School’s out for summer! Thankfully, in good and bad weather, there are a ton of amazing places to take your kid in the Boulder area. 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. Does your kid love dinosaurs? Check out our guide of 10 places to explore dinosaurs and fossils in Colorado.
Creekside Play Area
Kids of all ages, head outside to the new Civic Area nature playground, Creekside Play Area. This brand new playground was designed to give kids a safe, fun playground and water play area full of learning opportunities that allow children to learn and explore the natural world.
The Boulder Civic Area is Located in Front of Main Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302. Open Dawn – Dusk, FREE.
Gateway Park Fun Center
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.
Sunflower Farm is a rural haven in South Longmont where kids can feed goats, sheep and llama, jump from hay bale to hay bale, play in the corn house, playhouse and sandboxes, explore the tree forts and bridges, hold a chicken, soar down the zipline, balance on the slackline. There is even an old airplane to explore. All activities are covered by a single admission fee of a ticket—no other fees apply. Pre-purchasing tickets is encouraged, the farm frequently sells out. Purchase tickets here.
Beach Time at the Boulder Reservoir
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. Don’t have time to pack a lunch? Visit the Beachside Cafe, featuring an extensive lunch menu as well as snacks, kids meals and coffee and tea. Check out all the splash pads, pools, reservoirs and more in this dedicated guide.
Boulder Reservoir is located at 5565 N 51st St., Boulder, CO 80301. Swimming hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily unless otherwise posted. Admission: Kids ages 3-18 $4, Adults 19-59 $7, Seniors 60+ $5, 2 and under are FREE.
Spruce Outdoor Pool
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.
Spruce Pool is located at 2102 Spruce St., Boulder, Colorado 80302. Open Swim Hours are: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:15AM-8PM, Tuesday & Thursday 10AM-8PM, Saturday & Sunday 10AM-6PM. Admission: Kids ages 3-18 $4, Adults 19-59 $7, Seniors 60+ $5, 2 and under are FREE. Summer passes available, click here for details.
ABC Kids Climbing
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.
ABC Kids Climbing is located at 1960 32nd Street, Boulder, Colorado 80301. Open Gym Hours: All Ages Sunday 12PM – 6PM. Young Kids only (6 & Under) Saturdays 2PM – 5PM. Admission: Individuals $12, Family (4 or more) $40
The Great Outdoors Waterpark
The brand new The Great Outdoors Waterpark in Lafayette is now open! Plunge down the thrilling 21-foot high double flume slides. Guests 48” tall and brave enough to conquer the twists and turns galore are invited to venture down. Perching high atop the fully accessible, zero-depth entry leisure pool, The Grand Eagle Dump Bucket spills water every few minutes near play structures perfect for smaller children.
The Great Outdoors Waterpark is located at 500 E South Boulder Rd, Lafayette, CO 80026. Hours: 10AM – 6PM daily. Admission: Kids 2-17 $7.50, Adults 18-54 $10, Seniors $7.50, Kids under 2 are FREE.
CU Museum of Natural History
The University of Colorado’s Museum of Natural History is fun, educational, interactive AND parent-friendly! The museum offers kid-inspired exhibits (right now — Curious Connections in Nature) 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.
The CU Museum of Natural History is located at Henderson Building, 15th and Broadway, Boulder, CO 80309. Open Monday – Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4 and Sunday 10-4. Admission is FREE.
Summer Reading Program at Boulder Public 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.
For a map that includes all of Boulder’s libraries and their hours, click here. Admission and summer reading programs are always FREE.
The Bounce Place
The Bounce Place is an indoor playground in Boulder that features obstacle courses, bounce houses and inflatable slides for big kids as well as push cars, activity panels and building blocks for toddlers. Appropriate for kids up to age 10.
The Bounce Place is located at the 29th Street Mall, 1711 29th St, Boulder, CO 80301. Cost: $12/child ages 3 – 10, $10/child ages 2 & under. Hours: Monday – Thursday 9 AM – 7 PM, Friday & Saturday 9 AM – 8 PM & Sunday 9 AM – 7 PM.
Warrior Playground in Longmont
The Warrior Playground is a full scale American Ninja Warrior and Obstacle Course Race training facility for kids & adults to experience the thrill of tackling the obstacles they see on the TV show. The Warrior Playground features many American Ninja Warrior obstacle replicas straight from the show; now even if you can’t get on the show, you can train like a ninja. If you have a little ninja at home, check out Warrior Playground’s open gym hours or sign up for a class! If it is your kid’s first time at the playground, they will need to take an orientation class ($25).
Warrior Playground is located at 2415 Wedgewood Avenue #B, Longmont, CO 80503. Open gym fees are $15. Punch cards and monthly memberships can be purchased for discounted rates. Class prices and open gym schedules vary, click here for details.
Valmont Bike Park
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.
Valmont Bike Park is located at 3160 Airport Rd, Boulder, CO 80301. The park is open from dawn to dusk daily. Admission is FREE.
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
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 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 the hike, the group will return to Chautauqua Green for a concert full of our original nature and science-based music. The concert starts around 6PM and ends by about 7PM. Bring a blanket to sit on, a picnic and some silliness.
Meadow Music is held at Chautauqua Green, located at Baseline Rd & 9th Street, Boulder, CO 80302 on Mondays throughout the summer, 5:30 – 7PM. Always FREE.
Shredder Urban Ski & Snowboard Park
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. Shredder 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. Check out Shredder for Birthday Parties, Summer Camps, Parents’ Nights Out, and so much more!
WOW Children’s Museum
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. WOW! is just one of the many reasons to love Lafayette, Colorado.
WOW! Children’s Museum is located at 110 N. Harrison Avenue, Lafayette. The museum is open 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. Closed Mondays. Admission: Children (ages 1-11): $10, Adults: $5, Infants (under 1): Free, Members Always Play for 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 an indoor play area and fun gift shop.
Butterfly Pavilion is located at 6252 W 104th Ave, Westminster, CO 80020. Open daily from 9AM – 5PM. Admission: Adults – $12.00, Seniors (65+) – $10.00, Children (2-12) – $8.00, Children (under 2) are always FREE.
Boulder County’s Agricultural Heritage Center
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 11AM during visiting hours.
The Agricultural Heritage Center is located at 8348 Ute Hwy, Longmont. Open Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Monday – Thursday. Admission is always FREE.
Paddle Boats at Lafayette’s Waneka Lake Park
Your child is sure to get a kick out of the fun, colorful paddle boats at Waneka Lake Park‘s Boathouse. Parents can rent the paddle boats by the half hour (which come with complimentary – and required – life vests). Enjoy a calm, fun boat ride on a swan, flamingo, dragon or duck! For all the details, click here.
Waneka Lake Park is located at 1600 Caria Dr, Lafayette, CO 80026. The Boathouse is open May 26 – August 12, 2018: Tuesdays & Thursday – Sunday 11AM – 7PM, and is closed Mondays & Wednesdays. Rental costs: 2-person paddle boat $8/30 minutes, 4-person paddle boat $10/30 minutes
Fun City in Estes Park
Estes Park is full of fun things to do with the kids, but when I mention Estes, my kids always request a stop at Fun City. This amusement park has been charming kids since 1969. Adults will get a kick out of the retro feel of the park while kids delight in the thrill of go-karts, bumper cars, mini golf, bumper boats, bungee trampoline and more.
Fun City is located at 455 Prospect Village Dr, Box 483, Estes Park, CO 80517. Open Saturday – Tuesday 10AM – 8PM, Wednesday – Friday 10AM -5PM. Admission: $2/Ride on the Rainbow Slide, $7/Driver for Bumper Boats, $10/Driver Go-Karts, $6/Driver Bumper Cars. For all the activities and pricing, click here.
Longmont’s Union Reservoir
Union Reservoir‘s sandy swim beaches are a fun gathering spot for kids and families in Longmont. Lifeguards are stationed at the beach for safety. A sand volleyball court, picnic shelter and playground are located near the beach.
Union Reservoir is located at 461 Co Rd 26, Longmont, CO 80504. Swim beach hours are Monday – Thursday 10AM – 6PM, Saturday & Sunday 10AM – 8PM. Admission is $10/vehicle.
The Broomfield Bay Aquatic Park
Broomfield’s outdoor water park, The Bay, has been a summertime tradition in Broomfield since 1991. Designed for children ages 1 to 12 years old, the water park features a large pool, tot pool, body slide, tube slides, sprayground, and is ADA accessible. Lots of room for picnics, snacks and treats are available to purchase.
The Bay Aquatic Park is located at 250 Spader Way, Broomfield, CO 80020. Open Monday – Thursday 10AM – 6PM, Friday – Sunday 10AM – 8PM. Admission fees: Broomfield residents $5, Non-residents $7/4 – 17 years old, $9 18 – 59 years, $7/60+, Kids 3 and younger are always FREE.
Carousel of Happiness
Head up the hills to nearby Nederland to visit the Carousel of Happiness, a magical menagerie featuring 56 whimsical, hand-carved animals on a restored 1910 Looff carousel! Fun for all ages, this lovely carousel turns to the music of a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ. Witness the 100-year old gears churn by watching from the upper observation window.
The Carousel of Happiness is located at 20 Lakeview Dr, Nederland, CO 80466. Hours: Thursday – Monday from 11 AM – 6 PM. Wheelchair ramp available. Rides are just $1.
Hike & Learn at NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research)
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.
NCAR is located at 1850 Table Mesa Dr, Boulder, CO 80305. Visitors Center is open Monday – Friday 8-5, Weekends 9-4. Admission is FREE.