You can discover so many amazing family-friendly things to do in Colorado! Colorado may be known for its epic skiing, but according to locals, summer is the time to visit.
Think skiing can’t be beaten? Think again. Warm sunny days, and cools night in the Colorado Rockies make the perfect place for creating family vacation memories. Read on!
Top Family Friendly Things to Do in Colorado With Kids
1. See Colorado’s Old West via Train
Many rail lines were constructed in Colorado in the late 1800s to transport mining ores. Several of these still operate today and have built up a successful scenic tourist railroad industry. And, what child does’t love trains?
There’s the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado Railroad Museum near Denver, Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Georgetown Loop Railroad, Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad, Royal Gorge Route Railroad in Cañon City, and Cumbres & Toltec Railroad in Antonio.
All of these trains offer a unique way to take in Colorado’s spectacular scenery. But many also offer special rides geared towards children and families. From story times and caboose tours to special Polar Express trains during the holidays, families are sure to find a fun train to ride. Maybe your family will even learn something new on the ride.
2. Ride a Scenic Gondola
Colorado is known for its snowy ski resorts. In the summer these resorts transform into mountain playgrounds filled with fun activities for families. A scenic gondola ride up the mountain will often take you to a playground located at the top. These mountain playgrounds include a variety of activities from parks, to tubing, ropes or challenge courses and alpine coasters.
3. Whiz Down the Mountain on an Alpine Coaster
Any self-respecting Colorado mountain town has an alpine coaster. An alpine coaster is a thrill ride that is set in nature, atop a mountain. Cars attached to a fixed track fly down the natural contours of a mountain. Speed is controlled by a rider-controlled lever as the cart winds around mountain topography. There are seven of these fun alpine coasters located in Colorado that can be found from Vail, Glenwood Springs and Snowmass all the way down to Purgatory. Anyone 38” or taller can ride with an adult. Individual rider guidelines vary from ride to ride.
4. Visit Colorado’s captivating waterfalls
Families are more likely to think of seeing waterfalls in Hawaii than Colorado. But the state has several unique waterfalls. The best known include Hanging Lake, Rifle Falls State Park, Zapata Falls, South Mineral Creek Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Box Canyon Falls. You can find waterfalls in almost every area of the state. The best time to see them is early summer when the snow melts off is in full force.
Many of these require a hike to reach the falls. But what better way to get the entire family out into nature? Studies show that hiking and nature improve mental health.
Probably the most accessible waterfall for younger children is Rifle Falls State Parks. It is a very short walk to the base of the falls from the parking lot. There is a loop to the top of the falls and back around to the base that is scattered with fun caves for the kids to explore.
Visit a Museum, Art Exhibit or Zoo in Colorado
Denver boasts a couple of fun and well-known museums geared towards kids and families. The Children’s Museum of Denver, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver Zoo and Denver Aquarium are probably the best known. These offer everything from cooking and exploratory play to science labs and animal education.
5. Meow Wolf Denver
The one that I am most looking forward to visiting is Meow Wolf Denver which opens in 2020. What is Meow Wolf? I like to describe it as a multi-dimensional, multi-sensory place of discovery and imagination born of art. It really meshes mystery with an amusement park art experience.
6. Science Museums
There are some additional special science museums scattered throughout the state. Vail has Walking Mountains Science Center which offers hands-on science and nature programs for all ages. Eureka! Math & Science Center in Grand Junction is another that offers fun hand-on science activities for all ages.
7. Dinosaur Museums
Colorado was once roamed by mighty dinosaurs. Thus there are several places across the state to see dinosaur fossils. The best known of these are Dinosaur National Monument, Dinosaur Ridge and the Dinosaur Diamond & Scenic Byway.
Spending Summer in Colorado
8. Listen to Live Music
In the summer the mountains come alive with the sound of music, literally. Colorado has some of the most spectacular outdoor music venues. Red Rocks Amphitheater outside of Denver is perhaps the best known.
Many of the mountain towns also have impressive outdoor amphitheaters. And, there are several world-class classical music festivals throughout the state which offer family concerts and children’s programs. The entire family can enjoy a Bravo! Vail orchestral pops concert on the lawn at the Gerald R Ford Amphitheater in Vail. Bring a picnic, listen to beautiful music and enjoy nature.
9. Go Swimming
Yes, you can swim anywhere. But many of Colorado’s outdoor pools and natural hot springs offer a backdrop that you can’t find just anywhere. Mountainside pools and hot tubs are a fun way to cool off after a day of summer mountain adventures. But they also can be a great way to warm up and relax after a day of winter adventures.
Steamboat Springs, Ouray and Glenwood Springs may be best known for their natural hot springs but others can be found throughout the state. Many of the hotels in Colorado’s mountain towns boast fun mountainside pools and hot tubs.
Other Family Friendly Things to Do in Colorado
These are only a few of the many fun family friendly things to do in Colorado. There’s so much more!
- Visit a Park
- Play in a Spray Pad
- Rock Climbing
- Watch a Baseball Game
- Ice Skating
THIS ARTICLE FEATURE IS WRITTEN BY LIANA MOORE FROM INSIDERFAMILIES.COM
About the Author: Liana Moore lived overseas growing up with friends of different cultures. Liana believes those experiences helped develop empathy for others. She’s working to give her children similar cultural experiences, having fun along the way. Based in the mountains of Colorado, much of her time is spent exploring the mountain playground she calls home. When she’s not marketing a resort property professionally, or traveling and writing, find her trying out new sports like BMX biking with her ten-year-old daughter or debating with her six-year-old son (and occasionally winning). Follow Liana’s adventures at Insider Families and on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
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What are your favorite family-friendly things to do in Colorado? Tell us below in the comments.