Weekend Escape: June 14-20

It’s the Weekend Escape, just in time for Father’s Day! Enjoy some family fun this weekend in and around Douglas County.

Thursday, June 14

Highlands Ranch: Summer Concert Series, 6:30-8PM, FREE
It’s Summer Concert Series season! Pack a picnic and enjoy the music of a local band at Highland Heritage Regional Park. Kona Ice will be serving shaved ice. More details here.

Parker: Chess Club, 7-9PM, FREE
Make it a game night! Drop by our Parker location for some friendly chess competition for players of all ages and abilities. More info here.

Saturday, June 16

Castle Rock: Classic Rock Cruise-In Car Show, 10AM-3PM, FREE
Classic cars and live music — a perfect day for dads! This event in downtown Castle Rock also has bounce houses and family activities, plus food vendors on-site. More details here.

Castle Rock: SuperDad’s Day at the Outlets at Castle Rock, 1-3PM, FREE
Celebrate Father’s Day with a “super” themed experience that includes a meet and greet with different superheroes from iconic movies and comics, life-size board games, and a live DJ playing a superhero score. Wear a cape and receive a $5 Outlets at Castle Rock gift card, then shop for dad’s gift! Learn more.

Roxborough: Arrowhead Shores Concert Series, 6-9PM, FREE
That Eighties Band kicks off the Arrowhead Shores concert series. Enjoy live music, food and activities for all ages. Bring your own chairs, blankets and coolers. More info here.

Sunday, June 17

Castle Rock: Farmers Market, 11AM-3PM, FREE
Shop local produce, herbs, spices, honey and more at Festival Park. Learn more.

Lone Tree: Craft Lab, 2-4PM, FREE
Drop by the Studio in our Lone Tree location and make something crafty — like a gift for dad. More info here.

Littleton: Father’s Day Eagle Fest, 5:30-7PM, $
Presented by the Audubon Society of Greater Denver in partnership with Hawkquest. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy a presentation of live eagles, falcons and other birds of prey, as well as other outdoors experiences. Drinks and desserts provided. Get more info here.

Wednesday, June 20

Parker: An Evening With Author Craig Grossi & Fred the Dog, 6:30-8:30PM, FREE
Craig is a former U.S. Marine who met Fred the dog on an Afghan battlefield. They’ll join us at our Parker branch to talk about how they rescued each other, and their new book, Craig & Fred. Books will be sold, including a Young Readers edition for ages 8-plus. Register here!

Lone Tree: Summer Solstice Guided Nature Hike in the Bluffs, 6-7:30PM, FREE
Celebrate the summer solstice in the Colorado outdoors. A professional naturalist will guide this hike in the Bluffs and provide info on how other cultures celebrate the first evening of summer and longest day of the year. Learn more here.

More Fun + Food

If you’re looking for good eats and fun treats this weekend, you found it! The Denver BBQ Festival features a whole lotta hog June 15-17. Indulge in Greek cuisine and festive music and entertainment at the Denver Greek Festival, June 15-17 — you don’t have to be Greek to have a good time! Escape to the “magical realm” of the Colorado Renaissance Festival, which kicks off Saturday, June 16.

Still More…

Create your own adventure with an Adventure Pass! Use your library card to book a pass to any of eight local cultural attractions.

Aspen Grove’s Family Film Night is Thursday, June 14, starting at 7 p.m. Kids can enjoy a jumpy house and bounce obstacle course, followed by a showing of The Wizard of Oz at dusk, for FREE!

Got extra energy? JumpStreet’s 10 Buck Tuesdays and Thursdays are back at its Littleton and Greenwood Village locations — jump for two hours for $10.

Weekend Escape: June 8-13

Looks like this weekend will be a scorcher. Stay cool at one of these family-friendly events in and around Douglas County this weekend.

Friday, June 8

Castle Pines: Learn Origami, 4-5PM, FREE

Learn how to create a new paper project at Douglas County Libraries in Castle Pines. Learn more.


Parker: Parker Days, 5PM-Midnight, $

Enjoy carnival rides and games at this annual fair. The fair started on Thursday night and goes all weekend. Learn more.


Parker: Parker Days – BMX Sports Bike & Slackline Competition, 6-9PM, FREE

See some of the best athletes compete in these performances that are happening all weekend long at Parker Days. Learn more.


Saturday, June 9 

Parker: Parker Days Parade, 8:45AM, FREE

What is a festival without a good parade? This year’s parade theme is Hometown Heroes. There will be marching bands, floats, horses and more! Learn more.


Highlands Ranch: KidFest, 9AM-Noon, FREE

Visit Civic Green Park for activities, live entertainment, and more. Come party in your own backyard. Learn more.


Highlands Ranch: Classic Car Show, 10AM-2PM, FREE

Enjoy a day of classic cars, food, drink and music. Learn more.

Castle Rock: 22nd Annual Ducky Derby, 11AM-5PM, FREE-$

Stop by Festival Park to see the annual ducky derby race. There will be food, fun, kid activities and more. The race starts at 3PM. Learn more.


Lone Tree: STEAMWorks, 2PM, FREE

Teens, drop by our Lone Tree branch to explore STEAM-related topics with experiments and more! Learn more.


Highlands Ranch: LEGO DIBS, 2PM, FREE

Families can escape the heat by building LEGO creations at the library. Learn more.


Sunday, June 10

Parker: Parker Days Car Show, 8AM-2PM, FREE

Enjoy some classic old cars during the fair. Learn more.


Highlands Ranch: Around the World with Crafts & Activities, 12-2PM, FREE

Families can learn about different countries through fun activities at the library. Learn more.


Still More…
Celebrate National Get Outdoors Day on Saturday, June 9, at Sloan’s Lake Park with games and activities. Or journey up to the mountains to enjoy the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail this weekend; it is filled with family-friendly activities. If you want to stay closer to home, stop by the Denver Berkeley Park Art & Music Festival to view stunning fine art and entertain the kiddos at the Creation Station where they can make their own masterpieces. 

Weekend Escape: May 31-June 6

Welcome to the DCL Weekend Escape! Enjoy some family time at these events happening in and around Douglas County this weekend.

Friday, June 1

Highlands Ranch: Snakes, Snakes, Snakes at Fly’n B Park, 10-11AM, $

Explore the world of snakes and learn how they survive in Highlands Ranch. Meet Little Miss, the Metro District’s bull snake, and complete a fun craft to take home. Learn more and register here.

Saturday, June 2

All DCL locations: Summer Reading Kickoff Party, 10AM-Noon, FREE

Kick off a summer of reading adventures at an Escape to Neverland Summer Reading Program kickoff party. Kids can craft their very own pirate hats or crowns, dig for treasure, walk the plank, get their faces painted, and more. Register at your preferred location here.

Castle Rock: Starlight Movie Night at Festival Park, 2-10PM, FREE

Celebrate the summer grand opening of Festival Park with music, food, free bounce houses, kids activities, and a movie — Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (PG-13). Movie starts at dusk. Learn more here.

Parker: Cattle Crossing 5K & Family Fun Trek, 8AM, $

Celebrate summer and Parker’s rich rural history by running the Cattle Crossing 5K or a 1-mile family fun trek. Kids 8 and under can participate in the Kids’ Dash for free. More details here.

Parker: Wheels for Wheels Car Show, 9AM-2PM, FREE

This charity event features collector cars, live music, and a live radio broadcast, as well as food and soft drinks. The event raises funds for Kids Mobility Network, a local nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs to kids with disabilities. Learn more here.

Sunday, June 3

Highlands Ranch: Farmers Market, 10AM-2PM, FREE

Pick up fresh fruits and veggies, sauces, pastas, flowers, bread and much more from a variety of local vendors. Learn more.

Parker: Farmers Market, 8AM-1PM, FREE

Shop for fresh fruits, veggies and baked goods from more than 70 local vendors. More details here.

Monday, June 4

Highlands Ranch: Camp DCL: Be an Astronaut, 1:30-5PM (June 4-8), $

A few spots remain at our weeklong, half-day camp that’s all about aerodynamics, the science of flight, and more! Ages 6-12. Register now!

Castle Rock: Chess Club, 6PM, FREE

Drop in for friendly chess competition for all ages and abilities. Learn more.

Wednesday, June 6

Highlands Ranch: STEAMWorks, 4PM, FREE

Explore science, technology, engineering, arts and math through fun hands-on activities. More info.

Lone Tree: Guided Nature Hike in the Bluffs: Sunset Bird Watching, 7PM, FREE

Lace up your hiking boots and grab your binoculars for this gentle, naturalist-guided 2-mile stroll where birds are most visible and active. Learn more and/or sign up here.


Free Fishing Weekend Statewide!
Visit your favorite stream, river or lake for free fishing June 2-3 anywhere in Colorado — no fishing license required! Stop by any DCL location to check availability of a free state parks pass through our Check Out Colorado program and do your fishing at a beautiful state park.


Still More…
Check out the People’s Fair in Denver, June 1-3, or the Denver Chalk Art Festival, June 2-3. Both are free and offer kid-friendly entertainment and fun. Enjoy a FREE day at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms in Littleton or the York Street location in Denver on Tuesday, June 5, during regular garden hours.

Weekend Escape: May 25-30

Welcome to the DCL Weekend Escape! This is the place to find family-friendly fun in Douglas County.

Here’s what is happening throughout the county this holiday weekend. Reminder: All Douglas County Libraries locations will be closed on Monday, May 28, in observance of Memorial Day.

Friday, May 25

Lone Tree: The Big Bounce America, 2:30-6:30PM, $

Need to keep the kids entertained now that school is out? Experience 10,000 square feet of inflatable fun at The Big Bounce America at Meridian Commons Park. There are toddler, junior, bigger kid, and adult sessions happening all weekend, Friday-Sunday. This is a ticketed event. Learn more here.

Highlands Ranch: Culture on the Green: Alice in Wonderland, 6:30PM, FREE

Have an evening picnic in Civic Green Park while the International Youth Ballet performs Alice in Wonderland. Learn more here.

Saturday, May 26

Castle Rock: Saturday Surprise, 10AM, FREE

Drop in at our Castle Rock branch to learn something new. Past “surprise” topics have run the gamut from needlecrafts to podcasting. More details here.

Castle Rock: Memorial Day Run & March, $

Veterans and civilians run to raise funds and food donations to help homeless veterans. Choose from an easy 5K walk, stroll, run or ruck; a 10K run or ruck; or a challenging 30K ruck at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. The 5K route is family- and dog-friendly; kids 12 and under get free entry. Learn more here.

Highlands Ranch: Highlands Ranch Field Day & Picnic, 9AM-6PM, FREE

Play sports or carnival games, snack on food truck fare, and more at Redstone Park! For a full list of activities, go here.

Roxborough: Bird Banding Station, 9:30AM & 10:30AM, $

Program participants will watch research in action and see warblers, sparrows, woodpeckers, thrushes, and other songbirds up close at the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies bird banding research station. Pre-registration is required; do so here.

Sunday, May 27

Parker: Farmers Market, 8AM-1PM, FREE

Select fresh-baked bread and newly picked fruits and vegetables for your family’s upcoming meals in downtown Parker. Learn more here.

Highlands Ranch: Red, White & “Brew” Run, 10AM, $

Stroller- and dog-friendly race at Grist Brewing in Highlands Ranch. Kids under 12 run for free. Learn more here.

Highlands Ranch: Farmers Market, 10AM-2PM, FREE

Select fresh-baked bread and newly picked fruits and vegetables for your family’s upcoming meals in the Highlands Ranch Town Center. Learn more here.

Lone Tree: Sunday Surprise, 2PM, FREE

Visit our Lone Tree branch this Sunday to explore science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Learn more here.

Monday, May 28

Parker: Memorial Day Veterans’ Service of Remembrance, 10AM, FREE

Ponderosa Valley Funeral Services and J.S. Parker Cemetery invite you to share and participate in this Memorial Day ceremony honoring our beloved veterans. Learn more here.

Highlands Ranch: Memorial Day Service, 11:45AM, FREE

Join the Highlands Ranch community in honoring the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country at the Highlands Ranch Veterans Monument. More info here.


Looking to travel outside the county this weekend? There are several events happening throughout the state. For quick day trips, check out Territory Days in Colorado Springs, the Arts Festival or South Gaylord Memorial Weekend Festival in Denver, or the Boulder Creek Festival in Boulder.


Visit a museum — for free! Did you know you can use your library card to reserve an Adventure Pass to one of our participating institutions?

17 Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

Expecting a tax refund this year? Is it already burning a hole in your pocket? We can help. Here are 17 ways to splurge on Amazon.

Note: You can feel good about treating yourself when you shop using AmazonSmile. Simply designate Douglas County Libraries Foundation as your charitable organization of choice, and Amazon will donate a portion of the price of your purchase to our Foundation. And yes, you can buy any of these products, and everything else on Amazon, using AmazonSmile.

Let’s shop!

1. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9

A fun way to capture all the moments. Instantaneously. In print!

2. Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Saute/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer & Warmer)

Instant pots are all the rage right now. This one happens to be a 7-in-1 multifunctional cooker, so you get more bang for your buck. Check out DCL’s selection of instant pot cookbooks, too!

3. 23andMe DNA Test

Now this is a splurge! Take the plunge and learn about your ancestry.

4. Endoscope Camera

Guys love this cool gadget! It’s great for exploring hard-to-reach spaces, especially when repairs are needed. Typical uses include car engine repairs, plumbing repairs, ventilation, and so on. Looks fun. Hip tip: Father’s Day is June 17. Mother’s Day is May 13. (Because moms are handy, too!)

5. Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Pillow

Who can resist something called Snuggle-Pedic? And it’s hypoallergenic, and dust mite resistant. Splurge and buy two!

6. Sloths on a Vine Picture Hangers

Adorable. Period. A must-have for sloth lovers everywhere. And it won’t set you back too much either.

7. Coleman Retro Cooler

Who remembers these classic coolers? Start making new fun family memories with this updated version.

8. Portable Smoker

Take it with you when you go camping. See also Coleman Retro Cooler above.

9. Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat

This durable, sustainable yoga mat has gotten great reviews on Amazon.

10. Faux Fur Pillow

Add a little luxe to your decor, no harm done. Love this pillow! Your pets probably will, too.

11. Cashmere Travel Throw Set

Yes, please! Talk about luxe. You can feel like a million bucks even if you’re flying coach.

12. Cuisinart Griddler

This countertop appliance also works as a panini press, full griddle, and contact grill. One reviewer says it’s great for grilling vegetables, too.

13. Yamaha Acoustic Guitar

This guitar gets great reviews on Amazon. If you’re looking for lessons, try Lynda.com. You can access it for free on our website, using just your library card number and PIN.

14. Cotton Acupressure/Acupuncture Mat

This mat is touted to help activate the body’s natural healing receptors. It’s gotten great reviews on Amazon so far.

15. French Press Coffee Maker

Reviewers say it makes great tasting coffee, even cold-pressed.

16. Laptop Backpack

According to reviewers, the best features of this backpack are that it’s waterproof, has a combination (anti-theft) lock, and has a charging port and headphone interface. Note: You must supply your own battery pack.

17. Insulated Growler

Keeps your favorite ale cold, or your favorite coffee hot. All 2 quarts of it (that’s 64 ounces)! It’s stainless steel, BPA-free, and dishwasher safe.

One Book 4 Colorado 2018

Do you have a 4-year-old? Drop by any Douglas County Libraries location April 9-23 and pick up a free picture book — while supplies last.

Each year, One Book 4 Colorado gives away 75,000 copies of one picture book to every 4-year-old in the state.

This year the three final contestants for the One Book title are:

Penguins Love Colors by Sarah Aspinall

A Pet for Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold

Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown by Eric Litwin


And the winner is……Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown! Bring your four-year-old in today to pick up a copy (while supplies last).




8 Spring Break Staycation Ideas

Staying in town for spring break? Here are eight great ways to turn the kids’ time off into a fun staycation.


1. Explore the Outdoors

Douglas County is home to some pretty awesome state parks and a short drive to several others. Round up the kids and go — for a hike, wildlife viewing, a family picnic, or all of the above. Stop by your library for a free state park pass with one of our Check Out Colorado backpacks.

2. Plan an Adventure

Did you know you can get free passes to local museums and cultural attractions using your library card? Get your Adventure Pass and spend the week exploring Butterfly Pavilion, Dinosaur Ridge, Molly Brown House Museum (NEW!), Denver Firefighters Museum, or four other attractions.

3. Play Games

Plan an epic game day at home, or stop by one of these libraries for an evening of games:

4. Host a Family-Friendly Film Festival

Convert the family room into a movie theater, complete with comfy seating and theater treats, and host your own celebration of film. Try these family flicks or check out our catalog for more.

5. Challenge the Kids to a Bake-Off

Make it a contest or do it for fun. Baking with the kids can be such a treat — and you can share the baked goodies with friends, neighbors and family. Check out these kid-friendly cookbooks, and heat those ovens!

6. Go ‘Camping’

Camp DCL’s weeklong, half-day camps — Be a Builder and Be a STEAM-y Chef — allow kids ages 6-12 to have fun with hands-on projects while learning important skills. Check out a typical day at Camp DCL. There are still a few spots available — register today!

7. Start a Garden

Early spring is a great time to start your garden. Why not get the kids involved? Spend some time each day putting together a creative container garden. Here are some books and ideas to get you going.

8. Cultivate Creativity

Bond with the kids over crafts. These books provide great ideas for crafting your own day of fun, or drop by our Lone Tree location for two different craft sessions for all ages during spring break.

  • Craft Lab: 2-4 p.m., Sunday, March 18. No registration required.
  • Open Studio: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 22. No registration required.



Learn About: Group Travel

If you missed the Travel Adventures event we recently hosted at Douglas County Libraries in Lone Tree, we’ve got you covered. That event, designed especially for travelers ages 50-plus and presented by a Road Scholar ambassador, covered educational travel tours in the U.S. and abroad.

If you’re excited to try new travel adventures but don’t want to figure out all the details, a group or guided trip might be right for you. Here’s some information from last week’s travel event to get you started.

Decide Where to Go

Check out travel books, videos and magazines from one of our seven library locations or DCL.org. You can also draw inspiration from travel experts:

When Do You Need a Tour Guide?

A tour guide might be helpful if:

  • You have limited time or simply prefer to leave the details to professionals.
  • Your destination calls for expertise: historic places, subject knowledge, language, adventure trips, dangerous or chaotic locations, and nature excursions.
  • You desire “local” or cultural experience outside the usual tourist fare.
  • You don’t want to drive or navigate public transportation on your own.

Questions to Ask Before You Book

Comparing tour companies goes beyond destination and price. Make a list of all your questions and record the answers in a spreadsheet to make your decision-making easier. Here are a few common questions:

  • Is this tour for travelers 50-plus or all ages? Couples, singles or both? Group size?
  • Can I see the full itinerary before committing?
  • Who are the guides? Are they locals/subject matter experts? Will they speak throughout or rely at times on prerecorded audio with headphones?
  • Is this tour tailored to general interest travelers or subject matter experts?
  • What kind of transportation is used? How much walking? Where will we eat?
  • Will I get free time?
  • What extra fees and expenses can I expect?

Additional Resources

Try these additional resources for more information or if you have questions.

Budget Group-Tour Companies

These companies accommodate groups of 20-40 people, mostly seasonal travelers. Lodging is equivalent to a Holiday Inn or Marriott, and expenses average $200-$350 per person per day (a nonrefundable deposit of $250-$300 is required; balances are due 75-90 days prior to departure). Extras may include single supplements, some meals, some excursions, international flights and transfers.

Upcoming Event

Join us for our next free travel-focused event.

Travel Club
Unique travel experiences and ideas for your next destination
Thursday, April 26, 11:30AM-1PM
Douglas County Libraries in Lone Tree (10055 Library Way)
No registration required
Learn more



DIY Concrete Valentines

concrete-heart-by-oceanCement your love this Valentine’s Day with this little DIY concrete valentine craft. It’s easy and fun to try with the kids.

Materials Needed

  • Rapid-set cement
  • Water
  • Heart-shaped silicone molds
  • Disposable cup
  • Stir stick
  • Optional: sandpaper, paintbrushes and craft paint

“Mise en place” isn’t just applicable to cooking. Make sure you have all your materials prepped and ready because this cement dries fast.

Ready to Start?

First, measure out 12 tablespoons of the rapid-set cement in the disposable cup. Then add 3 tablespoons plus a half-teaspoon of water. Stir immediately.

Once all dry chunks of cement are gone, pour into molds and smooth the tops of the hearts. Set aside to dry for one hour.

After hearts have dried, pop them out of the molds. If desired, you can sand the bottoms and paint the hearts.


If your kids loved this craft, then you have to sign them up for our Be a Builder camp during spring break (March 19-March 23). In this weeklong, half-day camp, kids will design and build everything from collapsible cardboard forts to wooden birdhouses. And, yes, they’ll get to experiment with stone, brick and mortar.

Recipe: Banana Dulce de Leche Pancakes

Banana Pancakes

Pancakes are the perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast. Whip these up with your kids.


Have kids measure 1 1/4 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and a BIG pinch of sea salt into a big bowl. This is the dry bowl.


Ask kids to chop and slice 2 semi-ripe bananas into TINY BITS! Set to the side.


Have kids stir together 1 cup of your favorite milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 1/2 tablespoons of light brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons room-temperature butter in a small bowl. This is the wet bowl.

Show your child how to crack open large egg. Add the egg to the wet bowl and mix together.


Have kids combine the wet ingredients into the dry-ingredient bowl. Add the chopped and sliced bananas to the batter and mix well.

Preheat your skillet over medium-low heat and melt about 2 tablespoons of butter or oil.


Spoon batter into preheated hot skillet, forming small-sized pancakes. Cook for about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown and bubbly, then flip the pancakes and cook the other side until golden brown and puffed.


Transfer to an oven-safe plate to keep warm in your oven — and then serve topped with Vegan Dulce de Leche Sauce (see recipe below).


Vegan Dulce de Leche Sauce


Whisk one 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in a large heavy skillet on your stovetop until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and boil until mixture is reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Serve with pancakes!



If your sweet sous chefs loved making these, then you should sign them up for our Be a STEAM-y Chef spring break camp. In this weeklong, half-day camp (March 19-23), kids will make two recipes each day while learning STEAM concepts like the science of taste and genetic modification from Sticky Fingers.

This recipe was generously provided by our friends at Sticky Fingers.