Bringing the kids to Boulder? Maybe you have tiny toddlers, tots or tweens. We’ve got ideas for every scenario, so that you and your family can complete your Boulder vacation with the resounding conclusion: “That was fun!”
Things to Do:
- Pop-Jet Fountain: This water feature is right downtown on Pearl Street and is a blast in summer, when little ones run in and out of upward-spraying fountains — never knowing when the next one is going to pulse. You’ll want to bring your child’s swim suit and a towel.
- Animal Sculptures: It’s the simple things that sometimes please kids the most. These larger-than-life bronze and stone animals are a hit with little climbers. These are also right on Pearl Street.
- Into the Wind: This colorful shop dazzles with kites hanging from the ceiling and walls. There are tons of toys in here, from wind-up bobble-heads to educational brain teasers. It’s adjacent to the animal sculptures mentioned above.
- Valmont Bike Park: This 42-acre bike park is for everyone, including little ones on their striders. A toddler course gives them just enough thrill, with small bumps and jumps. Plus, there are options for the whole family, including hardcore cyclo-cross trails and plenty of work arounds for the less adventurous.
- Farm Fun: Pick raspberries, pet goats, climb trees, go on a hay ride. Boulder County is surrounded by farms, many of which welcome children. Find farm ideas for kids.
- Boulder Book Store: A stellar selection of children’s literature is surrounded by rocking chairs and stuffed animal and toy displays. Parents will love browsing the adult shelves — this is one of those timeless bookstores with creaky wood stairs, towering wooden bookcases and great staff recommendations.
- Eldora Mountain Resort: This family-friendly ski area is great for all ages. The ski school and a magic carpet lift are especially great for very small children who are learning to ski for the first time.
- Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival: Little ones come dressed as fairies and elves to meet “real” fairies who will sprinkle pixie dust in their hands and lead them on a parade to awaken the spring tulips in April.
- Meadow Music: Throughout the summer, musical duo Jeff and Paige transfix little ones with their costumes, singing, dancing and wonderful silliness. It all starts with a short nature hike, followed by a concert at the foot of the Flatirons.
- Alfalfa’s Market: There are plenty of choices in this natural market — a Boulder original — for everyone, plus a big cafeteria with a roaring fireplace at its center.
- Mustard’s Last Stand: Simply put: Good old hot dogs, served any way you like them.
Things to Do:
- Gateway Park Fun Center: Mini golf, an arcade, go karts, batting cages — it’s good old-fashioned family fun on tap at this North Boulder favorite.
- Nature’s Own: This Pearl Street shop is filled with bowls and baskets of sparkling gemstones, minerals and fossils. A life-size dinosaur greets you at the entrance with motion-activated roaring and chomping.
- Celestial Seasonings: A free, 45-minute tour at one of North America’s largest tea factories lets you onto the production floor, where you’ll see how tea is packaged. The tour also includes entrance into the refreshing peppermint room and free samples of any tea you like. Children must be 5 or older.
- CU Museum of Natural History: A modest, downstairs children’s area is great if you need some down time to read and quietly explore. There are metal boxes stocked with touchable artifacts and books on local animal species, a hands-on animal footprint exhibit, a roomful of beetle displays, and free tea and coffee for mom and dad.
- Boulder Public Library: There are a variety of story times to choose from at the main BPL campus, Monday–Saturday. But the children’s library is great anytime for finding a comfy nook and getting hands on with classic stories and new favorites.
- Nature Hikes with OSMP: The City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks department has an outstanding guided hike program, even in winter. They include regular Nature for Kids & Parents series and engaging topics like Pokemon expeditions, Touch a Flatiron hikes, bear-spotting outings and much more.
- WinterSkate: Giggle and glide around an ice rink under strings of lights right next door to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse at the edge of Central Park. The park is decorated with dazzling light displays November–February. Make an afternoon of it — skating, viewing the lights and sipping warm beverages at the teahouse.
- Adventure Film Festival: This fall event, which screens outdoor and adventure films in Boulder, puts on a street fair for families. There’s also a family and kid show, taiko drummers and live art performances.
- Fourth of July at the Reservoir: Come hang out on the banks of the beautiful Boulder Reservoir, with mountain views, swimming, picnicking and access to boat rentals. Later on that day, you can catch a spectacular fireworks display back in town at CU’s Folsom Field.
- Mountain Sun: A super-chill, super-Boulder eatery with classic burgers, a killer grilled cheese, salads and great beer for the grownups.
- Pasta Jay’s: You’ll smell yummy roasted garlic wafting out of Pasta Jay’s before you even reach the door. Red-and-white checked tablecloths and saucy Italian fare make this a longtime Boulder family favorite.
Things to Do:
- Hiking: Keep it nice and easy with the Bobolink Trail, where there are opportunities to toss pebbles or dip your toes in Boulder Creek. Or head to May’s Point, which is reachable from Boy Scout trail from the Flagstaff Summit. It’s a marvelous natural kid gymnasium of rocks for scrambling and climbing and hiding behind.
- Tubing Boulder Creek: Get your tube and head to Eben G. Fine Park to put in, then be swept down the creek that was named one of the 10 best lazy rivers for tubing in the U.S. by Men’s Journal. Note: Please exercise safety and caution, and heed any high-water warning and closures, sometimes issued during the spring snow runoff.
- Bowling at CU: The Connection at University of Colorado has a bowling alley, with 10 state-of-the-art lanes open to the public. A well-stocked snack bar serves munchies and drinks.
- Fiske Planetarium: One of the most advanced planetarium systems in the U.S. projects dazzling, educational shows on topics like “Supervolcanoes,” “Bella Gaia – Beautiful Earth,” “Moons & Lasers” and “Celebration of Flight.”
- Indoor Rock Climbing: Exert some energy at ABC Kids Climbing Gym and pretend you’re in a Dr. Seuss story as you scramble over the colorful rock walls. Or head to The Spot, with two freestanding boulders and four additional bouldering walls.
- BolderBoulder: Run, walk or watch. This much-loved annual Memoria Day weekend event attracts more than 50,000 people, with runners in wacky costumes, bands playing along the route and a SportsExpo the days prior to the race.
- Pearl Street Arts Fest: In mid-July, talented sculptors, photographers, painters and craftspeople display their creations on Pearl Street. Kids will like the Mobile Art Lab, offering on-site instruction to students of all ages, and features like bounce houses and a climbing wall.
- Sushi Zanmai: Sushi for kids? Well, yes. It’s a crazy-fun atmosphere, where sushi chefs welcome you at the door with a shout, waiters break out in birthday song and you can sit on floor cushions, if you’re lucky to score the right table. Kids may like the tempura vegetables, yaki udon noodles or grilled teriyaki chicken.
- FATE Brewing: Sit on the heated patio and relax as the kids enjoy a burger, fish and chips or ramen. Parents will appreciate the unique twist on classic dishes — and, of course, the superb craft beer.