Vista PEAK Exploratory

Vista Peak Students connect to the outdoors at Castlewood Canyon State Park

May 8th, 2017

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Vista Peak students observing a Western Bluebird

Turkey Vultures soared overhead as Vista Peak Exploratory students unloaded from the buses at Castlewood Canyon State Park.

The students spent the day exploring the skins and skulls of wildlife found in the area and how those animals play important roles in the ecosystem’s food web. Students discovered the amazing geology of the area how the area was formed. Using binoculars and field guides, students observed and identified the diversity of birds in this unique habitat.

As the students sat looking out over the beautiful canyon, they could not contain their excitement as they exclaimed “this is why we came here!”

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It was truly an inspirational day and several students commented on how they wanted to come back with their families to further explore all that Castlewood Canyon has to offer.

Thank you Castlewood Canyon volunteers and staff for making this day possible for our SOLE students!

All Smiles at Vista PEAK’s Family Nature Night

April 28, 2017

Students and their families enjoyed a night of nature themed fun with Colorado Parks & Wildlife and our fantastic participating partners. Despite the dreary weather, guests’ eyes shone brightly with excitement at Vista PEAK’s third annual Family Nature Night.

Congratulations to our Grand Prize winners! This family went home with an Annual State Parks Pass. They can visit any one of our 42 state parks for an entire year!

IMG_1497The evening was filled with an array of exciting, educational activities. Students shouted with delight during Backyard Bass fishing practice. They gasped with excitement as they tried archery and awed at the opportunity to touch a live bull snake. Bird photos graced the hallway- binoculars were the only way to identify them! Across from our avian friends, kids colored their own designs to be pressed onto a boating safety t-shirt.

Families tested their knowledge with wildlife Plinko and Colorado History Bingo. There was no shortage of wildlife activities- trivia, pelts, and skulls provided plenty of wild fun!

As always, the raffle was a hit among guests of all ages. Many families won Cabela’s outdoor gear, History Colorado tickets, and even a State Parks pass.

The only thing better than getting kids outdoors is including the entire family. Thank you to Vista PEAK staff and our fantastic participating partners: Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Cabela’s, A&H Adventures, History Colorado, Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, Barr Lake State Park, and Morrison Nature Center. We couldn’t do it without you!

The SOLE Program wouldn’t be possible without our teachers, partners, and volunteers. Thank you for all that you do!

Vista PEAK travels back in time at Plains Conservation Center

November 9, 2016

“The joy of prairie lies in its subtlety.  It is so easy—too easy—to be swept away by mountain and ocean vistas.  A prairie, on the other hand, requests the favor of your closer attention.  It does not divulge itself to mere passersby.”   – Suzanne Winckler (2004, Prairie: A North American Guide, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, IA, p. xi)


SOLE students from Vista Peak Exploratory were transported back to the 1800s…a time before the comforts of indoor plumbing, electricity and Pokémon Go.

Sunshine, pronghorn and prairie dogs were plentiful for their November field trip to Plains Conservation Center.

Students explored the nomadic lifestyle of the Cheyenne Native Americans and realized just how tough it was to build a tipi for shelter and gather food with just a bow and arrow.

Students traveled by wagon to an 1887 Sod Homestead where they explored the challenges and the day to day activities of living on the prairie, including a few lessons in a one room school house!


Reading, listening and manners were the lessons for the day….and students quickly realized that punishment was a bit more severe in 1887.


Although the games are a bit different in 2016, the sound of laughter filled the prairie as students played with toys from 1887.

Thank you Denver Botanic Gardens and Plains Conservation Center for bringing the prairie to life for our SOLE students.