State parks in Colorado provide outdoor activities for users year-round. Dozens of facilities include opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, camping, and hiking. Lory State Park is noted for its rock formations and for its numerous ecosystems that change with altitude. The park preserves 970 hectares (2,400 acres) of the transition ecosystems of the Rocky Mountain foothills. At Navajo State Park the main attraction is the long Navajo Reservoir that extends well into New Mexico. Barr Lake State Park is lined with cottonwoods, marshes, and aquatic plants, and its southern half has been designated as a wildlife refuge to shelter animals and birds in a number and variety unequaled elsewhere in Colorado. Some 4,900 hectares (12,100 acres) of spring-watered meadows, forested ridges, and massive rock formations comprise Mueller State Park and Wildlife Area.
Denver maintains more than 50 parks in the mountains west of the city. The parks offer excellent recreational facilities.
Other tourist attractions in Colorado include a suspension bridge that spans the deep chasm of the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River. There are also large, red rock monoliths in the Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs and in Red Rocks Park near Denver. There are hot mineral springs at Pagosa Springs and Hot Sulphur Springs. Dozens of ghost towns are scattered throughout the mountains. A few others, such as Central City, have been restored and now prosper as summer resorts or gambling venues.
The United States Mint, in Denver, produces more than five billion coins each year. There are free tours of the entire production process, from stamping to counting and bagging. Colorado is the nation’s leading ski-resort region, with more than two dozen major ski areas, including those in Aspen, Steamboat Springs, Telluride, and Vail.
The four major-league professional sports franchises in Colorado all play in Denver; they are the Denver Broncos football team, the Denver Nuggets basketball team, the Colorado Rockies baseball team, and the Colorado Avalanche hockey team..
Major events during the summer include a program of opera and theater at Central City and an outdoor music festival at Red Rocks Park. Colorado is home to several well known film festivals: the Aspen Filmfest presents American independent and foreign films, documentaries, and short subjects in early fall; the Telluride Film Festival features four days of independent films in early August; and the Denver International Film Festival, in October, premieres works from around the world. The state also has its share of grueling outdoor events, including an automobile race to the top of Pikes Peak on July Fourth, and the Leadville 100, a 100-mi (161-km) footrace through the Sawatch Mountain range.
Many local rodeos, fairs and other festivals are held during the summer. They include the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo, which begins in late August and features old-fashioned bake-offs, livestock shows, and musical entertainment; the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, in June, featuring old-school bluegrass yodelers and new folk artists; the Annual Rocky Mountain Ragtime Festival, in Boulder, with dozens of performers during the four-day event; and the Music and Blossom Festival and Royal Gorge Rodeo, one of the state’s oldest rodeos, in Canon City in May. The Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival is in February. "Colorado" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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