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Sunday 19 December 2021

Camp Christmas 2021

Denver sure is a festive city when it comes to the holidays!

If you've been following along here on the blog or over on Instagram you'll know that I've already shared quite a few holiday events going on around the Denver area. Today I'm sharing another one with you, and it just happens to be one of my absolute favorites. It's Camp Christmas and it's back after a year off in 2020!

You may remember our visit to Camp Christmas at Stanley Marketplace back in 2019. You can see it here. This year Camp Christmas is a mostly outdoor extravaganza of twinkling lights, vintage decorations, memorabilia, music, and holiday cheer spread over six acres at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, in Lakewood. The new outdoor location brings so many extras to Camp Christmas this year. There's a vintage carousel. There are trees wrapped in thousands of twinkling lights lining lighted walkways. There are vintage buildings decorated in a festive manner inside and out. Most importantly, there's space to spread out away from other visitors, which we all know is important right now.

While there are plenty of new things on offer at Camp Christmas, many of the favorites from our previous visit are still on display, and that same sense of whimsy and magic is definitely there. Dare I say, maybe even more of it!

We could all do with some whimsy and magic in our lives right now, so let's take a look at our visit to Camp Christmas... 

Camp Christmas is open daily from 10am to 10pm up until Christmas Eve. After Christmas it will be open daily from 3pm to 9pm through January 2nd. I wanted to check out some of the displays while the sun was still up and see it all lit up at night as well, so we visited at 4pm to get the best of both worlds. You'll notice in my photos that it's daylight in some and dark in others. You'll also notice that there's a mix of indoor and outdoor photos. While Camp Christmas is mostly an outdoor exhibition, there are several historic buildings onsite that are full decorated for the holidays. Some of these buildings are not open to the public and feature stunning displays to be viewed through the windows. Others are open to visitors to explore and we're a great way to warm up. It was pretty chilly the day we visited, so after checking out a few outdoor and window displays we warmed up with some hot chocolate and mulled wine from the Sweetsville Diner. Even though we were outside and they're fully vaccinated, the kids wanted to keep their masks on to keep their faces warm (an unintended bonus of masks!), so they drank their hot chocolates through straws!

To warm up a little more we made our way into the first indoor display. Inside this vintage salon, we found amazingly extravagant wigs, headpieces, and hats on display. I studied millinery in college years ago so this particular room really made me smile. After leaving the salon room we found ourselves in a room filled with wrapped gifts. The sun sets pretty quickly at this time of year, so by the time we made our way back outside it was dark and everything was lit up colorfully.

We spent the next little while outside checking out lighted displays including the red eyed and sharp toothed Blucifer (you might recognize this horse from Denver International Airport), the carousel, a giant owl, and of course, lots of twinkling lights on trees, buildings and along walkways. One of my favorites in this area was small cottage that contained mirror balls that sparkled on a silver stag as they spun around. It was mesmerizing. 

We made our way back inside again, this time to a couple of houses that featured a fairytale bar, the pinkest room you can possibly imagine, vintage Christmas displays that brought back memories of my Grandma's silver tinsel tree, a tree with a hidden pickle ornament (which we never found), futuristic 60s decorations, and so much more.  

Then we were back outside again for the rest of our visit, apart from a short walk through a large barn where we saw one of our favorite electric trees from our previous visit. Outside we walked took in the views of the twinkling light displays, met the Grinch, and marveled at the vintage buildings all lit up in the dark.

The displays at Camp Christmas are so much fun to check out, but they're also interactive. As visitors make their way around the Camp Christmas they can collect virtual badges via QR codes, learn about the different displays, and get hints for the pun trees. What's that you say? What's a pun tree? Let me tell you! All throughout Camp Christmas you'll find strangely decorated trees. If you look at these closely, you'll notice that the decorations are a pun. Think a "palm tree" covered in hands or a "gum tree" covered in bubble gum candy. Can you work out the pun trees below? For visitors who get a little stuck trying to work out the clues there a QR code by each with the answer. 

Did you work out the pun trees? We've got pageantry, carpentry, optometry and forestry!

Camp Christmas is located at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, 801 S Yarrow Street, Lakewood, CO.

Camp Christmas is open daily through January 2nd (closed on Christmas Day). Up until Christmas Eve the hours are 10am to 10pm. From December 26th onward Camp Christmas will be open from 3pm to 9pm.

Timed entry tickets must be purchased in advance online at https://www.denvercenter.org/tickets-events/camp-christmas/ Tickets start at $20 per person. Children aged 2 and under are admitted free of charge but still require a ticket.

Santa will be available to meet at his Glampsite from 10am to 4:15pm through Christmas Eve. An extra ticket is required to meet with Santa. This ticket costs $10 and can be purchased along with the entry ticket. 

Masks must be worn in all indoor areas of Camp Christmas, but are optional outdoors.

Camp Christmas is wheelchair and stroller friendly, however access through some of the historic buildings is a little tight.

For more information and to purchase tickets please visit https://www.denvercenter.org/tickets-events/camp-christmas/.

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