Ken Johnson
Grand Junction Free Press Opinion Columnist

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January 3, 2013
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JOHNSON: Passports to pleasure

Our little burg has so many delightful assets it's hard to mention just one; but just in time for Christmas I got a 2013 "Passport to Adventure" from the Museum of Western Colorado. Wow, what a delight! And how I wish I had enough free time to go on all 31 of the adventures.

Right now I could be planning a trip to Denver for three days of fun in our "Queen City of the Plains." Zeb Miracle is guiding a tour to four of the "Great Museums of Denver, from Pompeii to van Gogh." The visit is Jan. 10-12, so you have to book NOW. Ring them up at 970-242-0971 and book your space! Share some photos you take with the Free Press! If you don't have one of the Passport booklets, get one of those, too.

The fabulous Denver Art Museum is sharing "Becoming van Gogh" with 70 of that self-taught artist's paintings and sketches.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has an exhibit that focuses on Pompeii, that Italian city destroyed yet perfectly preserved when a volcano erupted and buried the whole place in the year 79.

There's frosting, too; the new History Colorado museum is an eye-opener. A grand finale puts you among the very first to see the newly-opened American Museum of Western Art.

Throughout the year, there are short trips and long ones. You can go snowshoeing by moonlight on Grand Mesa, or take 10 days exploring the Mexican Riviera, getting a deep look into the ancient Mayan culture.

You can hike canyons, study rock art and look at some 210 million-year-old footprints of dinosaurs. You can tour Telluride. You can even climb Independence Monument in Colorado National Monument!

Not enough variety? How about Desolation Canyon by raft, Canyonlands at night, summer in Iceland, or the "Barber of Seville" at the Central City Opera?

You can also plan on a quick trip to Patagonia to see glaciers (before they all melt), to see some REAL wild country. That's clear down on the Antarctic edge of Argentina. Another 450 miles south and you could talk to the penguins, face to face!

Do you want some sort of special tour? You can even arrange that with the museum folks.

If you haven't stopped past the museum in recent months for a new visit, you'll see many updated exhibits. You might also say "goodbye," and also thanks to Mike Perry, who is retiring as museum director. He and the staff have created a phenomenal asset for the community.

If you want a special treat, plan on attending an "After Hours" program. Each month, starting at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday (Jan. 25 is the first for 2013), you can take a special tour to see the collections in storage areas that are almost never open to the public.

Altogether, now is a great time to start planning on taking advantage of the Museum and its extraordinary exhibits. That's an adventure you can take any time.

Travel lover Ken Johnson is founder of the Grand Junction Free Press and former owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel. He spends his time between the Grand Valley and California.

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The Post Independent Updated Jan 3, 2013 03:18PM Published Jan 3, 2013 03:17PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.