I would too if I worked for such a fun company!)

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The event was hosted by Sprouts and as usual they supplied delicious meals and drinks! Thanks Sprouts, y’all are the best!

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Now.. Something I hadn’t known (Not sure HOW) was that they had created some DELICIOUS new products – Frozen Waffles!! Even PALEO waffles which they had learned to make straight from master waffle makers in Belgium.. How amazing it that?! They were so dedicated to creating delicious and healthy waffles that they searched all over the world. That is a company I love to support!

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Now I had a delicious, REALLY quick option for Hudson for breakfast since he’s obsessed with waffles! (And not just any kind… But specifically the frozen kind, because it’s an on-the-go-can-hold-it-while-I-am-rambunctious kind of waffle.. LOL) They taste just like a normal waffle but fill my children’s tummies with the good, wholesome ingredients they deserve.

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Their theme for the event was Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches. They had a whole bar set up ready with all their new waffle types, different ice cream options and toppings. It was so delicious and brilliant – Decided I am going to do this for Hudson’s birthday party in November at the Colorado Railroad Museum! It’s going to be SO fun, so you’ll be seeing more of these kinds of photos soon 😉

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Birch Benders is such an amazing company – Not just because of their delicious products but because of their passion behind it. We’ve been their fans for 2 years now but this event has only exacerbated this.. We’ll forever be Birch Benderites and we’re so proud they’re in our gorgeous state!

_20180717_182333Thanks Sprouts and Birch Benders for such an amazing experience!

Massage Benefits

As an active Mom with an even more active little man I am constantly tired (Like any other parent 😉 ) With fitting in exercise as often as I can, getting us out of the house 4-5 days a week for activities and being a house wife I am constantly on the go and although I’m only 26 I feel it catching up with me where I would welcome a nap with a smile and a mini-mom tear.20180120_133642.png

So I cannot be thankful enough for my biweekly massage. It isn’t just for releasing stress and aches and pains but preventing my pinch nerve problems in my neck that cause my arms to go numb when I over-exert. I’m a parent – I ALWAYS over-exert.20180120_133700.pngHaving Bodhi Body know specifically what my problem areas and concerns are make it a pleasurable yet needed appointment. If you’ve got an issue like that I highly recommend you checking them out or if you’re out of state trying your own local therapists. It makes a WORLD of difference!

Also, for those weight loss or strengthening New Years resolutions, when you feel stiff and achy from exercising when it may have been awhile or you’re trying something new it can be so disheartening to get back onto that yoga mat for more! But getting a massage totally works those aches and gets you back and ready for more by the next day!Screenshot_20180120-133729.jpg

It’s all around beneficial and I LOVE my massage studio. Stephanie is the best and it’s an adorable yet relaxing environment that puts you at peace as soon as you walk in. Try them out for yourself if you’re in the Denver area! Free 30 minute massage with code SIMPLY .

(I am compensated for these posts and my affiliate code, however all opinions are my own!)