Jennifer Close

Jennifer Close writes about family travel at Two Kids and a Map. After sixteen years in the South, her family relocated to Denver, Colorado where they are getting used to the cold weather, snow and big city living. She likes to read, craft and look for adventures with her children.

6 Tips for Visiting the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Mosca, Colorado

When you round a bend on your way south, the sand dunes come into view and you almost can’t believe your eyes.  At first glance, you see the Sangre de Cristo mountains in the background and the grassy lands in the foreground.  It is easy to do a double take when the sand dunes begin to take shape the closer you get to them.  It looks like the Sahara desert was plopped right in the valley and it is difficult to reconcile what you are seeing. The Great Sand Dunes is part of the national park system and it...

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The Parking Spot: Another Option for Airport Parking

Air travel can be stressful from the security checkpoint process, checking your bags, and getting the perfect seat. Parking your car at the airport shouldn’t be another stressor. I don’t have much experience parking a car at the airport during travel because, until now, we have always lived near friends and family that could run us to the airport. Several months ago, I won a free week of parking at The Parking Spot near the Denver International Airport. I had the chance to use it in November when I was flying out on my own. I chose some strange...

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Georgetown Loop Railroad – Georgetown, Colorado

Train travel has always seemed glamorous to me.  I imagine ladies in their pillbox hats and men in their bow-ties being served from a silver tea set as the world rushes past in a blur of colors. Unfortunately, this kind of train travel isn’t in the cards anytime soon for my family (a girl can dream, though, right?) so we are satisfying our love of trains by visiting some of the scenic train routes that Colorado has to offer. The Georgetown Loop Railroad was completed in 1884 and was an active passenger and freight railroad from 1899 to 1938. ...

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5 Museums to Visit with the Kids in Denver, Colorado

The fall weather is moving in and I know that the snow is just around the corner.  Last winter, when the kids tired of playing in the snow but didn’t want to sit around the house, we started our museum tour of Denver.  We still have over a dozen museums to visit in and around the metro area, but here are five that we found are great for the kids. 1. Denver Art Museum: Color on the Floor Surrounded by Art. I was blown away by the Denver Art Museum when I visited with my two children, ages 6...

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Tips from Teachers: Taking Your Children out of School for Travel

Back when I was a new teacher without children of my own, I started my first school year with the starry eyed excitement that only a first-year, 21-year-old teacher can have.  As the year trudged on, students began to disappear for weeks at a time. They would come back to school with lovely tans and stories of snorkeling with the sting rays and wild water park adventures.  Some returned with broken arms and an exciting story about how it happened on the slopes of some far flung mountain.  The students would be sporting new Mickey Mouse key chains on...

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The Mammoth Site – Hot Springs, South Dakota

Driving north to Rapid City, we drove through Hot Springs, South Dakota and saw the signs advertising the Mammoth Site. They weren’t gaudy, tourist attraction signs but a quiet calling to us.  Come visit the Mammoth Site, they said. Driving north through Hot Springs, South Dakota, we passed three of the signs before deciding to take a quick look at the guidebook to see what exactly it was.  We were traveling old school since cell service was a bit sketchy.  The guidebook description was brief but enticing enough to encourage us to stop. We parked and walked past some...

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4 Reasons to Give Rapid City, South Dakota, a Second Glance

Rapid City, South Dakota, should not just be a place to lay your head while you visit the Black Hills.  When researching cities to stay in for our visit to Mount Rushmore, Rapid City seemed to be the best option. I truly thought that Rapid City would be our base as we visited all of the attractions on our list but I was pleasantly surprised by the city. The Perfect Base for the Black Hills Rapid City is centrally located to many of the activities and attractions in the Black Hills. From our hotel in Rapid City, the Mainstay...

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A Beginner’s Guide to Ski and Ride School at Copper Mountain, CO

If you have decided to spend the money on a ski vacation, spend a little more and register everybody for ski or ride school.  What you will learn in a ski or snowboard lesson will help you throughout the rest of your vacation.  Instead of spending your entire vacation sitting face down in the snow, you can enjoy the slopes from the upright position.  Okay, you will probably fall down a lot but the falling will probably be much more graceful if you learn how to fall properly. When we signed up for ski lessons, I was very nervous...

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Four Silly Things Said Shortly After Moving from Florida to Colorado

Pensacola, Florida seems like it is a million miles away from our new home in Denver, Colorado.  Since our move from sea level to the Mile High City a few months ago, this Southern Traveling Mom has been slowly adjusting to the altitude, the cold weather and big city living.  Sometimes, it is easy to speak before thinking and we have asked some silly questions or said some strange things along the way.  That is not a cleaning tool. “I think that they left behind some cleaning tool,” I said as I hopped into the rental car.  My husband...

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