Posts Tagged ‘Colorado attraction.’

Traditions Must Go Forth

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Checking out a suggested add-a-friend on Facebook I found a post linked to one my childrenís favorite eating establishments when they were growing up. None other then Coloradoís legendary tourist attraction, Casa Bonita.

Itís been years since Iíve patronized this Mexican- themed restaurant located in the town of Lakewood, a suburb of Denver. But as soon as I saw its name in printÖoh, how the memories returnedÖ

The pink and gold, fairyland-like facade on the building made to resemble a hacienda, †blaring Mexican music that greets you as you cross the parking lot on your way in, the colorful lights leading to the entrance and the a massive wooden door with wrought iron hardware.

Once you step inside youíre instantly transported back in time to old Mexico where replicas of the main house of a hacienda with antiques, rustic furniture, hand hewn doors and beamed ceilings amaze and delight. After you soak up the initial ambiance you find yourself following long, twisting and turning cobblestone path toward the restaurant.

The journey takes you past blossoming gardens, hidden courtyards, posters of Mexican activities, and a window that shows the tortilla making crew hard at work.

After you order your food, perhaps an all you can eat menu selection, you move along in a cafeteria type line for pickup and seating. A hostess greets you and leads you to your table in surprise location. You may be led to the middle of a plaza in small village during a festival where the palm trees, mini lights and colorful lanterns emphasize the atmosphere of the town that includes a church, general store, post office, other business buildings, homes of the local residents and a 30 foot waterfall. You may be seated in the town square, a gold or silver mine, a cave or cavern with stalactites and stalagmites nearby.

Your no sooner settle down to enjoy your meal when the fun begins with a whirlwind of entertainment including live cliff divers, flame jugglers, Mariachi bands, authentic dancers in colorful costumes, a wild gorilla chase and a shoot out between the Sheriff and Black Bart.

All this comes before the hot servings (all you can eat) of Sopapillas and honey.

After the dessert itís time to explore the haunted tunnel known as Black Bartís Cave, watch a puppet show, visit the magic theatre, play games in the arcade to earn tickets for prizes and peruse the souvenir shop.

Casa Bonita is a family attraction that has drawn children of all ages since 1974. Itís where many birthdays are celebrated, end of the school year parties are held, out of town guests are entertained or where you go just to have a good time.

Right now Iím thinking about reliving that experience and taking my grandson when he comes to town. After all, itís a tradition that must go forth.