What do you get when you cross the quintessential family road trip with hands-on learning? A whole lot of fun, “schoolcation” style! The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) is helping families explore the Centennial State with plenty of excitement, opportunities for learning, and some snack stops along the way. (Donuts, anyone?)
The Colo-Road Trips Educational Itineraries cover eight distinct regions of our state and focus on everything from fossil quarries and gold mines to historic railroads and sculpture gardens. Each trip plan includes a combination of experiences like museum visits, nature walks, and farm stops, with accompanying educational activities for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. There are also suggestions for hotels and restaurants along the way.
The CTO partnered with a former educator to design activities that take the guesswork out of teaching and keeping kids engaged, while interacting with real life. “The itineraries are designed to be a fun and stress-free experience for parents to promote learning,” says Elizabeth O’Rear, the CTO’s senior manager of grant programs.
The idea for the itineraries stemmed in part from the pandemic-induced shutdown of classroom learning. The resulting stress on parents working from home, paired with new concerns about how well kids were learning in a virtual environment, led CTO director Cathy Ritter and her team to pay extra attention to new studies indicating that parents would likely be looking for supplemental educational opportunities this summer.
“We thought parents would relish the opportunity to take their kids on an educational road trip throughout their own state,” Ritter says. “And for parents, it could be a fun way to get to see a part of Colorado they may not know much about.”