Families with kids might also want to stop in at the Discovery Science Center, 703 E. Prospect Rd. (tel. 970/472-3990; www.dcsm.org), with interactive exhibits covering everything from dinosaurs to local ecology to electricity.

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya & the Shambhala Mountain Center

Founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who was a major figure in bringing his religion to the U.S., the Shambhala Mountain Center is about an hour's drive northwest of Fort Collins and a world apart. Located in a rocky, forested mountain valley, the center offers a curriculum ranging from meditation and yoga to gardening and storytelling.

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Beyond the educational component, the center is also home to a unique structure: The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, dedicated to Shambhala founder Rinpoche, is the largest and most ornate stupa (a spire built in honor of a deceased Buddhist teacher) in the Western Hemisphere. Nuclear-plant engineers were called in to design a structure out of reinforced concrete that would stand for 1,000 years, and artisans hand-painted every last detail. The stupa is open from 9am to 6pm daily; guided tours are offered at 2pm Saturday and Sunday ($10 donation suggested); lunch ($10) is available from 12:30 to 1:30pm.

Lodging ranges from tent-cabins with a communal bathhouse ($69-$79 nightly) to lodge rooms ($80-$139 for a room with a shared bathroom, $159-$199 nightly for one with a private bath), and there is a cafeteria on-site. Many weekend renewal programs are offered, and many programs are open to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. There are also 6 miles of hiking paths on the property.

For further information, contact the Shambhala Mountain Center, 4921 C.R. 68C, Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545 (tel. 888/788-7221 or 970/881-2184; www.shambhalamountain.org).

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Brewery Tours

There's no denying that Fort Collins is a beer town. Not only is it home to the giant Anheuser-Busch Brewery, with its famous Clydesdale horses , but the city also boasts several excellent microbreweries.

CooperSmith's Pub & Brewing Co. provides patrons a view of the brewing process from inside the restaurant and offers tours by appointment. Using English malted barley and hops from the Pacific Northwest, CooperSmith's brews from 6 to 10 ales. For those averse to beer, the brewery also makes its own root beer, ginger ale, and cream soda.

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Just northeast of Old Town, across the railroad tracks, New Belgium Brewing Company, 500 Linden St. (tel. 888/622-4044 or 970/221-0524; www.newbelgium.com), is a "macro" microbrewery -- it ranks in the country's top 15 brewers by volume, second to only Coors of Colorado -- producing top-quality Belgian-style ales including the very popular Fat Tire. The always-lively brewery's "Liquid Center" is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm, offering four 3-ounce samples to visitors. Hour-long tours are offered every half-hour Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 3:30pm, and Saturday on the half-hour from 11am to 4pm, with self-guided tours anytime. Beer can be purchased, along with glasses, caps, T-shirts, and other souvenirs.

You'll find Odell Brewing Company, Fort Collins's oldest craft brewery, at 800 E. Lincoln Ave. (tel. 970/498-9070; www.odellbrewing.com). Specializing in English-style ales, Odell produces draft and bottled beers, which are available in restaurants and bars throughout the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest. Tours are given Monday through Saturday at 1, 2, and 3pm, and the tasting room is open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 6pm. Beer, which you can sample before making your choice (or get a taster of each for $4), plus beer glasses, shirts, and other souvenirs are all available.

Also brewing beer in Fort Collins are Fort Collins Brewery, 1900 E. Lincoln Ave., #B (tel. 970/472-1499; www.fortcollinsbrewery.com), which specializes in lagers and has a comfortable tasting room that's open from noon to 6pm Monday through Saturday; and Bighorn Brewery & Clubhouse, 1427 W. Elizabeth St. (tel. 970/221-5954), a bar and grill which brews a variety of beer styles. Contact these breweries for additional information.

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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.