Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the Mustang Mountain Coaster as an alpine coaster. The coaster's elevation does not qualify it as an alpine coaster.
The sun seems to have set on Northern Colorado's surprise spring snowstorms and its sights are now set on squeezing in some summer fun.
There are, of course, the old trusty standbys — hikes, brewery stops, happy hours on Old Town patios. But why not try something new?
The Coloradoan rounded up a handful of offerings that are bringing something new to the Choice City this summer. Whether you want to climb onto Colorado's newest mountain coaster or settle in for a chorale performance at a botanical garden, we have a little something for everyone.
Evenings at the Gardens
Where: The Gardens on Spring Creek, 2145 Centre Ave., Fort Collins
When: Dusk to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through August
As the sun dips past Fort Collins' foothills this summer, take in the acres of botanical beauty at the Gardens on Spring Creek. The city-run gardens are hosting evening hours from dusk to 8 p.m. each Wednesday evening through August. And, while the gardens have offered evening hours off and on for the past few years, this will be the first one with dedicated programming. Besides kid-friendly scavenger hunts hosted each Wednesday evening and the Kaleidoscope Cafe staying open longer — serving beer and wine to evening guests — starting later this summer, a schedule of summer programs will also overlap most Wednesday evening hours. These will include performances by Larimer Chorale, Poudre River Public Library storytimes on the Great Lawn and yoga in the gardens. All of these listed activities are included in the cost of Wednesday evening admission to the Gardens — $11 for adults, $8 for children ages 2 to 17 and students with ID, and $9 for seniors and military. For more information or a schedule of Wednesday evening events, visit fcgov.com/gardens/evenings.
Mustang Mountain Coaster
Where: 1180 Dry Gulch Road, Estes Park
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
If you're a thrill seeker looking to try something new this summer, head to Estes Park for your first zoom down Colorado's newest — and Northern Colorado's first — mountain coaster. As part of Estes Park's Sombrero Stables, the Mustang Mountain Coaster was built to give people the experience of a horseless trail ride — with wind whipping through your hair as you zip past breathtaking views in a coaster car. The coaster opened in late May and offers single-ride passes for $20, three-ride passes for $35 and all-day passenger passes for children 3 to 7 years old for $10. For coaster passes and more information on age requirements and rules of the coaster, visit mustangmountaincoaster.com.
Thursday Night Live
Where: New Belgium Brewing, 500 Linden St., Fort Collins
When: 7-9 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 5
I know, I know. If you're not a Fort Collins newcomer, you're probably aware that Bohemian Nights' Thursday Night Live concert series is not a new offering. In fact, it's become quite the summer tradition in Old Town Square. But that's just it — Thursday Night Live isn't taking place in Old Town Square this year. For this summer, and this summer only, the weekly free concert series will be hosted on New Belgium brewery's lawn, according to Bohemian Nights. So take in this change of scenery — and, while you're at it, grab a close proximity beer — while you can.
In other music news: Bohemian Nights tentatively planning 'scaled-back' NewWestFest for 2021
Take a trolley ride
Where: Boarding locations are at the City Park trolley depot, 1501 W. Oak St. in Fort Collins, as well as the corners of Shields Street and Mountain Avenue, Loomis Street and Mountain Avenue, and Howes Street and Mountain Avenue.
When: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through September
Again, you're probably thinking I'm losing it. The trolley? That's been around for years! Well, yes. Decades, actually. But this year truly is a first for the volunteer-run Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society, which has run Fort Collins' beloved restored Birney Car 21 up and down Mountain Avenue each summer since the mid-1980s. After years of restoring its Birney brother, Car 25, the society reintroduced the old-and-improved streetcar to Mountain Avenue's trolley tracks last summer — making it the first time Car 21 and Car 25 had run together in Fort Collins since the city's streetcar service ended in 1951. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the public was never able to ride it in 2020. This year, the trolleys are back and together for the first time for public rides. So be sure to catch and climb onto Car 25 for its big return to Old Town.
Enjoy a paddleboard respite on the reservoir
Where: Horsetooth Reservoir
When: Throughout the summer
Paddle in peace this summer after a recent change on Horsetooth Reservoir. Citing record visitation to the reservoir and a surge of stand-up paddleboarders, kayakers and canoeists, the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources made the west side of Horsetooth's Satanka Bay a paddlecraft-only zone for the first time starting May 1. Motorized boats are now limited to the east side of the popular cove, according to an earlier Coloradoan report. The change will hopefully cut down on paddlecraft run-ins with their motorized counterparts.
Find more things to do: If you're a Coloradoan subscriber, get Erin Udell's weekly NoCo Experiences newsletter
Erin Udell reports on news, culture, history and more for the Coloradoan. Contact her at ErinUdell@coloradoan.com. The only way she can keep doing what she does is with your support. If you subscribe, thank you. If not, sign up for a digital subscription to the Coloradoan today.
This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Fort Collins things to do: 5 fun 'firsts' to try this summer