Located in the heart of downtown Grand Junction is the newly named Museum of the West (formerly known as Museum of Western Colorado, this name is now used to refer to all the campus museums which include Dinosaur Journey, Cross Orchards Historic Farm, and others). This place is packed with interactive activities to do with the kids. You are transported back in time to what Western Colorado would have been like in various periods of its history. There are artifacts from when the Ute Indians inhabited the plains. Kids can climb into an actual stage coach and experience what a ride was like in the 1800’s when this was the primary mode of transportation. Next, aviation is explored with a Cessna plane that kids can sit in and push buttons that simulate a flight. An old fire engine is next door with a siren that is in working order. A phone booth is set up to show children how once you had to contact an operator to connect a call. Moreover, a school room is re-created from the 1800’s complete with desks and slates the kids can practice their letters on. There is even a mine that kids can walk in and see how coal and minerals were extracted from the earth.
There is also plenty for adults to learn and see as well. With one of the better known firearm collections among museums, you can see the actual guns that local sheriffs carried as well as some famous gun slingers and legends (such as Alfred Packer). Further, there is a mock saloon as well as mementos from the Opera House that once stood in downtown Grand Junction. There is an array of temporary exhibits (such as the current Teddy Roosevelt paintings) that change periodically to keep the museum fresh and new.
To top it off for kids and adults is a tower that you can climb up and have an amazing view of downtown and the surrounding mountains. With billboards that explain the historic significance of buildings in the downtown area, this was the highlight of our whole visit.
I would highly recommend the Museum of the West for kids and adults alike, especially for local history buffs. This place has the entertainment, interactive, and educational down to a science so you are guaranteed to learn something while having fun at the same time!
Address: 462 Ute Avenue, Grand Junction, CO
Admission: $5.50 adults, $4.50 seniors, $3.00 children, or $16 for the family. Free to members.
Phone: (970) 242-0971
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-3pm