The county seat of Mesa County in Colorado, Grand Junction is a relatively large city located in the western side of the state, nor far from the border with Utah. The most populous city in the Western Slope part of Colorado, Grand Junction is a key transportation hub for the area and is located on the Colorado River and Gunnison River. The city covers an area of around 39.6 square miles and has a population of around 62,000 people, with almost 150,000 in the surrounding metropolitan area. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Grand Junction, CO

Grand Junction, CO
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The area that would eventually become Grand Junction was once inhabited by the native Ute peoples. Their territory was abolished in 1881 and the Utes were sent off to a reservation in order to make way for new towns and settlements. A politician and lawyer named George Addison Crawford purchased a plot of land and founded Grand Junction, which was incorporated in 1882. Crawford also planted the state's first vineyard, which would help to establish Grand Junction as a key hub for the development of Colorado's Wine Country.

The city has a lot of stories to tell, playing home to gunfights, miners, criminals, and more over the years, but is now most commonly linked with wine production and classed as a fine city to visit for links with other areas like the nearby Colorado National Monument, Book Cliffs, and more. Grand Junction, CO is also classed as an ideal area for outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, rafting, and kayaking.

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2.Elevation of Grand Junction, CO

Elevation of Grand Junction, CO
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Along with population and surface area, elevation is another important geographical statistic of any town or city. Elevation refers to the height of a location in relation to sea level. The elevation of the Colorado city of Grand Junction is 4,593 feet (1,397 m), which is a very high elevation compared to most other cities and towns all around the United States. Many major American cities are constructed in coastal areas, resulting in low elevations of around 500 feet (152 m) or less, whereas Grand Junction is located very far inland in a highly mountainous, elevated state.

Colorado is in fact the highest state of all in terms of elevation. The Centennial State has a mean elevation of 6,800 feet (2,070 m). The highest incorporated city in Colorado is Leadville, which has an elevation of 10,152 feet (3,094 m). The lowest point in the state is a section of the Arikaree River, which has an elevation of 3,317 feet (1,011 m).

Many of the largest cities in Colorado are situated at similar elevations to Grand Junction. For example, the state capital of Denver has an elevation of 5,280 feet (1,609 m), which works out at almost exactly one mile, hence Denver’s nickname of the ‘Mile High City’. Other major cities include Colorado Springs, which has an elevation of 6,033 feet (1,839 m) and Aurora, which has an elevation of 5472 feet (1,668 m). All of these locations have higher elevations than Grand Junction, which is one of the lowest major cities in the state.

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3.Climate and Things to Do in Grand Junction, CO

Climate and Things to Do in Grand Junction, CO
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Due to its high elevation and high desert surroundings, the city of Grand Junction has a semi-arid climate. Winters tend to very cold and dry, with average temperatures of 27°F (-3°C) in January, which is the coldest month of the year. The warmest month of the year is July, which has an average temperature of 78°F (26°C). The city receives many hours of sunshine but low amounts of precipitation in general, with around 19 inches of snowfall per year and 9 inches of rain.

There are plenty of things to do in Grand Junction, CO. The city is conveniently located for all kinds of outdoor adventures and recreational activities, with the Colorado River, Colorado National Monument, Grand Mesa National Forest, and more situated right nearby. The downtown area of Grand Junction is a great place for good food, live shows, and inspiring art, while the city is also known as a key location in Colorado Wine Country, with many different wineries to explore and wine tasting tours to enjoy. The city is also home to botanical gardens and museums and offers plenty of reasons for people to get outdoors. Physical activities to enjoy in and around Grand Junction include hiking, cycling, camping, kayaking, and more.

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Grand Junction, CO Elevation



More Ideas: Museums of Western Colorado

The Museums of Western Colorado, all located in Grand Junction, offer a full and comprehensive range of educational, entertaining, and interactive exhibits focusing on a variety of topics. With a dinosaur museum, one focusing on Native American history, and a full working historic orchard, the campus offers family fun for all.

History

The history of the museum campuses traces all the way back to 1949, when the idea got its start. They first opened their doors in 1966 and were accredited officially in 1971. When re-evaluated for that status in both 1982 and 1996, they continued to not only meet but exceed all standards required. Due to receiving their 4th accreditation, the museum is now rated in the top 1% of museums in the United States.

Permanent Attractions and Exhibits

Museum of the West- The Museum of the West has numerous permanent exhibits meant to entertain and educate. Below is just a small selection of the many exhibits.

Native American Gallery- This gallery is made up of two different exhibits featuring Native American history, with the featured exhibit focusing on prehistoric pottery from a collection by Philip Holstein. This collection includes pottery from multiple cultures, like the Hohokum, Mimbres, and Anazasi. The second gallery features rock art panels from the Ute as well as the Fremont cultures, Kachinas (spirit dolls), Navajo rugs, and a collection of one-thousand-year-old artifacts from the Fremont culture.

Uranium Mine- This exhibit walks guests through a full-sized uranium mine to see what life is like for the miners who work there, as well as learning about the “Uranium Boom” with a mixture of interactive stations and sounds.

Dinosaur Journey- This museum, located in the heart of what is often referred to as “dinosaur country,” takes visitors through the history of Western Colorado life using both real and cast skeletons, as well as robotic dinosaur reconstructions. There is also a hands-on section with a sandbox that allows visitors to create their own dinosaur footprint tracks, and a site made to look like a quarry where guests can uncover their very own dinosaur fossils and bones.

- Fruitadens- View a model of this tiny dinosaur, which weighed only a pound even at adulthood. It is tied for being the smallest dinosaur that has been found in the entire world. For reference, some dinosaurs got up to 75,000 pounds!

- Paleontology research- The museum is also at the forefront of local paleontological research. Visitors can visit the working laboratory where researchers prepare the bones for display and see the collections room where scientists and researchers study.

Cross Orchard- This living museum allows visitors to stroll back in time to the late 1800s, complete with historic buildings. The grounds encompass more than 12 acres and are also available for rent out for many different special events. Check out the barn, packing shed, and gazebo.

- Uintah Caboose- Recently finished, visitors can see the restored caboose which a work in progress since 1996!

- F.A.R.M.- This market allows local farmers and ranchers to display their goods. It occurs on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting at 7:30am and goes until noon.

Educational Opportunities

The museums that make up the campus regularly welcome school programs and field trips to their premises. Reservations are required, and group pricing applies.

The Museum of the West teaches students about both the prehistory and the history of Western Slope. Older students can participate in a scavenger hunt at the museum, while guided tours which also include the Basement Exploratorium behind the scenes tour are available for all students with reservations.

Dinosaur Journey helps educate students about paleontology and geology with multiple video presentations, a mile-long hiking trail and additional access to the nearby state park (for a fee).

At Cross Orchards, children can experience a historic orchard with a guided tour focusing on the way people used to live in the late 1800s.

Education kits come with teacher resources, materials and curriculum and are able to be checked out. There are two different themed kits available - one that focuses on Native American prehistory and one that looks at paleontology. Contact the educational staff for additional information and to request a kit.

Shopping

While at any of the three museum campuses, make sure to check out the gift shop and help support their mission and daily operations. They offer a variety of gifts from each of the areas - cookbooks from the orchard, t-shirts, dinosaur toys, etc. Guests can also shop through Amazon via their “smile” page (accessible from the website), which also helps to support the museum campus.

Museums of Western Colorado, 462 Ute Ave, Grand Junction, CO, 81501, Phone: 970-242-0971

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More Ideas: Grand Junction Motor Speedway

Guests who visit the speedway, located in Grand Junction, Colorado, rave about the unique experience they have there. With racing fun from age 5 and up, kart racing can be a fun bonding time with the entire family. The speedway was built in 2000. It features a world class track that is 0.9 miles in length and has eleven turns.

History

It features prominently on the kart racing circuit and is the favorite of many of the kart racers who have driven it. After starting as a simple kart track, the speedway has branched out into now offering a mud drag way, and a full supercross as well as rally track. They have plans to continue to expand and offer even more to race guests, as well as adding to its already large and diverse racing schedule.

Permanent Attractions

The main attraction at the speedway are the racing karts, which are run under the “Arrive and Drive” mission (which means guests are covered from the moment they step in the doors at the speedway). Karts are available for rental on-site for racers starting at the age of five, and visitors are always welcome to bring their own automobiles, motorcycles, and karts as well.

All racers under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian prior to being allowed to sign in to the track computers. Guests must make sure to wear comfortable clothing and will not be allowed to race without closed toed shoes. Helmets are required, but guests may bring their own as long as it is D.O.T./Snell approved with the sticker intact. Face shields are also required for all street helmets, and racers who choose to use motocross helmets must also bring in Lexan lensed goggles.

Up to 10 rental karts are allowed on the track at any given time, and 30 karts total can race at the same time. Reservations are both allowed and welcomed and can be made by contacting the staff.

The cost is dependent on the type of race the guests would like to do. The cheapest option is the Comer 50, which is appropriate racers 6 years old and under as it doesn’t go above 20mph. The next step up, the Comer 80, runs the same price but is appropriate for racers ages 6 to 9 years old and goes slightly faster at 35mph.

After that is the Honda 13HP for racers older than 13 years old and racing up to 65mph. The most advanced racers, older than 16 years old and experienced, can race in either the TAG Kart or the DD2 Kart. Racers must either run the rental lap or the Rotax before being able to race in either of them, as they both go above 100mph.

There are also daily options, allowing guests to race all day long. The costs do not include fuel, oil, tires, or damages and require a deposit in advance.

Special Events

The speedway holds racing events from April to November. From running events, to kart and motorcycle races, there is something for everyone to come and watch after racing themselves. The website maintains a comprehensive schedule for guests to check prior to visiting, as many of these races with have an additional cost beyond entrance to race themselves.

Corporate special events and races are also welcomed at the speedway. The staff is more than happy to work with each event to cater a racing program to the group’s needs. They have held one on one, team building, and more at the speedway with great results and happy guests. The speedway provides the karts and all equipment needed, along with instruction and training prior to racing. They can also offer catering services as well as entertainment and hospitality services.

Consider the speedway for all special event needs - work related, bachelor parties, birthday, etc. It is fun for the entire group and will make a memorable experience no matter what the occasion!

Shopping

Although the speedway doesn’t offer a traditional gift shop, guests who come and race can take home a video of their day at the track. GoPro helmets are available for rent, along with the choice of an 8 gb, 16 gb, or 32 gb SD card. Just mount the GoPro on the helmet and race! They also offer tire and repair services at their pro shop for any issues that may arise when racing, and a full range of ROTAX, Energy Kart, VEGA products, and more!

Grand Junction Motor Speedway, 3002 N 170 Frontage Rd, Grand Junction, CO, 81504, Phone: 970-256-0107

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More Ideas: The Children’s Nature Center

The Children’s Nature Center, or CNC, in Grand Junction is a living museum (the only one in a 250-mile radius) that has exotic animals in their natural habitats on display. Guests of all ages love to come and see the huge variety of animals in their habitats, and even get hands-on with some of the friendlier ones.

History

The nature center opened its doors in January of 2014. Although the exterior may not look impressive like some of the nature centers, what is inside has drawn guests in from hundreds of miles away. In fact, the center only spent about two years in its previous location in Fruita, Colorado before having to move to Mesa Mall in Grand Junction and essentially double in size to allow for more animals, large exhibits, and additional classroom space to accommodate the number of classes requesting field trips to the premises. The long-term goal is to eventually purchase their own land and building and continue to expand.

Permanent Attractions and Exhibits

The nature center houses over 120 unique living creatures, from the huge, 13-foot-long pythons to the tiny, one-inch long dart frogs. There are freshwater and saltwater habitats, and many coral tanks that features a large variety of diverse aquatic life. The center also is home to the biggest honey bee hive in the state of Colorado, a collection of reptiles, snakes, and amphibians, and colorful parrots. All of the exhibits at the nature center are meant to both educate and inspire guests about the environment, wildlife, and animals.

Tours are operated on a daily basis by the knowledgeable docents that both volunteer and are employed at the nature center. These tours are beneficial especially for those who want to get a little more information about the animals. Occasionally the tour guides will even take some of the rarer animals out so that visitors can get even more up close and personal with them through interaction and special talks.

One of the highlights of a visit to the nature center is the interactive exhibits and experiences. Children of all ages are able to really get hands on with the animals, including a huge turtle named Bruce that roams around the nature center. Many of the animals located at the nature center can not only be seen but also touched, allowed a unique learning experience for people of all ages.

The majority of the animals located at the nature center have been rescued and the tour guides that take guests around the facility know the backstories of most of them (including a snake that was taken from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch and the snake that was used by Britney Spears in her performance at the VMA’s). They can also answer any questions guests might have about animal care, habitats, diets, and more.

The center is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and Sunday from 11am to 4pm. They are closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. There is a discounted admission fee charged for children from 1 to 12 and for seniors and veterans. Regular admission is charged for those 13 and over. Families of four (two adults and their two children) are admitted at a discount as well. Annual passes can be purchased to allow that same family access to the nature center for a year. This money goes directly into supporting the center and its animals, since donors and admission costs privately fund the center.

Educational Opportunities

Discounted admission is provided with the educational tours and opportunities at the nature center. All of the programs offered at the center have been written by licensed educators who all hold Master’s degrees and are designed to align with the Life Sciences standards set forth by the state of Colorado. Field trips are recommended for students from preschool all the way through college. Educational packets are provided for students up the 5th grade and include not only visit specific information but also lessons and activities that students can do both before and after their field trip.

During the summer, additional educational programming is offered on a regular basis. Called the “Nature Explorer” series, the programs are directed at children from five years old to seven years old. More information about the programs is available on the nature center’s website, as well as cost (if any) that is required. Registration to these programs is required in advance, as program size is limited to ensure each child gets an individual and personal learning experience.

The Children’s Nature Center, Mesa Mall, 2424 Highway 6 & 50, Grand Junction, CO, 81505, Phone: 970-241-1000

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