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two girls in alamosa sand dune with sand boards

New Hot Spring Attraction: The Greenhouse

Something new is brewing at the Sand Dunes Pool and it isn't coffee! Smack dab in the middle of the San Luis Valley, a mile below the surface, Mother Nature continuously 'brews' purified ground-filtered water. Then, through the age old human practice of well digging, this perfect water is piped a mile to the surface at a warm and wonderful 118 degrees.

So now what? Why, a warm swimming pool, a few hot tubs, a large greenhouse, the Mile Deep Grill, RV hookups, cabins, and campsites, that's what! All for people to enjoy year-round. The greenhouses—once used to grow a variety of edible vegetables and other plants—fell idle a few years ago. Part-owner Donnie had a vision for the space though. Why not create an adult area complete with more hot tubs, a dry sauna, a beer and wine bar, and a 'plant shelter' botanical garden? Plants need love too! The plant shelter is similar to an animal shelter. Plants that people have had in their homes for years and have gotten too big, or are simply in need of a new home, have been donated to start the botanical garden. The elder of these plants is a 75-year-old jade that rests gently by the waterfall that fills the Zero-Entry Pool at 98 degrees.

Nothing is easy. It took some engineering to get the greenhouse to become a new area for hot tubs as the location is below the level of the existing Sand Dunes family pool. Therefore, large quantities of fill were required to bring the level up to where they thought they needed to be. BUT, once they reached the level they thought would work for the water to drain properly, they decided to add another six inches of elevation to be absolutely sure. Luckily they did, since the water flows continuously, it would not have drained outwardly and would have backed up on itself creating all sorts of problems.

The Greenhouse is the official name of the new adult area and is open for business! Soon to be added will be an outdoor patio on the east side that will have views across the valley to the Great Sand Dunes and the towering summits of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. More showers and changing rooms will also be added. In the meantime, enjoy the tubs by name: Coffin Tub - shaped like the classic pine box coffins of old and kept at a toasty 110 degrees. Deep Thought Tub - 108 degrees. One-O-Three Tub - yep, kept at 103 degrees. And the previously mentioned Zero Entry Pool - a long lap pool with a waterfall on the north end and kept at internal human body temperature of 98 degrees. After a relaxing soak and sauna, finish the day with a refreshing cool drink and/or a glass of wine or a cold beer with Carina at the bar.

Oh, and the something new that is brewing I mentioned? Donnie, being a 'hop head' like myself, a term referring to those of us who love hoppy beers, is growing a variety of northwest hops in the greenhouse. When the hops have flowered and are picked, they will be stealthily taken on a dark night to Three Barrel Brewing in Del Norte along with a tanker full of Sand Dunes spring water, combined with local barley, and turned into a magical (name - to be determined) Sand Dunes Brew. It will be kegged and served only at the Sand Dunes Pool Greenhouse Bar. Cheers, beers, and happy soaking everyone!

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