Colorado has its share of stunning natural attractions, but sometimes the kids are eager for a little more than panoramic mountain vistas. Colorado amusement parks are happy to oblige with opportunities for hanging upside down from a roller coaster, swirling down a waterslide or riding easy on a scenic carriage ride.
Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
Mind-blowing rides for those taller than 48 inches, plenty of slower family rides for those who aren’t, an 11-ride water park, an arcade, lots of places to eat and a summer concert series make Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park in Denver Colorado’s largest. Go ahead, have a funnel cake, but maybe not before you ride the Sidewinder or the twirling Teacups. There are lots of places to eat, and a summer concert series, themed events and an October Fright Fest keep things festive through the summer and a wee bit beyond.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Walk through the gates of Glenwood Springs' Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and find yourself choosing from rides that take you above or swing you above a valley or tours that take you beneath ground into haunting caverns. There's also a bungee trampoline, laser tag, a maze, alpine coaster, zip ride and much more to keep each member of the family busy.
One of the country’s biggest water parks, Denver's Water World is rated No. 3 on the Travel Channel’s Best Water Parks in America list. Splash through six-story-high speed chutes, white-water slides named after Colorado’s rivers, massive wave pools, a kids’ funhouse and that famous Colorado sun.
Lakeside Amusement Park
Located west of downtown Denver, Lakeside Amusement Park has been an old-time charmer since 1908. Today it's popular with families thanks to its affordable admission (just $3 at the gate, with nominal fees per ride) and kid-friendly amusements — for even the littlest kids.
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
Located adjacent to the massive Royal Gorge outside Cañon City, walk across one of the world's highest suspension bridges, which rises nearly 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River, and then take in some of Royal Gorge Bridge and Park's other thrills, with many new offerings, including the world's longest single-span aerial gondola, kids' playground and carousel, zipline and Royal Rush Skycoaster. Learn more about things to do at the Royal Gorge >>
North Pole Home of Santa’s Workshop
At Santa’s North Pole Workshop outside Colorado Springs, Christmas lasts from May through December. Never lose that special holiday feeling with special visits from Santa, magic shows, goat and llama feeding, the Candy Cane Coaster, handblown glass ornament demonstrations, an elf show and more than 20 other family rides.
Great Wolf Lodge
One of the country's favorite family resorts recently opened a Colorado Springs outpost. Great Wolf Lodge's indoor water park, lodging, restaurants and other activities mean one-stop vacationing — and kids so wiped out at the end of the day, they're begging for an early bedtime.
Bananas Fun Park
Let your inner monkey run wild at Bananas Fun Park in Grand Junction, where mini golf, go-karts, laser tag, bumper boats and a new water play center will tire everyone out just the right amount.
Summer in Colorado Ski Resorts
Many of Colorado's ski resorts turn the tops of their mountains into fun parks during the summer, featuring alpine slides, mini-golf, bungee rides, climbing walls and more. Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Steamboat, Vail, Winter Park, Crested Butte, Keystone and Purgatory are just a few of them. Find more things to do during the summer in Colorado ski towns >>
Other Colorado Theme & Water Parks
Boondocks Fun Center in Northglenn
Gateway Park Fun Center in Boulder
Ride-A-Kart & Cascade Creek Mini-Golf in Estes Park
Discovery Bay in Greeley
Splash at Fossil Trace in Golden
Pirate's Cove Family Fun Aquatic Center in Littleton
Photo courtesy of Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park.