W ith Christmas over and New Year's looming, those of us stuck in Colorado over break have a few days to run amok and get nerdy. And while I know "Les Mis" and "Django Unchained" just came out (and ohmygoshFantineandTarantino), those movies will be around for a while still.

But maybe your family hosted a Colorado Christmas for all the extendeds. Maybe you asked a girl on a date last weekend and have no idea where to take her. Or maybe you're just bored out of your mind and need to get out of the house.

Looks like it's time for a nerdy night out on the town! Denver is packed full of fun and geeky things to do, and now you finally have time to make the trip.

This week's installment of nerdy excursions brings you three outings in the Denver area.

Trail of Lights

Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St., Denver, 720-865-3500; Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, 8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Rd., Littleton, 720-865-4336

This awesome exhibit is perfect if you're not quite ready to give up Christmas lights. Open today through New Year's day, Trail of Lights takes you on a walk through an historic farm that is lined with thousands of gorgeous lights. It's perfect for a last-minute date night. And believe it or not, romantic can be nerdy, too -- you can visit an old homestead from the 19th Century that has been preserved.

When I went a couple of years ago, I loved the lights and the walk -- but learning about 19th Century homesteading was my favorite part of the night.


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A Day in Pompeii

Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, 303-322-7009

No doubt about it: I freaking love museums. You all know about my eternal battle with science, but it turns out I even like science museums. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has a ton of great permanent exhibits, featuring objects from mummies to dinosaurs.

Now through Jan. 13, the museum is hosting a temporary exhibit, "A Day in Pompeii." I've always been fascinated by Pompeii and the way Mt. Vesuvius' eruption managed to simultaneously destroy and preserve so much. The exhibit features artifacts, including body casts created by volcanic ash.

Becoming van Gogh

Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway, Denver, 720-865-5000

The Denver Art Museum's "Becoming van Gogh" exhibit has been the talk of the town the last few months. Gathering pieces from all around the world -- including private collections -- the exhibit illustrates Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh's transformation as a person and an artist. The exhibit runs until Jan. 20, but many time slots are already sold out, so make sure to plan ahead. You're sure to recognize some of the pieces in the exhibit, but I loved seeing some of the lesser-known pieces and reading the stories behind them.

Jessica Ryan is a senior media studies major at CU. She writes about nerdy things once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan