School is over, the kids are home and you’re left wondering – what should we do this summer? Boulder has a TON of fun opportunities for kids and families. Whether your kid loves biking, reading, skiing, go kart racing or music, there is something for everyone in our guide to summer for kids in Boulder.
Gateway Park Fun Center
Hours: Every day from 10AM – 10PM
Cost: Prices vary based on activity – view full pricing here.
Gateway Park Fun Center is a kid’s dream come true (and so fun for adults too!). Opened in the 1980s, this park has maintained tons of original features, giving it an eclectic, old school feel that will bring you back to your childhood. Many activities include 18-hole mini golf courses — choose from the Windmill Course or the Castle Course, or play both!!
The park also offers bumper cars, as well as single-seat and double-seat go carts. Gateway is home to Boulder’s only batting cages, with a variety of pitch speeds for softball and baseball. The arcade is filled with different kinds of video and interactive games. Many of the games spit out tickets which can be traded in for fun prizes at the end of your visit. A snack bar is located inside. If that isn’t enough, Gateway also has a full golf driving range as well as a human maze.
Beach Time at the Boulder Reservoir
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily unless otherwise posted
Cost: Kids ages 3-18 $4, Adults 19-59 $7, Seniors 60+ $5, 2 and under are FREE
Boulder Reservoir offers one of the largest, seasonally lifeguard attended swimming beaches in Colorado. It features a marked swim area with rafts. The shallow roped off area is great for small children. Children 12 and under must pass a lifeguard administered swim test to go beyond the first rope. Children under 3 years old must wear swim diapers.Children 5 years old and under must be within arm’s reach of an adult when in the water or near the water’s edge. Flotation devices are allowed only at the discretion of the lifeguards/beach staff. To view all the safety rules, click here.
Spruce Outdoor Pool
Hours: Open Swim Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:15AM-8PM, Tuesday & Thursday 10AM-8PM, Saturday & Sunday 10AM-6PM
Cost: Kids ages 3-18 $4, Adults 19-59 $7, Seniors 60+ $5, 2 and under are FREE. Summer passes available, click here for details.
Spruce Pool is Boulder’s premier family oriented outdoor pool. Enjoy a picnic on the lawn, cool off in the water features and leisure pool, then swim a few laps in our 25 yard lap pool. Eight lane, 25-yard pool with temperatures between 80° and 82°, leisure pool with accessible ramp, accessible play features including jets, fountains and a duck slide.
Scott Carpenter Outdoor Pool
Hours: Open Swim Monday-Friday 1-4PM, Saturday & Sunday 12-5PM
Cost: Kids ages 3-18 $4, Adults 19-59 $7, Seniors 60+ $5, 2 and under are FREE. Summer passes available, click here for details.
Boulder’s only 50 meter pool — great for both elite athletes and recreational swimmers. Take a ride down the slide or jump from the springboard. Six lane 50 meter pool with temperatures between 80° and 82°, two one-meter spring boards operated during open swim hours, large slide operated during open swim hours.
ABC Kids Climbing
Hours: All Ages Tuesday 7PM – 9PM, Friday 7PM – 10PM, Sunday 12PM – 6PM. Young Kids only (6 & Under) Saturdays 2PM – 5PM
Cost: Individuals $12, Family (4 or more) $40
Open Gym is a great opportunity for families to try ABC Kids Climbing for their first time. Kids are welcome to explore our facility, with parent supervision, to find the area in which they will have the most fun. ABC has top ropes, auto-belays, ziplines, slides, and bouldering for kids of all ages to enjoy! No climbing experience? No need to worry! ABC’s expert staff will give all new families a tour complete with rules and basic climbing guidelines to get you started in the right direction. ABC also offers summer day camps for kids – details here.
CU Museum of Natural History
Where: Henderson Building, 15th and Broadway, Boulder, CO 80309
Hours: Monday – Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4 and Sunday 10-4
The University of Colorado’s Museum of Natural History is fun, educational, interactive AND parent-friendly! The museum offers kid-inspired exhibits (right now — butterflies and dinosaurs!) and a cute gift shop on the main level. In the lower level, kids will have a great time in the interactive play and learning area. Right outside the play area parents can enjoy a nice, FREE cup of coffee or tea in the museum’s BioLounge with comfortable seats and inviting atmosphere. Family-friendly bathrooms are located upstairs. While there are beautiful staircases in this beautiful, old building, there is also a centrally-located elevator making the museum handicapped and stroller-friendly. Admission is free, donations are accepted. The gift shop offers a fun array of science-inspired items. Paid parking is located South of the museum.
Hike & Learn at NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research)
Where: NCAR, 1850 Table Mesa Dr, Boulder, CO 80305
Hours: Visitors Center is Open Monday – Friday 8-5, Weekends 9-4
NCAR’s beautiful outdoor spaces and Visitor Center are perfect for a summer outing with the kids! Take a hike at the base of Boulder’s amazing flatirons with gorgeous views. At the Visitor’s Center, kids can learn about weather and climate with interactive displays. Kids can play with clouds and even create their own tornado! Other exhibits include Sun-Earth Connections, Layers of the Atmosphere, Climate Discovery and more. Guided tours are available from 12-1 on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, or you can opt to move through the exhibits on your own. NCAR offers a cafeteria that is open weekdays (except holidays) for breakfast, 8:00 am – 9:30 am and lunch, 11:30 – 1:30 pm (Cafeteria accepts only cash). Admission is always FREE to the public! Parking is also free.
Summer Reading Program at Boulder Public Library
Hours: Hours vary, click here for detailed info on each library.
Boulder offers five public libraries in different areas around town, all of which are offering the summer reading program.You can sign up in person or sign up online and pick up your reading log or teen card deck the next time you’re at your local library.
The main library is awesome for families with its children’s area as well as the Seeds Library Cafe, a full-service coffee shop right inside the library! The Children’s area is glass-enclosed, allowing kids to make some noise without disturbing other patrons and offers a vast collection of books as well as hands-on activities, a story time meeting area, and kid-sized computer desks and seating. The area has its own private bathrooms for kids & caregivers. Parents will enjoy the Seeds Library Cafe, located on the bridge overlooking Boulder Creek between the main library and the arts & media area. The cafe is operated by the Boulder County Farmers’ Markets and offers not only coffee and espresso drinks but breakfast and lunch as well. The cafe is open Monday-Thursday from 9-5, Friday & Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 12-5.
Valmont Bike Park
Hours: Dawn to dusk daily
North America’s most state-of-the-art public bike park, Valmont Bike Park is located in Boulder, Colorado on 40 acres of awesome. Bike Park amenities include family trails, cross country trails, cyclocross courses, a slopestyle terrain park, dirt jumps, a dual slalom race course, 2 pump parks, and kids bike play areas. Progression is the name of the game at this park, with “small” through “extra-large” trails and features that cater to everyone, from the beginning mountain biker to professional rider. Check out the bike park’s trail map here.
Hours: Shows vary daily, see full schedule here.
Cost: Tickets are generally $7 for kids, seniors & veterens/ $10 for adults
Fiske Planetarium is located on the campus of the University of Colorado. The Planetarium hosts a diverse range of shows, star talks, LASER shows, and special live events in it’s 65-foot diameter dome (the largest between Chicago and Los Angeles!). In 2013, Fiske completed a major systems upgrade with an 8K Sky-Skan projection system that allows us to show the most cutting-edge content in a truly immersive environment that fully surrounds audiences with a huge screen, dazzling visuals, and fantastic sound. The new star machine, which looks like R2-D2, shows 10 million stars and the Milky Way, the most beautiful indoor sky ever.
The planetarium hosts special talks and educational events, and often host large crowds during astronomical and NASA-related events. Fiske is open weekdays for select shows and events, and hosts weekend shows and matinées. For the Planetarium’s show schedule, click here.
Meadow Music with Jeff and Paige
Where: Chautauqua Green, Baseline Rd & 9th Street, Boulder, CO 80302
Time: Mondays throughout the summer, 5:30 – 7PM
A kid favorite. Join the musical duo Jeff and Paige for evenings of children’s music and nature education. The evening consists of a short hike, followed by 45 minutes of nature music at the foot of the Flatirons. Sponsored by City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Division Meadow Music is an award-winning environmental education program at Chautauqua Green in Boulder, Colorado.! Meet us at 5:30 to start a short hike that’s friendly to all ages (we recommend arriving early to find a place to put your picnic blanket before the hike). After our hike we return to Chautauqua Green for a concert full of our original nature and science-based music. The concert starts around 6:00pm and ends by about 7:00. Bring a blanket to sit on, a picnic and some silliness.
Shredder Urban Ski & Snowboard Park
Hours: Saturdays 8-9AM
Cost: $15 for non-members
Disappointed that ski season is over? Shredder Urban Ski & Snowboard Park has got you covered! Shredder is an amazing indoor ski and snowboarding facility for ages 10 months to adult. Open Gym is a time to practice and reinforce the fundamentals of skiing and snowboarding. Parents or adults will interact and/or ski/board with their child. Skis and boots are available to rent. For safety purposes, please call ahead of time to reserve your time slot to use the Slope. By reserving your time slot, your kids will be safe and able to focus on the fundamentals. Shredder also offers ski and snowboard school classes to all ages, including freestyle fundamental classes (starting at age 8), Yeti School (10 months to 3 years), and beginning adult skiers/boarders. Join us for Open Gym times, Birthday Parties, Summer Camps, Parents’ Nights Out, and so much more!
Boulder Farmer’s Market
Hours: Saturdays & Wednesdays, 10AM – 2PM
The Boulder Farmers’ Market is a great way to shop for local fruit, flowers and veggies, but you will also find a ton of food ready to eat, crafts, local honey, and so much more! Kids love the market’s friendly, fun environment.
WOW Children’s Museum
Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday-Friday: 9:00am-5:00pm Toddler Hour on Tuesday & Wednesday from 9:00am-10:00am (for children ages 5 years and younger), Saturday & Sunday: 10:00am-6:00pm
Cost: Children (ages 1-11): $9, Adults: $5, Infants (under 1): Free, Members Always Play for Free!
Just a short drive out of Boulder, the World of Wonder Children’s Museum in downtown Lafayette is a favorite for young children. Designed for interactive learning and play, WOW features a light & music room, an art room, a little clinic, a sandbox, a theatre area complete with costumes and stage and so much more! Kids can spend hours exploring this fun museum. There is a snack area with vending machines available.
Hours: Open daily from 9AM – 5PM
Cost: Adults – $11.00, Westminster Resident – $9.00, Seniors (65+) – $9.00, Children (2-12) – $7.00, Children (under 2) – FREE
The Butterfly Pavilion is home to over 5,000 animals! Kids will be immersed in a tropical rainforest where 1,600 butterflies live and Rosie, the tarantula is ready to be held by brave children. Step to Water’s Edge to be immersed in an underwater world full of sea creatures. The pavilion also features lovely gardens and a nature trail, as well as a fun gift shop.
Boulder County’s Agricultural Heritage Center
Where: Agricultural Heritage Center, 8348 Ute Hwy, Longmont
Hours: Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Check out the Agricultural Heritage Center! Get a glimpse into the history of agriculture in Boulder County and enjoy the rural surroundings. This site focuses on the years 1900 to 1925 when local families prospered as farmers and witnessed the coming of the Modern Age. Kids will love the interactive exhibits, 1909 farmhouse furnished with items from the 1910s, animals on site including chickens, pigs, draft horses and sheep, two barns, blacksmith shop and more! A guided tour starts at 11 a.m. during visiting hours.
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