Living in a small town in the mountains of Colorado, we often feel the pull to head down the hill to the city. When we think of going to the city our car just automatically heads to Denver. After all Denver has the Children’s Museum, Aquarium, Zoo and the Museum of Nature & Science. So we are sure to find family entertainment as well as necessary shopping to replace kids’ outgrown clothes and shoes. But this time we decided to show the kids Boulder, and enjoy Boulder kids activities.
I lived briefly in Denver in the late 1990s and would head up to Boulder about once a week to hike Mount Sanitas with my dog. It is a beautiful hike, great work out and at the time was super dog friendly. I’ve always loved Boulder but the kids have never visited. So we changed it up this time to visit Boulder with kids instead, on what happened to be a snowy April day.
Traveling to Boulder, Colorado
We drove I-70 to Golden and then the windy CO-93 to Boulder. CO-93 takes you along the river with impressive cliffs lining the route. We went through several tunnels — fun for the five-year-old! And, saw lots of trailheads. Looks like a phenomenal place to stop for a hike or picnic though we didn’t have time this trip.
We took a slight detour to shop at FlatIrons Mall, not realizing how much shopping would be available within a mile of our hotel in Boulder. Boulder has really grown and changed since I spent time there in the 1990s. Everything seems so close and convenient.
Fun Things to Do in Boulder with Kids
Visiting Chautaquau Park with Kids
I knew of the Chautauqua Auditorium but it wasn’t until my daughter studied Colorado history this year in Fourth Grade that I learned what an interesting history the whole park has. This made the top of our must-see list of Boulder kids activities. Since it was a snowy day, I surrendered my dreams of taking the entire family for a hike on the Chautauqua trails. But we did check out the area and we are so glad we did.
The park itself is beautiful with a layer of fresh white snow. We wandered into the Ranger Cottage which was filled with animals native to the area, and information on local hikes. The kids enjoyed seeing all the life like animals. The kids coloring and comic books were also a hit.
My husband and I enjoyed chatting with the knowledgeable ranger about the animals, history and local terrain. I had no idea that we had any bats in Colorado let alone the several species of bats native to Colorado. So I learned something new.
Pearl Street Mall in Boulder with Kids
Pearl Street is also chock full of history. Signs scattered throughout the mall tell the fascinating history of the area — from the courthouse that burned down in a fire in 1932 to stories of the gold rush era.
But the Pearl Street Mall is also a colorful bevy of entertainment. Kids can play on climbable animal sculptures or splash in the spray pad.
A full sized Spiderman was beckoning our family into Rocket Fizz. It was possibly the first candy store that the adults liked as much as the kids. With classic candy and jokes from the parent generation, we had a blast just checking everything out. The kids were just happy that we actually bought them some candy. And, there was even an arcade in the very back of the store!
Other Fun Boulder Kids Activities
Some of the best activities for toddlers in Boulder include the Boulder Children’s Museum and a petting zoo in Boulder. The WOW! Children’s Museum has exhibits that provide educational, hands-on experiences that connect curiosity, creativity, and discovery. Try Barnyard Buddies or Zippity Zoo Barnyard for petting zoos.
Where to Stay with Kids in Boulder, Colorado
Embassy Suites Boulder
I’ve always loved Embassy Suites. The suite layout combined with the nightly manager’s receptions and cooked-to-order breakfasts make it easy for families. So, we were excited to check out this new property in Boulder. As much as I love Embassy Suites, I love unique, boutique hotel properties even more.
And the Embassy Suites Boulder combined the best of both worlds. Locally created art is scattered throughout the hotel property. The lobby welcomes you with a work by Lindsay Pichaske that features a pink coyote enviously peering from outside the hotel to the lobby inside where a long-eared hare and blue-maned mountain goat reside. Digital frames with chirping birds by David Zimmer line the hallway leading to the restaurant. A yellow picnic bench that melds into the building’s wall by Michael Beitz adorns the courtyard.
We lucked out and ended up in a corner suite with fantastic views. Our five-year-old spent some time with a chair pulled up to the window just watching life go by with the mountains as a backdrop.
The Embassy Suites Boulder is convenient to everything. We were in town partly to do some much-needed shopping and we were surrounded by every type of shop we needed with in a half mile. We even made a stop at a fun kids hair salon, Jack & Jill, for our youngest to get a haircut while riding a four wheeler. Pearl Street Mall and Chautauqua Park were a very short drive away. n our way out of town we stopped at a nearby park for some play time before our drive back up the hill.
Destination Boulder, Colorado
Next time we need to get out of our resort town and get down to the city we will likely make Boulder our destination. It was fun for the entire family!
Disclosure: Consideration provided by brands mentioned in this post. As always, opinions are our own.