Our beautiful state of Colorado offers a ton of great activities for children all summer long. We’ve rounded up 14 free activities for your kids to enjoy that depart from the usual list of parades and summer camps. Many are educational, and several showcase Colorado’s awe-inspiring natural beauty and heritage. You’ll find here information on location, operating hours, a phone number (where applicable) and website for more information. Best of all, they’re free, so your children can have fun in places like Colorado Springs, Beaver Creek, Fort Collins and Boulder without it busting your pocketbook.
1. Beaver Creek Children’s Museum
Why your kids will like it: Special activities including star gazing and visits from Smokey the Bear, as well as exhibits like “Professor Quackenbush’s Workshop” (an interactive zone filled with building and construction themed activities) and “The Computer Zone” offer options for youngsters and tweens.
Location: 120 Offerson Road, Beaver Creek, Colorado 81620 (next to the Beaver Creek Hiking Center).
Hours: Starting early July through early September: Wednesday-Sunday, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Contact information: (970) 926-5855 or email@example.com
2. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Why your kids will like it: Sliding on sand dunes? What kid wouldn’t love that thrill? And Medano Creek nearby offers a cool respite from the heat. The visitor center here also offers free exhibits, and your child can earn a “Junior ranger badge.” Entry is free for kids under the age of 16.
(Image by scfiasco)
Location 35 miles northeast of Alamosa, Colorado.
Hours: Open 24 hours (visitor center open daily 9-6)
Contact information: (719) 378 6399
Activity website: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
3. Harmony Park
Why your kids will like it: This amazing school playground is like a kids concert in the park! Free instruments like drums, chimes and xylophones are freely available for your kids to create beautiful, haunting melodies beloved by the neighboring Montrose community. Young children can work out their energy and delight in the sounds they make, while older kids will enjoy the challenge of creating a cohesive melody.
Location: Cottonwood Elementary School, 3500 Woodgate Rd, Montrose, CO 81401.
Hours: Daylight hours (in the summer), after 3:15 pm during school days.
Contact information: (970) 249-2539
Activity website: Cottonwood Elementary School
4. NCAR Mesa Lab
Why your kids will like it: Have a science buff in your family? (Or someone you hope will take more interest in the sciences?). The NCAR Mesa Lab is a Colorado research laboratory with summer activities like guided tours through the laboratory, and cool exhibits like a telescopic camera, a gravity well, and impressive displays of tornado and lightning dynamics. There’s also an art gallery, and science exhibits that help your kids learn about the sciene behind the weather and climate change.
Location: 1850 Table Mesa Dr, Boulder, CO.
Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Contact information: (303) 497-1174
Activity website: NCAR Mesa Lab
5. Celestial Seasonings Tea Tours
Why your kids will like it: What kid doesn’t love free samples? At Celestial Seasons, free tea samples are a big treat. The tea factory tour shows the process of making tea, and the museum has stunning teapots and other tea-related pieces.
(Image by adianmgrey)
Location: 4600 Sleepytime Dr, Boulder, CO.
Hours: Monday-Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Contact information: (303) 530-5300
Activity website: Celestial Seasonings
6. Scandinavian Midsummer Festival
Why your kids will like it: With live dance and music performances, this Estes Park festival has cool food, crafts, and lots of hands-on cultural activities. Your young children will find delight in the outfits and melodies, and there’s plenty to keep adults entertained, too, including a raffle for two round-trip tickets to Scandinavia.
Location: E Riverside Dr, Estes Park, CO.
Dates/Hours: June 27-28, 10am-5pm
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Activity website Scandinavian Midsummer Festival
7. Bishop Castle
Why your kids will like it: A castle! Castles are exciting, no matter your age. This one, built by hand by Jim Bishop since 1969, has a new feature: a metal mesh dome that rotates when your children run in it. More than 1000 tons of rock were laid by Jim Bishop. This massive structure offers your kids lots of nooks and crannies to explore, and Jim plans to keep making it bigger each year.
(Image by shog9)
Location: 12705 CO-165, Rye – Beulah, CO.
Hours: Daylight hours (call to confirm)
Contact information: 719-485-3040
8. Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Why your kids will like it: The history of the Front Range is rich with stories about Native American people, miners, farmers, and Colorado Springs founders. The Pioneers Museum takes you and your kids on a tour through this history, and features more than 60,000 objects of art, pottery, quilts and other historical artifacts. The spirit of the Front Range comes alive in this museum, and both you and your children get a wonderful, free education about Colorado’s past, and how the past shapes the people and culture of Colorado today.
Location: 215 South Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, CO.
9. Teddy Bear Picnic
Why your kids will like it: Put a bunch of teddy bears together for a party, and what do you get? A ton of excited kids. Your young children will also get to hear stories and songs about Teddy Bears and interact with other children in a fune environment.
(Image by bloomfieldpics)
10. Annual Flower Trial Garden – Colorado State University
Why your kids will like it: These gardens look like a beautiful patchwork of colors, all in huge, brilliant plots. Winding paths give a magical feel reminscent of the Secret Garden. Young imaginations can run wild with visions of garden fairies and gnomes. You can take your family repeatedly through the year to see how the flower selection changes. Please keep your little one’s hands and feet out of the flower beds (you can let them know the flowers must be kept safe so we can learn from them).
Location: 1401 Remington Street Fort Collins, Colorado 80525.
Dates/hours: Open Daily, year round
Contact information: (970) 491-7179, email@example.com
11. Folk Dancing for Children
Why your kids will like it: Dancing class is a great way to meet new friends, learn about another culture, and move around. Your kids will learn how to dance in Polish and Ukraine style in a class that runs all summer long. No dance experience necessary.
(Image by stevenimmons)
Location: Plaza beside the Dushanbe Teahouse, Boulder, Colorado.
Dates/Hours: Tuesday evenings June 9,23, July 7, 21; 6:15-7 pm
Contact information 303 499-6363
Activity website: Folk on the Plaza
12. Ridgway River Festival
Why your kids will like it: Whitewater rodeo and a river race are just two of the awesome activities this River festival offers. Your kids can also learn about watershed education, and can frolic in the Kid’s Eddy. This is a ‘zero-waste’ event.
Location: Rollans Park, Ridgway, Colorado.
Date: Saturday, June 27, 11am – 9pm
Contact information: (970) 626-5134 firstname.lastname@example.org
Activity website: Ridgway River Festival
13. Colorado Balloon Classic
Why your kids will like it: This early fall (ok, it’s not summer, but this event is so great for kids that we wanted to give you an early heads up on it) Balloon Event fills the skys with an array of colorful balloons, and will fill your child’s heart with wonder. Watch as the balloons gracefully swoon over the Rockies after they take off near the shores of Prospect Lake. There are wonderful related contests for kids, including a coloring contest (click here to get the coloring contest sheet!) and a photography contest. This family event is free, and one of Colorado’s most dazzling for all ages. Be sure to check out the kids only page for juicy kids’ stuff.
(Image by markgallagher)
Location: 1605 E. Pikes Peak Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO (Memorial Park).
Dates: September 5-7, 2009
Contact information: (719) 471-4833 , email@example.com
Activity website: Colorado Balloon Classic
Why your kids will like it: Colorado’s largest kids-only outdoors festival includes tons of games, entertainers, art, and much more fun. Your kids can play in the sand, watch jugglers and magicians, and play a life-sized board game, among a ton of other kids-only entertainment. This festival has earned awards from the International Festival and Events Association.
Location: Bicentennial Park, 13655 E. Alameda Ave., Aurora, CO.
Dates: July 18-19, 10am – 5pm
Contact information: (303) 739-7757 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Activity website: Kidspree 2009