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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Science Ranch 2016

By Phil Plait

Update, Feb. 7, 2016: As of today, Science Ranch 2016 has sold out. However, we do maintain a waiting list in case spots open up. If you want to be on the list, please contact us!

If you love science (and yes, you do), meeting other people who also love science, and being outdoors in a spectacular setting, then do I have something for you.

My wife and I run a company called Science Getaways, where we take fun vacations and make them better by adding SCIENCE. Today we’re announcing our next getaway: Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland, Colorado.

Science Ranch 2016, as we’re calling it, will be from Sunday, July 31, to Saturday, Aug. 6. The Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in a really lovely valley where the Big Thompson River comes out of the mountains. Some of the rocks in the cliff walls visible from the ranch are well over a billion years old! The geography and wildlife of the area are just breathtaking.

Speaking of which, we’ll have three guest scientists joining us: Dr. Dave Armstrong, an ecologist who co-owns the ranch and knows the area extremely well; Dr. Holly Brunkal, a Colorado geologist and a perennial Getaways favorite (this will be the fourth time she’s joined us); and my old friend Dr. Dan Durda, an expert on asteroids and suborbital spaceflight. All three will give talks, and Dave and Holly will lead us on hikes to see the biology and the geology of the region up close.

And, as usual, I’ll be giving a talk, and I’ll have my solar telescope for viewing activity on the Sun as well as my trusty 20 cm Celestron telescope to take advantage of the dark skies there.

You’ll also have the option to take a day trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park (included in the vacation*), one of my favorite places in the world. The views from up there are truly magnificent.

There’s plenty to do at the ranch, too: horseback riding, trap shooting, cookouts, an overnight pack ride, bass fishing, campfires, a heated swimming pool … and an optional river raft ride down the Cache la Poudre River. Or you can simply sit by the Big Thompson River outside your cabin and read a book. We’re very low pressure about activities; do or do not, as you see fit. The lodging rate includes three home-cooked meals per day and all the ranch activities.

This Getaway is also perfect for families; there are activities just for kids, including riding and horse care, and their inquisitive minds will love the hikes and other science activities we’ll be doing.

Sylvan Dale is a second-generation family-owned guest ranch. If you’ve never been to a dude ranch, you’re going to fall in love with this type of vacation. The ranch is very comfortable and homey; it’s not at all like a hotel or resort. It’s a wonderful atmosphere, and we love it. But what makes Science Getaways really special, and what keeps people coming back so frequently, are the folks you’ll spend the week with. Science Ranchers (as we call those who come on our ranch vacations) are some of the friendliest, most fun and interesting people you’ll ever meet. A Science Getaway is not so much like taking a group vacation, it’s more like hanging out with 30 friends in a really cool place.

If this sounds like fun to you, then head over to the Science Getaways page and reserve a spot. We’re keeping attendance lower than usual for this one, and we expect it to sell out. I hope to see lots of BABloggees there!

*Note: Travel to and from the ranch is not included in the price; check the registration page to make sure what is and is not part of the price.

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