Take the T-Rex Express aboard the Durango Train!

Durango train T-Rex Express reptiles
Photo: Durangotrain.com

June is already National DJ Month, National Adopt a Cat Month and even National Accordion Awareness Month (no, we’re not making these up), but we think we should add another one to the list: T-Rex Express Month!

That’s because the Durango train will be running its T-Rex Express train to the Dinosaur Discovery Zone on June 16, 17, 23 and 24. The dinosaur-themed train is perfect for Durango visitors or locals on summer vacation because a) duh, dinosaurs and b) there are three departures each day — 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. — making it a quick, fun, educational excursion.

During the outing, kids can earn the title of “Junior Paleontologist” by participating in educational activities. The T-Rex Express excursion starts at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad depot in downtown Durango where kiddos can get their photo taken with a “live” T-Rex skeleton as it roams the grounds looking for a tasty treat.

The T-Rex Express train then departs for a 30-minute ride through Durango and the Animas Valley, back in time to the Mesozoic Era. During the trip, each child can learn about the contents of their individual paleo pouch from on-board safari guides who also tell them about what they will find when they reach the Dinosaur Discovery Zone.

The T-Rex Express then stops and lets everyone disembark. At the Dinosaur Discovery Zone, kids can use their Evidence Collection Cards to learn about dinosaurs and collect information about how dinosaurs lived on Earth.

At the Discovery Dinosaur Zone, families will also find:

  • Live musical entertainment with dinosaur-themed songs and the featured Dino
  • Stomp Line Dance
  • Raptor Tractor Ride through the Mesozoic Era
  • Colorado Gators Live Reptile Exhibit
  • Temporary tattoos and dinosaur-themed face painting
  • Dino Diner Food Tent featuring kid-friendly fare (Meal Prices range from $5-$10
  • Paleontologists from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
  • Paleontologists from Fort Lewis College Department of Geo Science
  • Horseshoes
  • Fossil Finders Excavation
  • Prehistoric Putt Putt
  • Snowcones- Lion’s Club Fundraiser
  • For adults, beer will be available for sale at Dinosaur Park

After a 90-minute stint in the Mesozoic Era, it will be time to once again board the Durango train’s T-Rex Express to head back to present-day Durango! During the train ride back, children can munch on a delicious dinosaur snack from their train car attendant. And, finally, each child will receive a T-REX Express Junior Paleontologist badge when they arrive at the Durango depot!

While you’re visiting Durango for summer vacation, be sure to check out the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites! Our hotel is under new ownership and is one of the best hotels in Durango for families (and couples and just people in general). We’re located on Main Avenue, just a quick trip and straight shot north of downtown Durango. Summer is our busy season, so book your room with the Econo Lodge Durango today!

2018 Animas River Days

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Animasriverdays.com

In 1880, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad chose a site on the banks of the Animas River for its depot, and the rest, as they say, is history. The city grew up around the river and still hugs its shores today, so what could be more Durango than a festival celebrating it?

Animas River Days takes place Saturday, June 2, and celebrates the river and Durango’s love of it. It all began when local paddling legend Nancy Wiley put on the first whitewater rodeo in Durango in 1983. Over the years, Animas River Days has drawn world-class paddlers and water pros from all around the world. The city’s famed whitewater park opened in 2014 and in four short years has hosted national competitions, including the U.S. National team trials for freestyle, slalom, and wild water events as well as the U.S. National Championships in slalom and open canoe slalom.

The festival takes place at Santa Rita Park, where the city’s whitewater park makes for perfect kayaking, canoeing, rafting, surfing and paddleboarding competitions as well as an inflatable floatie rodeo and — everyone’s favorite — a river parade.

River-lovers and fun-seekers can enjoy food and vendor booths, a beer garden and kids’ activities all day long.

Thursday, May 31

The 35th annual Animas River Days kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 31, with the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at Animas City Theater. Tickets are $15 and available at 4Corners Riversports and the film festival includes free prizes, food and drink!

Saturday, June 2

The main event takes place Saturday, June 2, at Santa Rita Park on the banks of the Animas River at 2700 Main Ave.

  • 8:30-10:30 a.m. — Kayak and Canoe Slalom, Sponsored by Durango Whitewater
  • 10:30-11:15 a.m. — Expert SURF/SUP Competition (Wave TBD), Sponsored by Badfish
  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Smelter Smackdown Raft Slalom, Sponsored by the Animas Amazons
  • Noon — Ska Beer Garden and Toast Mobile Lounge Open, No outside alcohol allowed, no dogs allowed
  • 12:45-1:30 p.m. — Junior Freestyle Kayak
  • 1-1:30 p.m. — Inflatable Rodeo, Sponsored by 4Corners Riversports
  • 1:45-2:45 p.m. — Boatercross, Sponsored by Ska Brewing
  • 2:45-3:30 p.m. — Pro Surf/SUP Competition (Wave TBD), Sponsored by Badfish  *Prelims Friday Night*
  • 3-4 p.m. — Expert Freestyle Kayak
  • 4-5:30 p.m. — Pro Freestyle Kayak Finals, Sponsored by The Greenery *Prelims Friday Night*
  • 6-7:30 p.m. — Parade Viewing Party with Posh Josh doing a riverside DJ set
  • 10 p.m. — Late Night Party at El Rancho Tavern featuring the jams of J-Calvin’s Funk Express. Get your groove on!

Park your kayak and put your feet up at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites. Our Durango hotel is 2 miles north of Santa Rita Park, and we love a good river parade! Book your room at the Econo Lodge Durango today!

 

2018 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

 

2012 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic
Photo: Scott DW Smith Photography

Which is faster: a train or a bicycle? That was the pressing question between two competitive brothers who raced each other from Durango to Silverton.

In 1971, cycling enthusiast Tom Mayer was living in Durango and loved riding the roads in the area. His brother, Jim, was a brakeman on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. One day they bet a candy bar to see who would reach Silverton first: Tom on his 10-speed or Jim on the Durango train. Jim was surprised to pull into the Silverton station to see Tom waiting for him.

That famous ride birthed Tom’s idea to turn it into a race, and now the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic has been a favorite Durango bike race since 1972. This year will be the 47th year of the classic road race that includes three days of events over Memorial Day weekend:

Friday, May 25, 2018

  • 3-7 p.m. — Final Packet Pickup Buckley Park
  • Narrow Horse Swim
  • 3-8 p.m. — Steamworks Faceplant Party with beer, live music, vendors and bike parade at Buckley Park in downtown Durango
  • Iron BMX

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sunday May 27, 2018

Whether you’re in Durango to compete in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, to support an athlete or simply to enjoy the festivities, stay with us at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites! We’re one of the best Durango hotels for this event. We’re located only half a mile north of Buckley Park, which is a straight shot on Main Avenue. The Econo Lodge Durango is under new ownership, so come check us out and reserve your room today!

Celebrate Mother’s Day in Durango

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Mother’s Day can be a tough one to celebrate with new ideas every year, so everyone defaults to brunch. Brunch, brunch, brunch. And don’t get us wrong — we love a good brunch, especially with mimosas, a Bloody Mary and/or bacon. But there are so many other ways to celebrate your mom in Durango this Mother’s Day. And what do moms want most of all? To get to spend time with the people they love, to be appreciated, and, of course, to have you put away your dang shoes.

Here are some non-brunch ideas for things to do in Durango this Mother’s Day that Mom will love.

Mother’s Day Train

This Mother’s Day, book a seat for Mom on the Durango train! The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s Mother’s Day Train Adventure departs Durango at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, May 13, takes passengers on a scenic journey through the Animas River Valley and the San Juan Mountains to Silverton. There, passengers can disembark for a two-hour stint in the picturesque Victorian-era mining town before boarding to return to Durango. On the trip back, mothers will receive a fresh flower and a chocolate treat and can sip on some special Mother’s Day rosé while listening to strolling musicians play in the passenger cars.

Art Experiences

The Art Experience in downtown Durango has several art classes and painting parties planned Mother’s Day weekend (although none on actual Mother’s Day). Take Mom out for an early celebration with the “Owl Painting Party” Friday night. During the two-hour event, an instructor will walk painters through the process of an acrylic painting from start to finish. Other options include a watercolor painting class Saturday evening and an acrylic pouring workshop Saturday night. Acrylic pouring is extra cool, and participants will create up to three different pieces of acrylic poured art!

Another artsy option is the Annual Spring Gallery Walk on Friday, May 11, in downtown Durango. The evening will kick off with an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. at Sorrel Sky Gallery with Colorado artist Edward Aldrich. Several downtown art galleries will be open 5-9 p.m. for visitors to explore and enjoy.

 

Shopping

Maybe you’re like me and your early tween mother-daughter bonding experiences involved retail therapy. Which, sometimes meant you needed actual therapy afterward, but hey. Some of my fondest memories are shopping with Mom, so you may want to take Mom shopping this weekend — and you have plenty of options. In addition to the great everyday shopping in historic downtown Durango, you have some special shopping options this weekend.

The Durango Farmers Market opens this Saturday for the summer! The Farmers Market is every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of First National Bank of Durango at 259 W. Ninth St. Peruse local produce and products including fruits, veggies and herbs, local meats, cheeses and eggs, and handmade arts, crafts and jewelry.

Also, on Mother’s Day, the Durango Flea Market is an open-air market every Sunday in the La Plata County Fairgrounds parking lot. Shoppers will find everything they’re looking for (and plenty they’re not but need anyway): antiques, housewares, clothing, jewelry, toys, sporting goods, food and who knows what other treasures!

All of these options are close to — you guessed it — us, the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites! We’re located at 20th Street and Main Avenue in Durango, so we’re within blocks of downtown and nearby restaurants, shops and galleries. If you want to treat Mom to a weekend away, or bring her for a visit, we’re one of the best hotels in Durango. Book your room at the Econo Lodge Durango today!

Durango Train: Narrow Gauge Day

Durango Train Narrow Gauge Day
Photo: Durangotrain.com

Train season has arrived in Durango! Well, technically, every season is train season in Durango, but the time has come for the Durango train to start running all the way to Silverton for the summer.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad begins its 137th year of continuous train operations between Durango and Silverton. The train first started running the route in 1882. Every winter, the train stops running the full route to Silverton and instead offers scenic rides to Cascade Canyon wye, which is “train talk” for a place to turn locomotives or trains around, then returns to Durango.
During the summer, passengers can do the full round-trip route to and from Silverton or opt to take the Durango train one way (up or down) and a bus back to shave some time off the journey.

Narrow Gauge Day

May 4th is Narrow Gauge Day for the Durango train! Come out to kick off another year of Durango-to-Silverton train service at the depot in downtown Durango. This year marks the 20th anniversary since American Heritage Railways bought the Durango train, so this year’s festivities will celebrate that anniversary.
Things get crackin’ with the annual free picnic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 4, at the Durango depot in downtown. Volunteers will be grilling hot dogs and serving up chips and soda. Snoopy will be making an appearance to say howdy to kids and kids-at-heart. And The Bar D Wranglers will be singing some amazing tunes, so don’t miss out!
Two recently renovated passenger cars — the premium Nomad and standard Coach 333 — will be on display as well as some locomotives and other railroad equipment. Guests Durango_train_arriving_depotare welcome to take tours and visit the D&SNG Railroad Museumto explore the

exhibits and check out a crowd favorite: the model train. If you haven’t been for a while, you can’t miss the museum’s new 600-gallon aquarium that houses Colorado River Cut Throat Trout!

Also, if you’re not familiar with the annual Durango Cowboy Gathering, you should be — and now you can be because they’ll be at Narrow Gauge Day to tell you about the festival coming up in October.
Free tree seedlings will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so get there early to get your free tree, courtesy of owner/CEO Al Harper.

Ride the First Train of the Season!

You can ride the first (or second) train of the season to Silverton on Saturday, May 5. Board the first train departing Durango at 8:45 a.m. or the second one at 9:30 a.m. — the first Silverton passenger trains of the 2018 season. Costumed interpreters will be on board strolling from car to car, entertaining passengers with stories and historic tidbits.

Stay with us!

The Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites is located at 2002 Main Ave., a straight 1.2-mile shot north of the Durango depot in downtown. We’re a quick drive or an even easier trolley ride to downtown Durango and the Durango train depot. Come for Narrow Gauge Day, stay to ride the first Silverton trains on Saturday and spend Sunday exploring the town! Book your room at the Econo Lodge Durango today!