If you go

The University of Colorado campus is empty of students until classes resume Jan. 11. The campus is closed on New Year's Day, but now is a good time to take advantage of events without battling crowds. Here are some campus ideas during the break:

Fiske Planetarium: The planetarium is showing "Laser Nutcracker," a holiday classic accompanied by lasers and special effects. The show will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday. Admission is $5 for adults and $3.50 for kids and seniors.

UMC Connection: The remodeled Connection is open for bowling, billiards and arcade games. The Connection reduces its hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Thursday and is closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Regular hours resume Monday.

Norlin Library: The annual Information Day at Norlin Library will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 7 in the Center for British and Irish Studies on the fifth floor of the library. A catered lunch will be served. Eric Harbeson, archivist for the American Music Research Center at CU, will present "American History through the Lens of Music."

CU Museum: The "Navajo Weaving: Diamonds, Dreams, Landscapes" exhibit is open in CU's Museum of Natural History, showcasing rare Navajo textiles. The museum, in CU's Henderson Building, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.


m. Sundays. Admission is free, but suggested donations are $3 for adults and $1 for seniors and children.

University of Colorado sociology student Erik Bromley gave his mother a tour of the quiet Boulder campus on Monday, showing her what's changed since she was a student three decades ago.

It felt like they had the campus to themselves, as Bromley showed her the forthcoming visual arts complex and a new overnight study spot in Norlin Library.

The mass exodus of CU students for winter break changes Boulder: Traffic is clear along Broadway, business slows on the Hill, and the campus is eerily quiet. The lull will last until Jan. 11, when the spring semester starts.

Bromley, a CU junior who lives on University Hill, said he enjoys this time of year, when Boulder has a small-town, relaxed feel -- and when many of his 30,000 peers are absent from the city of about 100,000.

CU's dorms entirely shut down during the winter break, said Peter Caughey, a Boulder campus spokesman. International students who don't make the long trip home for the holidays instead travel domestically or make arrangements to stay with friends, he said.

From left, Robin Arenson, Daniel Epstein and Baxter Ross work on a Web site Monday for their company, SWAE Sports, at the Norlin Library at the University
From left, Robin Arenson, Daniel Epstein and Baxter Ross work on a Web site Monday for their company, SWAE Sports, at the Norlin Library at the University of Colorado. ( MARTY CAIVANO )

The Boulder International Hostel houses some international CU students, but even its digs on 12th Street, near College Avenue, are relatively empty this time of year as travel slows down after Christmas, said employee Jonathan Zap.

Mark Heinritz, owner of the Sink -- a historic college hangout on University Hill -- said the restaurant relies on the business of visitors and CU employees this time of year.

"We get a lot of people in town visiting, and we still have faculty that are working over the holidays," Heinritz said. The Sink also takes advantage of the slow period to shut down for repairs; it used last week to remodel its bathrooms.

Sonia Leong, a food service supervisor at the University Memorial Center, worked in Baby Doe's on Monday. The bakery slashes the number of goods it prepares, with just a few brownies and a couple of slices of banana and apple breads in the display case.

"This is annually the slowest time of the year," said Leong, as the number of people in the surrounding dining rooms could be counted on one hand.

Over in the UMC Connection, the arcade and bowling lanes were bustling with families and teenagers.

"We wait until the college kids are on break because it's less crowded," said Tian Carabello, 13, who spent the afternoon at the Connection with her friend Devon Seiler, 14.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or anasb@dailycamera.com.