Bill Clarke Has Tips For You With Money-Saving Mondays
POSTED: 5:29 pm MST February 7, 2005
UPDATED: 7:28 pm MST February 7, 2005

DENVER -- When you think about family fun, most of the activities you think of require money. But Consumer Champ Bill Clarke traveled around the metro area and found seven fun things to do that are free. One of the first stops you should make is at the Union Station, where some trains never leave the station. The model railroad trains are located in the basement at Union Station. There's 4,000 feet of track to travel and the layout looks a lot like much of Colorado. Incredible is the only word to describe the model railroad exhibit and it's open to the public only once a month on the last Friday of the month from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal stopped making nerve gas and napalm in 1982. Now it's a national wildlife refuge and just last week, officials counted 27 bald eagles. The bus tour is the best way to cover what's become home for a lot of wildlife. It stops wherever there's something to see. Just don't try to get too close.

Teas and herbs from all over the world become Celestial Seasonings teas in Boulder. On this free tour, the high point could literally take your breath away. It's the mint room. And you can relive the moment in the souvenir shop, where you can take a few minutes to enjoy tea box art.

A few blocks away, the Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art puts you in the real West. It's been called the best small museum in the state and the staff welcomes adults and kids.

At Red Rocks, the new Visitor Center tells a great story in pictures and sound. Red Rocks' musical history goes back to the early 1900s and it is the rock music that makes Red Rocks perhaps the best place for generations of musicians.

Every week, kids are treated to free book readings at the Tattered Cover bookstores and it's OK if grown-ups tag along. There's a lot of Colorado history on the shelves of all three Tattered Cover locations. But if you want to learn more about the Brown Palace take one of the twice weekly tours with historian Julia Kanellis. Five thousand people took the tour last year. Kanellis weaves a lot among stops that include the presidential suites. And the Beatles suite may be the closest you will get to the Fab Four now. By taking a tour of the Brown Palace you get a springboard to history for the rest of the city and the state. There's also a guide available for your own walking tour. And when you're done, stop by the hotel's Ship Tavern for a root beer float. It's not free but it's not bad for $3.50, Clarke said.

Additional Information: For more information on the model train in the basement of Union Station call (303) 572-1015.

For more information on the Celestial Seasonings tour, visit CelestialSeasonings.com. For more information on the Visitor's Center at Red Rocks call (303) 697-4939 or visit RedRocksOnline.com

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is located at 56th Avenue and Havana in Denver. For more information call (303) 289-0930 or visit PMRMA.army.mil.

For more information on the historical tours at the Brown Palace Hotel, visit BrownPalace.com. In February, additional free tours will be added to tell the love stories, trysts, and scandals that have occurred. Affairs of the heart tours will be conducted Tuesdays through Saturdays at 1 p.m. from Feb. 1 through Feb. 26. Reservations will be taken for these popular tours. Call (303) 297-3111 ext. 3104. Weekly storytime at the

Tattered Cover take place at the Cherry Creek location on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. in the children's section, at the LoDo location on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. in the children's section, at the Highlands Ranch location on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. in the children's section.

For more information visit TatteredCover.com. For more information on the Leanin' Tree Museum visit LeaninTreeMuseum.com.