We got up bright and early Thursday morning and loaded the car. I had packed mostly everything earlier in the week. We were out until 10:30 pm the night before since it was the 4th of July, so it threatened to be a rough day. Especially considering that we wanted to make it from Kansas City to Denver in one day.
The kids got up fairly early, we ate a quick breakfast, and headed on our way. We made our traditional pit stop at Quik Trip for snacks and then hopped on 71 highway. We drove and we drove and we drove. We tried to stop at Munchers for some donuts when we passed through Lawrence, but they were closed for vacation. I can’t blame them I guess.
We drove I-70 ALL the way across Kansas. If you’ve never had the pleasure of driving that route, don’t be jealous. It’s SO boring. There is literally nothing in Kansas. There’s not even a Chipotle. Well, once you get past Topeka anyway. We did stop and run through the windmill fields. (It was on our road trip bucket list and yes, we trespassed.)
The kids were surprisingly good in the car. Lia had two meltdowns before lunch and then she was a princess for the rest of the day. We stopped at a gas station and played with our flying monster shooters. It was SUPER hot, so we didn’t stick around long. We used the road trip reward system all day long and it really helped keep the kids behaving and occupied. It’s a LONG drive from Kansas City to Denver.
We kept driving and decided that we just HAD to eat at Casa Bonita. We called our friends and they decided to meet us. I read somewhere that Casa Bonita is one of the top 10 restaurants in the world, so that automatically meant we couldn’t pass it up. We’ve never been to Denver (unless you count an hour layover at the airport). Our friends beat us there by 30 minutes and we still had to wait in line for 45 minutes once we met up with them. It’s crazy to think that you would wait that long to get into a restaurant that seats 1,000 people!
Once we made it through the line, we placed our orders, grabbed our cafeteria trays, got our food, and made our way to our table. Now, let me tell something… Casa Bonita was really awesome, but you have to have proper expectations. The food is mediocre and that’s being generous. The service is sub-par. Every time our waiter came near our table, he took off before we could even make all of our requests. But, they do have all-you-can-eat beef or chicken dinners, with chips and queso, salsa, guacamole, and sopapillas. The kids had chicken tenders and Josh + I both had chicken dinners, with tacos and enchiladas.
The entertainment is pretty cheesy… they have cliff divers, a gunfight, a gorilla show, and a puppet show. There was a cave to walk through, a “gold mine”, a gift shop, and an arcade. But the kids just LOVED it. It was a really well-done tourist trap. And I’m SO glad that we went. (But I’m also glad that we knew what to expect ahead of time!) We finished up pretty late and then headed to our friends’ house to spend the night. We were all pretty exhausted by that point, but we had an awesome day!
epic summer road trip kids in the carrunning through the windmill fields in kansaskids playing with monster flyers in parking lotplaying on a road trip with kidsfamily vacation road trip fun in the carcasa bonita denver colorado restaurantcliff diving and entertainment at casa bonita in denver


  • Awww, sad Banana! 🙁 I love the one of you helping Lia under the barbed wire. And of course, I love the family photo! I also love the one of the kids in front of the “I can change the world” graffiti. I’d love one like that of my kids to frame! Such a cool photo. Hope you guys are having an awesome time!

  • That brings back great memories…we went to Casa Bonita on a family vacation when I was a kid. I remember loving it with the cliff divers and the sopapillas. Cheesy, but good memories! We also would do the alpine slides! What a fun vacation for you guys!

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