Soak Up Fresh Air and Adventure During Your Family Vacation
Nestled at the base of the majestic Rocky Mountains and featuring sweeping scenery dotted with jagged rock formations and golden meadows, Boulder, CO lets kids enjoy a host of outdoor excursions, from hiking to mountain biking. Home to the University of Colorado Boulder, the quaint town also features child-friendly educational attractions, including revered museums, a planetarium and an observatory.
Science and Nature
Set on the UC Boulder campus, the Museum of Natural History (1030 Broadway, Boulder, CO) offers free admission. Five galleries showcase an array of topics, giving visitors the chance to view more than 80 stone tools uncovered locally by archaeologists and an extensive collection of fossils. Take a walk through the Ozone Garden to learn how the gas impacts the planet, or explore hands-on exhibits where kids put on puppet shows, read books and touch real specimens. Parents can retreat to the peace, quiet and comfy seating of the downstairs coffee lounge.
Up in the Sky
Explore the galaxy at the Fiske Planetarium (2414 Regent Dr., Boulder CO), also based on the UC Boulder campus. Watch shows about moons, stars and planets on a 65-foot-diameter screen with projections from a star machine. The planetarium also hosts late night laser shows. All shows last 30 minutes and include a 30-minute talk. Walk up the hill and make your way to the adjacent Sommers-Bausch Observatory. Enjoy free telescope viewings on Friday evenings at the observatory as long as the skies are clear and school is in session.
Art in a Park
Colorado Chautauqua (Baseline Rd. and Ninth St., Boulder, CO) is a unique complex that features both performing arts venues and a sprawling park. Family-friendly programming is offered throughout the year, including everything from puppet shows to a flea circus. The park also showcases a demonstration garden, playground, tennis courts and wide-open spaces with sweeping views of the Flatirons, Boulder’s iconic spiky rock formations. Tackle one of the park’s eight hiking trails, many of which climb into the hills, cut through forests and meander across meadows.
Out and About
Valmont City Park (5110 Valmont Road, Boulder, CO) is a 132-acre park outfitted with a disc golf course, picnic shelters, hiking trails and a dog park for four-legged furry friends. It's home to the 42-acre Valmont Bike Park, a terrain course reserved exclusively for mountain bikes and equipped with dirt jumps, sandpits and pump tracks. The bike park is free and open daily from dawn to dusk but does close when adverse conditions include such things as snow, rain and mud. Less adventurous kids and tiny tots can spend their days on the bike park’s tricycle track and playground.
WOW! Children's Museum (110 N. Harrison Ave., Lafayette, CO) is located in Lafayette, 20 minutes east of Boulder. Exhibits let kids experience real world situations in a pretend setting, such as working as bank tellers, tending market cash registers and giving eye exams in a doctor’s office. Budding artists get to create original works of art during workshops, strike poses in the yoga studio and stage puppet shows in a little theater. Guests are allowed to bring their own sack lunch to eat on the premises, either indoors or on the outside patio.
- University of Colorado Boulder: Museum of Natural History
- University of Colorado Boulder: Fiske Planetarium
- University of Colorado Boulder: Sommers-Bausch Observatory
- Colorado Chautauqua Association
- City of Boulder, Colorado: Chautauqua Park
- City of Boulder, Colorado: Chautauqua Trailhead
- City of Boulder, Colorado: Valmont City Park
- City of Boulder, Colorado: Valmont Bike Park
- WOW! Children's Museum
- Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Boulder Mountainbike Alliance: Valmont Bike Park
A travel writer since 2002, Leah Rendon has written countless articles for online pop-culture magazines and various travel-related websites, including Eurobooking and World66. Gosford also has experience in copywriting, having developed a series of articles related to network marketing. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in theater arts.