Friday, July 20, 2012

Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and families of this terrible and shocking tragedy. This is jarring to us all to realize that our normally peaceful lives in our beautiful community can be changed in an instant by an isolated event of senseless violence.
We are grateful to the Aurora police, fire, hospital and all first responders for their quick and highly professional response. The hospitality of the Aurora community is highly evidenced as we continue to assist in caring for the special needs of those impacted.
We thank all of you for your outpouring of support, thoughts, messages, and prayers for our Aurora community. 
Gary Wheat, President/CEO
Visit Aurora

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Aurora Reservoir: Interview with Park Ranger Yusten

Who better to give you the in's and out's of the Aurora Reservoir than an Aurora Park Ranger?  Visit Aurora (VA) interviewed Park Ranger Crystal Yusten (RC) and she gave us some great insight on what goes on at the Reservoir.  
Aurora Park Ranger Crystal Yusten

VA:  How deep can the water in the Reservoir get in the summer?
RC:  Up to 100 feet in some areas.

VA:  What is the average water temperature?
RC:  In the summer it can get in the high 60’s to low 70’s

VA:  How many different kinds of fish are there in the Reservoir?
RC:  Trout, Walleye, Wiper, Crappie, Perch, Catfish, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, White Sucker.

VA:  What are some of the records held for fish?
RC:  There are several State Records for Aurora Reservoir.  For Channel Catfish it's 43 pounds, 6 ounces caught by Jessica Walton with a one day fishing license. Was one of her first times out to fish and she caught a monster fish.  

      For Smallmouth Bass, the record is 6 pounds, 11 ounces caught by Ray Ong.  I was there to see this fish weighed in. It was a big one, but I think Ray’s smile was even bigger.
     The White Sucker record is 5 pounds, 6.65 ounces caught by Jay Grupp.  Usually a sucker is not a particularly popular fish so when he caught the state record and turned it in, people joked about it.

     The Quincy Reservoir also has a state record Tiger Muskie which was 40 pounds 2 ounces. Tiger Muskie are rarely seen at Quincy Reservoir anymore since they do not reproduce, but every once in a while we will see a couple.

VA:  What are some unique activities that you see?
RC:  We see all different kinds of recreation, including kite sailing, wind surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, geocaching,  beach volleyball, crawdad fishing, biking, running, paddle boat rentals, and water tricycle rental.

VA: What is the cost to a guest?
RC:  The cost is $10/vehicle/day or $55 for Aurora Residents for the Season or $65 for Non-Residents for the Season.   If they enter (walk, bike) through one of the 5 gates on the south side of the reservoir there is no entry fee.

VA:  How many miles of trail?
RC:  There are 8 miles paved trail, and a USATF Certified 5K course that is partly paved/partly unpaved.

VA:  And finally, do you have a unique story or something interesting that you've seen? 
RC:  I have many stories. This year’s $10,000 Trout Tournament had some interesting winners in both the adult and youth divisions. The adult winner was a second-time winner (he won in 2010 as well). Ted Greenman brought in a 3.764 pound trout that took the $10,000 cash prize, which is nearly a pound heavier than what won him the cash in 2010. 

     In the child division, first and second place winners were siblings. Olivia and Clayton Hegeman stuck it out through the harsh weather to bring in two respectably large trout winning them first (Olivia - 6) and second (Clayton - 4) places. 

This is a lot of great information on the Aurora Reservoir.  Do you have any further questions for Ranger Crystal?  Just post them here and we'll get them answered for you!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Destination Spotlight: Plains Conservation Center

A few weeks ago, the publication Westword put out a blog entitled "Aurora: Top Five Tourist Destinations."  Visit Aurora thought it was a great blog and an amazing way to kick off our Destination Newsletter.  (If you aren't already signed up for the monthly email newsletter, you can do so at

Just a little background on Aurora... it is Colorado's third-largest city with a population of over 335,000 residents.  Aurora makes up the eastern Denver metro area and sits on the High Plains at an elevation of 5,471 feet.  The foothills of the Rockies are about a 20-30 minute drive, depending where you're at in the city, and offer amazing vistas ranging from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak. Aurora, as a city, is over 150 square miles.

With all of that being said, Aurora is home of one of the gems of the metro area... Plains Conservation Center.  It is right smack dab in the middle of the city and right across the street from Buckley Air Force Base.  Visit Aurora was able to take a tour with a guide from the Center, and she kept using the phrase "prairie thunder" with us.  We were finally able to understand what she meant when two of the F-16's from the 140th Colorado Air National Guard were taking off directly over us.

The Plains Conservation Center covers an area that is over 1,110-acres.  It offers a nature center, a historic farm with two replicated homesteads, a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, and a barn, and four Cheyenne-style tipis.  Not only does the Center have the opportunity to educate visitors on what life was like in the 1800's, but they are also home to many different types of wildlife.  Their farm has oxen, chickens and turkeys.  The open prairie part of the center is home to many species of "big birds" (as our guide referred to as birds of prey), several colonies of prairie dogs, and a few herds of Pronghorn.

The Center also hosts an array of events that teach all about everyday surroundings, including prairie bird identification, solar eclipse viewings, and the skills it took to be a Cheyenne man!

No better way to end this blog than with some amazing photos taken at the Plains Conservation Center...

Cheyenne Tipis
Photo Courtesy of the
Plains Conservation Center's Facebook page

Photo Courtesy of the
Plains Conservation Facebook page

Photo Courtesy of the
Plains Conservation Facebook page

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Aurora, Colorado: Food Mecca

To kick this blog off, I wanted to be able to display the diversity of Aurora, Colorado with a couple of fun facts.  Aurora is home to two school districts that have a collective enrollment of 87,302 students.  These students are from over 135 different countries and speak nearly 100 different languages.

As you can imagine, the great diversity of our school systems leads to one great attraction that Aurora hangs it's hat on... a great diversity of ethnic and locally owned independent eats!

Just recently, Visit Aurora teamed with the City of Aurora to help produce YUM, a guide that lists over 150 of these ethnic restaurants and markets that are located in the city.  They are arranged by cuisine types, including African, Ethiopian, Filipino, German, Greek, Indian, Korean, Russian, and Vietnamese.  

Rebecca Caro, a freelance food and travel writer and author of the award-winning blog, From Argentina With Love, has provided a narrative on each of the restaurants and markets.  She provides a little history on each place as well as their must-eats!

We understand that Aurora is a big city and finding these places may be a bit tricky.  For that reason, each restaurant and market has a number next to it indicating where in the city the establishment is located.

District Map of Aurora, CO
As mentioned in a previous post, Visit Aurora has a complete listing of all of the restaurants in town.  Today, there are 563 establishments on that listing, which includes all of the chains, franchises, etc.

The city of Aurora and Visit Aurora produced the YUM guide and online restaurant listing in hopes that it serves as a resource to help you explore the many great restaurants in Aurora.  Every effort was made to ensure that the information within is accurate.  And, while we can't guarantee that, we would love to know if we missed your favorite spot or something listed has changed.  So, if you have helpful feedback, please drop us a not at  Thanks and Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Visit Aurora Launches New Website

Visit Aurora has launched a new, interactive website!  Have you had the chance to check it out yet??  If not, finish reading this and then go check it out!

Visit Aurora has been working with TIG Global, a company that assists the travel industry with exceeding their online marketing goals.  They came up with the design and functionality of the site!  Here is a great article to read about the launch.

We wanted to go over a couple of our favorite sections of the site so that you know what you're looking for when you get there!

One of the coolest things about this site is the BOOK YOUR TRIP HERE widget on the homepage (also found under PLACES TO STAY).  It works by placing the dates in which you're planning to visit Aurora and hit Book Now.  Aurora hotels will pop up and give you the average rate of all of the nights you are planning on staying.  This is a great online tool that allows you to book directly with the hotel!

Another great feature is PLACES TO EAT.  Are you craving Russian? Thai? Filipino? Ethiopian? Maybe you didn't know you were craving them until right now!  You can search on this page for any type of cuisine that you want AND search in the part of Aurora you'll be visiting!  So, let's say you're visiting University Hospital and a craving for a burrito hits you.  Here's what you do... go to and search for Mexican cuisine in the Anschutz/Art District.  And Bingo... 28  Mexican restaurants just down the street from you!

The last feature we'd like to chat about is our EVENTS CALENDAR.  If you go here, you can see everything that is going on in the community.  Everything from what's happening at the Fox to a trout tournament at the Aurora Reservoir to Coyote Watch Training at the Morrison Nature Center.  Another great part is that YOU can submit an event yourself and pending Visit Aurora approval, we'll get it live on the calendar!

Alright, you've had your briefing, now go look for yourself!  Write us back to tell us what you love about the site!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Destination: Aurora

Visit Aurora has launched a brand new webisode campaign entitled Destination: Aurora.  This is going to be a campaign that really shows off the hidden, or maybe not so hidden, gems of the City.  The part that is going to make these stories even better is that they are not being told by us, but by the people who are invested in Colorado's third largest city. 

Colorado is known for being a state of great micro-breweries.  Aurora probably isn't the first city you think of visiting to sample the local beer flavors.  However, that may be changing very quickly, and our first webisode features a brewery that will have you dreaming of hefeweizen. 

Owner Kevin DeLange steps into the spotlight to tell the story of how Dry Dock Brewing Co. started, found success and now is planning expansion in the City of Aurora.

Check out this video...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Aurora’s People Make the Difference

By Gary Wheat, President | CEO

Moving to a new city is always a challenge and at times a tad scary, but as Visit Aurora was formed and I moved to become a part of the City I truly found a warm embrace. It’s all about the Aurora people. Maybe being a Mississippi transplant, no one really understood a word I was saying? I like to think it was a sense of community and small town despite a city of over 330,000 residents. It’s all about the Aurora people.  Whether assisting a new non-profit charged with promoting Aurora as a destination or displaying neighborly courtesy, the Visit Aurora staff have truly found a home and have set about sharing just what a hospitable city it is with the rest of the world.

It’s all about the Aurora people. From the heroes at of each of Aurora’s world-class medical facilities to the brave men and women watching America’s back at Buckley Air Force Base, you find a willingness and desire to succeed and give back to the community. Ethnic communities come together to provide a better future while cherishing their homeland’s culture. And rest assured, it is that sense of community and hospitality that visitors to Aurora notice. They return to their respective homes to share with neighbors about the All America City of Aurora they experienced on their visit.

It‘s all about the Aurora people. So whether enjoying a performance at one of Aurora’s three theatres or experiencing the delicacies at one of Aurora’s ethnic restaurants, Visit Aurora hopes that you see the true sense of home that our new organization has discovered in our first year of existence. And if you happen to meet a visitor to our City, take a moment to say welcome and how much you appreciate them visiting your Aurora.

It’s all about the Aurora people.