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BEACON Senior News

EUREKA! Explorations

Jan 05, 2019 10:41PM ● By Melanie Wiseman

Eureka! McConnell Science Museum has discovered a new niche with seniors. For years, this nonprofit, operated by a small staff and large group of dedicated volunteers, has brought math and science to life for thousands of kids. Recently, they decided it was time to mix it up a bit.

“We have primarily catered to grades K-5, but wanted to be more multi-generational,” said Eureka! Education Director Bree Hare. “We wanted to reach out to adults so they can continue learning in the sciences as well.”

After months of brainstorming and seeking public feedback, the first Eureka! Explorations trip was offered in December 2017. Seniors loved the fun and educational outings offered in 2018, and enrollment for 2019 trips is now open.

Field trips are a mix of museums, theatre, outdoor activities, art and science. The 2019 schedule features six day trips and seven overnight or multi-night field trips to the Ouray Ice Festival, Palisade farms, Mesa Verde, Yellowstone and performing arts events in Vail.

“Eureka! is always changing and expanding its exhibits to keep people coming back. People thought it was just for kids, but we’re all kids and want to keep learning,” said Kay Fiegel, a prior trip participant. “There are a lot of people in this community who love to get out, but the logistics may get in the way. Eureka! Explorations is the solution.”

The staff keeps affordability in mind when planning trips. Hare said they are applying for grants so scholarships can be offered to those needing assistance.

The trips are promoted to active adults age 55 and older, but Hare encourages those interested to call with any mobility questions or concerns.

“If you can walk a mile or so, you should be fine,” said Hare. “We want everyone to be able to keep up with the group and we design the trips so they are active but safe so no one gets hurt. We let people know ahead of time what to expect so there are no surprises.”

Eureka! rents comfortable, 12-passenger vans with a center aisle for each outing. Group sizes vary per trip, but a minimum of six participants is required.

Some trips have become so popular that they have earned their spot on the Eureka! Explorations annual docket.

“The Glenwood Springs Vaudeville show in December and a fall trip to Denver or Leadville will be on the schedule each year,” said Hale, “and, of course, a field trip to Utah because there’s so much to do in that area.”

Each trip is guided by one of three staff members or experienced tour guides such as Mike Perry or botanist Betty Hall. The museum’s recent relocation to Colorado Mesa University’s Confluence Hall, 1400 N. Seventh St., also puts them in closer contact with campus faculty and other experts.

“An advantage of traveling with Eureka! is that once we know where we’re going, we use our connections and resources to create a unique trip that you might not be able to do on your own,” said Hare.

A Grandparent Membership to Eureka! is $60 and includes annual museum admission for two people and up to four grandchildren and discounts on trips and gift shop items. Depending on the trip, the cost of a membership can be made up in just one adventure.

“We’re fortunate to live in an area rich with life-long learning opportunities,” said Fiegel.

For more information on Eureka! Explorations, call 254-1626 or visit

Eureka! Explorations 2019 Trips

[bscolumns class="one_half"]January 24 - Ouray Explorations February 26 - CBI Explorations March 25-26 - Moab Explorations April 16-18 - Ancient Architects Explorations April 30 - Vail Valley Explorations June 3-9 - Yellowstone National Park Explorations July 9 – Evening with the Stars Explorations[/bscolumns][bscolumns class="one_half_last_clear"] July 31-August 1 - True Grit Explorations August 7 - Fields & Fruits Horse Drawn Wagon Explorations September 18-19 - Leadville Fall Foliage Explorations October 25-26 - Utah Explorations December 12-13 - Glenwood Springs Explorations[/bscolumns][bscolumns class="clear"][/bscolumns]

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