For group activities amidst beautiful landscapes, meeting planners and tour operators know there's no better choice than Grand Junction, Colorado. With more than 2,800 hotel rooms, the city offers superb lodging, from the quaint and cozy to downright lavish. But beyond the hotel walls, visitors find an equally diverse mix of outdoor activities, scenic drives, wine tasting and more to explore.
The Colorado National Monument is perhaps the area's biggest draw, with its canyons, monoliths and rust-tinted rock formations. Download an audio tour of the area at www.visitgrandjunction.com, which acts as your own private guide to the area, or hire a step on guide.
Take a break with a picnic in one of two monumental areas - near the Saddlehorn Campground or in the Devil's Kitchen picnic area near the East Entrance. The drive through Colorado National Monument takes approximately two-and-a-half hours. (Note that groups of 15 or more require a permit.)
For a look at the West as it was, "stomp" over to the Dinosaur Journey at the Museum of Western Colorado - a great place to understand the prehistoric appeal of the area, as well as opportunities to dig for real dinosaur bones. Museum goers can examine fossils, cast skeletons and admire robotic reconstructions of dinosaurs.
The hands-on, interactive museum includes paleontology displays, a working laboratory where dinosaur bones are prepared for display, a collections room where scientists study dinosaurs and other animals, simulated earthquake ride, sandbox for making your own dinosaur tracks and a "quarry site" where kids can uncover actual Jurassic dinosaur bones. If you have a large group and would like a docent to take you on a group tour, call the Museum of Western Colorado in advance.
Another truly unique stop is the Suncrest Orchard Alpaca Farm. Established in 2006, the farm raises high-quality alpacas (it's now home to over 50 of them), and provides fiber-processing services and alpaca products. On a tour of the farm, groups can interact with the animals, learn fun and interesting alpaca facts, and take an informative tour of the fiber mill, discovering how this incredible fiber is spun into yarn. Also, be sure to visit the farm store which has a variety of products made out of alpaca fiber and yarn.
And what about that great Colorado wine? Grand Junction has over 18 wineries, and there are tasting rooms galore throughout the Grand Valley American Viticultural Area. Take your tour bus or motor coach through the vineyards and stop at one of the tasting rooms. Contact the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau for suggestions.