When the NCAA Women’s Final Four bounces into Denver this weekend the Mile High City will welcome nearly 5,000 student-athletes for the ultimate challenge in women’s college basketball. The city will also be filled with activity. While tickets for the games must be purchased, many events surrounding the games are free and perfect family-friendly activities.
Fans of the games will love the excitement of having the nation’s best women’s college teams right here in our backyard. There will be opportunities to collect autographs, watch practices and more. And, even if you don’t follow the games, families can enjoy all kinds of fun and excitement. Here’s a list of some of the family fun:
Mar. 30, 10am-7pm; Mar 31, 10am-7pm; Apr 1. 11am-7pm. Spend time in the center of all the fan action at Tourney Town at the Colorado Convention Center. Enjoy activities, entertainment, food, autograph sessions, youth clinics and more.
Mar 31. 10:45am-3:55pm. Watch the Women’s Final Four teams during open practice sessions at the Pepsi Center and collect autographs from the student-athletes and coaches on complimentary commemorative posters. Free and open to the public.
Mar 31. 5:30pm. Grammy-nominated music sensation Jewel will perform live on the main stage of Tourney Town. Free.
April 1, 11:30am. Youth ages 18 and under
are invited to dribble through Downtown Denver from Civic Center Park to Tourney Town at the Colorado Convention Center. The first 2,500 participants receive a T -shirt and basketball. Live music, activities and family fun continue throughout the afternoon. Online pre-registration highly encouraged. Free for ages 18 and under. Downtown Denver. 888-933-2012 ext. 6.
Apr. 1. 1:00-1:30pm. Join thousand of fans to cheer performances by pep bands, cheerleading squads and mascots from the Women’s Final Four teams. Free. Tourney Town at the Colorado Convention Center.
Noon-1pm. Watch the mascots from the participating Women’s Final Four teams get warmed up. The mascots will display their unique skills and participate in a competition live on Center Stage in Tourney Town. Cheer for your favorites.
Court open through mid-April. Mon.-Fri 11am-7pm; Sat.-Sun. 9am-8pm. Grab a ball and enjoy a pick-up game at the Southwest Court downtown sponsored by Southwest Airlines. This full size basketball court at the base of the D & F Tower at 16th Street and Arapahoe is free and open to the public. Reserve court time online southwestcourt.com or call 720-326-8009. Little ones do not need to sit on the sidelines, the hoops can be lowered to accommodate their height. The court will also host youth basketball clinics and other organized events. Visit the website for details.
Mar. 31-Apr. 3. During the Final Four events, Denver B-cycle will offer a half-price special of $4 for a 24-hour membership.
For more Final Four fun, visit NCAA.com/finalfour.
Also don’t miss our interview with ESPN reporter Rebecca Lobo
ESPN color analyst Rebecca Lobo will be in Denver reporting on all the Women’s Final Four action. Rebecca, who was a charter player in the WNBA, the youngest member of the 1996 gold-medal winning Olympic women’s basketball team and and a recent inductee into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, is also a busy mom of four. We interviewed Rebecca about basketball, reporting, motherhood and balancing it all. Find out her best advice for parents whose kids play sports.
-Deborah Mock is the editor of Colorado Parent magazine