Road Trippin’ to Fort Collins – Greeley Tribune

This week’s Road Trippin’ series keeps us a little closer to home with several activities in Fort Collins.

Fort Collins is around a 45-minute drive from Greeley via US-34 and I-25 N or US-85N and Co-14 W, among other routes.

Fort Collins was established as Camp Collins in 1862 by the ninth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry as a way to protect travelers and settlers along the Colorado branch of the Overland Trail. The area grew into a thriving agricultural center when the Colorado Central Railroad arrived in 1877.

The city is home to the Colorado State University as well as to several historic homes and buildings.

Spend the morning exploring the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, 408 Mason Court.

The Fort Collins Discovery Museum offers a variety of exhibits inspired by history and science. (Tamara Markard/Greeley Tribune)The Fort Collins Discovery Museum offers a variety of exhibits inspired by history and science. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter)

The museum offers several interactive exhibits like the Music and Sound Lab where visitors can test their musical skills on everything from string instruments to electronic DJ equipment.

The Food, Forage and Farm exhibit showcases tools and artifacts from some of the first settlers and farmers in the area.

Don’t forget to swing by the Natural Areas exhibit to check out the museum’s furry residents — two live black-footed ferrets.

The museum café sells a variety of beverages and snacks like granola bars, string cheese, Chai tea and iced coffee.  If you are staying the entire day, pick up a grilled cheese, noodle bowl or soft pretzel to refuel before heading back into the museum exhibits to explore.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and admission is based on timed ticket entry. Ticket prices are $12.50 for adults, $9.50 for seniors age 60 years and older, $9.50 for youth ages 3 to 18 and children age 2 and under are free.

Masks are required for any visitor age 3 years and older and social distancing is of 6 ft. is recommended.

For more information on the museum, go to www.fcmod.org.

If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure, the Poudre River Whitewater Park, located just north of Old Town Fort Collins at 202 E. Vine St., offers an entire day of water fun for adults and children of all ages.

The park provides safe access to the river for kayakers, tubers and offers large rocky areas to relax on after taking a dip in the water.

Enjoy the Poudre River from the Fort Collins side at the Poudre River Whitewater Park. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter)

The free park has stairs leading down to the riverbank as well as an overlook plaza and pedestrian bridge connecting to the Poudre Trail. The area offers paved biking paths and walking trails.

There are areas along the bank where you can picnic. Just be sure to pack up all of your garbage and trash before leaving the area.

While there are no flush toilets, the park does have a changing area and port-o-lets in the parking lot. Masks and social distancing is highly recommended.

Before hitting up the park, brush up on some safety tips at www.fcgov.com.

The Poudre River Whitewater Park offers biking paths and walking trails as well as picnic areas. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter)

Fort Collins is also an excellent place to plan a day or evening date with your significant other, girls or guys night out, or to just hang out with friends.

Old Town Fort Collins offers a variety of small shops, restaurants and cafes as well as seating areas to enjoy the summer weather while people watching.

The area resembles European style walkways with cobblestone lined walking paths, colorful flowers and bright green foliage, artwork and hanging lights, adding a magical romantic feel to old town.

Downtown Fort Collins offers a variety of small shops, restaurants and cafes as well as seating areas for enjoying the summer weather while people watching. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter)

No trip to Fort Collins is complete without a stop a Beau Jo’s for some Colorado style pizza.

With it’s unique hand-rolled edges and piled high toppings, the restaurant’s Mountain Pies are sure to satisfy the biggest appetites.

What makes the restaurant differ from other pizza joints is that instead of using sugar in their crust and pizza sauce, they use honey. Honey is also encouraged as a dipping sauce for that last bit of rolled crust.

The restaurant offers different types of crusts such as honey white or wheat, gluten free and a cauliflower crust for those following Keto or carb-restricted diets.

Customers can also choose their sauce and toppings or opt for a Beau Jo specialty pie like the Yukon topped with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, Canadian bacon, mozzarella and provolone cheeses or the Sky Hawk that includes pepperoni, Hatch green chilies, mozzarella and feta cheeses.

However, if pizza isn’t your jam the restaurant serves a variety of salads, sides, sandwiches and pasta.

Beau Jo’s offers Colorado style pizza as well as salads, pasta, sandwiches and more. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter)

The Spicy Beef sandwich is a personal favorite with its slice prime rib, giardiniera peppers and melted Monterey Jack cheese served with a side of au jus for dipping.

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily and offers both pickup and in-person dining options. Reservations are required.

To check out the menu, make a reservation or place an order for pickup, go to www.beaujos.com.

After stuffing your face, take your adventure to the next level by heading over to the Axe and Ale to test your skill at chucking sharp objects at wood.

One of Fort Collins’ newest activities, Axe and Ale, located at 1624 S. Lemay Ave., offers customers a unique experience for a first date, birthday celebration or just night out of the house.

The bar offers novice and expert axe throwers access to nine indoor throwing lanes, with double and single lane options. Each lane is surrounded with chain-link fencing and are 10 ft. 6 inches high.

FORT COLLINS, CO – AUGUST 04:Axe-throwing coaches Kelly Wimler, left, and Lauren Ollila toss axes at the newly-opened Axe and Ale axe-throwing bar in Fort Collins Aug. 4, 2020. The axes are dull for safety, but stick in the wood targets by laying along the grain and wetting the wood to make it softer. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

Stools and small tables allow customers to sit and enjoy drinks or snacks in between throwing. The bar offers can and draft beer as well as non-alcoholic beverages.

Customers are welcome to bring in their own food, as well.

Be forewarned, throwing axes is more than walking up to the throwing line and hurling the thing. It takes skill, patience and finding your personal groove.

It took me a good six throws and some coaching before I got the hang of it to where my axes were actually sticking in the target rather than hitting the floor, the ceiling or way outside the bull’s eye. However, Greeley Tribune photographer Alex McIntyre, who apparently is a secret axe throwing ninja in his off time, hit the bull’s eye on his first throw.

FORT COLLINS, CO – AUGUST 04:The entrance to the newly-opened Axe and Ale axe-throwing bar in Fort Collins Aug. 4, 2020. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

According to Ross Ericksen, co-owner of the bar, stance, grip and motion all play an equal part in a successful throw and the size of the person has not bearing on how well someone throws an axe.

“I took my wife on a date to an axe throwing bar in Georgia and my wife kicked my butt the entire hour,” he said. “She’s like 5ft 3 inches, all of 110 pounds and she crushed me. It really is an equal opportunity activity.”

Newbies to axe throwing can get some pre-throwing council from coaches as well as recommendations on different games to play like cricket, humans vs. zombies, and cornhole.

Throwing axes while drinking beer may seem like an accident waiting to happen, but Ericksen and his crew closely monitor customers’ alcohol consumption for the safety of patrons and staff.

The bar wets down the wood targets, making it easier for more dull edges to penetrate the target, eliminating the need for axes to have extremely sharp edges.

Upon arriving, staff run customers through the safety protocols and guidelines.

FORT COLLINS, CO – AUGUST 04:The Axe and Ale logo adorns the wall in one of the throwing lanes at the newly-opened Axe and Ale axe-throwing bar in Fort Collins Aug. 4, 2020. (Alex McIntyre/Staff Photographer)

“You don’t have to drink to throw and you don’t have to throw to drink,” staff member and throwing coach Lauren Ollila said. “We are also an open bar.”

Per COVID-19 guidelines, all customers are required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. The bar has hand sanitation stations located at the front door as well as around the inside of the building. Close-toed shoes are required.

The cost to throw at the bar is $25 per hour per person and customers must at least 14 years old to participate in throwing.

Operation hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Monday and Thursday, noon to 10 pm Friday and Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday and by appointment only Tuesday and Wednesday.

Reservations are required and can be booked online.

To make a reservation or learn more about Axe and Ale, go to www.theaxeandale.com.